ANDREW FREESE; KENTON J. SCHWARTZ; MATTHEW DURING, M.D.
To the editor: The precursor relationship of plasma or brain tryptophan levels to the bioactive tryptophan metabolite, serotonin, has been well characterized (1). Indeed, based on this relationship, therapeutic interventions for a number of disorders, including insomnia, depression, obesity, hypertension, and aggression, have been established. Because of media coverage, public self-administration of high doses of tryptophan bought at health food stores is common.
Although tryptophan is a precursor for serotonin biosynthesis, the metabolism of tryptophan is more complex, occurring through a branched pathway. Various studies have shown that increased plasma and brain levels of tryptophan not only augment levels of
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FREESE A, SCHWARTZ KJ, DURING M. Potential Neurotoxicity of Tryptophan. Ann Intern Med. 1988;108:312-313. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-108-2-312_2
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1988;108(2):312-313.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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