Inhibition of serotonin reuptake from the neuronal synapse and the subsequent increase in its functionality is one of the mainstays of the pharmacological treatment of depression. Like many amino acids, tryptophan is commercially available as a nutritional supplement or as a so-called smart drug, claiming to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders, insomnia, fibromyalgia, alcohol withdrawal, and migraine. However, no convincing clinical data are available to support these claims. In contrast tryptophan depletion induced by ingestion of a tryptophan-deficient amino acid mixture, is widely used in experimental psychiatry to study the biological background of various psychiatric disorders.

See also: Amino Acids: Chemistry and Classification; Metabolism. Brain and Nervous System. Carbohydrates: Regulation of Metabolism. Cytokines. Electrolytes: Acid-Base Balance; Water-Electrolyte Balance. Glucose: Metabolism and Maintenance of Blood Glucose Level. Inborn Errors of Metabolism: Classification and Biochemical Aspects; Nutritional Management of Phenylketonuria. Protein: Synthesis and Turnover; Requirements and Role in Diet; Quality and Sources. Stomach: Structure and Function.

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