L-tryptophan is an essential amino acid (protein building block) in human nutrition. Essential amino acids are not synthesized by the body and must be obtained in the diet. Like certain other amino acids, it is called "essential" because the body is not capable of producing it, so we must ingest it. Although plentiful in protein foods, cooking and processing easily destroy it so that deficiencies are fairly common.
As a precursor for serotonin - the brain neurotransmitter linked with pleasure and fulfilment, it plays an important role in our diets. Aging individuals will often benefit from this supplement.
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