5-Hydroxytryptophan, or 5-HTP, is a natural amino acid derived from the human body's metabolization of L-Tryptophan into Serotonin. It can be naturally produced in the body from eating certain foods, such as turkey, milk, potatoes, and leafy greens. Commercially, 5-HTP is produced from the seeds of the African plant Griffonia simplicifolia.
What is 5-HTP?
When the human body metabolizes L-tryptophan, 5-HTP is produced. The body then metabolizes 5-HTP into serotonin, a very important neurotransmitter which directly affects the brain and the central nervous system. Because 5-HTP helps the body increase its own natural serotonin production, it is a popular supplement for those suffering from a number of conditions directly related to serotonin deficiency.
In recent years, 5-HTP has been taken to resolve a number of ailments and disorders, including:
- Chronic daily headaches, tension headaches, and migraines
- Insomnia, narcolepsy, and sleep apnea
- Obesity and associated binge eating
- PMS (premenstrual syndrome) and PMDD (Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder)
5-HTP Side Effects
Possible side effects from 5-HTP require further study. However, most of the known side effects to date occur as a result of combining 5-HTP with other chemicals, supplements, or medications. 5-HTP may lead to an excess of serotonin, leading to heart valve disease or an acute case of Serotonin Syndrome. Eosinophilia-myalgia Syndrome, a disease associated with muscle tenderness and blood disorders, is thought to be associated with 5-HTP; however, it is unknown whether the chemical itself or contaminated batches of 5-HTP are responsible. Minor side effects such as nausea and vomiting have also been observed.
How Does 5-HTP Help Brain Function?
Many who suffer from headache pain feel that 5-HTP supplementation helps to alleviate their symptoms. In addition, countless scientific studies have shown how important a good night's sleep is to brain function. Incorporating 5-HTP into your nightly routine is a natural way to enhance the quality and quantity of your sleep. 5-HTP can also alleviate mood disorders such as depression in people suffering from a deficiency of serotonin in the brain.
While 5-HTP has a number of benefits, we are pleased with its proven effects as a brain and nervous system revitalizer. Wondering about which brain supplements contain 5-HTP? Check our brain supplement reviews!