5 HTP Supplements – Similar Effects To Anti-Depression Drugs

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What is 5 HTP?
5 HTP (Hydroxytrytophan) is a compound that is produced from the amino acid tryptophan. This acts as a precursor to serotonin (a neurotransmitter) and melotonin (a hormone). 5 HTP is created by the body during conversion of these compounds which are involved with several brain functions – behavior, stress mechanisms, appetite control and sleep cycles, to name a few. It is a naturally occurring compound in protein food sources, but to have a therapeutic effect, higher levels are needed. Therefore supplementation is an ideal option to obtain the benefits of 5 HTP. The source of over the counter 5 HTP is from the seeds of an African plant, Griffonia simplicifolia.

What Symptoms Can 5 HTP Relieve?
This supplement has been found to help reduce the symptoms of depression, fibromyalgia, insomnia, Migraines. It has also been found to be helpful for people trying to lose weight due to its appetite suppression qualities.

What Are The Benefits of Taking 5 HTP?
This is becoming a very popular supplement worldwide due to the similar effects of prescription anti-depression drugs. According to natural healing principles, using any supplement can help stimulate the body’s own ability to heal. This is a fundamentally different approach than the current medical ideology which places its emphasis on eliminating a patient’s symptoms, not necessarily relieving the cause. 5 HTP deficiencies have been attributed to many cases of depression; so its use may indeed help those with mild to moderate depression.

Since serotonin is involved in relaxation and mood balance and melatonin is involved with sleep cycles and appetite control, the benefits of using Hydroxytrytophan are complex.

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People suffering from insomnia or any sleep disorder can benefit from this compound’s ability to balance out the sleep cycle. It has been shown to reduce the time a person requires to fall asleep and can improve the quality of your sleep. This is especially significant for those suffering from insomnia, depression related sleep disorders and fibromyalgia.

Any malady regarding mood can be helped with its use; therefore people with depression, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SADS) or Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), however mild or severe, can benefit from its use. Daily stress reduction and mood enhancement is good a possibility with the general use of 5 HTP.

People who suffer from fibromyalgia can definitely benefit from the effects of 5 HTP, simply due to the above mentioned items – since all are contributing symptoms of this ailment. This supplement has been shown to enhance serotonin synthesis, thus increasing pain tolerance and ideally a decrease in the number of painful areas and morning stiffness.

What Are The Side Effects of 5 HTP?
Because 5 HTP converts into serotonin the lack of sexual arousal and reduced sensation in the genitals is always a possible side effect. This can be avoided by taking a break in supplementation for a week at a time.

Other known side effects that may occur include nausea, stomach upset, loose stools or constipation, and headache.

Taking frequent breaks from supplementation with this nutrient can definitely avoid most known side effects, as with any potent micro-nutrient. Any long-term use of a supplement should be done only under the advisement of a professional health practitioner.

5 HTP has been sold in the USA since 1994 and after more than a decade of use, there has been no known life threatening of other serious side effects attributed to the use of 5 HTP.

Who Should Not Take 5 HTP?
If you have a serious illness or are taking any medications for a serious illness, consult your physician before starting a supplement, to make sure there are no drug interactions. Also, any person taking serotonin reuptake inhibitors or MAOs (both popular prescription anti-depressants) should not take 5 HTP as there are known complications.

General Precautions With Any Supplementation
I do not suggest in any manner the reader should self diagnose in any serious case, or if your symptoms are recurring – please see your physician. This information is suggestive and offers a method of alternative therapy for several symptoms or maladies – migraines, anxiety, insomnia, fibromyalgia, weight loss, depression and PMS. If you have a serious illness or are taking any medications for a serious illness, consult your physician before starting a supplement, to make sure there are no drug interactions.

Product Sourcing
Any supplement user should be cautious of the source for 5 HTP, since low-grade options are available, and have been cause for FDA regulations and recalls in the past. So check out your supplier’s reputation through client testimonials or claims of service.

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About Author

Christen Peattie

Christen is a homeopath, herbalist and nutritionist. She is currently studying holistic health, herbology, horticulture, native healing practices, acupressure, reflexology, iridology, Tai chi, yoga and meditation. Her interests include environmental activism and sustainable living.

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