The West African medicinal plant called Griffonia simplicifolia is the source of a naturally occurring substance called 5-HTP. This substance is converted to serotonin, the neurotransmitter that affects sleep, appetite, learning, memory, sexual behavior, mood, cardiovascular function, endocrine regulation, and muscle contraction. The importance of serotonin can’t be emphasized enough.
As a person grows older, the production of serotonin in the body declines. Stress can also reduce its production. People with low levels of serotonin tend to have insomnia, anxiety, and depression. To prevent these things, 5-HTP supplements can be used. With the use of 5-HTP supplements, the mood of a person can improve. It also improves depression, anxiety, insomnia, weight loss, chronic headaches, fibromyalgia, and migraines. Even PMS can be alleviated.
5-HTP and Prozac
Prozac is classified as a selective serotonin update inhibitor or SSRI prescription drug. It is used to treat depression, but can also treat anxiety, sleep disturbance, obesity, headaches, and other pain disorders. Meanwhile, 5-HTP is a natural nutrient supplement that is shown to have the same effects on depression. The main difference is that 5-HTP has fewer side effects than Prozac and similar products like Zoloft and Paxil.
Prozac and 5-HTP increases serotonin in the brain, but does so in differing ways. SSRIs like Prozac prevent the uptake of serotonin in the neurons so that more are available in the synapses. In short, serotonin is reused. On the other hand, 5-HTP uses biological synthesis of serotonin molecules to replenish the serotonin levels and provide new ones.
5-HTP and tryptophan
Tryptophan supplements have been used for the treatment of depression, anxiety, and sleeping problems for years. However, the FDA had prohibited the manufacture and sale of it in the USA because of a Japanese brand’s contamination in the 1980s. Even though there are a lot of evidences saying that it was unjustified and unnecessary, FDA still continued the ban. 5-HTP took the place of tryptophan. According to studies, 5-HTP may actually be better in treating serotonin deficiency disorders.
5-HTP supplements and formulations
5-HTP itself does not have a lot of side effects. It is available in different formulations to cater to the different needs of people. To enhance one’s mood, a combination of 5-HTP, vitamin B6, and St. John’s wort has been formulated. This formulation counteracts serotonin depletion due to aging. The result is general mood improvement. This treatment can aid depression. Both 5-HTP and St. John’s wort have mood enhancing properties, but they work differently. There are researches suggesting that the combination of the two yield greater results than their individual effects. The combination has anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects, improves would healing, relieves sinusitis, and relieves depression.
Effects of 5-HTP on energy
When combined with DHEA and phenylalanine, 5-HTP can improve mood while giving you a boost of energy. DHEA reduces depression while also increasing energy, libido, and stamina. Meanwhile, phenylalanine makes you more alert, focused, and concentrated. It improves memory and mental energy. Getting the levels of 5-HTP, DHEA, and phenylalanine in the body back to youthful levels help utilize them in the body properly to counteract the effects of aging and stress in the brain’s functions.
Effects of 5-HTP on sleep
As one ages, insomnia tends to become more common. Sleep deprivation is one of the factors that cause memory impairment, depression, anxiety, and stress. By using nutritional supplements like 5-HTP, you get better sleep and these problems are alleviated in turn. Because 5-HTP increases the levels of serotonin, it helps reestablish a healthier sleeping pattern and avoid chronic sleep disturbances. Serotonin also helps reduce symptoms of withdrawal from drugs.
Other supplements that can help sleep disorders are melatonin, choline, and valerian root. Even tryptophan has been deemed effective as a sleeping aid.
5-HTP also increases the levels of melatonin, which works to improve immune functions and aids in countering degenerative diseases.
Effects of 5-HTP on weight loss
There is reason to believe that serotonin deficiency may contribute to obesity. Given that 5-HTP is used to treat serotonin deficiency syndrome, it naturally acts as an appetite satisfier or suppressant. The serotonin in the brain releases cholecystokinin, which is known as the satiety hormone. 5-HTP may be combined with ephedra and white willow bark to get effective weight loss through fat burning and appetite suppression. Although ephedra and white willow bark have stimulatory effects, these are countered by the relaxing effects of 5-HTP.
5-HTP as a support network