What is the Difference between 5-HTP,Tryptophan And How Does It Help Sleep?

old message What is the Difference between 5-HTP and Tryptophan And How Does It Help Sleep Patterns? Darrell Miller 06/22/11

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Date: June 22, 2011 11:00 AM
Subject: What is the Difference between 5-HTP and Tryptophan And How Does It Help Sleep Patterns?

5-Htp and Tryptophan to Sleep Better, Feel Better

5-HTP, short for 5-hydroxytryptophan, is an organic compound that naturally occurs in the human body. It is a metabolite of tryptophan, and as such it serves as a chemical intermediate in the synthesis of the neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin. It is sold over the counter in many countries primarily as a dietary supplement. In addition, it is used as an antidepressant, appetite suppressant, and sleep aid.

Tryptophan to 5-HTP

Tryptophan is best known as an essential amino acid that must be obtained from the diet. Popular sources of this amino acid are eggs, cheese, pork, turkey, chicken, beef, salmon, and white flour. In one metabolic pathway, tryptophan is processed into vitamin B3, or niacin. In a completely different pathway, it is metabolized into serotonin and then melatonin, both of which are processed from 5-HTP.

Also known as oxitriptan, 5-HTP has been the subject of numerous studies in the past few decades. Being the immediate precursor of serotonin, regular intake has been observed to specifically increase the production of serotonin, the reason why it has been a very important amino acid widely utilized in the treatment of depression. On the other hand, tryptophan is utilized by the body in many ways.

5-HTP to Serotonin

Supplementation of tryptophan has also been used as a therapeutic treatment for depression. It is an alternative to antidepressants and stimulants, especially for patients deemed unresponsive to conventional treatments. Regular intake of this amino acid is recommended for the sole purpose of raising the levels of serotonin. But in order to do so, tryptophan must be metabolized into 5-HTP first.

Serotonin is often referred to as the happiness hormone, inasmuch as this neurotransmitter is implicated in several chemical reactions that contribute to physical well-being. For example, the perception of hunger is triggered by low serotonin levels. Not surprisingly, serotonin is the target of many drugs, such as antidepressant, anxiolytic, antiemetic, anti-migraine, and antipsychotic drugs.

Serotonin to Melatonin

It is a widely accepted fact that serotonin produced and released outside the central nervous system does not cross the blood-brain barrier, and thus it does not have the effect of serotonin found in the brain. That being said, its precursors, tryptophan and 5-HTP, can. For this reason, tryptophan and 5-HTP makes a viable candidate in increasing the levels of serotonin in the central nervous system.

Melatonin is synthesized from serotonin by a short metabolic pathway that stems from the synthesis of 5-HTP. Proponents argue that 5-HTP supplements work better than tryptophan due to the fact that the former is the immediate precursor of the neurotransmitters of concern. Furthermore, 5-HTP readily crosses the blood-brain barrier whereas tryptophan is subject to different metabolic pathways.

5-HTP works as an appetite suppressant since it makes serotonin more available outside the nervous system, especially in the digestive tract. By so doing, it promotes the synthesis of melatonin, which induces sleep. It also makes a reliable antidepressant as it increases serotonin levels in the central nervous system.

Grab Some Tryptophan or 5-HTP today and feel better, sleep better right now!

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