5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is the amino acid that is the middle step between tryptophan and the important brain chemical serotonin. 5-HTP boosts serotonin levels and may offer benefit in conditions linked to low serotonin levels. Considerable scientific evidence indicates that low serotonin levels are linked to a number of common conditions, including depression, obesity, fibromyalgia and headaches. Commercially available 5-HTP is isolated from a seed from an African plant (Griffonia simplicifolia).
How can it help with depression? There is excellent documentation that 5-HTP is an effective antidepressant agent. 5-HTP often produces very good results in patients who are unresponsive to standard antidepressant drugs. More patients in a double-blind study responded to 5-HTP than fluvoxamine and 5-HTP was quicker acting than the fluvoxamine. The real advantage of 5-HTP in this study was the low rate of side effects. The most frequent side effect with 5-HTP was mild nausea, but this only occurred in less than one out of ten subjects. However, enteric coated caplets virtually eliminated any nausea
Fibromyalgia is a recently recognized disorder regarded as a common cause of chronic musculoskeletal pain and fatigue. 5-HTP can largely improve the painful picture of fibromyalgia as demonstrated in several double-blind studies. Because chronic headache sufferers have low levels of serotonin in their tissues, some researchers refer to migraine and chronic headaches as a "low serotonin syndrome". There have been several clinical studies with 5-HTP in headaches, both migraine and tension headaches, that have showed excellent results. In particular, 5-HTP is very effective in the prevention of migraine headache.
Several clinical studies have shown 5-HTP to produce good results in promoting and maintaining sleep in normal subjects as well as those experiencing insomnia. One of the 5-HTP's key benefits in the treatment of insomnia is its ability to increase sleep quality.
Many people may be predisposed to being overweight because they have a decreased conversion of tryptophan to 5-HTP and, as a result, decreased serotonin levels. By providing preformed 5-HTP, this genetic defect is bypassed and more serotonin is manufactured. 5-HTP literally turns off hunger.
- Depression: quick acting, few side effects
- Helps to promote and maintain sleep
- May help migraines due to low serotonin levels
- Fibromyalgia: studies show good results
- Helps promote a feeling of fullness for healthy weight loss
1 caplet, 3 times daily or as directed by a health care practitioner. Keep out of the reach of children.
Suitable for children at a dosage of 5 mg per 2.2 pounds of body weight.
Pregnancy and Nursing:
Do not use 5-HTP if you are pregnant or nursing.
No special precautions are known.