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What Is 5-HTP?

An Introduction to 5-HTP and Its Many Uses

Many weight loss supplements have extra health benefits that make them more appealing to take. Aside from losing weight, other people’s motivations for taking weight loss supplements are to deal with other symptoms like stress, difficulty sleeping, depression, and even headaches. 5-HTP is one of those supplements that come with these added benefits.

What is 5-HTP?

5-Hydroxytryptophan also known as 5-HTP is a chemical by-product of the protein building block L-tryptophan. 5-HTP is produced using the seeds of the Griffonia simplicifolia which is a woody climbing shrub native to West and Central Africa. In other words, 5-HTP is an amino acid that functions in the central nervous system and brain by enhancing the making of the chemical known as serotonin.

5-HTP is essential to overall health. It is used to treat many conditions like depression, obesity, carbohydrate craving, bulimia, insomnia, narcolepsy, sleep apnea, migraine, headaches, and fibromyalgia.

What is Serotonin?

Scientifically, Serotonin is a hormone found in the pineal gland, digestive tract, blood platelets and brain. It works as a neurotransmitter that sends nerve signals between nerve cells.

Normally, the body maintains a normal serotonin level, but there are times when the level of Serotonin drops. When this happens, you may experience various health conditions. A common cause of low- serotonin levels is prolonged stress. A poor diet can also cause serotonin levels to drop. Aside from that, hormonal changes may also contribute to low levels of serotonin. There are also studies that show that abuse of nicotine, alcohol and drugs may lead to a drop in the level of Serotonin in our body.

5-HTP Treats Depression

People with depression have measurable 'imbalances' in the brain's neurotransmitters. Doctors believe that low levels of serotonin cause the condition. One of the many factors that contribute to depression is the low level of serotonin in the brain. Some studies indicate that 5-HTP is as effective in treating people who are experiencing moderate depression since it works as antidepressant drug. Aside from that, these studies have also revealed that it is effective in improving mood, anxiety, insomnia, and physical symptoms.

5-HTP Improves Sleep Problems

People who suffer from sleeping problems are known to have low levels of serotonin. 5-HTP has been shown to improve the quality of sleep. Medical research indicates that taking 5-HTP before bedtime can induce sleepiness and delay wake times.

5-HTP Relieves Headaches

If you often suffer from severe headaches including migraines, 5-HTP can reduce them. 5-HTP can be used by adults and even children who are suffering from headaches. 5-HTP is not only effective in relieving migraine, also tends to decrease the frequency and severity of migraine headaches with continued use.

5-HTP treats Obesity

If your serotonin levels are low, you always crave for food. You may feel like you have to eat all the time. Eating can make you feel better temporarily but when all those calories wear off and eventually your serotonin levels drops. When that happens the pleasurable effect goes away, and the cravings return. When it does, it is also accompanied by anxiety, foggy thinking and irritability. This cycle cause you to gain a lot of weight and causes obesity.