Ingredient Overview: 5-HTP (Hydroxytryptophan)

by Dr. Joseph Esposito, D.C., C.C.N., C.N.S., C.T.N., D.A.B.C.N, C.C.S.P.
April 22, 2016

A potential solution for mood disorders, sleep disorders and general anxiety.

5-HTP is a promising natural treatment for a variety of mood disorders and sleep disorders, and even for general anxiety. It is extracted from the plant species Griffonia simplicifolia. Many people may know that the amino acid, L-tryptophan, can induce sleepiness if eaten in high quantities; 5-HTP (a derivative of L-tryptophan) doesn’t necessarily make you drowsy, but instead works to calm your brain and help you relax.

Below are some of the most pertinent benefits derived from its use:

  • Relaxation
  • Anxiolytic properties
  • Reduce stress
  • Promote deep sleep
  • Treat migraine headaches
  • Mood enhancement
  • Prevent neurodegeneration
  • Treat Fibromyalgia
  • Promote weight loss

Research suggests that 5-HTP is as effective as many pharmaceutical antidepressants, albeit without the harsh side effects and development of drug dependency. Given the importance of proper rest and recovery on your health/well-being, many individuals stand to benefit from supplementing with 5-HTP.

How 5-HTP Works

5-HTP belongs to a class of chemicals known as “nootropics.” These are chemicals that alter brain chemistry to produce a desirable psychological and/or physiological effect (such as improved mood and sense of wellbeing).

Chemically speaking, it crosses the blood-brain barrier and is converted into serotonin — a neurotransmitter that promotes calmness and relaxation. Therefore, it should not be used in conjunction with any prescription medications that alter serotonin levels.

By enhancing the levels of serotonin in the brain, 5-HTP can help treat a variety of conditions.

 

How Much 5-HTP Extract Should I Use?

The amount you should use will depend on the purpose for which you want to use it. For example, research suggests that more 5-HTP is needed to treat things like obesity and migraine headaches as opposed to the dose necessary to treat fibromyalgia. [1] The dosage suggestions are as follows:

Obesity – 600 to 900 mg daily for no more than 12 weeks 

Migraine Headache – 200 to 600 mg daily 

Fibromyalgia – 100 mg three times per day 

For General Relaxation and Anxiety – 200-300 mg daily

For Better Sleep – 400-500 mg at night

Aceva® 5-HTP contains 100mg of pure 5-HTP per capsule to help elevate your serotonin production naturally!

When To Take Aceva® 5-HTP

5-HTP is best taken either split throughout the day in several even doses (especially if you’re using 500+ mg per day). If you’re using it to improve your sleep duration, take a dose about 2 hours before bedtime and then another dose right before bedtime.


References:

  1. Birdsall, T. C. (1998). 5-Hydroxytryptophan: a clinically-effective serotonin precursor.Alternative medicine review: a journal of clinical therapeutic3(4), 271-280.
Dr. Joseph Esposito, D.C., C.C.N., C.N.S., C.T.N., D.A.B.C.N, C.C.S.P.
Dr. Joseph Esposito, D.C., C.C.N., C.N.S., C.T.N., D.A.B.C.N, C.C.S.P.


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