History of 5-HTP
5-HTP supplements were approved in 1995 for over the counter use. You can find tryptophan in a number of foods, but 5-HTP is extracted from Griffonia simplicifolia (a native African plant). Since its release, there has been further research conducted regarding treatment for anxiety, depression, and pain.
What is 5-HTP and What Does Is Do?
5-HTP is a metabolite of Tryptophan, which is an amino acid necessary for the human body. Amino acids are essentially protein building blocks. 5-HTP is a compound that is involved in the biosynthesis of both serotonin and melatonin. 5-HTP helps breakdown tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid within our diet. Tryptophan is found in red meat, fish, turkey, and seeds. This breakdown yields both serotonin and melatonin.
5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) increases serotonin levels. This helps to reduce the feelings of anxiety and depression, while helping users sleep. This supplement is generally taken in a stack, providing calming benefits.
Due to the neurotransmitter and hormone that are produced, 5-HTP is commonly used as an anti-depressant and sleep aid. In terms of nootropics, it is often used in a stack to improve relaxation and combat lucid dreams.
What Is Serotonin?
As mentioned, serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is derived from tryptophan. It contributes to feelings of happiness and overall well-being. It is also associated with both appetite and sleep. This is why 5-HTP is sometimes used to help with obesity and insomnia.
Not only does serotonin improve mood and one’s ability to sleep, but it contributes to some cognitive functioning. Memory and learning are positively affected by an increase in serotonin. If you’re taking nootropics in a stack, refrain from taking nootropics that also increase serotonin levels. Serotonin can not cross the blood-brain barrier, which is why 5-HTP is so effective.
How Does 5-HTP Work?
5-HTP is broken down in the liver and is then partially broken down into both Vitamin B6 and aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase. The 5-HTP that is left, travels to the brain where it effectively crosses the blood-brain barrier.
Once inside the brain, 5-HTP is converted into serotonin. As mentioned, serotonin can not cross the blood-brain barrier, so taking serotonin on its own will need help achieve the results you’re after. Melatonin is then produced from serotonin, as it is a precursor. Once both serotonin and melatonin are increased, you will experience lower levels of stress, less anxiety, a greater feeling of well-being, and have an easier time sleeping.
L-Tyrosine and 5-HTP Stack
Taking L-Tyrosine and 5-HTP in a stack produces a greater effect, significantly boosting your mood. L-tyrosine is an amino acid that is a precursor to serotonin. It is also believed to block hormones that are related to feelings of stress.
When taking this stack, a time-released serotonin effect is experienced. This stack helps produce additional serotonin, rather than preventing re-uptake. The prevention of re-uptake is what is experienced when taking anti-depressants. This stack is much safer, and more natural in comparison.
Benefits of 5-HTP Capsules
There are many benefits associated with 5-HTP capsules, especially in terms of one’s mental health. Although it is naturally occurring, sometimes our bodies do not make enough. Outside sources are sometimes necessary, allowing for an increase in serotonin.
5-HTP creates many positive benefits, but the most widely known is aiding depression and anxiety. These two conditions are extremely hard to manage and can have a large negative impact on one’s life and overall health. When taking a 5-HTP supplement, you can lift your mood and improve anxiety. This is due to an increase in serotonin levels.
If you have trouble sleeping, 5-HTP will reduce the effects of insomnia. Once you take 5-HTP, you will feel more relaxed and calm. This is due to an increase in melatonin, which helps induce sleep. This is a great alternative to sleeping pills, as they’re much safer. Due to this calming effect, it has also been recommended for individuals with ADHD.
Taking 5-HTP has been shown to reduce headaches. When serotonin levels are low, migraines and headaches may be experienced. Once again, this is a great way to avoid painkillers and other drugs that may make you experience dangerous side-effects.
You can also read up on mood enhancing nootropics here. This will give you a better idea of how these supplements work with your brain to produce positive effects.
Majority of users experience no side-effects when they take the correct dosage. However, some users will experience diarrhea, heart burn, nausea, and stomach pain. If you’re a healthy adult, there are generally no serious side-effects involved when taking 5-HTP on its own.
You should not mix 5-HTP with any other sleeping supplements, depression, or anxiety medication. If you’re taking 5-HTP in a stack, avoid taking other nootropics that increase serotonin levels. Once again, speak with your doctor if you are already taking medication.
How Much 5-HTP Should I Take?
You can obtain 5-HTP over the counter from the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. These capsules tend to come in either 50 mg or 100 mg. Depending on why you’re taking these capsules, the dosage will vary.
You should not be taking extremely high doses of 5-HTP, as this can be very dangerous. Before you begin taking 5-HTP, seek medical advice from your doctor. Your healthcare professional will be able to help you with dosage, depending on the condition you’re trying to treat.