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Health Products - 5HTP 5-Hydroxytryptophan

What Is 5HTP?

5 htp (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is an alternative to many antidepressant drugs. Extracted from the seed of griffonia simplicifolia, 5-HTP is the immediate metabolite between the amino acid L-tryptophan and the brain chemical serotonin. Serotonin is found in the brain, blood platelets and some mucosa cells of the gastrointestinal tract.

Serotonin produces an inhibitory effect on the nervous system that soothes, calms and creates a feeling of contentment. Serotonin has been known to researchers for nearly half a century and new research continues to demonstrate how it influences mood, addictions and emotion. Depression, insomnia, anxiety, suicide, migraines, PMS, obsessive/compulsive behaviour, stress, OCD, obesity and addiction can all be manifestations of low levels of serotonin. Since serotonin is found in the brain and central nervous system, it has many implications on mood, behaviour and sleep patterns.

Depression results, in part, from the lack of the brain neuro-transmitter serotonin. The leading antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. By blocking the reuptake of serotonin, they increase the serotonin available to stimulate serotonin receptors. These include Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, and Effexor. While they may be very effective for the treatment of depression, they are not without side effects, including the loss of sex drive. They are also expensive as a Online Natural Pharmacy we do not stock them.

Luckily, clinical studies have been done with 5 HTP, comparing their effectiveness to anti depressant drugs. The results of the studies were astounding. Using the standard depression scale, both the drug and 5-HTP groups displayed identical reduction in depression. Depressed patients, who received 100 mg of 5-HTP three times daily, showed at least a 50% improvement in their symptoms, without any reported side effects. Similar studies with depressed children demonstrated equal benefit. Beta-endorphins, the “feel-good” hormones, were also significantly elevated after consumption of 200 mg of 5-HTP by patients with severe depression.

Subsequent studies were performed using 5-HTP for anxiety, panic disorder, sleep difficulties and obesity. In his research, R.S. Kahn observed an obvious decline in anxiety symptoms when supplementing with 5-HTP, and patients with panic disorder noticed a feeling of relief after receiving 5-HTP. Melatonin, which helps regulate our sleep-wake cycle, is a metabolite of serotonin. Early research studies show that supplementing with 5-HTP may have positive effects on sleep patterns. In another clinical study with obese patients, over a 6 week period, those supplemented with 5-htp were able to reduce their carbohydrate intake and experienced a feeling of early satiety, which contributed to significant weight loss. Low levels of serotonin are also associated with sleep problems, low threshold for pain and anxiety.

Weight loss products in New Zealand such as Redux and Fenfluramine or the popular Phen-Fen diet work by the same serotonin reuptake inhibiting mechanism, increasing the serotonin levels. Beta endorphins seem to fool people into feeling fuller, therefore, individuals eat less and lose weight. If you are unhappy with the results or side effects of your current diet program, 5-htp may be an effective alternative for you!

5-HTP should not be used with MAO inhibitors or other antidepressants.

There are concerns that 5htp:

  • May cause a side effect called eosinophilia myalgia syndrome; a sometimes fatal flu-like neurological condition that is believed to have been caused by ingestion of poorly produced L-tryptophan supplements.
  • May cause heartburn, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and drowsiness.
  • May cause sexual and muscular problems
  • May cause problems during pregnancy and breast-feeding.
  • People with Down syndrome may experience seizures.

Despite the concerns, 5 HTP is generally considered safe for anyone in good health and people to whom it is prescribed by a health care professional. It is available in different strengths – 50mg, 100mg and 120mg.

Further reading
Depression
Diet
PMS
Sleep
Weight loss products

References
Eosinophilia–myalgia wiki
5-Hydroxytryptophan wiki

Are you feeling depressed or your head is fogged up?
If so Cosmic Joy or ClariMind are proven remedies that may be
just what you need to clear your mind and beat depression.

Contributors:
Leanne James; a Naturopath at Ideal Health.
David Aquino; Natural health consultant.
 

 



 

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All Information is provided for educational purposes only and not intended
to be used for any therapeutic purpose, neither is it intended to diagnose,
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