Our bodies can make 5-HTP out of tryptophan from our diet- this includes taking protein rich foods such as beef, chicken, fish, eggs, soy protein, certain seeds, vegetables, seafood and dairy. But this is not sufficient so supplementation of which is greatly recommended.
Although 5-HTP is not regarded to be a direct nootropic, why has it been a popular name in the nootropic world? And why is it an excellent supplement when both taken alone or in a stack? Let us now know what 5-HTP has to offer and how it works inside our body.
After ingestion of the supplement, 5-HTP makes its way into the liver to be broken down. Afterwards, it is then transported to the brain by easily crossing the blood brain barrier and since it is a direct precursor to Serotonin, it is then converted to that neurotransmitter. Now the good thing about 5-HTP supplement is that it is more effective since Serotonin itself cannot cross the blood brain barrier. So, what has Serotonin have to do with 5-HTP’s effects? Well, Serotonin is the neurotransmitter responsible for an individual’s attention, mood, perception of hunger and satiety, gastrointestinal function, and among others (3). With 5-HTP being a direct precursor to Serotonin, it would help us focus in doing our tasks as well as giving us an overall enhanced mood thus, influencing the way we think and act positively. In contrary to this, low level of Serotonin is associated with irritability, lethargy, anxiety disorders and even depression. In addition to that, a study conducted in 2005 by the Mood Disorders Research Center in Poland has found that taking 5-HTP could significantly decrease the symptoms of depression.
Moreover, Serotonin is also a direct precursor to Melatonin. It is a hormone involved in the regulation of our body’s circadian rhythm including sleep timing, blood pressure levels, and many other functions (4) and is highest between midnight and 8 in the morning. Because of this, proper sleeping patterns are promoted as well as the quality of sleep. As a result of having a good sleep, you will wake up feeling well-rested, and contented thus, affecting your overall mood and physical and cognitive performance for the whole day. With this, taking 5-HTP supplements may be of benefit to those individuals suffering from insomnia and may help facilitate falling asleep faster, yield a more relaxed state of mind, and may help you achieve greater REM duration, a part of sleep that serves to be of great importance.
On the other hand, 5-HTP has already been clinically validated to treat symptoms of depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. Recently, it has been successful in treating fibromyalgia and its related fatigue and muscle stiffness. It is even prescribed by doctors in the treatment of migraines. Moreover, 5-HTP has been shown to improve brain systems responsible for impulse control, thus reducing severity of panic attacks. It also serves to play a role in controlling one’s appetite by increasing satiety thus, making people feel fuller and would then eat fewer calories.
It is very crucial for any drug or supplement to be taken at the right amount and frequency for it to produce the desired effects while possibly eliminating or minimizing the undesired ones. With the case of 5-HTP, how much of it do we really need each day? The recommended daily dosage of 5-HTP is between 50 mg to 100 mg. For best results, it is advised to take this supplement in the morning with an empty stomach. This dose has also been used for the treatment of depression, anxiety and sleep disorders. This daily dosage may then be divided and taken into multiple administrations within the day for a more constant and sustained release of benefits. However for addressing sleeping issues, it is best to take 200 mg of 5-HTP before bed with water. It is also important to take note that daily dose should not exceed 500 mg per day. You may cycle its use to prevent your body from developing tolerance.
When starting with any new drug or supplement, it would be best to start off with the lowest possible dose to see how you respond and then gradually increasing it over time. Just like in the case of 5-HTP, a baseline dose of 50 mg may be used. You might also want to consider consulting your doctor or healthcare provider first since a person’s condition and health status may play a role.
The use of 5-HTP is generally considered safe and is well tolerated. There has been no serious side effects linked for its short term use however when taken in high dosages, it may result in heart burn, diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain, gas, feeling of fullness, and even rumbling sensations among some people. In addition to that, when serotonin levels are excessively high, it may cause serotonin syndrome. This condition may be life threatening and is characterized by confusion, agitation or restlessness, an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, heavy sweating, diarrhea, headaches, and many others. (5)
Although 5-HTP works in an excellent way when taken alone, it is also considered to be a great addition in nootropic stacks especially those who are seeking reduction of stress and enhancement of mood. A good and common example of which would be the L-Tyrosine and 5-HTP stack. These two supplements make a great combination in elevating an individual’s mood. In contrary to stacking, it is important to note that not all supplements are compatible with 5-HTP. This includes depression or anxiety medications such as the Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs). Having a thorough understanding of the drugs you wanted to have in a stack is important because some drugs might not go well with the others. Stacking supplements greatly depends on your needs and personal preferences however, it would be best to consult your doctor or healthcare provider first. Also, 5-HTP is not adviseable to be used among individuals under 18 years old, and among pregnant and lactating women.
You can purchase 5-HTP online at Amazon. It is also considered an over the counter drug in the US, Canada and UK thus, does not need any prescription from the doctor in order for you to buy one. 5-HTP supplements are available in a variety of forms like pills, tablets, and powder form. Buy 5-HTP now and experience a significant boost in your mood and sleep quality.
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