5-HTP is an amino acid that is naturally produced in the body and an important component in the conversion of serotonin and melatonin from tryptophan. It is found in abundance in the Griffonia simplicifolia plant, a climbing vine with attractive green blooms found in abundance in the western and central part of the African continent.
5-HTP is a key component in the production of tryptophan, an amino acid found in milk, chicken, beef, shrimps, turkey, lamb, fish and soybeans. It is widely used as nutritional supplement primarily for its ability to improve a person’s mood, improve sleep patterns especially in persons suffering from insomnia and suppress appetite especially with those experiencing problems with obesity and weight control.
Conversion of 5-HTP to serotonin happens in the liver and in the nervous tissues and is carried out with the support of vitamin B6. While serotonin does not have the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, 5-HTP has this ability, and is therefore able to penetrate the central nervous system where it can raise the level of production of serotonin.
Low amount of serotonin in the brain causes depression, anxiety and other central nervous system disorders. 5-HTP raises the level of production of serotonin, thus 5-HTP is used to treat Sonus Complete patients suffering from major depression, anxiety and panic attacks.
Aside from providing relief to patients suffering from depression and anxiety, 5-HTP is believed to treat Freidrich’s ataxia, a disease characterized by the deterioration of the muscles and tissues in the spinal cord which could eventually lead to speech and ambulatory problems and fibromyalgia, characterized by chronic pain around the connective and muscle tissues area which could lead to the significant reduction in a patient’s cognitive abilities, mental acuity and functions.
5-HTP may also be used as weight-loss supplement as shown in an experiment published in the Journal of Neural Transmission. In this experiment, overweight female subjects were placed in an eating binge for five weeks and were monitored daily for changes in mood and appetite. The result showed that 5-HTP did not cause any change in mood and behavior among the female subjects but manifested loss of appetite and weight.
Studies show that 5-HTP is safe to use. It has established its reputation as being one of the safest dietary supplements because there have been no single reported case of 5-HTP poisoning in its 20 years of being in the market worldwide.