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
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,
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
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
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
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.
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!
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
- May cause heartburn, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea
- 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.
Are you feeling depressed or your head is fogged up?
Cosmic Joy or
are proven remedies that may be
just what you need to clear your mind and beat depression.
Leanne James; a Naturopath at Ideal Health.
David Aquino; Natural health consultant.