5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan or 5-hydroxy-l-tryptophan) is a chemical compound (amino acids) naturally produced in our body and found in different places in our body, particularly in our brain, blood cells and gastrointestinal system. This chemical compound gets converted into serotonin – an important brain chemical that regulates our mood, behaviour, sleep, appetite and impulses.
5-HTP is produced in the body from amino acid tryptophan. Our Body cannot synthesize this essential amino acid; therefore, it should be obtained from food containing protein.
5-HTP sold over the counter is a chemical by-product of amino acid tryptophan that is obtained from plant seed extract called griffonia Simplicifoilia mostly found in Ghana (Africa). 5-HTP supplement is used to restore serotonin levels in individuals who suffer from low serotonin levels.
Benefits Of 5-HTP
As 5-HTP regulates serotonin level, which is a vital chemical for controlling mood, behaviour, stress level etc.; when taken in supplement form, it can bring relief from conditions that are related to deficiency of 5-HTP like depression, insomnia, weight gain, and mood swings etc.
It can also help in improving brain function and energy levels. It is often recommended by doctors for improving mood, overall health and wellness. Here are some specific benefits of 5-HTP supplement.
By raising the serotonin levels in the brain, 5-HTP supplement can alleviate the symptoms of depression.
Serotonin is essential for regulating mood due to which, the higher its level, the better we feel. Boosting its level can relieve us from the symptoms of anxiety, mood swings, stress etc.
5-HTP And Weight Loss
Depression and mood swing can often result in binge eating. Supplementing with 5-HTP can help you stop binge eating because of which you are gaining weight, especially when you are 5-HTP deficient, by boosting your serotonin level.
Some research also support that 5-HTP can be helpful in suppressing appetite and cravings for bad foods by working as a natural weight loss supplement.
By raising the melatonin level, which is the neurotransmitter that induces your brain to sleep, 5-HTP aids in overcoming insomnia. Many researches and studies also support this fact.
Brings Relief From Headache
As serotonin plays a significant role in functioning of the brain, its deficiency often triggers stress related headache and migraine etc. Taking HTP supplement helps to boost the serotonin level in your brain and help relieve you from headaches.
Fibromyalgia is characterized by chronic and widespread pain accompanying other symptoms like sleep disturbance, fatigue and depression etc. It is suggested that supplementing your diet with 5-HTP can help to fight this condition and bring significant benefits.
Most physician recommends 50-100 mg capsule for treating depression, insomnia, anxiety and other symptoms associated with deficiency of 5-HTP. Routine use of this product should be done under medical supervision only.
No side effects have yet been reported for taking 5-HTP supplements. But in some cases, the user can experience slight nausea which is quite common with all supplements. Some users may also experience other side effects like upset stomach, loose motion or constipation or headache.
However to avoid this, the best way is to take this supplement with meal during breakfast, lunch or dinner. As its side effect profile is not yet clear, to avoid its potential side effects, it is better to take the minimum effective dose and also avoid its prolonged use. If you are taking this supplement for depression, take frequent breaks and try other natural therapies in between.