I wish I would have discovered L-Tryptophan much sooner. I had tried various sources when I first learned about the l-tryptophan supplement and many of them were good. When I came across the NOW Foods Brand they were slightly cheaper so I didn’t know if they would work. Choosing high quality when it comes to supplements is important, especially when you are overcoming depression. You want to know if a particular amino acid works for you or not. A bad quality supplement will mess up that trial-and-error process.
After learning more about NOW Brand supplements, reading a NOW Foods review, and seeing how some of my favorite people, like Julia Ross, were fans of NOW products, I decided to give them a try.
One of the first supplements I tried was NOW Foods L-Tryptophan.
NOW Foods Tryptophan: The Product
According to NOW Foods website, they use good manufacturing practices to make sure there is no contamination in their amino acid supplements. If you are anything like me when I was first experimenting with supplements on my biology, I used to take a lot of different supplements. One of the things that I always worried about was if I was putting other things in my body that weren’t listed in the ingredients on the bottle.
With the research they do in clinical trials, adhering to standards for ingredient substitution, and their emphasis on making sure all their products are as natural as possible, NOW Foods Supplements is the perfect middle ground for quality and not spending your whole week’s paycheck on l-tryptophan supplements.
Should I Get 500mg or 1000mg?
When choosing a tryptophan supplement (or any amino acid supplement) you should always start with the lowest possible dose first. When messing with your brain chemistry, it is always smart to err on taking too little than too much at first.
That’s why I will always recommend that people choose the smallest possible dose they can find and work up from there. This is for two main reasons:
- The smallest dose might be all you need. If 500mg of L-Tryptophan does the trick, you shouldn’t be taking 1000mg. This will also save you money.
- Higher doses have higher chances of adverse side effects. Starting out small allows you to test your body’s response to the supplement and gradually increase your dose if all goes well. You can take two 500mg tryptophan pills to get the same effect as the larger supplement. It is a lot harder to take the larger supplement and divide it into smaller doses.
Benefits, Cons, and Tryptophan Side Effects
The biggest benefit to taking L-Tryptophan is the effects it has on sleep. When I was suffering from insomnia, L-Tryptophan is what saved me. One of the most popular articles on this website is my article on curing insomnia. One reader even fixed his year-long Xanax addiction by using Tryptophan.
L-Tryptophan is an amino acid that the brain uses to produce niacin and serotonin. With the use of B Vitamins, L-Tryptophan is converted into 5-HTP and then 5-HT (serotonin). This boosts your natural stores of serotonin without having to resort to the use of antidepressant drugs. Leftover serotonin is used to produce melatonin, which helps you sleep.
What I have noticed is that when I take NOW Foods L-Trytophan at night I will still feel the effects the following day. When I can feel that I am starting to get a little depressed, start having lower self-esteem, reduced enjoyment in life, and stop sleeping good I will even take L-Tryptophan in the day.
Tryptophan can also aid in reducing anxiety. A lack of serotonin can produce anxiety in numerous people. Taking an L-Tryptophan supplement can fix the issue.
My Honest Comparison to Other Brands
I have tried and used other brands of L-Tryptophan before. Some didn’t affect me as much as NOW Foods brand does and others have affected me more.
Source Naturals L-Tryptophan affected me more than NOW Foods L-Tryptophan. When taking Source Naturals L-Tryptophan, I felt it “hit me harder” and quicker than NOW Foods. It wasn’t a massively huge difference, but definitely noticeable when it came to falling asleep and feeling good. Sometimes when I took Source Naturals L-Tryptophan I almost even felt like I felt a little too good.
NOW Foods Tryptophan feels more subtle and gentle than Source Naturals does. I buy NOW Foods brand right now because it is slightly cheaper and I don’t need a stronger effect anymore. I can take NOW Foods L-Tryptophan and fall asleep and slightly boost my serotonin to where it needs to be.
Sometimes the Source Naturals brand is actually cheaper than NOW Foods on Amazon.com. If Source Naturals is cheaper, I’d go with Source Naturals L-Tryptophan.
Some People Respond to 5-HTP Better
Most people respond to 5-HTP better than L-Tryptophan. In my course, I recommend that people try 5-HTP before trying L-Tryptophan. If your body doesn’t have enough niacin it will often convert L-Tryptophan into niacin instead of serotonin. If you are suffering from depression, you should be supplementing with a B Vitamin supplement everyday to ensure your brain can produce the neurotransmitters for you to feel good.
Taking 5-HTP can be a more direct route to serotonin production than L-Tryptophan. Some people respond to 5-HTP better while others respond to L-Tryptophan better. I personally feel more energetic when I take 5-HTP and 5-HTP is shorter lasting, so it doesn’t work for helping me sleep or producing longer lasting effects. Naturally I am inclined to recommend L-Tryptophan first, but the research shows that 5-HTP is effective for most people.
Side Effects and Complications
If you take too much L-Tryptophan it can make you sleepy. This usually means that you have enough serotonin stores in your brain and don’t need to take any more tryptophan supplements. I recommend that people take L-Tryptophan in the late afternoon and evening when first trying it out to avoid this situation and to not take it during work if you are taking it for the first time.
According to WebMD.com, other side effects of L-Tryptophan includes heartburn, stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite, headaches, lightheadedness, drowsiness, dry mouth, and sexual problems. I haven’t heard of anyone having these more serious issues taking L-Tryptophan, but again, you should start with the lowest possible dose first to avoid having those experiences if you are one of the unlucky few that won’t react well.
Where To Buy NOW Foods Products
I choose to buy L-Tryptophan and other NOW Foods supplements from Amazon.com. I have never had an issue with supplements ordered from Amazon.com. Many people prefer to purchase supplements from iHerb.com because Amazon.com has been known to keep supplements on the shelf longer than iHerb.com does.
Another great feature of iHerb.com is if you are traveling and need to order some extra supplements. I needed to buy a supplement in Thailand and iHerb.com was able to get it to me in a couple weeks.
You can buy these supplements from a local store, but nine times out of ten you will get it cheaper online. I’d go with Amazon and buy a few supplements at once to get free shipping and check the expiration date when the supplements arrive. Amazon.com can be $5-$6 dollars cheaper with supplements than iHerb.com.
You can buy L-Tryptophan through the links below. Disclaimer: I make about $0.12 when you purchase through my link.
I would try NOW Foods L-Tryptophan 500mg first. Take it on an empty stomach in the late afternoon or in the evening. If you don’t feel any effects, gradually increase your dose. Buy it from Amazon.com.
If you are more worried about quality than price, buy Source Naturals L-Tryptophan from iHerb.com if the price is right. If you are looking to learn more about other supplements in overcoming depression, you can see the master list here.