5-HTP ( 5-Hydroxytryptophan)
5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is derived from a West African herb, Griffonia simplicifolia. and is the intermediate metabolite between the amino acid L-tryptophan and serotonin.
Serotonin, is an important substance for normal nerve and brain function, which plays a significant role in sleep, emotional moods, pain control, inflammation, and intestinal peristalsis. Serotonin is also involved in the sleep cycle by boosting levels of the ‘biorhythm’ hormone, melatonin
Food Sources: When we eat tryptophan rich foods it is first converted into 5-HTP (5 hydroxytryptophan) before finally being converted into serotonin. Tryptophan is an amino acid found mainly in poultry and game, cottage cheese, bananas, eggs, nuts, wheat germ, avocados, milk, cheese and the legumes.
5-HTP & Mood/Sleep: 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is an amino acid, which raises serotonin levels in the brain for mood enhancement and restful sleep. One small 6-week study compared 5-HTP to an antidepressant in the Prozac family and found equal benefit between the two, with 5-HTP causing fewer and less severe side effects. In another interesting study, researchers found that children treated with 5-HTP for night terrors showed significant long-term improvement.
5-HTP may be useful for:
mild to moderate depression, anxiety, SAD
low libido associated with low mood e.g. PMS or menopause
mild sleep disturbance and jet lag
migraines & stress headaches
5-HTP & Weight Loss: There is some evidence that 5-HTP helps reduce carbohydrate cravings, and thus, diminish food intake, resulting in weight loss. 5-HTP as a mood elevator may also help those people who consume more food when depressed.