5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is a naturally-occurring amino acid which our body makes from the dietary amino acid called tryptophan. And while it is not found in most foods we eat on a daily basis, 5-HTP is extracted from the seeds of an African shrub called Griffonia Simplicifolia.
Simply put, 5-HTP is a compound that gets converted into serotonin in the brain. And as serotonin is one of the principal neurotransmitters involved in anti-depression and happiness, 5-HTP is used for conditions such as depression, anxiety, migraines, sleep disorders, cerebellar ataxia, etc.
5-HTP restores serotonin levels essential for many functions on a daily basis. It helps improve sleep, satisfaction and well being. Addictive behaviour, insomnia, anxiety, depression, migraines, PMS and obesity are all linked with low levels of serotonin. Serotonin helps control appetite, sleep, mood, aggression, anger, body temperature and metabolism.
Today’s hectic lifestyle full of unhealthy diets and stress decreases the level of serotonin in our body. Worrying, anxiety, impatience and aggression cause our body to release serotonin which we need to replenish from the food. Unfortunately, most diets are not rich in foods containing higher levels of serotonin, so our bodies have to make it from foods containing L-tryptophan. These include yogurt, milk, cottage cheese, bananas, oats, chicken, turkey, chocolate, peanuts, chickpeas and sesame. When depressed, our bodies crave the above mentioned foods causing more depression, weight gain, muscle aches and headaches. But why that happens?
Well, carbohydrates stimulate serotonin production in our body. Serotonin release is triggered by a carb load and that’s the reason why we crave carbohydrates when we are stressed – our body wants to stimulate the release of serotonin. Therefore, people on a low-carb diet should use 5-HTP supplements to prevent these cravings and help their body control sleep, appetite and anger.
Different studies have proven that 5-HTP supplements have a positive impact on depression, anxiety, sleep and weight loss. 5-HTP helps with anxiety and depression and has similar effects as most antidepressants. And while you can get prescription drugs to raise your serotonin levels, 5-HTP will do this in a more natural way.
First of all, our body tolerates 5-HTP much better than traditional antidepressants. With that being said, different dosages are used for different conditions. If you have troubles sleeping, take 50 or 100mg of 5-HTP 30 minutes prior to bedtime. For migraines and weight loss you’ll need much higher dosages. However, we recommend using 2 capsules per day with a full glass of water.