5 Hydroxytryptophan-Everything You Need to Know

5-Hydroxytryptophan5-hydroxytryptophan (5-Htp) is a miracle component. It’s the successor of one of the 20 naturally occurring amino acids in our body, which form protein. In our body it converts to serotonin, a friendly hormone that reduces appetite, lifts mood and is an excellent sleep aid.

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Doctors believe that 5-htp can actually pass through blood-brain barrier. When released in the blood stream, 5-HTP goes to the brain where it’s de-carboxylates (relieved from carboxyl group releasing CO2 as a by-product) to convert into serotonin.

Because it’s converted directly in the brain- the hub itself, 5-HTP is considered very effective.

5-htp from Griffonia Simplicifolia:

Most of the 5-hydroxytryptophan OTC supplements available today in U.S, U.K, Canada and Australia use natural 5-Htp extracted from the seeds of Griffonia Simplicifolia- a shrub native to North Africa.

Long ago, African tribesmen used to treat wounds, diarrhea, headaches, bladder, and kidney ailments with the shrub. But now after the isolation of 5-htp from its seeds, the plant has gained worldwide popularity for its possible use in obesity, anxiety and insomnia.

      According to botanists, Griffonia Simplicifolia has:

5-10% 0f 5-hydroxytryptophan in the seeds

0.3-1.2% in the leaves and,

0.1-0.2% of naturally occurring 5-hydroxytryptophan

                   in the pods


5-Hydroxytryptophan Implications:

Implications of using 5-hydroxytryptophan are:

1.   Reduction in appetite:  Almost 90% of people who are fighting obesity suffer from Reactional Hyperphagia –compulsive eating. 5-htp, by increasing serotonin levels gives a feeling of satiety and kills the time-and-again-urge to eat.

2.  Mood Enhancement: 5-hydroxytryptophan increases the happy hormones – serotonin. High levels of serotonin helps to lift the gloominess and give us a feeling of being satisfied. Its production means low stressor (cortisol) in blood.

3. People having problem in sleeping can expect improvement:  Insomnia is a condition of restlessness and a person’s inability to sleep. By taking 5-htp, you will not only reduce your body mass but also have a good night sleep as 5-hydroxytryptophan triggers melatonin production (a sleep hormone).

4.   Minor Stomach ache, diarrhea or head ache: People who have just started using 5-htp can expect to experience minor stomach ache, diarrhea and or head ache. These are short-lived and not very severe.

    5.  Vivid Dreaming: Vivid dreaming means having an absurd dream which feels real. 5-htp is a neurology impacting component so as true with any SSRI drug including Prozac, 5-htp can cause vivid dreaming only if is taken in high concentration for a long period of time.

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Tryptophan vs. 5-Hydroxytryptophan Supplements

Serotonin SupplementsMany people who are interested in buying serotonin raising supplements for weight loss are often confused about which one is more effective; tryptophan or 5-hydroxytryptophan? The answer is 5-hydroxytyptophan.

After considerable research, I can tell you that tryptophan (a chemical composition with an extra hydroxyl group) can’t pass the blood-brain-barrier (BBB).

As it can’t cross the barrier itself therefore, most tryptophan supplements first convert into 5-hydroxytryptophan. This conversional capability of tryptophan into 5-htp depends upon the availability of an enzyme called Protein Kinase A, and two genes TPH I and TPH II coded at chromosome 11 and 12.

With our unique individual genetic make-up, people with a more high quality genes are better able to render benefits from tryptophan; while in others the conversion isn’t good enough to cause any noticeable change.

Therefore, instead of leaving the outcome to genetic make-up and enzymes, you should choose 5-hydroxytryptophan supplements. Their results are more definite.

Recommended Dose:

Using 5-htp supplement is very safe. Many studies have monitored the effects of this natural anti-depressant and appetite suppressant but have never reported a case of toxicity or severe side-effects.

However, because it’s a neurological drug, 5-htp use isn’t recommended over the period of 18 weeks. The recommended dose of 5-hydroxtryptophan is: 300-425 mg for an adult.


5-htp is more effective than tryptophan or serotonin supplements. It causes serotonin production in the brain, where serotonin can work the best affecting our body response strategy to food and anxiety. So, when it comes to delivering results in my point of view, 5-hydroxyptophan is a clear winner.


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