As an all-natural mood enhancer, 5-HTP is a great alternative to prescription drugs. Prescription drugs, such as anti-depressants, are being handed out like candy. This drugs can yield some dangerous side-effects, which is why 5-HTP is the preferred choice.
Basically, 5-HTP provides your brain with the materials it needs to target feelings of anxiety and depression. It targets mental wellness, without creating negative side-effects. This is ideal, allowing you to boost your mood in a safe and effective manner.
How 5-HTP Affects Serotonin Production
Our bodies naturally make 5-HTP, as it is synthesized from tryptophan. This amino acid is found in numerous foods, including meat, fish, and some vegetables. Once these foods are consumed, tryptophan is broken down and is synthesized into 5-HTP.
5-HTP can then cross the blood-brain barrier, as it’s immediately turned into serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is known to produce feelings of calmness and peace. When enough serotonin is produced, we experience feelings of happiness and joy.
Serotonin is not the only neurotransmitter that’s influenced. 5-HTP also controls the amount of dopamine, so that feeling of calmness can be experienced. Many supplements work to increase dopamine levels, while 5-HTP prevents this. This continues to produce calm feelings. 5-HTP also influences melatonin, which is the hormone responsible for our sleep patterns.
Why Would You Use 5-HTP?
There are various benefits associated with this supplement. The overall experience is feeling relaxed and an overall calm mood. When you take a dose of 5-HTP, you are able to balance out feelings of stress and anxiety. This will allow you to take control, especially if you endure high levels of stress each day.
Due to this supplement’s anti-stress effects, 5-HTP can combat migraines and feelings of exhaustion. It is also being examined for potential benefits regarding ADHD treatment. This is due to an improved short-term attention span. If ADHD patients were given 5-HTP each day, they would avoid drugs like Adderall. More importantly, they would be able to focus better.
Adderall for instance, is a prescription drug and is also a stimulant. It targets dopamine levels, allowing the user to concentrate more effectively. When you take a natural supplement, such as 5-HTP, you’re providing your body with the materials it needs to create serotonin. It increases levels of serotonin, without over-working hormonal glands.
Unlike prescription drugs, 5-HTP does not put any extra stress on your central nervous system. This natural approach is appealing to many, as anti-depressants are quite taxing on one’s system. They increase serotonin levels artificially, which doesn’t allow pre-existing, natural serotonin to metabolize.
The Main Benefits of 5-HTP
When it comes to 5-HTP, there are many benefits. Due to the natural properties of this supplement, it’s a great alternative to many harsher options.
As mentioned, this supplement circulates to the brain, creating higher levels of serotonin. This has a direct effect on mood, making users feel happier. When taking 5-HTP, users have a more positive outlook, increasing feelings of satisfaction and joy.
When individuals are depressed, they often have low levels of serotonin in their brain. This is why 5-HTP can target issues relating to stress, anxiety, and mood. Some experts believe that this option is just as strong as some of the prescription drugs available. Not only does mood improve, but motivation and productivity have also been noted.
One study, looked at 63 participants that were given either Luvox (an SSRI) or 5-HTP. It was found that the group that took 5-HTP, showed the same positive results as the Luvox group. They also displayed less negative effects. Although this yielded great results, larger studies need to be examined.
Our sleep cycle is highly complex, but serotonin plays a role. Since users experience increased relaxation, they find it easier to fall asleep. Not only do users fall asleep easier, they also spend more time in deeper levels of REM sleep.
When you are able to reach deeper levels of REM sleep, you wake up feeling re-charged and invigorated. Since 5-HTP also plays a role in melatonin, sleep cycles can be more consistent. Melatonin is an important sleep aid.
In one study, participants that took 5-HTP were able to fall asleep faster and slept more deeply in comparison to a placebo group. For some, these results may take 6-12 weeks to take full effect.
5-HTP has a number of nootropic effects, especially in terms of spatial memory. When a user takes 5-HTP, the hippocampus is targeted. This area of the brain is essential for memory formation. Due to this, 5-HTP is believed to also increase short-term memory, learning abilities, and recall speed.
Controlling Headaches and Weight
There has been a link between 5-HTP and headache relief, especially in users that experience migraines. Research is still being conducted, however this effect is promising. Due to increased serotonin, appetite is also influenced.
When there are low levels of 5-HTP, individuals can experience feelings of hunger and take part in binge eating. When taking 5-HTP users feel more satisfied and full after they eat. Therefore, 5-HTP is a great tool when trying to control diet and weight loss.
Potential Side-Effects and Dosage
When taking 5-HTP, it is advised to do so on an empty stomach. Most users will take their powder or tablet first thing in the morning. The recommended dosage is between 50 and 100 mg daily. When higher doses are taken (300 mg and above), some side effects have been reported.
Some of these side-effects include, rashes, nightmares, nausea, and diarrhea. If you experience any of these mild symptoms, then lower your dosage or speak with your doctor. No serious side-effects have been reported, making this a much safer choice than it’s pharmaceutical alternatives.
If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have liver disease, do not take this supplement. If you are currently taking anti-depressants, do not combine them with 5-HTP supplements. When combined, users can experience serotonin syndrome. This is a dangerous condition that creates hot flashes, fluctuating blood pressure, and even coma.