What is 5-HTP?
5-HTP is the short name for 5-hydroxytryptophan. It is extracted from the seed of the Griffonia Simplicifolia plant which is found in West Africa. In humans it is the immediate precursor to the neurotransmitter Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine). This means that 5-HTP is directly converted into serotonin in the brain.
Why is Serotonin important?
Serotonin has many vitally important functions in the human body and brain. It is involved in the control of sleep, appetite, learning and memory, regulation of body temperature, regulation of mood and sexual behaviour, cardiovascular function, regulation of the endocrine system as well as muscle contraction.
What is Serotonin Deficiency?
A deficiency in serotonin levels occurs in many people as serotonin levels decrease with age and also decrease as a reaction to stress. When this happens people suffer from depression, insomnia and anxiety. Thankfully there is a 100% natural herbal solution that has been found in numerous studies to combat serotonin deficiency and help you improve your quality of life.
What will taking 5-HTP do for you?
These studies have shown that by taking 5-HTP extracted from the Griffonia Simplicifolia plant will:
- Improve General Mood
- Reduce Depression
- Reduce Anxiety
- Improve Sleep
- Help combat PMS
- Help combat chronic Headaches
- Help treat Migraines
- Help treat Fibromyalgia (A form of Rheumatism)
What’s the difference between 5-HTP and PROZAC?
Although 5-HTP has many of the same effects as Prozac, there are important differences. Prozac is a prescription drug that requires a visit to the doctor and is, if you are not on medical aid, quite expensive. In contrast 5-HTP is a natural supplement that is available from chemists, health shops and online.
Prozac belongs to a class of drugs termed SSRIs which stands for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. Other examples of this class of anti-depressant drugs are Zoloft and Paxil. When compared to SSRI’s studies have found that 5-HTP is just as effective for depression, anxiety and insomnia but has far fewer side effects.
The reason why 5-HTP works so well is it, like the SSRIs, increases serotonin levels in the brain but does so via a different mechanism. SSRIs, as the name suggests, reduce the reuptake of serotonin by neurons thus leaving more available in the synapsis between neurons. It is the presence of neurotransmitters in the synapses that dictate their effectiveness in the brain and body. So SSRIs allows the brain to re-use serotonin already present in the brain.
In contrast, 5-HTP actually raises the levels of serotonin in the brain by allowing the biosyntheses of serotonin – this provides an increased fresh supply of serotonin to the brain.
Are there different formulations available?
Although 5-HTP is available alone, other natural herbal products are often added depending on what the 5-HTP is going to be used for. These uses and additions are mentioned below:
- For Insomnia – Melatonin, Valerian root and choline are added.
- For Enhanced Mood – Vitamin B6, Sceletium and / or St. John’s Wort are added.
- For Mood and Energy – DHEA and phenylalanine are added.
- For Weight Loss – White willow bark and sometimes caffeine are added.
I hope you have found this article informative and strongly recommend you get yourself some 5-HTP in order to take advantage of the fantastic mental and physical benefits!