tryptophan

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

From German Tryptophan, corresponding to tryptic + Ancient Greek ϕαίνειν (ϕaínein, to appear).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

tryptophan (countable and uncountable, plural tryptophans)

  1. (biochemistry) An essential amino acid having an indole side chain; it is present in many foods, especially chocolate, oats, bananas and milk; it is essential for normal growth and development and is the precursor of serotonin and niacin; any specific form of this compound, or any derivative of it.
    • 1999, Matt Ridley, Genome, Harper Perennial 2004, p. 169:
      The quickest way to raise serotonin levels again is to send more tryptophan into the brain, because serotonin is made from tryptophan.

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