Health Supreme by Sepp Hasslberger

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July 16, 2004

Tryptophan, Niacin Protect Against Alzheimer's

Niacin may protect against Alzheimer's disease, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry, referenced in an article by Reuters News service.

Susan commented on this as follows:

Niacin works the same way as nicotine in that it protects the brain by stimulating the production of acetylcholine. The destruction of acetylcholine by such things as organophosphates, in fact, is the cause of BSE.

Niacin is also called nicotinic acid and like its cousin nicotine, which smokers get from tobacco, is a substance that promotes proper activity of the brain chemical acetylcholine. This would tend to explain why smokers are about 50 % less subject to Alzheimer's than non smokers.

It is also interesting to note that niacin and the aminoacid l-tryptophan are closely related. In fact in the absence of niacin, our bodies will use tryptophan to manufacture the vitamin, so the need for niacin is actually expressed in "niacin equivalents", which could be niacin itself or a certain amount of the aminoacid.

Tryptophan is another one of those substances that have been "taken off the market" just as cigarette smoking is being banned and as the availability of niacin itself is being drastically reduced for "safety reasons" by EU and coming US legislation. That's three natural substances that have been shown to be important for brain activity, all of them being greatly reduced in their availability.

It seems odd to say the least that important brain nutrients are taken off the market, while psychiatric drugs are pushed off on people as if they were candies.

Here is an archived copy of the Reuters article on niacin and Alzheimer's and a historical account of the prohibition of the aminoacid tryptophan which happened more than a decade ago - coinciding perfectly with the FDA's approval of prozac...

Niacin May Protect Against Alzheimer's

By Anthony J. Brown, MD

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - High intake of the vitamin niacin, particularly from food sources, may reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease and age-related mental decline, according to a new report.

The study in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry points out that severe niacin deficiency is known to cause dementia. However, the researchers note that it is unclear if more subtle variations in niacin intake influence the risk of mental deterioration.

"There have been no epidemiologic studies to look at the association between dietary niacin and Alzheimer's disease or cognitive decline," lead author Dr. Martha C. Morris, from the Rush Institute for Healthy Aging in Chicago, told Reuters Health.

Moreover, "animal studies and other studies have really focused on the effects of very high therapeutic dose levels of niacin," not amounts found in a standard diet.

To investigate, the researchers asked several thousand elderly people living in a Chicago community about the types and amounts of food they ate and tested their mental abilities.

The study focused on 815 randomly selected subjects who were free from Alzheimer's disease at the start of the study. After an average of nearly four years, 131 of the participants were diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

A high level of total niacin intake seemed to protect against both Alzheimer's disease and cognitive decline. The association was stronger for niacin intake from foods than for niacin taken in vitamin supplements.

"We were surprised to see a fairly strong association between niacin intake from foods and Alzheimer's disease," Morris said. Compared with the lowest intake, the highest intake "was linked to an 80 percent reduction in risk."

In the overall study population, high niacin intake was also linked to a reduced risk of cognitive decline.

Although the finding are provocative, Morris concluded, they will require verification before any changes to current dietary guidelines can be recommended.

SOURCE: the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry; August 2004. 


The FDA Ban of L-Tryptophan: Politics, Profits and Prozac
© All Rights Reserved

(original on LEF website)

By: Dean Wolfe Manders, Ph.D.

This article first appeared in "Social Policy", Vol. 26, No. 2 Winter 1995. Dr. Manders has lectured and done extensive research on the medical politics of L-Tryptophan. The article also appeared in "Blazing Tattles" June 1996.

In the fall of 1989, the FDA recalled L-Tryptophan, an amino acid nutritional supplement, stating that it caused a rare and deadly flu-like condition (Eosinophilia-Myalgia Syndrome / EMS). On March 22, 1990, the FDA banned the public sale dietary of L-Tryptophan completely. This ban continues today. On March 26, 1990, "Newsweek" featured a lead article praising the virtues of the anti-depressant drug Prozac. Its multi-color cover displayed a floating, gigantic green and white capsule of Prozac with the caption: "Prozac: A Breakthrough drug for Depression."

The fact that the FDA ban of L-Tryptophan and the Newsweek Prozac cover story occurred within four days of each other went unnoticed by both the media and the public. Yet, to those who understand the effective properties of L- Tryptophan and Prozac, the concurrence seems "unbelievably coincidental." The link here is the brain neurotransmitter serotonin---a biochemical nerve signal conductor. The action of Prozac and L-Tryptophan are both involved with serotonin, but in totally different ways.

Elevated levels of serotonin in the body often result in the relief of depression, as well as substantial reduction in pain sensitivity, anxiety and stress. Prozac, as well as other new anti-depressant drugs such as Paxil and Zoloft, attempt to enhance levels of serotonin by working on whatever amounts of it already exists in the body (these drugs are known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). None of these drugs, however produce serotonin. In contrast, ingested L-Tryptophan acts to produce serotonin, even in individuals who generate little serotonin of their own. The most effective way to elevate serotonin would be to use a serotonin producer rather than a serotonin enhancer.

The continuing FDA public ban of L-Tryptophan prevents popular access to this most effective serotonin producer. The millions of Americans who for decades safely have relied upon L-Tryptophan to relieve depression, anxiety and PMS, as well as to control pain and induce natural sleep, have been forced elsewhere for solutions.

Routinely, such solutions are pharmaceutical in nature: people are forced to use either often highly addictive, expensive, and sometimes dangerous drugs like Xanax, Valium, Halcion, Dalmane, Codeine, Anafranil, Prozac, and others, or simply suffer. Present FDA public policy maintains that L-Tryptophan is an untested, unapproved and hazardous drug. The analytical work done a few years ago by the Centers for Disease Control and the Mayo Clinic, research which traced the fall of the serious flu-like condition to contaminants found in batches of L-Tryptophan made by the Japanese company Showa Denko, has not convinced the FDA to allow L-Tryptophan back on the market. This decision is based primarily on the research of FDA and NIMH scientists who state that L- Tryptophan itself, irrespective of contaminants, is a dangerous substance. Other university-based research scientists disagree with these findings.

The public availability of L-Tryptophan is too important an issue only to be argued and shrouded within scientific debate that remains, ultimately, mystifying to the vast majority of Americans. There are many obvious facts worthy of public attention, and concern.

For example, consider the following: On February 9, 1993, a United States government patent (#5185157) was issued to use L-Tryptophan to treat, and cure EMS, the very same deadly flu-like condition which prompted the FDA to take L-Tryptophan off the market in 1989.

Notwithstanding its public ban and import alert on L-Tryptophan, the FDA today allows Ajinomoto U.S.A. the right to import from Japan human-use L- Tryptophan. Distributed from the Ajinomoto in Raleigh, North Carolina, the L- Tryptophan is then sold to, and through, a network of compounding pharmacies across the United States. Purchased by individuals only under a physician's order, L-Tryptophan emerges here as a new prescription drug in the serotonin marketplace; one hundred 500 mg. capsules cost about $75.00, approximately five times more than if they were sold as a dietary supplement.

Since the FDA holds the political mandate and power of a public regulatory agency established ostensibly, to protect people from raw corporate interests in drug production and distribution, the actions of the FDA in concert with Ajinomoto U.S.A. are illuminating. By publicly banning L-Tryptophan from its dietary supplement status and price, while allowing L-Tryptophan to be sold as a high-priced prescription drug, the naked duplicity of the FDA L-Tryptophan policy is revealed.

During and after the 1989 EMS outbreak, the FDA did not totally ban the use of L- Tryptophan in humans---then, as today, the FDA has granted the pharmaceutical industry the protected right to use L-Tryptophan in hospital settings. Manufactured by Abbott Laboratories, the amino acid injectable solutions Aminosyn and Aminosyn II contain as much as 200 mg. of L-Tryptophan. (Moreover, L-Tryptophan has never been removed from baby food produced and sold within the United States.) While the FDA has banned the public sale and use of safe, non-contaminated, dietary supplements L-Tryptophan for people, the United States Department of Agriculture still sanctions the legal sale and use of non-contaminated L-Tryptophan for animals. Today, as in the past, feed grade L-Tryptophan continues to be used as a nutritional and bulk feed additive by the commercial hog and chicken farming industry. Additionally, L- Tryptophan is now available for use by veterinarians in caring for horses and pets.

Outside of the United States, in countries such as Canada, the Netherlands, Germany, England, and others, L-Tryptophan is widely used. Nowhere, have any serious or widespread health problems have occurred.

At bottom, the FDA public ban of safe, non-contaminated L-Tryptophan is uneven, expensive, and biased in favor of the pharmaceutical industry. The FDA proscription effectively awards billions of dollars in profits to pharmaceutical companies and their suppliers in the same proportion as it adds billions of unnecessary dollars to the nation's already bloated health care expenditures.

On June 15, 1993, the FDA Dietary Supplement Task Force published a report on the work it had been doing in the area of developing FDA policy around nutritional supplements. On page two, the report admits, "The Task Force considered various issues in its deliberations, including ... what steps are necessary to ensure that the existence of dietary supplements on the market does not act as a disincentive for drug development."

In this case, the FDA has succeeded in carrying out its stated policy goal. With competition from publicly available L-Tryptophan removed, the rapidly expanding market in prescription serotonin drugs---now among them L-Tryptophan itself---contains no major "disincentives" for the massive accumulation of pharmaceutical industry profits.

It is now time for appropriate congressional committees to review openly and aggressively the entire matter of L-Tryptophan. This will provide a needed forum where political, corporate, and scientific issues of the FDA L- Tryptophan regulatory policy may be addressed. There exists ample precedent for such hearings: in the 1980's and early 1990's, for example, such investigations uncovered favoritism in the approval of generic drugs and the bribery of FDA officials.

The story of L-Tryptophan illustrates a sad perverse picture of the politics and priorities of public health in America: A safe, dietary-supplement serotonin producer is publicly unavailable to people, while daily fed to animals by corporate agribusiness. A patent is approved to use L-Tryptophan to cure the very condition the FDA claims it caused. And, while publicly exclaiming that L-Tryptophan is a dangerous and untested drug, the FDA more quietly, allows human-use L-Tryptophan to be imported, and then marketed and sold by the pharmaceutical industry.

To allow the FDA ban of L-Tryptophan to continue unreviewed and univestigated condemns millions of Americans to unnecessary financial expenditures and needless suffering.

Are you Dean Manders,or do you have his email address or know anyone who does? I have a ton of info on this subject. The patent he is discussing on L-tryptophan for the cure of eosinophilia myalgia syndrome is held by Dr.Christopher Caston of Spartenburg S.C. and info about his patent was published in two peer reviewed medical journals at the exact same time the FDA banned l-tryptophan. I have a transcript of the entire FDA run hearing on Dietary Supplements which took place in the Masur Auditorium of NIH on August 29th 1990 in which the FDA was shamelessly parading eosinophilia myalgia victims up to the microphone for propaganda purposes, in order to have them denounce the dietary supplement industry over the Showa Denko contaminated tryptophan.

(Showa Denko is a PHARMACEUTICAL company, and a really bad actor at that- they once BLEW UP part of their plant to thwart a Japanese government inspection which would have proved that they were responsible for contaminating a river in Japan with mercury, causing untold misery and suffering- kids born with birth defects, etc, ad nauseum. The contaminated l-tryptophan was caused by using genetic engineering to crank up a strain of bacteria used in the fermentation process that the amino acid is generated through. They wanted to make the stuff FASTER than their competitors, and tossed GMPs out the window.

At NIH these poor people were being plugged full of prednisone, and other highly dangerous drugs, which did NOTHING to alleviate their condition, while a patented, peer reviewed nutritional protocol including l-tryptophan existed, to the FDA's knowledge, but the FDA and NIH did not let these patients at NIH hospital have it, because they wanted to use them as political pawns. I can document everything I'm saying here because I testified at that hearing and exposed the whole charade, and I have the official government transcript of my testimony, along with the proof of everything I said, stored in multiple locations in case they ever burn my house down. You are right, there should be a congressional investigation- but there never will be unless we CRUSH congress with faxes about this. Anyone want to?

See also:

Marijuana may block Alzheimer's
The active ingredient in marijuana may stall decline from Alzheimer's disease, research suggests.

Mercury on the Mind - By Donald W. Miller, Jr., MD
Although they afflict widely different age groups, autism and Alzheimer's disease share a common cause: mercury. Dr. Boyd Haley, professor and chair of the chemistry department at the University of Kentucky, and Dr. Bernard Rimland, founder of the Autism Research Institute, presented evidence at this year's Doctors for Disaster Preparedness meeting that connects mercury with these diseases.

The Role of the FDA
The Claim There is "No Scientific Evidence" for Alternative Treatments...

Prozac Alternatives? - from

Selenium Conquers AIDS? Patients with advanced HIV infection have tryptophan levels at less than 50% of those in age and gender matched controls and boosting levels of tryptophan can enable to body to synthesise serotonin and niacin which protect against dementia.

Vitamin may ward off Alzheimer's

Smoking Helps Protect Against Lung Cancer - Joe Vialls

The best and most complete treatment of Alzheimer's disease is Dr. Harold Foster's recent book "What really causes Alzheimer's disease". Foster describes and dissects the various factors we know play a role. He also examines currently available treatments and makes suggestions on how to prevent, that is, eliminate on a large scale, the factors that contribute to this illness.

The book is free and is available for download (or for purchase as a real dead-trees-and-ink book) from Harold Foster's website: The link is "Publications".

Cannabis May Offer Alzheimer's Hope, Study Says
Investigators at the Trinity College, Institute for Neuroscience, in Dublin report that cannabinoids have been shown to protect neurons from the deleterious effects of amyloid plaque the primary pathological hallmark of Alzheimer's. Cannabinoids also demonstrate a propensity to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, while also promoting neurogenesis (the birth of new neuronal cells), authors report.


posted by Sepp Hasslberger on Friday July 16 2004
updated on Wednesday December 8 2010

URL of this article:


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Readers' Comments

My sister in law almost died from L-tryptophan prescribed by a physician & the danger is deadly. She has not recovered full use of hand & feet.
It is not a conspiracy!!!

Posted by: larry parson on December 29, 2008 09:48 PM


Larry, does the incident with your sister in law go back to 1989 and did she get some of the contaminated amino acid produced then in a "novel" procedure by Showa Denko at the time?

Posted by: Sepp on December 31, 2008 11:14 AM


The Tryptophan ban was lifted before this article was written. I'm not sure of the exact year; Googling around returns dates of 1994/5 and 2000/1. There may have been differing actions in each of those years, resulting in differing degrees of availability/restrictions. (For example, in 1994 it may have been made available from US manufacturers, and opened up to foreign manufacturers in 2000; dunno.)

Posted by: hawkeye on May 15, 2010 01:56 PM


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These articles are brought to you strictly for educational and informational purposes. Be sure to consult your health practitioner of choice before utilizing any of the information to cure or mitigate disease. Any copyrighted material cited is used strictly in a non commercial way and in accordance with the "fair use" doctrine.



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