During recent years, science has uncovered a lot of evidence that suggests many dietary supplements can have a positive event on common ailments like anxiety, depression and obesity. One such supplement, called 5-hydroxytryptophan , or 5-HTP for short, is becoming very popular in the management of these and other conditions. But What Is 5 HTP and how exactly does it work? Keep reading to learn more about how this effective dietary supplement works and how it can help manage your mental and physical health.
WHERE 5 HTP COMES FROM AND HOW IT WORKS
So, What is 5htp? Extracted from the seeds of an African plant called Griffonia simplicifolia, 5-hydroxytryptophan 5-HTP is an herbal supplement that promotes the production of feel-good chemicals in the brain by converting the naturally-occurring amino acid tryptophan found in the plant into serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical produced in the brain that helps to regulate behavior and mood, and the increase in serotonin production caused by 5-HTP can naturally help many mental and physical conditions. Research has found that taking a 5-HTP supplement can help the following conditions that are related to low serotonin levels in the brain:
- Obesity, especially cases related to binge-eating disorders
- Chronic headaches
- Seizures caused by certain ailments like Parkinson’s Disease
5-HTP AND ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), approximately 40 million Americans suffer from some sort of anxiety disorder, and the Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that as many as 1 in 10 U.S. adults suffer from depression. Luckily, the herbal supplement 5-HTP can help alleviate the symptoms of these common mental disorders. So, What Does 5 HTP do to help ease anxiety and depression?
First, a few small studies have shown that the supplement raises serotonin levels in the brain in the same way that common prescription SSRI antidepressants like Prozac and Zoloft. These studies also showed that depressed patients who were given 5-HTP instead of an SSRI antidepressant didn’t suffer from any of the adverse side effects associated with the prescription drugs.
Secondly, low doses of 5-HTP have also been shown to help reduce the likelihood of panic attacks in patients who have suffered from them before. Many researchers also believe it’s mildly effective at treating Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GSD) and Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD). It’s believed that low serotonin levels in the brain are at least partially responsible for panic-related disorders such as these.
5-HTP AND WEIGHT LOSS
One of the most popular uses for 5-HTP is as a weight-loss supplement. However, the success you’ll have losing weight with this supplement depends largely on what has triggered your weight gain in the first place. So, What is 5 HTP and how can it help you lose weight? If you’re an emotional eater or suffer from Binge Eating Disorder (BED), there’s a good chance that a 5-HTP supplement can help regulate your weight. Why? Overeating that’s caused by emotional reasons or mental disorders is often very closely related to serotonin levels in the brain. Low serotonin levels can increase your chances of developing these bad eating habits, leading to weight gain and even obesity.
Because 5-HTP supplements encourage the natural production of extra serotonin in the brain, they curb or stop emotional eating, stress-related eating and even chronic disorders like Binge Eating Disorder (BED). In fact, a few small studies have shown that dieters taking 5-HTP supplements reported feeling sated sooner after eating and lost a significant amount of weight without additional diet and exercise. One study published in the International Journal of Obesity Related Metabolic Disorders even showed that diabetic participants naturally reduced their carbohydrate intake while taking the supplement by a whopping 75%.
5-HTP AND INSOMNIA
Insomnia is another common ailment in the United States, affecting as many as 70 million American adults according to several studies. Luckily, researchers believe that 5-HTP supplements have a calming effect that can promote faster and deeper sleep. Again, the natural increase of serotonin is believed to promote a relaxed state in the brain that’s conducive to a good night’s rest. Still, those turning to a 5-HTP supplement to help a sleeping disorder should be patient–according to the studies, it took most participants around 6 weeks to get results.
HOW TO TAKE 5-HTP
5-HTP can be found in many herbal supplements and multivitamins. Find a reputable and highly-rated product and be sure to take the recommended dosage–5-HTP can be harmful if too much is ingested. Most doctors recommend a dose of 50 mg 1 to 3 times each day to treat most conditions. However, if you’re using 5-HTP to combat insomnia you may want to take a higher dosage of 200-300 mg right before bed. To be safe, talk to your doctor to determine the best dosage for you.
So, What Is 5-hydroxytryptophan? It’s a safe, effective supplement that can be used to treat everything from weight gain to anxiety disorders. It’s effect on serotonin levels in the brain can help regulate many ailments related to mood. If you suffer from any of the conditions discussed above, talk to your doctor about whether or not 5-HTP can help naturally relive your symptoms.