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L-tryptophan is an essential amino acid that is found naturally in many plant and animal proteins. This protein building block is considered “essential” because your body cannot make it on its own, rather it must rely on dietary sources (food) or dietary supplements. So what does L-tryptophan do and how does it work? L-tryptophan supports healthy serotonin levels, which in turn promote healthy sleep patterns. It also plays important roles in the development and functioning of many organs in your body. It’s converted in your body into 5-HTP and then to serotonin, a natural hormone associated with healthy, restful sleep.