5 HTP Supplement Benefits – Can The Right Dosage Alleviate Your Depression?
Lots of people tend to shy away from brain supplements because of their chemical composition.
They often get confused with prescription drugs, so it’s fairly common to miss out on what they have to offer.
With all of the promising 5 HTP benefits, though, you should really give certain products a shot.
Deemed as a healthier option to stimulants and antidepressants, 5-HTP is now gaining a lot of buzz as a good alternative to traditional medication.
Learn more about this natural substance and see for yourself how a 5 HTP supplement can help you out.
What is 5-HTP?
Formally known as 5-Hydroxytryptophan, 5-HTP is a naturally occurring amino acid that serves as a neurotransmitter precursor. It’s commercially sourced from the seeds of the African plant Griffonia simplicifolia.
But what exactly can 5-HTP do?
It’s best known for boosting the body’s serotonin levels which affect your mood, anxiety, sleep, PMS, depression, appetite, memory, temperature regulation, muscle development, sexual behavior, cardiovascular function, and even endocrine regulation.
It can practically help you in just about every common issue with your body, making it a very promising supplement to have on hand.
Known as the “happiness hormone,” serotonin impacts every body part, ranging from your motor skills to emotions.
It’s popular for being a mood stabilizer but it’s also primarily connected with digestion and sleep.
It also affects your bone health and ability to heal wounds. Low levels of this chemical lead to depression.
These allow 5-HTP products to promote weight loss, stress relief, better sleep, muscle gain, and even increased libido.
They’re also formulated to manage migraines, deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), seizure disorder, and Parkinson's disease among many others.
But what really made people look into the 5-HTP benefits is the fact that they’re being compared to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft.
Studies have shown that 5-HTP has comparable effects to the same conditions that SSRIs treat.
And as 5-HTP do not have as many side effects as SSRIs, they tend to offer a safer way to treat and handle a plethora of health issues.
It must be noted, however, that 5-HTP is not an antidepressant or a stimulant.
It’s a neurotransmitter precursor, so it induces the production of serotonin instead of just stimulating or recycling them just like what SSRIs do.
This tends to explain why it’s just as effective as the SSRIs in helping your brain to perform better.
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Serotonin Deficiency and 5-HTP Supplements
While serotonin is classified as a neurotransmitter, some people also consider it to be a hormone. This is primarily because it’s secreted by the body to help alleviate stress and heal wounds among many others.
This is why there’s a huge need to replenish the serotonin that your body has just released. Not doing so will create serotonin deficiency and a host of health problems.
Unfortunately, you can’t directly get serotonin from food. While you can get it from food items packed with L-tryptophan, it might not be enough to keep your serotonin at its ideal levels.
This amino acid can also be used to create other chemicals in the body, so there might not be enough left to induce serotonin. 5-HTP supplements tend to offer more efficient solutions instead, though.
By taking 5-HTP products, you can boost the serotonin levels in your body. This makes this substance a useful health supplement ingredient.
5 HTP Benefits: Reasons Why You Should Give this Ingredient a Shot
Know that you know what 5-HTP is, you might already have an idea just how big its role it has in your body.
However, to further help establish the importance of keeping your serotonin at the right levels, here are ten of its greatest benefits to your body.
5-HTP for Sleep:
Using 5-HTP for sleep enhancement is one of the most popular reasons why this chemical is well in demand today.
But how exactly does it benefit your slumber? Let us count the ways:
It has similar effects with tryptophan:
Tryptophan has been widely used as a sleep aid all over the world for decades. It has been proven to have an effect on your body’s Circadian rhythm.
This made it very useful in re-establishing healthy sleeping patterns among folks who find it difficult to fall asleep. It has been proven useful for those with insomnia and other sleep issues.
As this amino acid is basically the precursor of 5-HTP, it’s safe to assume that both have similar effects on the body.
Science has even proven this, especially their relation to sleep. And because tryptophan is banned in the US to be used as a sleep aid, the next best thing might just be a supplement featuring 5-HTP.
5-HTP is further processed into melatonin:
Aside from inducing serotonin, 5-HTP is also further processed by the body into melatonin.
This hormone is primarily responsible for regulating sleep and wakefulness. It’s secreted by the body to signal bedtime.
However, the melatonin levels that are produced from serotonin may not always be enough for everyone.
Some folks will still need to take an additional dosage of melatonin to really help manage their sleep problems.
5-HTP helps handle milder cases, though, so it can be an all-in-one supplement for some people.
5-HTP for Depression:
It boosts your mood:
With serotonin being the “happy hormone,” it’s easy to see how 5-HTP works handle depression.
Serotonin deficiency is actually proven to be a major cause of depression, so by keeping this chemical replenished in your system, you can continuously keep your mood meter high.
It’s proven to work as well as SSRIs with faster results:
Studies have also shown that 5-HTP is just as effective in dealing with depression as SSRIs.
However, it has a leg up in the competition as it kicks in almost immediately upon consumption.
It has shown to improve one’s mood instantly, making it more useful to those who are suffering from severe episodes.
You also don’t have to be weaned off from 5-HTP. Unlike SSRIs, you can stop its use right away without bad effects.
5-HTP for Anxiety:
Widely used as a stress reliever, here are a few ways how 5-HTP helps counter anxiety:
It protects against carbon dioxide-induced panic attacks:
According to research, panic attacks are common among people with sensitivities over the chemical levels in their body.
As serotonin is one of the chemicals that can affect one’s mood, it plays a vital role in this area.
Fortunately, boosting your serotonin levels is proven to be a good way to help manage panic disorders.
Some experts even found out that serotonin can be protective against panic attacks. This makes 5-HTP a great supplement to have if you constantly suffer from this problem.
It’s an effective stress reliever:
Another notable benefit 5-HTP offers is its calming effect. The boost in serotonin it can create will help balance your mood and let you relax. This makes it highly effective in countering stress and anxiety.
5-HTP for General Health:
As mentioned above, 5-HTP benefits your entire body. A few notable points include the following:
It’s made from natural ingredients:
The fact that it’s also made from natural ingredients tend to appeal to the public.
The SSRIs in the market today are typically made of synthetic ingredients, so they tend to have more dangerous side effects.
5-HTP is noted to have very mild side effects, so they tend to be a more promising option to the public.
It helps in satiating your appetite:
While this needs to be studied further, there is some evidence to 5-HTP being effective in boosting your satiety.
According to studies, this chemical can suppress your appetite, making it a promising long-term weight loss solution.
It helps manage the symptoms of Fibromyalgia:
While it’s not necessarily a treatment for this painful disease, 5-HTP benefits those with fibromyalgia by increasing their deep sleep and reducing pain. This can make the condition a bit more bearable.
Safety First: 5-HTP Side Effects and Warning
Despite being a natural substance, 5-HTP side effects are also very noteworthy.
Some of these are very mild including nausea, abdominal pains, diarrhea, heartburn, as well as muscle and sexual problems.
If you intend to use it to alleviate psychological conditions, you also have to be careful.
It can cause mood changes like aggressiveness, agitation, anxiety, and irritability. It can also worsen the symptoms of schizophrenia and other mental disorders.
Being a serotonin-booster, you also have to be wary about increasing your serotonin levels too much with this product.
Extremely high levels of it can cause osteoporosis, decreased libido, diarrhea, and muscle stiffness.
In some cases, it can even increase the suicidal thoughts in young users.
5-HTP can also interact with other drugs. It should never be taken with antidepressants as it will cause a huge increase in serotonin levels.
It also reacts negatively with medications for Parkinson’s disease and other drugs like lorazepam, phenobarbital, meperidine, clonazepam, dextromethorphan, zolpidem, and tramadol.
While lots of users do not experience any 5-HTP side effects, it’s still very important to only take this substance at the recommended amount to avoid any detrimental effects on your health.
Why 5-HTP is Not a Long-Term Solution:
The 5-HTP benefits may be promising, but experts recommend against the long-term use of this substance.
While this chemical has only been made available in 1990, so its effects for long-term users are still not fully determined.
Scientists have good reasons why you shouldn’t rely on it as a long-term solution. Most products even recommend not using it for more than three months.
As 5-HTP can cause hormonal interference, it is said to be capable of reducing the body’s ability to utilize Dopamine and Norepinephrine properly.
This can affect your blood flow, fight or flight response, and heart rate regulation among many others.
Studies will still need to offer more evidence regarding its long-term effects.
It’s always best to stay on the safe side when it comes to your health, though. Sticking with doctors’ recommendations would be the best way to do this.
5-HTP Dosage: How to Ensure Safe Consumption
Knowing the right 5-HTP dosage for the purpose you have in mind will minimize your odds of experiencing side effects.
In general, a dose of 900 mg per day is widely subscribed to and is still considered safe.
Specific purposes have their own ideal dosages, too. For sleep, taking a 50 to 100 mg supplement 30 minutes before bed is ideal. For depression, it’s recommended to take three 300 mg supplements in a day.
Experts also recommend looking for a 5-HTP supplement with Vitamin B6 as this is required for serotonin conversion. If you already take Vitamin B6 separately, you can already opt for a pure 5-HTP supplement.
Where Can You Purchase 5-HTP?
Great thing about this substance is you won’t have a hard time looking where to buy 5 HTP.
You can easily find them online and at local drugstores that carry natural supplements.
You’ll find a wide array of these products in various concoctions and blends, giving you ample choices in what to get.
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Be sure to be careful, however, in choosing which supplement to go for, though. Only opt for the best product that use the finest ingredients to ensure your safety.
With so many 5-HTP benefits to take advantage of, you should really consider giving these health supplements a shot.
They may not be long-term solutions for depression and anxiety, but as it can be the best option for a sleep aid.
With its ability to improve your sleep cycle, it can be the very product you need to improve your health with better sleep hygiene.
However, as there’s still more to know about 5-HTP, you might still want to use these products with caution.
Make sure to work with your physician in exploring other alternatives, especially for long-term use.