WHAT IS 5-HTP?
5-Hydroxytryptophan became available in 1995 as an extract from the seeds of an African shrub Griffonia simplicifolia. It converts into seratonin which notably enhances relaxation, sleep and mood. A metabolite of tryptophan, it can be taken with food and other supplements with no interference
HOW DOES 5-HTP WORK?
As a naturally occuring amino acid, 5-HTP is like the 'mother' of seratonin, the brain's 'happy' neurotransmitter. Some people have relatively low levels of seratonin and as a result can experience depression of various levels. Using 5-HTP to boost seratonin levels can have a very positive effect on mood, sleep disorders and even obesity due to its appetite reducing properties.
STUDIES ON 5-HTP
Double-blind trials show good comparative results. One trial at the Basle University of Psychiatry gave 34 patients 300mg of 5-HTP and 29 patients the prescription antidepressant fluvoxamine which is from the same family of drugs as Prozac (SSRI - selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). At the end of the 6 week trial, although both groups showed significant improvement on assessment for depression, 5-HTP showed greater improvement in all four categories assessed: depression, anxiety, insomnia and physical symptoms.
Recommendations vary, but many sources suggest 50-100mg three times a day and some suggest starting with less and gradually increasing the dose . If used to aid sleep 50-100mg of the daily total use at night. It may take a minumum of six weeks before full affects are acheived.
5-HTP is often given to spiders by silk farmers in order to stimulate production of stronger silk.