What is 5-HTP?
5-HTP is a natural amino acid in the human body and is also the chemical precursor of serotonin.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps make chemicals that make us feel good. The human body produces serotonin through the following pathways: tryptophan → 5-HTP → serotonin.
Health benefits of 5-HTP
Some research suggests that treating depression with 5-HTP may help improve depressive symptoms. 5-HTP, or 5-hydroxytryptophan, is an amino acid that our bodies produce from a dietary amino acid called l-tryptophan.
It can be converted into a mood-regulating neurotransmitter called serotonin, which can then be converted into a sleep-inducing hormone called melatonin. 5-HTP can also be synthesized in the laboratory by extraction from the seeds of the plant Griffonia simplicifolia.
5-HTP is commonly sold as an herbal supplement. Based on known animal and human experiments, 5-HTP may have the following health benefits:
1. Promote sleep, improve sleep quality and prolong sleep time;
2. Treat arousal disorders such as sleep terrors and sleepwalking;
3. Treat and prevent obesity (reduce cravings for unhealthy foods and increase satiety);
4. Treat depression;
5. Relieve anxiety;
6. Treat fibromyalgia, myoclonus, migraine and cerebellar ataxia.
How 5-HTP works
The essential amino acid l-tryptophan can be obtained by eating foods that contain it. However, its ability to convert to serotonin and ultimately serotonin is limited by an enzyme called tryptophan hydroxylase.
The amount of tryptophan hydroxylase in our body can be suppressed by many different factors, such as stress, insulin resistance, vitamin B6 deficiency, and magnesium deficiency. Supplementation with 5-HTP may help overcome this problem, as there is no need to convert l-tryptophan to 5-HTP, allowing more 5-HTP to be converted to serotonin.
5-HTP is used in doses ranging from 20-3250 mg/day. In the treatment of depression, 5-HTP is most commonly used in doses of 200-300 mg/day in 3-4 divided doses.
For ordinary people, the common usage (dose) of 5-HTP is: 25mg/day for the first week, then increase the dose once a week until it increases to 50-100mg/day. Read product labels carefully before using 5-HTP supplements.