Please read the 'warnings' paragraph below before purchasing.
5-HTP or 5-hydroxytryptophan, is a naturally occurring amino acid, used by the body in the synthesis of the neurotransmitter, serotonin. Serotonin is commonly known as the body’s ‘feel good’ chemical, but it has many other uses in the body other than to reward us with a good feeling when we do something positive towards our survival, like eating or exercise1,2. Serotonin is actually more common outside of the brain, found mainly in the gastrointestinal tract, involved in regulation of intestinal movements3. Low serotonin levels have been implicated many times in the study of depression, and is the focus of many anti-depressants4,5. Serotonin is also linked to sleep regulation, confirming links between depression and insomnia6-8.
5-HTP has been shown to be well absorbed, and is known to be readily converted into serotonin in the brain9. It is thought to aid in a few different ways, outlined below. Due to its short life in the body, it is suggested to be more effective when taken multiple times throughout the day, rather than in one big dose10,11.
Studies have shown 5-HTP may increase feelings of fullness, aiding with weight loss, by counteracting hormones that increase appetite12,13.
Many studies and reviews have shown positive results for 5-HTP in the treatment of depression, and a lot of people think it has been extremely helpful for treating their depression14-16. However, the research has been mixed, with some studies seeing quite significant efficacy, but seemingly not any better than the placebo17. If 5-HTP is going to get serious backing as a treatment for depression, it is going to need many more studies.
5-HTP has been shown to be an effective treatment of migraines in various studies, specifically with the intensity of migraines18-20. Low serotonin levels are thought to be a potential cause of migraines21.
Serotonin, synthesised from 5-HTP, can be converted to melatonin - a hormone involved in regulating sleep22. Higher levels of melatonin increase feelings of tiredness and promote sleep. Various studies have shown 5-HTP as an effective treatment for insomnia, especially when combined with another sleep promoting neurotransmitter, GABA22,23. Vitbox is planning on stocking GABA soon, including it in our coming sleep aid supplement.
There are potential negative interactions with 5-HTP and some sleep aid/antidepressant medications, so consult your doctor before taking 5-HTP if you take other medications. Some people may react more strongly to 5-HTP, so try 1 a day of a low dose first, and if you don't experience any side effects for a few days, then you can try upping the dose. Please consult your doctor if you are unsure, as vitbox cannot be held accountable for any side effects experienced.
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