The human body contains about 20 lbs. of pure protein. Every cell, if water is discounted, is made up of about 50% proteins. Muscles, hormones, hair, skin, blood, and enzymes are especially high in proteins. The building blocks of proteins are called amino acids. 20 of them are coded in the human genome, 8 of which are essential, which means we must eat them with food because the body cannot produce them by itself. The essential amino acids are: Tryptophan, Valine, Methionine, Leucine, Isoleucine, Phenylalanine, Threonine and Lysine.
Found in Food
Tryptophan is the amino acid that is found in the smallest quantities in our foods compared to other amino acids. Many food proteins are low in tryptophan, which is why the supplementation of one gram per day can make a significant difference in protein synthesis. Foods high in tryptophan are cashew nuts (450mg/100g), veal (350mg/100g), tuna fish (300mg/100g), egg (165mg/100g), and rolled oats (190mg/100g). As a precursor to the happiness hormone Serotonin, Tryptophan is responsible for the slight antidepressant effect of chocolate.
Besides being used in the production of cell proteins, the body also uses Tryptophan to produce Serotonin. Serotonin, also referred to as the "happiness hormone", plays an important role in the transmission of nerve signals. For Tryptophan to overcome the blood brain barrier it needs help to keep away competing amino acids. This task is carried out by Insulin, which causes other amino acids to get absorbed by muscle cells so that more Tryptophan gets into the brain. This is why sugar makes us happy. Fats also bait Serotonin. High blood fat values produce more acids in blood, which dissolve Tryptophan out of proteins. That is probably the reason why chips and chocolate combinations are addictive. The body can also produce vitamin B3 (niacin) from Tryptophan, however, it takes 60mg of Tryptophan to make 1mg of vitamin B3. People with a low consumption of vitamin B3 can therefore easily be deficient in Tryptophan. A metabolite of Tryptophan, the so called Picolic acid, encourages the absorption of zinc.
Sleep: Tryptophan significantly shortens the time it takes to fall asleep and can be used in cases of insomnia.
Pain: Tryptophan can mitigate pains of different kinds, including those caused by arthritis, cancer and chronic headaches.
Blood pressure: Tryptophan can help lower high blood pressure, especially when taken together with calcium.
Psyche: Tryptophan supplements have an antidepressant effect when used with vitamin B6. They mitigate depression, tense
conditions, irritability, and mood swings. This also suggests Tryptophan can be useful for pre-menstrual syndrome.
Appetite: Tryptophan reduces hunger attacks for carbohydrates, which in turn has a good effect on the blood sugar level.
Parkinson’s: Tryptophan can reduce the shaking (tremor) that is typical for Parkinson’s patients.
Uses in the Clark Protocol
Dr. Clark writes in “The Cure for All Diseases” (p. 244) that she would prefer Tryptophan over Ornithine as a natural sleep promoter because it is twice as effective. At the time she wrote the book Tryptophan was not available. Ornithine has a different mechanism in the body and is part of the ammonia cycle.
Tryptophan has a low potential for side effects, but high doses can lead to nausea. Persons with the following conditions should consult with their doctor before supplementing Tryptophan in high doses: pregnancy, asthma, adrenal failure, Lupus.