L-tryptophan for bipolar disorder?

Dear DR.Phelps

 I know that there has been a band on the amino acid L-tryptophan and I have tried some of the other drugs and I cant seem to find one that will work for me.  Could you please me some information on some other drugs that might help me.  I know that milk has tryptophan in it I just dont know how much,or how much I need to drink to get anything out of it.  I was diganosed with BIPOLAR 5 years ago.  Please let me know what else I can take.

 Thank you for your time.


Note from Colleen...I don't know why anyone would want to take L-tryptophan anyway.  It's not banned in Canada, but to get anywhere near therapeutic doses you have to take a massive dosage ... and just try to SWALLOW those horse pills!  LOL - been there, done that!

And Terry, I'd just add that what you should be using -- tryptophan or otherwise -- depends on what your target symptom is.  If it's sleep, as I'd guess from your question, that's usually a marker indicating there's more trouble out there than just sleep: usually people are having other symptoms like irritability, mood lability (like easy tears), and agitation/anxiety symptoms too. If that's the case, then the pills we know help a lot of people, and help more than a placebo, are the mood stabilizer medications.  You can try other stuff, but if you haven't had treatment with a combination of mood stabilizers and no antidepressant in the mix, then you haven't had "standard treatment" yet.  Out of hundreds, I only have four patients that did not get much better with "standard treatment".  

Dr. Phelps

Published March, 2001