5-HTP is produced by the body from tryptophan and converted by the brain into serotonin, which acts as a neurotransmitter and influences mood, sleep and appetite. Low serotonin levels are associated with depression, anxiety and sleep disorders.
The neural pathways used by serotonin promote well-being, rest, relaxation, self-confidence and concentration. They also help to compensate for an existing imbalance of dopamine and noradrenalin. These two other highly important neurotransmitters in the brain support over-sensitivity, fearfulness, angriness, stress, aggressiveness, violent tendencies, obsessive-compulsive behaviour, bulimia, anxiety and sleep disorders.
Several clinical studies have compared the effects of 5-HTP with that of conventional antidepressants. Tablets such as Prozac prevent the brain cells from rapidly degrading serotonin, which creates a deficiency.
5-HTP works a little differently: It increases serotonin levels. Numerous studies have been conducted in which 5-HTP was used to reduce panic attacks, insomnia and obesity. Improvements in anxiety symptoms have been observed in test subjects who took a 5-HTP supplement. Test subjects who had frequent panic attacks felt distinct relief after their bodies had absorbed 5-HTP. Studies have also proved that 5-HTP can have a very positive influence on sleep. Test subjects that suffered from unipolar or bipolar depression who were given doses of between 50 and 300 mg three times a day achieved a significant clinical response.
In a 6-week clinical trial with obese test subjects, those who received an 5-HTP supplement were able to reduce their carbohydrate intake. A feeling of satiety also developed very rapidly, resulting in a very significant weight loss.
A daily dose of 400 to 600 mg of 5-HTP can reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines and headaches. The results of a trial with a placebo group, which was conducted with 50 test subjects suffering from fibromyalgia, led to the hypothesis that treatment with 5-HTP (100 mg three times a day, over a month) significantly relieves the characteristic symptoms of this disease (pain, stiffness, anxiety and fatigue).
Contraindications: Pregnant or lactating women, children, those who suffer from liver or kidney disorders.