What is 5-HTP?
5-HTP is an amino acid that is extracted from the seeds of a West African shrub for use as a supplement. 5-HTP works by converting into the substance serotonin and is thought to have significant effects on mood, sleep, and hunger. Raising serotonin levels in the brain is a widely known treatment for depression. In the body, 5-HTP is created during the breakdown of tryptophan, a substance that occurs in foods such as turkey, milk, and potatoes. A typical diet is not considered to render adequate amounts of 5-HTP and it is therefore taken in supplement form.

What are the health benefits of 5-HTP?
Because it boosts serotonin levels, 5-HTP has a tranquilizing effect and has been found to promote general emotional well being. It is most commonly used to treat depression and also as a natural sleep aid. It is also used for conditions such as migraine headaches, fibromyalgia, and premenstrual syndrome, and is marketed as a weight loss supplement.

Are there any precautions for taking 5-HTP?
It is recommended that you consult with your physician before administering 5-HTP if you are currently taking antidepressants. When taken in recommended dosages, few side effects have been associated with 5-HTP outside of mild nausea, heartburn, or flatulence.

Where can I find 5-HTP?
5-HTP is available as a dietary supplement and can be found online and in health food stores.

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This entry was posted in Natural Health Dictionary, Supplements, Vitamins and Nutrients.