5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is a chemical by-product of the protein building block L-tryptophan. It is also produced commercially from the seeds of an African plant known as Griffonia simplicifolia 5-HTP is used for sleep disorders such as insomnia, depression, anxiety, migraine and tension-type headaches, fibromyalgia, obesity, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), seizure disorder, and Parkinson’s disease..
How does it work?
5-HTP works in the brain and central nervous system by increasing the production of the chemical serotonin. Serotonin can affect sleep, appetite, temperature, sexual behavior, mood and pain sensation. Since 5-HTP increases the synthesis of serotonin, it is used for several diseases where serotonin is believed to play an important role including depression, insomnia, obesity, and many other conditions.
It can possibly be effective in fighting depression. Some clinical research shows that taking 5-HTP by mouth improves symptoms of depression. Several studies have found that doses of 150-3000 mg daily for 2-4 weeks can improve symptoms of depression. Some early research shows that 5-HTP might be as beneficial as conventional antidepressant therapy for some people. It can also possibly help improve muscle activity in those with down syndrome. Some research shows that giving 5-HTP to infants with Down syndrome might improve muscle and activity. Other research shows that it does not improve muscle or development when taken from infancy until 3-4 years of age. Research also shows that taking 5-HTP along with conventional prescription drugs does improve development, social skills, or language skills.
However 5-HTP could possible be unsafe and risky when taken by mouth in large doses. Doses from 6-10 grams daily have been linked to severe stomach problems and muscle spasms and could potentially lead to eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS) in children, a serious condition involving extreme muscle tenderness and blood abnormalities. It is best recommended to gradually increase your intake of 5-HTP. Several studies have used doses of 150-3000 mg daily in up to three divided doses for 2-6 weeks. Doses have also been gradually increased from 150 mg daily for 2 weeks up to 400 mg daily for 4 weeks.