Is 5-HTP A Good Substitute For Antidepressants?

old message Is 5-HTP A Good Substitute For Antidepressants? Darrell Miller 09/27/11


Date: September 27, 2011 01:21 PM
Subject: Is 5-HTP A Good Substitute For Antidepressants?

5-HTP or 5 - hydroxytryptophan is an amino acid derivative which is importantly involved in many body reactions. It is available in the body as a chemical metabolite of the amino acid tryptophan but can also be formulated synthetically from the seeds of an African plant which is called Griffonia simplicifolia. It serves as a precursor of brain chemicals called serotonin and melatonin which primarily influences the individual’s mood, sleep and appetite. This chemical substance is also called oxitriptan.

Clinical studies reveal that 5-HTP is metabolized and decarboxylated to the neurotransmitter serotonin through the catalyst known as Aromatic - L - Amino Acid Decarboxylase. Vitamin B6 is also involved in this process which occurs on nervous tissues and liver. When in excess amount already, 5-HTP is metabolized and eliminated from the body, therefore, toxicity is prevented. Also, 5-HTP has the capacity to cross the blood - brain barrier.

To discuss briefly, serotonin is required for impulse control and regulating mood. If serotonin level is decreased, impulsiveness and addictive behaviors may be common due to frail will power. Low serotonin levels are often attributed to anxiety, depression, panic attacks, insomnia, obesity, fibromyalgia, eating disorders, chronic pain, migraines, and alcohol abuse. 5-HTP functions inside the body by enhancing the synthesis of serotonin. This brain chemical is important for regulating sleep, appetite, body temperature, pain and even sexual behavior. Therefore, since 5-HTP can greatly help in the production of serotonin; it could significantly increase serotonin levels thus decreasing the occurrence of depression, anxiety and the like.

Though 5-HTP can significantly improve depression, 5-HTP is considered as a supplement only. Therefore, it cannot be used as a substitute for antidepressants most especially if these medications are prescribed by the doctor. There is no serotonin supplement available since this chemical substance is naturally produced by the body. However, it needs certain substances which will serve as its precursor so that production will be made possible. Many people have reported the positive effects of this supplement. However, as commonly said, effects vary from person to person.

5-HTP is available in dietary supplement which is commonly used as an antidepressant and sleep inducer. In fact, this supplement is available as an over - the - counter agent in United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Europe. In specific European countries, 5-HTP supplement is popularly employed for major depression. 5-HTP supplements are available in gelatin or vegetarian capsule which is either 50 or 100 milligram in preparation. The chemical substance is typically extracted from the seeds of the plant known as Griffonia simplicifolia.

Studies are still being conducted to prove the safety level of this supplement. 5-HTP is relatively safe. Therefore, health experts highly suggest that until more is known, do not self - medicate with 5-HTP supplement. Consultation with a doctor and a thorough health assessment are highly encouraged before supplementation is started. This would greatly help in the prevention of untoward effects and interactions with other medications you are taking. This would also determine the appropriate dosage of the supplement.

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