What Is 5HTP?
5-HTP is a metabolite of the amino acid tryptophan. Proteins in the food we eat provide us with amino acids. One of those amino acids is tryptophan. Tryptophan is broken down by vitamins, enzymes and other co-factors, into 5-HTP and then 5-HTP is turned into serotonin.
A healthy liver is essential to proper conversion of tryptophan to 5-HTP and then serotonin. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that tells your brain that you are satisfied and do not need to eat anymore. Serotonin deficiency contributes to weight gain, depression, sleeplessness and other symptoms. Low serotonin levels also lead to carbohydrate cravings (sugar cravings) and overeating. 5-HTP reduces appetite, while it also enhances your mood, and increases your energy levels.
Serotonin is a major player in the regulation of mood and behaviour. It also regulates appetite, the dilation of blood vessels and many other body processes. Deficiency of serotonin leads to depression, anxiety, poor impulse control and possible aggression and obsessive behaviors. Prescription antidepressants alter the amount of time serotonin is available for the brain cells to use or increase the amount of serotonin that is released.
Deficiency of serotonin can lead to overeating and obesity. This also accounts for the fact that when we are under stress our appetite tends to change. Some people become deficient in serotonin and gain weight because they overeat. Others lose their appetite partly because their brain is reacting to high levels of serotonin released during the stressful time. Serotonin also decreases the diameter of blood vessels. This is helpful in headaches and migraines that are caused by increased blood flow in the brain.
How 5HTP Boosts Your Brain & Healthy Dosage
5-HTP has also been extensively researched for the treatment of depression, insomnia and other sleep disorders. 5-HTP allows for natural sleep without the drugged feeling in the morning which can occur in those taking prescription sedatives.
5-HTP provides natural relief for depression and related problems like anxiety without the side effects of pharmaceutical alternatives.
Weight loss is another benefit achieved from taking 5-HTP. One small, but well-controlled trial using 900mg a day of 5-HTP in 20 obese individuals found that during the first 6 weeks of the study where the participants were allowed to eat their usual diet and the following 7 to 12 weeks where they were placed on a diet, researchers found a significant weight loss in the 5-HTP group but not in those taking a placebo or fake pill.
HappySense containing 5-HTP is enteric coated. Other 5-HTP products can cause nausea when optimal doses are taken. When 5-HTP is enteric-coated no nausea occurs.
Make sure that you take a multivitamin with minerals (like FemmEssentials for women or Forward Plus for men) to ensure you get adequate levels of magnesium, vitamin B6 and niacin (vitamin B3) because these nutrients work to aid in the conversion to 5-HTP. If you are taking MAO inhibitors, SSRIs (Prozac, Luvox, Paxil, Effexor, Zoloft) and/or the tricyclic antidepressants (Elavil, Tofranil, Pamelor) or St. John’s wort do not take 5-HTP without discussing it with your health care provider.
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