5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is a compound produced by the body from tryptophan. It is naturally found in many foods and most commonly extracted from the seeds of the Griffonia plant.
In Europe, 5-HTP has been used for decades as an approved treatment for depression, sleep problems, weight loss, and other medical complaints. It is now starting to be used in the USA.
Clinical trials show that 5-HTP is a safe, natural way to boost the brain serotonin levels. Use of 5-HTP has been shown to produce results equal to or better than those of standard synthetic drugs used in the problems arising from serotonin deficiency syndrome.
Why 5 HTP is better than L-tryptophan
- It does not compete with other amino acids to cross the blood-brain barrier
- The conversion of tryptophan to 5 HTP is the rate-limiting step in the synthesis of serotonin; this means that this conversion is the weakest link in the production of serotonin. Therefore, 5 HTP supplementation represents a bypass of this step in the synthesis of the neurotransmitter
- Tryptophan is an amino acid that is also utilized in the production of other biochemicals while 5 HTP is solely committed to the synthesis of serotonin
- Tryptophan is more likely to be converted to serotonin in the liver than 5 HTP. This happens because 5 HTP faces no competition to cross into the brain, therefore, it is easily taken up. Tryptophan, on the hand, is easily converted to serotonin in the liver while it waits to cross the blood-brain barrier
- 5 HTP is obtained from plant sources while L-tryptophan is produced from bacterial fermentation; therefore, there is a lower chance of contamination in 5 HTP supplements (and thus, lower risk of EMS) than tryptophan supplement
Take 100 to 300 mg, thirty to forty-five minutes before retiring. Start with the lower dose for at least three days, then consider increasing the dose if results are not what you expected.
100 – 300 mg three times daily