Q & A Library

Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Can I Take Fido's Pills?

Is it is okay to take L-trypotophan that is a veterinary supplement and 100% pure? I have purchased this product on the web and was told it was perfectly safe for human consumption. It comes in 500 mg capsules.

Answer (Published 8/8/2002)

Updated 6/06/2007

The amino acid L-tryptophan is the metabolic precursor of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that carries information from one part of the nervous system to another. It also has a sedative effect. L-tryptophan supplements were once popular as sleep aids, but in 1989 the FDA banned their sale in the United States after a contaminated batch from a Japanese manufacturer was linked to five deaths from eosinophilic myalgia syndrome, a rare and painful disease. To date, the FDA has not lifted its ban.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Supplements & Herbs - If you are interested in supplementing your diet, and want to take the mystery out of choosing vitamins, try Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor. Visit today for your free, personalized Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor Recommendation.

Taking a veterinary L-tryptophan supplement should be safe, but I think there are better remedies for insomnia, premenstrual syndrome, and jet lag, the problems for which it was recommended. I don't advise taking any sleeping aids, natural or not, on a regular basis - if that's why you want to take L-tryptophan, I suggest that you go another route. Much insomnia results from stress, anxiety, depression and the use of stimulant drugs, so you would be better off addressing those issues.

You can improve your sleep, combat stress, depression and even PMS with regular aerobic exercise, breathing exercises and practicing relaxation techniques.

Instead of L-tryptophan, try taking Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) as a temporary sleep aid. For PMS, avoid caffeine, take up to 700 mg of calcium and 350 mg of magnesium for painful menstrual cramps, along with 500mg of black currant oil or evening primrose oil twice a day and two capsules of dong quai or chaste tree twice a day.

For jet lag, I take 2.5 mg to 3.0 mg of melatonin sublingually (under-the-tongue) at bedtime for one or two nights after arrival.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

Copyright © 2015 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here