5 - HTP

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5-HTP, 60 Tablets, 50mg, 5 HTP, From Nature's Way

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5-HTP, 60 Capsules, 50mg, From Natrol

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Natural 5-HTP, 120 Capsules, 50 mg, From Healthy Origins

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Free Aminos Animo Acid, 100 Capsules, From Nutricology

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Natural 5-HTP, 120 Capsules, 100 mg, From Healthy Origins

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Natural Factors 5-HTP, 60 Caplets, 100mg, From Natural Factors

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Climinax Ultra, 30 Capsules, Last Longer, More Sexual Pleasure

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5-HTP Plus, 30 Capsules, 100 mg, From Olympian Labs

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5-HTP (5HTP) 50mg 30 caps from Natrol

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Natural Factors 5-HTP 100mg 60 Caplets, Natural Factors

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5-HTP with Vitamin B6 & C 30 tabs from Nature's Way

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5-HTP 50 mg 5-Hydroxy-L-Tryptophan, 30 Capsules, NOW Foods

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5-HTP 100mg Vegetarian 60 Vcaps, NOW Foods

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5-HTP 100 mg, 30 Vegicaps, Thompson Nutritional Products

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5 - HTP

What is 5-HTP?
5-HTP is derived from the seeds of the African plant Griffonia. Although it may sound chemical, it is either made within the brain from amino acids (protein) or sourced from the Griffonia plant. Natural 5HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is a metabolite of the amino acid tryptophan. You may know tryptophan as the agent in turkey that makes you feel like taking a nap after Thanksgiving dinner (in addition to a full belly). 5-HTP is a direct precursor of the important inhibitory neurotransmitter serotonin, which is secreted in response to mood or emotion swings. Serotonin soothes and calms and brings about feelings of contentment.

Is 5-HTP safe to take?
The FDA has warned that it has found batches with impurities similar to the Japanese batches of tryptophan in 1980. Jarrow 5-HTP and tryptophan are not the same. 5-HTP is related to tryptophan, but is derived from a different source. The 1980 scare concerning the Japanese tryptophan was attributed to a large batch the Japanese produced that was contaminated during the fermentation and/or filtration process. The contaminant caused affected persons to develop symptoms of EMS (eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome).

5-HTP, unlike tryptophan, is now extracted from the seed of the Griffonia simplicifolia plant and is not produced via bacterial fermentation, virtually eliminating further occurrence of EMS. Although there have been a couple of cases of EMS-like symptoms arising after 5-HTP supplementation, no direct correlations have established, and EMS can occur on its own.

What Are Therapeutic Applications for 5-HTP?
The primary therapeutic applications for 5-HTP are low serotonin states as listed below:
  • Depression Obesity
  • Carbohydrate craving Bulimia
  • Insomnia Narcolepsy
  • Sleep apnoea Migraine headaches
  • Tension headaches Chronic daily headaches
  • Premenstrual syndrome Fibromyalgia

  • Serotonin deficiency has also been implicated in uncontrollable appetite, obsessive-compulsive disorder, autism, social phobias, anxiety and panic, migraines, schizophrenia and extreme violence.

    What is Serotonin and what does it do?
    Serotonin is a chemical in our brain that is made naturally from proteins (amino acids) and it is the chemical that gives us a sense of well-being ?happiness, sexual libido, appetite, and regulates our emotions. A decrease in serotonin may lead to depression and insomnia.

    5-HTP: Prozac's True Alternative?
    5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is the less well known cousin of serotonin (5-HT), one of the most important brain neurotransmitters. Tryptophan is first converted to 5-HTP in nerve cells by a vitamin B3 dependant enzyme, and then 5-HTP is converted to 5-HT by a vitamin B6 dependant enzyme. Yet thanks to modern science, we can now take preformed 5-HTP, with many consequent advantages.

    5-HTP passes through the blood brain barrier into the brain far more easily than tryptophan, and getting tryptophan through the blood brain barrier is the main bottleneck, which in many people leads to inadequate brain serotonin levels.

    Also, 5-HTP is not used to make proteins in the body, while tryptophan is, so there isn't competition by cells outside the brain for 5-HTP, as there is for the body's scare tryptophan supplies.

    The body often uses tryptophan to make vitamin B3, at a very high cost of 60mg tryptophan to make just 1mg B3! 5-HTP is not wasted to make vitamin B3.

    Tryptophan can be broken down in the liver by pyrrolase, an enzyme that converts tryptophan to kynurenine and its metabolites, which can be mildly liver toxic at high levels. 5-HTP is not metabolized through this pathway.

    Because of this, tryptophan supplementation especially in chronically stressed people should be kept to 1 gram (1000mg) per day or less, because the stress hormone- cortisol activates pyrrolase.

    Serotonin is also the precursor for our pineal gland's production of melatonin. Human clinical studies show that 5-HTP is a far more efficient increaser of brain serotonin than tryptophan.

    Further, when 5-HTP has been compared to tryptophan in human studies, 5-HTP has been a far more successful antidepressant, even when the tryptophan dosage used is 10 to 15 times higher than the 5-HTP dosage. Also, relapses back into depression are more common with tryptophan than with 5-HTP.

    Unlike tryptophan, 5-HTP has been shown to increase brain dopamine (DA) and noradrenaline (NA) activity. These are two key mood and alertness regulating neurotransmitters, and when tyrosine, the amino-acid precursor for brain DA/NA is given along with 5-HTP, the effect is even more powerful.

    5-HTP is more likely to be effective for those suffering an anxious, agitated, aggressive, irritable depression and is rarely effective for those suffering from a severe, vegetative, total 'blahs' type depression.

    5-HTP may also be helpful in some cases of compulsive carbohydrate overeating, alcohol addiction and compulsive gambling (specific forms of OCD), as well as for insomnia.

    Side effects of 5-HTP are occasional gastrointestinal upset, hypomania and euphoria. Even though 5-HTP is a natural substance normally made by the brain, without medical supervision prudence suggests limiting daily dosage to 100mg to 200mg, a dose shown to be effective in human clinical studies.

    Both tryptophan, and even more so 5-HTP, increase the activity of MAO inhibitor drugs, tricyclic antidepressants and selective serotonin inhibitor (SSRI) drugs, such as Prozac, Paxil and Zoloft. Therefore tryptophan and especially 5-HTP, should only be used by anyone taking any of these drugs ONLY with their prescribing physician's consent and supervision.

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    5 - HTP