What is Tryptophan?

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What is Tryptophan? Blog Image


Researchers have recently discovered the amino acid tryptophan in interstellar space.

About Tryptophan:

  • It is an amino acid needed for normal growth in infants and for the production and maintenance of the body's proteins, muscles, enzymes, and neurotransmitters. 
  • It is an essential amino acid. This means your body cannot produce it, so you must get it from your diet.
  • Functions:
    • The body uses tryptophan to help make melatonin and serotonin.
    • Melatonin helps regulate the sleep-wake cycle, and serotonin is thought to help regulate appetite, sleep, mood, and pain.
    • The liver can also use tryptophan to produce niacin (vitamin B3), which is needed for energy metabolism and DNA production.
    • Tryptophan has been used in alternative medicine as a possibly effective aid in treating symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder syndrome (such as mood swings and irritability), and to help people quit smoking.
  • Food Sources: Tryptophan can be found in
    • Cheese
    • Chicken
    • Egg whites
    • Fish
    • Milk
    • Sunflower seeds
    • Peanuts
    • Pumpkin seeds
    • Sesame seeds
    • Soy beans
    • Turkey

What is IC 348?

  • It is a 2 million year old open star cluster surrounded by a reflection nebula of about 15 light-years across.
  • It is located 1028 light-years away from earth in the northern constellation of Perseus, ehile it is receding from earth at 14km per second.
  • It is embedded in the star-forming region called the Perseus molecular cloud.


Q1) What are amino acids?

Amino acids are molecules used by all living things to make proteins. Your body needs 20 different amino acids to function correctly. Nine of these amino acids are called essential amino acids. Essential amino acids must be consumed through the food you eat. Essential amino acids can be found in a variety of foods, including beef, eggs and dairy.


Source: Astronomers spot amino acid essential for life in stellar nursery IC 348