In this article
What is 5-HTP? 5-HTP is an abbreviation of 5-Hydroxytryptophan. It is an amino acid derived from L-Tryptophan. Don’t worry about these fancy names. All you need to know is that amino acids are the raw materials that the body uses to make new cells. As a supplement, 5-HTP is extracted from the seeds of a certain native plant in Africa.
Health benefits such as treating insomnia, headaches, migraines, and anxiety are associated with 5-HTP. It has also been used to treat menstrual disorders, seizures as well as progressive Parkinson’s disease.
There are concerns on whether this supplement is a typical nootropic in regards to safety. There are also various factors that affect its potency that you should know. Unlike brain pills such as Adrafinil, 5-HTP is more oriented towards long-term brain enhancement.
Reviews for 5-HTP supplement; how it works
5-HTP is not available naturally in foods. Instead, Tryptophan undergoes a conversion process that sees it converted into 5-HTP. This process requires minerals such as magnesium.
Once 5-HTP is derived, it undergoes an almost similar conversion process, which sees it converted into serotonin. This is a body chemical that promotes happiness and elevates one’s mood. It also plays a role in memory and cognitive regulation. Its deficiency in the body leads to disorders such as insomnia, depression and negativity in thoughts.
In its excess, serotonin gets converted into melatonin, another body chemical, which prepares the body for sleep. Melatonin is also reported to be a potent anti-inflammation chemical which can help in neuro protection. It has been shown to have anti-depressants capabilities.
5-HTP benefits for sleep and anxiety
5-HTP shortens the period of time required to fall asleep. This is attributed to the potential elevation of melatonin which is a sleep chemical. Better results can be benefited from by using GABA alongside 5-HTP supplement.
The supplement can also promote better sleep experiences such as reduced waking in the night or nightmares.
5-HTP has performed fairly in studies conducted to determine its effectiveness in treating anxiety. For one, it can protect against anxiety caused by brain toxins.
However, 5-HTP is not as strong as some prescription medications and supplements for anxiety such as L-Dopa. The same can be said for depression treatment. It is thought that 5-HTP can ease depression and encourage recovery from the condition. It has not been shown to work effectively all on its own to treat depression.
Other 5-HTP benefits include easing tension, easing head and migraine aches, obesity management and menstrual syndromes treatment.
What is the correct 5-HTP supplement dosage?
5-HTP can be accessed in form of nutritional supplement. Some vendors offer it as a prescription drug under different brand names such as cincofarm and telesol. In Europe, you can buy its patches or get them delivered to you if you are in other parts of the globe.
The most used 5-HTP dosage according to most of the available reviews falls anywhere between 100 mg to 300 mg. The dosage can be taken once to thrice a day. In the first 2 weeks, ensure that your dosage doesn’t exceed 150mg. This can be increased to about 450mg by the end of the fourth week. A typical 5-HTP therapy can run up to 8 weeks. In that time, you can keep increasing the dosage but not to above 500mg.
Taking a single dosage at once will invite nausea and heart burns. To avoid this, it is better that the dosage be split and taken about three times in a day.
As you can remember, we identified vitamins and minerals such as magnesium as important in the conversion processes that 5-HTP undergoes. It is therefore important to include a magnesium or vitamin B6 supplement for more effective results. N-acetyl-Cysteine supplement can also help.
5-HTP side effects from reviews
With natural brain booster drugs, not enough research is usually at the disposal to determine their actual side effects. In this case, reviews are the best chance we have of knowing what to expect.
5-HTP side effects are tolerable when the dosage is not exceeding 400 mg. In fact, some users have reported taking the dosage for up to a year.
5-HTP side effects include heart burns, gastric discomfort and potential sexual difficulties. Others have reported dizziness and feeling drowsy.
Using 5-HTP for a prolonged period of time can lead to extremely tender muscles. It is not known whether it is 5-HTP itself that causes this side effect or some other active ingredient in the products that are sold as 5-HTP supplements.
5-HTP has been used in children, though in low dosages. It helps to curb or lessen night mares in children. For example, 5 mg dosage is recommended for children below twelve years and above three years. Prolonged use of 5-HTP in children is not advised.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid 5-HTP. Also, the drug might contribute to undesired side effects if taken before serious medical operations including surgery.
Where to buy the right 5-HTP supplement and dosage
In the US, UK and most parts of the world where dietary supplements are available, 5-HTP supplement can be bought over the counter. As said earlier, you can also order for its patches, which are mainly available in the UK.
You can also buy other supplements or foods which contain tryptophan, which is a precursor to 5-HTP. Note that 5-HTP works by increasing serotonin but in the process lowers the levels of other body chemicals such as dopamine. For this reason, you can consider other herbal supplements such as mucuna pruriens which increases L-Dopa and in turn dopamine. Finally, try not to use 5-HTP for prolonged period of time, so as to avoid tolerance and frequent see-sawing of body chemicals.