Amino Acids

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 21–47 | Cite as

L-Tryptophan: Biochemical, nutritional and pharmacological aspects

  • E. -L. Sainio
  • K. Pulkki
  • S. N. Young
Review Article


Tryptophan is important both for protein synthesis and as a precursor of niacin, serotonin and other metabolites. Tryptophan is an unusual amino acid because of the complexity of its metabolism, the variety and importance of its metabolites, the number and diversity of the diseases it is involved in, and because of its use in purified form as a pharmacological agent. This review covers the metabolism of tryptophan, its presence in the diet, the disorders associated with low tryptophan levels due to low dietary intake, malabsorption, or high rates of metabolism, the therapeutic effects of tryptophan and the side effects of tryptophan when it is used as a drug including eosinophilia myalgia syndrome.


Amino acids Tryptophan Food Eosinophilia myalgia syndrome 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. -L. Sainio
    • 1
    • 4
  • K. Pulkki
    • 2
  • S. N. Young
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology and ToxicologyUniversity of KuopioKuopioFinland
  2. 2.Central LaboratoryTurku University Central HospitalTurkuFinland
  3. 3.Department of Psychiatry and the School of Dietetics and Human NutritionMcGill UniversityMontréalCanada
  4. 4.National Consumer AdministrationHelsinkiFinland

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