5-HTP – What is it and how can it help you get better sleep
5-HTP is 5-Hydroxytryptophan “also known as oxitriptan, is a naturally occurring amino acid and chemical precursor as well as a metabolic intermediate in the biosynthesis of the neurotransmitter serotonin.” (Source Wikipedia). 5-HTP is also taken as a nutritional supplement for sleep and other illnesses. Some people believe that taking the supplement can improve certain aspects of health including mental health and sleep quality.
The chemical was only available via prescription until 1995, until FDA approved it as an over-the-counter (OTC) supplement. 5-HTP supplements derive from an African plant called Griffonia simplicifolia. The supplement does not naturally occur in foods.
5-HTP – Understanding 5-HTP
5-HTP is fascinating; this is the most asked about herbal supplements to treat insomnia, as well as other illnesses most commonly used for depression, anxiety as well as stress. Why? Most of us experience how emotional distress can lead to restlessness, sleepless nights and difficult days. Whether it is a tough break up, a tricky situation at work, or a more prolonged struggle with depression and anxiety. There is a complicated relationship between mood and sleep depression, anxiety and stress can interfere with healthy sleep, and poor sleep makes us more vulnerable to problems with mood and emotional regulation.
5-HTP – The compound 5-HTP
The compound 5-HTP has effects on sleep and mood, as well as other body functions that impact our health and ability to feel good during the day and sleep restfully at night. So let’s take a quick tour to see at what this mood-boosting, sleep-promoting compound does to our body, the benefits it may have for our sleep, health, and quality of life.
5-HTP – How does 5-HTP work?
This supplement works in the brain and central nervous system by increasing the production of the chemical serotonin. Serotonin can affect sleep, appetite, temperature, sexual behavior, and pain sensation. Since that 5-HTP increases the synthesis of serotonin, it is used for several diseases where serotonin is believed to play an important role including depression, insomnia, obesity, and many other conditions.
So, we know that it produces serotonin which plays a key role in regulating the sleep-wake cycle and mood. Scientists continue to make discoveries about how this important neurochemical affects our sleeping and waking lives, one vital way serotonin affects sleep and bio time is through its relationship with the sleep hormone melatonin. Melatonin is made from serotonin in the presence of darkness.
Summary – Both Serotonin and Melatonin is essential to sleep and well-functioning bio clock. Its ability to increase serotonin, it will definitely give you a good night’s rest.
5-HTP – the benefits
Because of its serotonin-boosting capability, it may also help with other conditions, including mood problems, stress, pain, and appetite control.
- Sleep and sleep-wake cycles – because of its ability to increase or create serotonin this compound is indirectly involved in producing melatonin, a hormone that is critical for sleep.
- It can affect mood and ease stress – has been shown in scientific studies to help promote relaxation, improve mood and easing symptoms of stress and anxiousness, which can interfere with sleep.
- Suppress appetite and weight control – for decades this compound has been recognized as important appetite regulation. A higher level of serotonin is linked to diminished appetite. So, it is also used to treat obesity.
- Fibromyalgia – is a condition that often combines chronic physical pain with sleep problems. Research indicates that this compound can help improve fibromyalgia symptoms, including pain, tenderness, daytime fatigue, sleep quality and anxiety.
What are the other uses for 5-HTP?
Because of its direct influence over serotonin over other hormones including melatonin, 5-HTP can also help with;
- Menopausal symptoms
- PMS or Premenstrual syndrome
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Alcohol and drug withdrawal symptoms
Dosing and possible side effects
Before you begin to take this supplement, it is best that you talk to a doctor. This article is not a medical advice, but information about the supplement.
Dosing – in general, new users begin with the smallest dose, and gradually increase it until it has an effect. A range of doses from 25mg to 500mg and higher doses for those who are suffering from insomnia, or other sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, stress, appetite suppression.
5-HTP – Possible side effects of
5- HTP Possible side effects are;
- Stomach pain
- Excessive sleepiness
- Sexual problems