If you have looked into diet supplements or natural ways to boost your serotonin chances are you have come across 5 HTP. 5 HTP is known to raise serotonin levels in the brain which may aid in a host of ailments. It acts as a natural appetite suppressant and anti-depressant. It has been found useful in treating fibromyalgia symptoms and may also be useful in treating tension headaches, anxiety, and insomnia.
What Is 5 HTP
5 HTP is a chemical precursor to serotonin, the feel good neurotransmitter in the brain. The body naturally produces 5 HTP from the essential amino acid tryptophan. Since 5 HTP is one step closer to serotonin in the metabolic bath way it is thought to be a more effective supplement than tryptophan for raising serotonin levels. It is also a better way to increase serotonin in the brain than taking serotonin itself. This is because 5 HTP easily passes from the blood, through the blood brain barrier, into the brain, while serotonin itself is unable to pass through the blood brain barrier.
How 5 HTP Works
5 HTP is converted to the neurotransmitter serotonin, essential acting as a serotonin pill. Since serotonin naturally production decreases as we age those who supplement with 5 HTP typically report better sleep, diminished appetite, and fewer cravings, particularly for carbohydrates. Because serotonin levels are often low in individuals suffering from fibromyalgia 5 HTP has also been found to reduce many symptoms including pain, anxiety, and fatigue.
Benefits Of 5 HTP
Because of the diverse effects of increased serotonin levels there are many benefits to using 5 HTP.
Serotonin is one of the chemicals that control appetite. When serotonin levels rise users report feeling more satiated and naturally eat fewer calories. In fact one study found that obese women who were on the 5 HTP ate 1,084 fewer calories per day than the control group. Furthermore, a rise in serotonin levels translates to fewer carb cravings. That is because eating carbohydrates increases serotonin in the brain. For many who suffer from intense carbohydrate cravings this is likely due to its ability to increase serotonin in the brain. Thus, individuals who struggle with constant cravings may benefit the most from using 5 HTP as a weight loss aid.
5 HTP promotes better sleep and has long been used to treat insomnia. This is because one of the metabolic pathways for serotonin leads to melatonin production. Melatonin is the chemical that maintains or circadian clock, which dictates our waking and sleep cycles.
Because depression and anxiety are associated with low levels of serotonin, supplementation with 5 HTP can help to alleviate these disorders by restoring serotonin levels in the brain.
How To Take 5 HTP
It is important that you buy 5 HTP from a reputable source as contaminated products have been linked to a serious disorder called eosinophilia myalgia syndrome (EMS) which can be fatal. T&N Health offers a high quality 5 HTP Supplement that contains no binders or fillers. The recommended dosage for 5 HTP is typically 50mg 1-3 daily. If you wish to take a higher dose it is important that you first consult with your physician as high doses of 5 HTP could be toxic.
5 HTP Side Effects
Though 5 HTP is generally regarded as safe, some users have reported experiencing gastrointestinal side effects which included nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. If you experience any of these symptoms discontinue use of 5 HTP. Pregnant or nursing women should avoid using 5 HTP as it has not been established as safe to use at this time. Additionally if you are taking any mood stabilizing prescriptions it is important that you first consult with your physician before supplementing with 5 HTP.