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5-HTP, also known as 5-hydroxytryptophan, is a type of amino acid that is naturally produced by the body and is used in the process of producing serotonin, an important neurotransmitter that facilitates the transmission of electrical signals between nerve cells and contributes to good mood.
Thus, when 5-HTP levels are very low, the body cannot produce enough serotonin and this increases the risk that the person will end up developing various types of psychological disorders, especially anxiety, depression or problems with sleep, for example.
Thus, 5-HTP supplementation has been increasingly used as a way to try to increase serotonin production and facilitate the treatment of some of the most common psychological disorders.
How 5-HTP is produced
After several studies, researchers have discovered that 5-HTP is also present in a type of African plant, in addition to the human body. The name of this plant is Griffonia simplicifolia and the 5-HTP used to make the supplement capsules, sold in some pharmacies and he alth food stores, is taken from its seeds.
What is it for
The full effects of 5-HTP on the body are not yet known for sure, however, several studies are indicating that it may be useful in helping to treat various conditions such as:
Several studies, carried out with doses between 150 and 3000 mg of 5-HTP supplementation daily, show a positive effect on the symptoms of depression, which seem to improve after 3 or 4 weeks of continuous treatment with this supplement.
There are still not many results on the use of 5-HTP to treat cases of anxiety, however, some investigations claim that low doses of 50 to 150 mg, per day, can help keep anxiety more controlled.
Recent studies have shown that regular 5-HTP supplementation can help people who are obese or overweight, as the substance appears to help regulate appetite, increasing feelings of satiety.
4. Sleep problems
Although there are few studies done in humans, investigations in animals have shown that 5-HTP can help you sleep more easily and even have a better quality of sleep. This could possibly be explained by the fact that, by increasing serotonin levels, 5-HTP also contributes to a greater production of melatonin, the main hormone responsible for regulating sleep.
Several studies have been done to try to understand the relationship between 5-HTP levels in the body and chronic pain. Most of these studies were done on people with fibromyalgia, who appeared to have a slight improvement in symptoms. However, these studies are very old and need to be better proven.
How to take 5-HTP
The use of 5-HTP should always be guided by a doctor or other he alth professional with knowledge in supplementation, as it can vary according to the problem to be treated, as well as the person's he alth history.
In addition, there is no recommended dose of 5-HTP intake, and most professionals advise doses between 50 and 300 mg per day, starting with doses of 25 mg that are gradually increased gradually.
Possible side effects
Although it is a natural supplement, the continuous and misguided use of 5-HTP can worsen the symptoms of some conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, generalized anxiety disorder or Parkinson's disease, for example.
This is because, while increasing serotonin production, 5-HTP can also reduce the concentration of other important neurotransmitters.
Other more immediate effects may include nausea, vomiting, acidity, stomach ache, diarrhea and dizziness. If they appear, supplementation should be stopped and the doctor who is providing the guidance must be consulted.
Who should not take it
Not to be used in cases of chronic renal failure, pregnant women and children under 18, especially if there is no medical advice.
Furthermore, 5-HTP should not be used in people who use antidepressants, as they can excessively increase serotonin levels and cause serious side effects, some of the drugs being: citalopram, duloxetine, venlafaxine, escitalopram, fluoxetine, paroxetine, tramadol, sertraline, trazodone, amitriptyline, buspirone, cyclobenzaprine, fentanyl, among others.Therefore, if the person takes any medication, it is important to consult the doctor before starting the use of the 5-HTP supplement.