5-HTP, short for 5-Hydroxytryptophan, is a chemical naturally present in the body used to make serotonin, the neurotransmitter that controls mood. It can also be derived from the seeds of the West African shrub called griffonia simplicifolia, from which 5-HTP supplements are produced. 5-HTP is known for promoting a healthier and happier mood because it helps the body manufacture serotonin naturally. When you’re depressed, unhappy, or sad, scientists believe that your body is producing lesser serotonin that it needs. In fact, synthetic drugs prescribed for depression are intended to raise serotonin levels in the brain to help generate happier emotions.
Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRIs are the most commonly used drugs for the treatment of depression. They are more commonly known as Prozac, Lexapro, Celexa, Zoloft, and Paxil in the pharmacies. Although these drugs at some extent help relieve the symptoms of depression, they also produce harmful side effects that often outweigh their benefits. This has become the dilemma that pushed depressed patients and their families to look for natural anti-depressants that can produce the same benefits sans the side effects. Unlike these drugs, 5-HTP increase available serotonin levels in the brain without causing agitation, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, reduced sex drive, and other SSRI side effects.
5-HTP is produced from Tryptophan, the amino acid (building block of protein) derived from milk and dairy products. Then, it converts it to serotonin. Scientists prefer 5-HTP supplements compared to serotonin supplements because unlike serotonin, 5-HTP can directly penetrate the blood-brain barrier. The blood-brain barrier is the protective layer that chemicals should access first before they can get into the brain. However, not all chemicals can cross it. Since 5-HTP can cross it, it is more effective in increasing serotonin levels for effective mood support.
Since serotonin regulates appetite, 5-HTP can also make you happier by helping you achieve a healthier figure. Increased serotonin in the brain helps diminish hunger pangs and helps to make you feel satiated faster so you can lose weight easily. 5-HTP supplements can be a good addition to your weight management regimen for effective and faster weight loss.
More happiness comes from getting more sleep, calmness, and relaxation from use of 5-HTP supplements. Sleep deprivation causes irritability and mood swings in the morning, which is made even worse when you are stressed out with your job or family life. What’s more, sleep deprivation decreases your energy during the day so you feel you need to eat high-caloric foods to increase energy. People with less than 6 hours of sleep usually have carbohydrate cravings in the morning, making you prone to being overweight or obese.
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