Today my friends, I would like to discuss today a natural remedy that helps treat a variety of conditions that are normally related to the CNS (central nervous system) and with stress, which most of us have no lack of in our lives. This product is called 5-HTP.
Since it is Mental Health Awareness week I thought I would continue to give you more useful information about anxiety, stress, and related conditions that so many people suffer from in our hectic society today.
Serotonin production declines with age, and at any age increased stress can further compromise decreased levels. Low levels of serotonin are most commonly manifested by depressed mood, anxiety, and insomnia. They can also lead to various other complaints and disorders which I will explain further, diminishing one’s quality of life. But now something can be done–supplementing with 5-HTP.
5-HTP is an aromatic amino acid naturally produced by the body from the essential acid L-tryptophan (LT), and is produced commercially by extraction from the seeds of the African plant called Griffonia simplicifolia. 5-HTP had been used clinically for over 30 years. It is used because of its great ability to produce serotonin in the brain.
Serotonin levels have been implicated in the regulation of sleep, depression, anxiety, aggression, appetite, temperature, sexual behavior, and pain sensation. Therapeutic administration of 5-HTP has been used to treat depression, fibromyalgia, binge eating associated with obesity, chronic headaches, and insomnia.
5 Clinically Proven Benefits:
1. Depression: Since the early 1970’s at least 15 studies have evaluated the clinical effects of 5-HTP of depression. On one study –Out of 511 patients with different types of depression and the 56% showed significant improvement while taking 5-HTP. When tested on bipolar and unipolar depression 69% has significant improvement without any significant side effects within 2 weeks.
2.Fibromyalgia: When used on fibromyalgia syndrome which is characterized by general musculoskeletal aching and sometimes times several pain, multiple tender points, fatigue, morning stiffness, and sleep disturbances.
Fibromyalgia patients have been found to have low serotonin and tryptophan levels which is also shows in depression patients. In a study of 50 patients with fibromyalgia syndrome that were given 100 mg of 5-HTP for 90 days all showed improvement in all the symptoms, but 15 (30%) patients reported side effects and only 1 case was severe enough that they had to withdrawn from the study.
3. Chronic Headaches: especially migraines are considered by researchers to be the result of low serotonin levels which is thought to lower pain thresholds in chronic headaches suffers. This is turn allows triggers that cause headaches to be more easily set off and cause the pain. In a study of 48 elementary and junior high students that suffered from chronic headaches a 70% decrease in headache frequency when given 5-HTP daily.
4. Insomnia: 5-HTP has been shown to be beneficial in treating insomnia especially improving sleep quality by increasing REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.
5. Obesity: During dieting, serum tryptophan levels and CNS serotonin levels drop dramatically and these low serotonin levels in obese patients have been associated with carbohydrate cravings and resulting in binge eating. 3 clinical trials have demonstrated decreased foods intake with subsequent weight loss while taking 5-HTP supplement. The theory is that 5-HTP can help to prevent the decline in serotonin associated with dieting. At the University of Rome researchers used a placebo-controlled double-blind protocol to evaluate the effects of 5-HTP. The placebo group did not experience any significant weight loss, but the 5-HTP group did show significant weight loss.
5-HTP alone is available for those who do not wish to use it in a formulation. In general, it has few to no side effects. Because of the many benefits that 5-HTP can offer, several advanced formulations give a range of options for people with a variety of personal needs.
There is no RDA for 5-HTP, depending on the condition being treated, dosage ranges from 50-100mg taken 3x/day (150-300 total). If you start taking 5-HTP supplements, it is recommended that you slowly and gradually increase your dose, which will reduce the likelihood of side effects. Supplements should be taken on an empty stomach for quicker absorption, and 30 minutes before meals if the reason for taking it is appetite suppressing for weight.
In my opinion it is always better to take a natural remedy than to take a drug that could have many dangerous side effect or adverse reactions. As always I suggest you consult your health-care provider before using any supplement, especially if you are already taking medication for any of these conditions!
Quote of the Day: An idealist is a person who helps other people to be prosperous! – Henry Ford