The tryptophan conundrum

This article is about the effects of low tryptophan in the body. I was interested to see that in the absence of b6, tryptophan is used to make B6, and it takes 60mg of tryptophan to make enough B6!! I also read that sugary carbohydrates are the number one craving in a tryptophan lacking body, and these things together made me think that perhaps I crave carbs so much because I lack in B6, and am using all my tryptophan to make up for it! I also find quite a few foods I crave are high in B6, like dates, avocado, potatoes and wholegrains. And tryptophan, incidentally!

The kicker for this is that tryptophan is supposedly very bad for your thyroid and excess can cause hypo symptoms. So I don't know what to think about that - and it seems stupid to avoid some very healthy foods for the sake of maybe ODing on tryptophan when for all I know I may be lacking in it. I am getting a new b vitamin supplement soon which is supposed to be very good, so we'll see if that changes anything. Thanks for reading this everyone and I hope it is useful to you.


8 Replies

  • I never knew there was a relationship between tryptophan and the thyroid. Thanks for the info.

    I found this, which suggests that being low in tryptophan is not good for the thyroid :

    I suspect that many amino acids can have serious effects both in excess and in deficiency, but I doubt that would be a surprise to many of us.

    And regarding vitamin B6...

    Several years ago I took a high dose B Complex, one of those B-100 ones - every B vitamin was supplied at a level of 100mg or something like that. At the time I just bought a cheap one, thinking I was being smart and saving money. I've learned the error of my ways since then.

    Given the symptoms I had before supplementing I suspect I was low in vitamin B6. Taking the supplement, cheap though it was, did help my apparent peripheral neuropathy symptoms. I took this supplement for quite a long time. Then an unexpected thing happened. My symptoms started coming back. That was when I discovered that vitamin B6 can cause problems both in deficiency and in excess. I stopped taking my supplement, and luckily my problem went away again. So, the moral of this story is - Beware of overdoing the vitamin B6.

  • Do you know if the amino acid L-lysine is bad for thyroid?

  • I found this link which mentions thyroid :

    I found several mentions of low levels of L-Lysine being found in people with low thyroid hormones. I have no idea if taking L-Lysine will improve thyroid hormone levels though. I'm not an expert, so take anything I say with a pinch of salt.

  • I think it is very good for your thyroid! And lots of other things too, here's an article about it:

    Hope this helps! :)

  • Thanks humanbean! Great info and it's back to the old everything in moderation...the problem is in knowing when to moderate what! :) I took the cheap ones for a while and they didn't agree with me either, but I haven't had any B's for about a month now so I think the deficiency is probably more likely. Cheers xx

  • I think the clue to your conundrum is in this sentence :

    "The kicker for this is that tryptophan is supposedly very bad for your thyroid and EXCESS can cause hypo symptoms."

    Most things are bad in excess. The trick is to get just the right amount.

  • Yup, that is true. Trust me to answer my own question lol. The converting to B6 thing is pretty cool, though, nice to know our bodies are so clever :)

  • Oh, they're a lot more clever than we realise! :)

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