International Scientific Vocabulary tryptic + -o- + -phane
First Known Use: 1890
Medical Definition of TRYPTOPHAN
: a crystalline essential amino acid C11H12N2O2 that is widely distributed in proteins—abbreviation Trp
Variants of TRYPTOPHAN
One of the essential amino acids. It is a heterocyclic compound that is found in small amounts in most proteins. It plays an important role in the growth and development of infants and in the biosynthesis of serotonin and niacin (thus, deficiency of niacin or tryptophan can cause pellagra). Its occurrence in milk has been suggested as the reason that drinking milk before bedtime helps people sleep. It is used in medicine and nutrition research, in enriched foods, and as a dietary supplement.