(5-hydroxytryptophan) by RTN is a naturally occurring substance derived from the seed
pods of Griffonia simplicifolia, a
West African medicinal plant. In humans, 5-HTP is the immediate nutrient
precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HT). This means that 5-HTP
converts directly into serotonin in the brain (see Figure 1). Serotonin has many profoundly
important functions, including a role in sleep, appetite, memory, learning,
temperature regulation, mood, sexual behavior, cardiovascular function, muscle
contraction, and endocrine regulation.
THE PROBLEM WITH SEROTONIN DEFICIENCY?
Serotonin production declines with age, and at any age its abundance can be
compromised further by stress. Low levels of serotonin are most commonly
manifested by depressed mood, anxiety, and insomnia. They can also lead to
various other complaints and disorders, diminishing one's quality of life.
RESTORE SEROTONIN LEVELS AND HELP IMPROVE:
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN 5-HTP AND PROZAC®?
Prozac is a prescription drug, whereas 5-HTPis a natural nutrient supplement. Prozac is in a
class of drugs called SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), other
examples of which are Zoloft® and
These drugs were originally developed to treat depression. Now they are widely
prescribed for other disorders, including anxiety, sleep disturbance, PMS,
obesity, chronic headaches, and other chronic pain disorders. Studies of 5-HTP
have shown it to be valuable for all the same disorders. In direct comparison
with an SSRI, 5-HTP has been shown to be equivalently beneficial for
depression, but with significantly fewer side effects.
Both 5-HTP and
SSRIs increase the availability of serotonin in the brain, but they work in
different ways. SSRIs prevent serotonin from being taken back up into the
neurons, leaving more of it available in the synapses between neurons. In other
words, SSRIs allow the brain to reuse the serotonin that is
already there. By contrast, 5-HTP replenishes serotonin levels by biological
synthesis of additional serotonin molecules, providing new stores of this
necessary neurotransmitter in the brain.
5-HTP MAY BE BETTER THAN TRYPTOPHAN
Tryptophan supplements have a long history of use for treating depression and
anxiety disorders and for enhancing sleep. Unfortunately and unjustifiably, the
FDA has since 1988 prohibited the manufacture and sale of tryptophan in the
U.S., based on a single contaminated batch by a Japanese company during the
late 1980s. The FDA has maintained this ban despite overwhelming evidence that
it is not only unnecessary, but it is inducing people to take dangerous and
expensive drugs to achieve the benefits they could achieve safely and
inexpensively with tryptophan.
While the ban on tryptophan may be needless and
deplorable, it has had one unforeseen benefit: it has allowed 5-HTP, which is
one step closer to serotonin in the metabolic pathway, to take the stage. It turns out, by some studies, that 5-HTP may be even better than tryptophan for
treating suspected serotonin deficiency disorders of the brain.
HOW ARE 5-HTP FORMULATIONS DIFFERENT?
5-HTP alone is available for those who do not wish to use it in a formulation.
In general, it has few to no side effects. Because of the many benefits that
5-HTP can offer, however, several advanced formulations provide a range of options for people with differing personal needs.
SUPPLEMENTING WITH 5-HTP FOR ENHANCED MOOD
A mood-enhancing formulation containing primarily 5-HTP, a form of vitamin B6, and St. John's wort is
designed to counteract age-related serotonin depletion and to provide general
mood enhancement. Because it supports healthy serotonin levels, it may help
those who are subject to mild to moderate depression. In addition, it may help
with any of the other disorders discussed above.
5-HTP is well established for its mood-enhancing
properties, among other benefits. St. John's wort, as well, has been studied
with positive results for the treatment of mild depression. Its mechanisms of
action are not clearly understood, but they are probably different than
5-HTP's. It has been used for a wide variety of conditions since at least the
time of ancient Greece, and it was commonly used throughout the folk medicine
of the Middle Ages. It is currently in widespread use in Germany as a standard
treatment for depression.
Over the centuries, St. John's wort earned its
reputation as a powerful mood-altering substance. Now science is confirming
this reputation. When combined judiciously with 5-HTP, St. John's wort acts
synergistically, i.e., the combined effect of the two ingredients is greater
than the sum of their individual effects. Other uses are for improved wound
healing, anti-inflammatory effects, antimicrobial activity, sinusitis relief,
seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and, especially, relief from depression.
FOR MOOD AND ENERGY
5-HTP, DHEA, and phenylalanine can combine synergistically for those who need
to enhance mood while boosting energy. Together they are particularly helpful
in counteracting the age-related decline - affecting just about everyone over
30 years old - of the hormone DHEA and the neurotransmitters
serotonin and noradrenaline, of which 5-HTP and phenylalanine are the
Serotonin deficiency is strongly linked with depression,
for which 5-HTP can counteract. DHEA also reduces depression, and high levels
of this hormone have been associated with increased energy, stamina, libido,
and a sense of well-being. As with 5-HTP, people just feel better when they use
nutrient precursor to the neurotransmitter noradrenaline, (your brain's version
of adrenaline), is important for alertness, focus, concentration, memory, and
mental energy. With noradrenaline insufficiency, mood or energy levels may
decline and may even bottom out, for example, in depression. There is a growing
body of both clinical and anecdotal evidence showing that phenylalanine
supplements can alleviate the symptoms of some forms of depression. They can
also boost various aspects of mental function in healthy people who wish to maximize
their ability to stay that way.
In addition to
the age-related decline in the amounts of hormones and neurotransmitters in our
bodies, these substances may not be utilized as efficiently as we
grow older. Their effectiveness can also diminish in response to chronic
stress, further diminishing the brain's vital functions. The answer, of course,
is to get those levels of DHEA, serotonin, and noradrenaline back up to
youthful levels by supplementing with the natural substances DHEA, 5-HTP, and
phenylalanine, which cannot be obtained in adequate amounts through an
FOR A GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP
It is well known that insomnia is age-related. Sleep disorders can be
associated with significant medical, psychological, and social disturbances. In
addition to fatigue, sleep deprivation can lead to impairment of memory,
mood, and immune function, as well as to anxiety, depression, and stress.
Nutritional supplements containing 5-HTP, melatonin, valerian root, and choline alleviate
these problems by assisting you in getting a good night's sleep.
The precursor to 5-HTP, tryptophan, has long been used
as a sleep aid. Not surprisingly, evidence suggests that 5-HTP may be effective
as well. Recent studies have shown that increased levels of serotonin -
obtained by supplementing with 5-HTP - can help reestablish healthy sleep
patterns in people with chronic sleep disturbances. Serotonin has even been
shown to help ease withdrawal from hypnotic drugs.
One of serotonin's metabolic pathways leads directly to
melatonin, widely acknowledged today as the hormone responsible for our
wake-sleep cycle. By increasing your levels of serotonin with 5-HTP, you're
thus also increasing your levels of melatonin - but probably not sufficiently
for an advanced sleep formulation, which is why additional melatonin is
recommended. Melatonin has also been found to improve immune function, to help
improve stress-induced immunodepression, and to be beneficial for a long list
of degenerative diseases.
Valerian root, a
Eurasian herb, has long been popular as a natural aid for enhancing sleep.
Recently, the extract of valerian root was tested against a benzodiazepine
for sleep and found to compare quite favorably. Valerian can help you fall
asleep and improve your quality of sleep, allowing you to wake up refreshed.
One study showed that valerian users were more alert, more active, and felt
better than before.
Finally, choline is the nutrient precursor to the
neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which helps to protect our sound sleep so we
don't wake up from every little creak or murmur, or from our spouse turning in
bed. Supplementing your diet with these natural substances can help diminish or
eradicate sleep disturbances and help restore healthy sleep patterns. Doing
that can, in turn, restore many other aspects of good health.
The herbal product ephedra induces fat loss through a mechanism called thermogenesis (fat
burning), and white willow bark and caffeine act synergistically with ephedra.
It is believed that genetically induced serotonin
deficiency is another common factor in obesity. 5-HTP, well known for its use
in serotonin deficiency syndrome, is recognized as a natural carbohydrate
appetite satisfier. It is readily converted into serotonin in the brain, which
in turn causes the release of cholecystokinin, the satiety hormone. Thus,
5-HTP, ephedra, and white willow bark together are likely to effect weight loss
via two different mechanisms: fat burning and appetite satisfaction.
Since 5-HTP also tends to have relaxing or calming
effects, many users report that it helps offset the stimulatory effects of the
A FAMILY OF SUPPORT
One of the traditional benefits of a family is the support it can offer,
especially in times of stress. If the family network is strong enough, there's
always someone to turn to when needs arise.
Because of its broad range of benefits, 5-HTP is like a
family network in many ways. For example, it can help you mellow out, satisfy
your appetite, and withstand stress. It can also help prevent pain, improve
sleep, relieve muscle stress, and even improve certain types of memory.
Many people rave that 5-HTP has vastly improved their
lives and that it is difficult to imagine how their lives would be otherwise.
When you realize that there are many ways to amplify its benefits - by
combining it with other, synergistic herbs and nutrients - the full scope of
5-HTP options becomes apparent. One or more of these options may be just right
Serving Size: 2
Amount Per Serving
(Gryffonia simplicifolia) (seed)
* Daily Value not
Other ingredients: Rice
flour, gelatin (bovine), and vegetable magnesium stearate.
KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN
DO NOT USE IF SAFETY SEAL IS DAMAGED OR MISSING. STORE IN A COOL, DRY PLACE.
SUGGESTED USE: 1 to 2 capsules taken at bedtime with 8
ounces of water or as directed by a healthcare professional.
Do not exceed the recommended
dose. This product is not intended for pregnant or nursing mothers, children
under the age of 18, or individuals taking any prescription medication
including anti-depressants. Reduce dose if drowsiness occurs. Avoid driving or
performing other potentially dangerous tasks while taking this formula. If
you have questions about the advisability of taking this product, consult a
physician prior to use. This product is manufactured and packaged in a
facility which may also process milk, soy, wheat, egg, peanuts, tree nuts,
fish and crustacean shellfish.
These statements have not
been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not
intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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