5-HTP, For Sleep, Overeating, And Depression...

         5-HTP is made from the seeds of the Griffonia plant.

Griffonia (Griffonia simplicifolia) is a stout, woody evergreen with greenish flowers and inflated black pods found principally in the west African countries. Mainly in Ghana, Ivory coast and Togo. Locals use the leaves for the treatment of wounds, and the juice from it's leaves as a treatment for bladder and kidney problems. Around the world, the seeds from the plant's pods are used to manufacture an herbal supplement containing 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). The plant is adapted to wide a range of climatic conditions. It's common in the coastal plains as well as the forest. It thrives well on termite hills and on mountain slopes. 5-HTP, is a naturally occurring amino acid and chemical precursor as well as metabolic intermediate in the biosynthesis of the neurotransmitters serotonin and the hormone melatonin from tryptophan. Griffonia seed raises serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is important in regulating brain chemistry and is especially important in problems such as depression, insomnia, and eating disorders. Theoretically, supplementing with Griffonia seed can raise serotonin levels and provide relief from depression and insomnia. Griffonia seed should also regulate appetite through the increase in serotonin, leading to weight reduction in overweight people. Griffonia seed has also been used in treating fibromyalgia and chronic headaches, to reduce pain.

5-HTP is sold in many European countries to treat mild depression. Several double-blind placebo-controlled clinical trials have demonstrated the effectiveness of 5-HTP in the treatment of depression. Serotonin can also increase feelings of elatedness, self-worth, and confidence. When 5-HTP is ingested to produce higher levels of the neurotransmitter, these feelings are proportionally magnified. I know what you're thinking ,"but I'm not depressed" well increased serotonin can also have a positive effect on any anxiety, or stress. Along with many other health related issues so read on. 5-HTP is only found in insignificant quantities in food. 5-HTP is made when you metabolize tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid found in turkey, milk, potatoes, pumpkin, and various greens. 5-HTP in supplement form is typically sold in 50 mg or 100 mg. gelatin or vegetarian capsules. One significant benefit that this extract has over most commercial medications is that its active ingredient, 5-HTP, occurs naturally. The potential side effects are significantly reduced, compared to chemically derived medications.

The seeds have also been used to reduce the pain, and anxiety associated with disorders marked by fatigue, and tenderness in the neck, spine, shoulders and hips. Griffonia seeds are also used in weight loss therapy. At higher doses, the 5-HTP content will reduce appetite and promote weight loss. Several small clinical trials have found that 5-HTP is as effective as pharmaceutical antidepressants. For example, in a six week clinical trial, 63 people were given either 5-HTP, 100 mg three times a day or an antidepressant, fluvoxamine, 50 mg three times a day. The 5-HTP was found to be as effective as the antidepressant, with fewer side effects. In one study, 124 people were given 5-HTP (600 mg/day) or the drug methysergide. After 6 months, 5-HTP was found to be as effective as methysergide in reducing the severity and duration of migraines. Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by fatigue, widespread pain in the muscles, ligaments and tendons, and multiple tender points. A double-blind, placebo controlled study looked at 5-HTP or placebo in 50 people with fibromyalgia. After four weeks, there was improvement in pain, stiffness, anxiety, fatigue, and sleep. Side effects were mild and transient. Serotonin is converted into melatonin, a hormone need to regulate sleep-wake cycles. Because 5-HTP will increase serotonin levels, it may increase melatonin and help normalize sleep patterns. If you are taking prescription medications consult with your doctor before using 5-HTP. Here is a short list to consider when using 5-Htp:

    • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors
    • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (Prozac)
    • Tricyclic medications
    • Weight Loss medications (i.e., dextenfluramine)
    • Anti-parkinson medications (e.g., L-dopa)
    • Barbiturates and other tranquilizing drugs
    • Antihistamines and cold medications
    • Alcoholic beverages
    • Intravenous (illegal I.V.) drugs
    • Cancer Chemotherapy
    • Antibiotic Medications
    • Anti-depressant drugs
      The principal reason for not combining 5-HTP with these classes of medications is that many of them may also increase serotonin levels or affect other neurotransmitters, but by different biochemical mechanisms. The combination, in some cases, has the potential of acting synergistically to dramatically increase serotonin levels. This combined action could have adverse effects. Alcohol and 5-HTP should never be taken together. Allow at least six hours between use of alcohol and 5 HTP.

      Pregnant woman should not take 5-HTP since it changes serotonin levels, which may have effects on the fetus. Supplementation with 5-HTP causes a sense of well-being and studies have shown that taking 50 mg of 5-HTP 20 minutes before meals decreases appetite, especially for carbohydrates. If you are overweight. If, after 10 days, the dose is found to not be effective, it can be increased to 100mg. before each meal. It can be responsible for nausea at that dosage, so keep an eye out for that. 5-HTP can also reduces the desire for anxious compulsive snacking and over-eating. Long-term use of 5-HTP has not been studied, so short-term use should be considered. If you suffer from any of these health concerns. I can't emphasize enough, if you are under a doctors care, or taking prescription medicines consult with your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet. For the rest of us, if you're a little depressed, under some stress, anxious, overeating, or just need to get a good night's sleep, 5-HTP may be a good choice for you. Good Luck..

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