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Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Does 5 HTP Help To Improve Mood


5-htp also called 5-hydroxytryptophan is a natural substance obtained from seeds pod of an African medicinal plant called Griffoniasimplicifolia. In humans, it converts directly into serotonin which is responsible for a lot of body functions i.e. memory, learning, sleeping, mood, regulation of temperature, cardiovascular functions, sexual behaviour, endocrine regulation, muscle contraction and temperature regulation among others.
The body production of serotonin drops with increase in age. Serotonin production can further be compromised by high stress levels, anxiety and depression. Leading to a diminished quality of life which can still be restored by 5-htp.
The increased supply of two raw materials i.e. L-tryptophan and 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), will aid in more production of chemical compound 5-HTP in the body for production of serotonin, a very important hormone for mood regulation.
Apart from restoration of serotonin production, 5-htp also helps improve on; pain thresholds, depression and anxiety, migraines and severe headaches, insomnia, weight loss and Fibromyalgia among others

Understanding the functioning of 5-HTP

In the body, 5-HTP is naturally produced from tryptophan then converted to serotonin, a neurotransmitter with lots of powerful effects on the brain.
According to research, it is advisable to take 5-HTP instead of Serotonin supplements since 5-HTP has been found to easily accesses the brain from the bloodstream unlike serotonin which does not have access to brain barriers.

How safe is the use of 5-HTP

5-HTP, being a natural compound in the body, is safe for short term duration of approximately 12 weeks. However, if with gastrointestinal problems, it is advisable to speak to the physician so as to avoid gastrointestinal side effects e.g. vomiting, nausea and abdominal pains.
Also avoid 5-HTP if taking anti-depressants e.g. Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor (SSRI) or Monoamine Oxidise Inhibitors (MAOI). Consequently people with Bipolar Disorders, those with severe depression, not forgetting pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should not use 5-HTP supplements.

For as little as $10, pure 5-HTP can be found in drug stores and health food stores. Ensure to consult your doctor first before use so as not to increase your serotonin in a negative way.
It is important to be keen before making any 5-HTP purchase since some supplements are considered impure and contaminated leading to Eosinophilia Myalgia Syndrome (EMS). Therefore consult with specialists for trusted brands before purchase.
Lower dosages of 50mg are recommended for starters to ease the body into taking of 5-HTP. It may sometimes take a few weeks to feel its effects but overall, a twelve week period of 5-HTP supplement intake should not be exceeded
According to researchers, pure 5-hydroxy-L-tryptophan (5-HTP) is the safest. From L-tryptophan, it is further converted to melatonin, a Neuro-Hormone and Neurotransmitter.

Comparison with Other Anti-Depressants

Other anti-depressants e.g. Paxil, Effexor, Zoloft and Prozac work by increasing available serotonin and stimulating serotonin receptors. Despite the side effects associated with them e.g. loss of sex drive, they are very effective in the treatment of depression. They are also very expensive.
Available only by prescription, Paxil, Effexor, Zoloft and Prozac are considered drugs with Prozac being in class SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). Initially developed to treat depression, these drugs are now widely used for treatment of other disorders e.g. severe headaches, obesity, sleep disorders, chronic pains, PMS and anxiety among others. 5-HTP also has the same beneficial factors with lesser side effects.
Although SSRIs and 5-HTP work differently, they both increase the availability of serotonin in the brain. 5-HTP, by biological synthesis of increased serotonin molecules, replenishes serotonin levels. On the other hand, SSRIs prevents serotonin from being taken back into the neurons thus more availed in the synapses between the neurons allowing the brain to utilize the already available serotonin.

5-HTP and Tryptophan

Tryptophan, a natural amino acid is important to the body for the production of serotonin and melatonin both of which are brain chemicals that regulate sleep and mood
As a supplement, Tryptophan has also for a long time now been used for treatment of sleep disorders, premenstrual syndrome, obsessive behaviour, depression and anxiety. Its manufacture and sale was prohibited due to it being expensive and the fact that its benefits could easily, safely and cheaply obtained by 5-HTP.

5-HTP an alternative to drugs

5-HTP is the safest alternative to drugs used as depressants. it is available in the form of 5-hydroxy-L-tryptophan, 5-HTP compound from amino acid tryptophan, is more active compared to L-tryptophan thus an immediate precursor to 5-hydroxytryptamine found in the brain and the central nervous system making it essential for controlling sleep, behaviour and mood without additional side effects like those of Prozac and other alternative drugs.
According to research and statistics, depressed patients subjected to use of 100mg of 5-HTP for up to three times daily recorded improved symptom levels without any side effect. The same applied to obese patients who had significant weight losses, improved sleep patterns to those with sleep disorders and relief to panic disorder patients.

5-HTP for Enhanced Mood and Energy

The body converts ingested tryptophan, to 5-HTP which is again metabolized into serotonin, an important neurotransmitter for mood regulation, pain disorders (fibromyalgia) and anxiety level checks. Forthis reason, 5-HTP is considered a natural mood booster.
By counteracting with serotonin depletion due to age, 5-HTP ensures required levels of serotonin are maintained. This is important for enhanced mood, wound healing and anti-inflammatory effects just to mention a few.
For enhanced Energy, 5-HTP is combined with phenylalanine and DHEA. DHEA has also been linked with increased stamina, libido and energy.
Insufficiency in noradrenaline (brain’s adrenaline) causes mood and energy level to decline. For restoration to initial optimum levels, natural substances of phenylalanine, 5-HTP and DHEA are taken in adequate amounts. Phenylalanine supplements also alleviate depression and improve on different mental functions.

5-HTP for Depression

Compared to tryptophan, 5-HPT is more effective this is due to the increase of ‘feel good’ hormones called Beta-endorphins after the consumption of 5-HTP by patients experiencing depression.
Generally, serotonin tends to sooth the nervous system ensuring one is contented and relaxed with long term quality life.

5-HTP for Weight Loss

Feel good hormones-Beta-endorphins are also effective in initiating weight loss. Like weight loss products, e.g. Fenfluramine and Redux, Beta-endorphins ‘fool’ people into appetite satisfaction leading to less consumed food thus offering an important alternative programme to weight loss.
Obesity is also linked to genetically induced serotonin deficiency. 5-HTP is readily converted to serotonin in the brain which causes release of cholecystokinin regarded as a satiety hormone thus linking 5-HTP to reduced food intake and weight loss.
With high levels of serotonin, one feels satisfied without the need of food intake restriction. As per carried out studies, 5-HTP lowers the number of calories eaten and assists in weight loss. For those who crave food constantly, 5-HTP is highly recommended.

5-HTP for Enhanced Sleep

With many prescribed medications responsible for serotonin syndrome and other unnecessary side effects, 5-HTP is very safe. When incorporated with diet, it is a natural sleep enhancer and reduces stress/anxiety.

Sleep disorders and insomnia can cause memory impairment, moods, stress and sometimes immunity dysfunctions. With supplements containing 5-HTP and melatonin, all this problems are alleviated
Another natural substance that enhances sleep is choline(a nutrient precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine). Acetylcholine ensures one does not wake up due to any little murmur or sound thus protecting your sound sleep. Considering it as a helpful alternative is essential for desired sleep patterns and good health in the long run.


5-HTP is also found in some foods e.g. turkey, fish, red meat or even seeds. When taken correctly and in sufficient amounts, it converts to serotonin which is a chemical compound in brain responsible for regulated sleep, reduced depression and enhanced mood.

5-HTP can also offer a life line if;

  • You lack motivation and prefer being alone all the time
  • You are irritable and angry most of the time
  • Your mind is mostly preoccupied with negative thoughts
  • You are always worried and anxious
  • You are a workaholic and control freak
  • You suffer from fibromyalgia
For successful conversion of 5-HTP into serotonin, your body needs magnesium, calcium and vitamin B. it is therefore recommended to consider multivitamins since they contain vitamin B6, magnesium chelate and taurate.
Sometimes the body might not respond to 5-HTP even after a few weeks. If this happens, consult with your doctor and do more research. Also intake dosage should be reduced if some abnormal symptoms e.g. too groggy feeling is experienced.

1 comment:

  1. 5-HTP can be used to help treat sleep disorders, depression, anxiety and tension headaches. 5-HTP increases the production of chemical serotonin. If you suffer from depression, insomnia and obesity. 5 hour energy drink