5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is an amino acid that naturally occurs in the body. It is a building block the body uses to make Serotonin, a mood and appetite stabilizing neurotransmitter. Studies have shown that due to the physical and mental stresses of the modern world, low serotonin levels are very common. The diet and lifestyle choices people make can adversely affect serotonin levels as well.
5-HTP can help your body make more serotonin which can help conditions such as depression, headache, migraines, anxiety, and fibromyalgia. Because serotonin is a precursor to melatonin, the neurotransmitter that regulates sleep, 5-HTP can also aid with sleep related issues such as insomnia. When serotonin levels are low the body also tends to crave sweets and carbohydrates. Raising the serotonin levels by taking 5-HTP can help curb food cravings and aid in weight loss. 5-HTP has been shown in studies to be effective in treating mild to moderate depression in serotonin deficient people. It also has been shown to inhibit panic thus helping with anxiety.
It’s most frequent side effect is mild nausea due to the increased serotonin production in the G.I. tract (where much of the body’s serotonin is produced and stored). This is a temporary effect and usually passes quickly and can be bypassed by starting with a lower dose and gradually increasing it over time.