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Is It Safe to Take L-Theanine with L-Tryptophan?

Updated on March 25, 2010

Is It Safe to Take L-Theanine with L-Tryptophan?

What L-Tryptophan Is Used For?

L-tryptophan is an essential amino acid found in many foods, especially meat, liver, and plants. For years, L-tryptophan has been used in alternative medicine to treat conditional problems such as insomnia, anxiety, depression, PMS, memory and attention disorder, and other conditions. As L-tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin, it can also elevate mood.  

What L-theanine Is Used For?

L-theanine is an amino acid found in tea. It has soothing and calming properties. Several studies showed that L-theanine powder decreases blood pressure, fights depression, reduces PMS. It is more useful to treat anxiety, but can also help with sleep problems, especially if they are caused by excessive anxiety and worries.

Is It Safe to Take L-Theanine with L-Tryptophan?

The combination of L-theanine and L-tryptophan is potentially dangerous as both these substances act as anti-depressant agents and promote serotonin production in the brain.

Any aggressive dietary program should start only after you consult with a qualified healthcare provider because many dietary supplements, including L-Tryptophan, may have adverse effects such as the following:

  • If you have carcinoid tumors, you shouldn’t use L-tryptophan;
  • In the course of consumption of monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) and within 2 weeks after you stopped the course, it is not recommended to take L-tryptophan;
  • If you use any other anti-depressant medications, including serotonin reuptake inhibitors, tricyclic anti-depressants, do not use L-tryptophan;
  • If you have ischemic heart disease, coronary artery spasms, uncontrolled hypertension or any other significant cardiovascular disease, you should consume L-tryptophan with great care or do not use it at all;
  • L-tryptophan can trigger excess serotonin formation in tissues and cause significant adverse reactions;
As side effects, L-tryptophan can cause loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, difficult breathing, blurry vision, pupil dilation, loss of muscle coordination, and cardiac dysrhythmia.


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