Given a boost by celebrities in recovery from depression such as Jim Carrey, 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is once again the up-and-coming nutritional supplement for the treatment of depression. 5-HTP supplies the source of the amino acid tryptophan in a form that readily enters the brain. The human brain converts tryptophan into the key mood regulator serotonin.
What is 5-HTP? 5-Hydroxytryptophan also known as 5-HTP is a chemical by-product of the protein building block L-tryptophan. 5-HTP is produced using the seeds of the Griffonia simplicifolia which is known African plant. In other words, 5-HTP is an amino acid that functions in the central nervous system and brain by enhancing the making of the chemical known as serotonin.
5-HTP is essential to overall health. It is used to treat many conditions like depression, obesity, carbohydrate craving, bulimia, insomnia, narcolepsy, sleep apnea, migraine, headaches, and fibromyalgia.
What is Serotonin? Scientifically, Serotonin is a hormone found in the pineal gland, digestive tract, blood platelets and brain. It works as a neurotransmitter that sends nerve signals between nerve cells. Normally, the body maintains a normal serotonin level, but there are times when the level of Serotonin drops.
To avoid adverse effects, it's a good idea to begin by taking a 50-milligram dose once or twice a day. Then slowly build up to a 100-milligram dose, but only after 3 or 4 weeks.
The medical literature does not report serious adverse effects on the central nervous system from taking even high doses of 5-HTP. In theory, however, extremely large doses of 5-HTP taken at the same time as the migraine medications naratriptan (Amerge), rizatriptan (Maxalt), sumatriptan (Imitrex), or zolmitriptan (Zomig), or any prescription medications for depression could cause "serotonin syndrome."
Where diet is concerned, carbohydrates are full of L-tryptophan, but there is more to it than simply eating a big bowl of pasta every time anxiety levels begin to rise. Actually, this is one of many causes of obesity and binge eating - the need for increased serotonin, which creates carbohydrate cravings; the problem is that most of us choose the wrong kinds of carbs.
5-HTP Relieves Headaches If you often suffer from severe headaches including migraines, 5-HTp can reduce them. 5-HTP can be used by adults and even children who are suffering from headaches. 5-HTP is not only effective in relieving migraine, also tends to decrease the frequency and severity of migraine headaches with continued use.
5-HTP treats Obesity If your serotonin levels are low, you always crave for food. You may feel like you have to eat all the time. Eating can make you feel better temporarily but when all those calories wear off and eventually your serotonin levels drops.
Since 5 HTP is a natural product, those interested in purchasing the supplement to try are cautioned to buy the highest quality, cleanest product available. As with any medicinal or nutritional product, side effects are always possible so it is highly recommended to use caution when taking any kind of natural supplement, and to do so only after consulting with your doctor. A condition called eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS) is questionably linked to taking 5 HTP, but it is believed this has occurred in the past due to contamination before Good Manufacturing Practices were put into effect by the United States FDA.
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