5-Hydroxy L-Tryptophan (5-HTP) regulates brain serotonin levels and is a safe, a natural treatment for weight loss, anxiety, depression, and an effective antidepressant. The maximum recommended dose is 2-3 capsules per day, but usually 1 of these 100 mg capsules is sufficient.
What do depression, insomnia, anxiety, suicide, migraines, PMS, obsessive/compulsive behavior, stress, obesity, and addiction have in common? All of these conditions are manifestations of low levels of serotonin. Many of the new prescription drugs that have become available since the absence of L-Tryptophan are designed to regulate brain serotonin levels (called Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRIs).
Now, a natural and safe alternative to these drugs is available in the form of 5-Hydroxy L-Tryptophan (5-HTP). 5-HTP, a compound synthesized in the body from the amino acid tryptophan is ten times more active than L-Tryptophan and is the immediate precursor to serotonin (5-Hydroxy typtamine or 5-HT) which is found in the brain, blood platelets, and duodenal mucosa cells of the gastrointestinal tract. Since serotonin is found in the brain and central nervous system it has many implications on mood, behavior and sleep patterns.
The function of Prozac, Paxil and many other antidepressant drugs is to increase the availability of serotonin in certain brain synapses. Unfortunately, these drugs can produce many unpleasant and dangerous side affects. Since 5-HTP cannot be patented, drug companies have no interest in supplying this compound to the public.
Now that L-tryptophan is restricted by the FDA and is available only by prescription, researchers have clinically investigated 5-HTP in comparison to antidepressant drugs. The results of the studies were astounding. Using the standard depression scale, both the drug and 5-HTP groups displayed identical reduction in depression. Depressed patients who received 100 mg of 5-HTP, three times daily, showed at least a 50% improvement in their symptoms, without any reported side effects. Similar studies with depressed children demonstrated equal benefit.
Subsequent studies were performed using 5-HTP for anxiety, panic disorder, sleep difficulties and obesity. In his research R.S. Kahn observed an obvious decline in anxiety symptoms when supplementing with 5-HTP, and patients with panic disorder noticed a feeling of relief after receiving 5-HTP. Melatonin, which helps regulate our sleep-wake cycle, is a metabolite of serotonin. Early research studies show that supplementing with 5-HTP may have positive effects on sleep patterns.
And, in a six week clinical study with obese patients, those supplemented with 5-HTP were able to reduce carbohydrate intake, and experienced a feeling of early satiety, which contributed to significant weight loss.