It’s a natural supplement with a strong reputation for easing the symptoms of anxiety, depression and insomnia. But what is 5-HTP? And, more importantly, does it really work?5-HTP, or 5-Hydroxytryptophan, is a naturally occurring amino acid which your body uses to produce Serotonin, a neurotransmitter that sends signals to your nerve cells.
Serotonin supports a host of your body’s essential functions, including boosting your cognitive function, memory and focus, and helping to reduce anxiety and nervous tension so you can maintain a well-balanced mood.
It also plays a vital role in the production of Melatonin, an important hormone which helps regulate your sleep pattern and body clock. Stress and anxiety can be a big issue for many people in these strange and uncertain times.
Supporting your body’s natural production of Serotonin is just one way of helping to reduce stress and worry, so you can relax, get restful sleep and keep your mood positive.
In this blog, we take a closer look at what 5-HTP is and how it can help enhance your overall wellbeing.
HOW DOES 5-HTP WORK?Your body produces 5-HTP naturally from an amino acid called Tryptophan.
It is a critical compound in the production of Serotonin, a chemical which is used by the brain and nervous system to regulate sleep, mood, temperature and the way your body feels and responds to pain. It can also affect your appetite and sexual behaviour.
Low Serotonin levels have been linked with depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, weight gain and other health problems.
Because 5-HTP increases the synthesis of Serotonin, it can be used to help ease the symptoms of a host of health conditions including depression, insomnia and certain eating disorders.
While the body produces its own supply of 5-HTP, supplements made from the seeds of an African plant called Griffonia Simplicifolia can help you top up your 5-HTP to produce higher levels of Serotonin.
Evidence suggests that maintaining optimum levels of 5-HTP in the body is essential for restful sleep.
Many Lily & Loaf customers have found that taking one 5-HTP capsule a day for just a few days can yield excellent results, helping them to sleep more easily and wake up with more energy and less mental fatigue.
Low Serotonin levels have also been linked with increased symptoms of Fibromyalgia, a condition which causes muscle and bone weakness and pain.
And when it comes to appetite, weight loss can increase the production of hormones that make you feel hungry, which can make maintaining a healthy weight unsustainable. 5-HTP can counteract these hormones, helping to suppress your appetite so you feel fuller for longer.
Certain 5-HTP supplements contain additional ingredients which complement the natural 5-HTP derived from plants, to boost its effectiveness.
Lily & Loaf’s vegan-friendly 5-HTP Formula, for example, contains Tryptophan, vitamins B6 and B12 which support healthy blood and nerve cells, and Magnesium, which helps the body break down and process proteins more efficiently. It also contains soothing natural hop flower extract, which can aid relaxation and sleep.
WHO SHOULD TAKE 5-HTP?5-HTP is suitable for use by healthy adults with no pre-existing health conditions.
It can be especially useful to people with from nervous problems or anxiety, have difficulty sleeping, or suffer regular headaches, migraines or general aches and pains.
It can also help relieve stress and lighten your mood, so can serve as an effective natural alternative to antidepressants.
Again, if you are worried or unsure about whether it is right for you, speak to your doctor or pharmacist and always follow the product instructions.
You shouldn’t take 5-HTP if you’re taking other medications that boost serotonin levels, such as antidepressants. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should also exercise caution.
And because 5-HTP can interact with other forms of medication, you should check with your doctor if you are unsure.
ARE THERE ANY SIDE EFFECTS OF TAKING 5-HTP?Increasing your Serotonin levels with 5-HTP can lead to some health benefits, including better weight management, easing anxiety and depression, soothing general aches and pains and reducing the frequency of headaches and migraines.
However, there are also some potential side effects to bear in mind.
Because 5-HTP can increase the amount of Serotonin your body produces, you should avoid taking it with sedatives, prescription painkillers and certain types of cough medicine.
Some minor side effects associated with taking 5-HTP include drowsiness, digestive issues, muscular aches and pains, nausea and diarrhoea. It can also inhibit sexual arousal and performance.
Problems associated with longer-term use of 5-HTP include anxiety, shivering and heart problems.
If you notice any of the symptoms above after using 5-HTP, you should stop taking it and seek medical advice.
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