Wednesday, October 10, 2018

What is 5-HTP, Benefits, Side Effects and Dosing | The Ultimate Beginner's Guide - Health and Fitness City

What is 5-HTP?

5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is a chemical by-product of the protein building block L-tryptophan. 
It is also produced commercially from the seeds of an African plant known as Griffonia simplicifolia
5-HTP is used for sleep disorders such as insomnia, depression, anxiety, migraine and tension-type headaches, fibromyalgia, obesity, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), seizure disorder, and Parkinson's disease.

How does it work?

5-HTP works in the brain and central nervous system by increasing the production of the chemical serotonin. Serotonin can affect sleep, appetite, temperature, sexual behavior, and pain sensation. Since 5-HTP increases the synthesis of serotonin, it is used for several diseases where serotonin is believed to play an important role including depression, insomnia, obesity, and many other conditions.

Benefits of 5-HTP

1) 5-HTP May Help with Depression
Small clinical studies have shown that 5-HTP alleviates depression better than placebo. However, more large-scale and higher quality studies are necessary to confirm the safety and effectiveness of 5-HTP.

The antidepressant effects of 5-HTP are comparable to that of some antidepressants.

Combined treatments of 5-HTP and SSRI seem to have strong synergistic effects on serotonin levels in rats and humans so that some clinicians recommend the use of slow-released 5-HTP in combination with SSRIs (R, R2, R3). However, additional clinical trials are required to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of this approach, and combinations of 5-HTP and medications should only be used under medical supervision.

In a small clinical trial involving 52 healthy male subjects, either oral 5-HTP or antidepressant enhanced serotonin levels by 35% and 100%, but a combination between antidepressant and 5-HTP by 500%.

2) 5-HTP Helps with Panic Attacks and Anxiety
In young adults who suffer stress or anxiety from unreciprocated romanticism, a 6-week supplementation of 5-HTP decreased anxiety in 3 weeks by increasing serum brain-derived neurotrophic factor levels and serotonin levels.

People who suffer from chronic panic attacks due to lower availability of serotonin in the brain found significant relief through supplementation of 200 mg of 5-hydroxytryptophan.

In human clinical trials, herbal extracts of 5-HTP were shown to increase GABA receptor agonists or increase GABA levels entirely, promoting a sense of relaxation and decreased anxiety.

3) 5-HTP Helps with Night Terrors in Children
Children aged 3-10 who suffer from sleep terrors nightly had a reduction of 93.5% after taking a supplement of 2 mg/kg every night before bed for a month.

4) 5-HTP Helps Reduce Appetite, Craving, and Weight Loss
Carbohydrate increases serotonin levels in the brain, so increasing serotonin levels, such as by supplementing with 5-HTP, can mitigate carbohydrate craving and appetite, thus helps with adherence to dietary interventions and weight loss.

In small clinical trials, 5-HTP supplementation in obese women resulted in no mood changes but decreased food intake and weight loss.

5) 5-HTP Supports Successful Dietary Intervention in Type II Diabetes
In a 2-week long clinical trial involving 25 overweight diabetic subjects given no dietary restrictions, subjects who received 5-HTP had reduced caloric, carbohydrate, and fat intake compared to placebo. Subjects who received 5-HTP also have reduced body weight, blood sugar, insulin and HbA1C levels after 2 weeks, possibly due to changes in the diet.

6) 5-HTP Helps Improve Sleep Quality
A human with a genetic mutation that causes serotonin deficiency lacks circadian rhythm and overeats. For this person, supplementation with 5-HTP restores normal circadian rhythm and food intake.

Over long periods of supplementation, natural transcription of GABA receptors increased which assisted with natural sleep cycles and promotion of healthy sleep.

A small clinical trial demonstrated that the use of 5-HTP in combination with GABA  significantly improves sleep quality in 9 subjects with sleep disorders, in comparison to placebo.

It’s not normal to struggle falling asleep and wake up in the morning feeling more tired than when you went to bed. Biohacking Insomnia attacks sleep issues from every angle including limbic system repair, hormone levels, and circadian rhythm retraining.

7) 5-HTP may Help Mitigate Neurological Symptoms of Phenylketonuria
5-HTP relieves neurological symptoms due to phenylketonuria in mice.

8) 5-HTP Helps Restore Serotonin Levels After a Spinal Cord Injury
In rats with simulated spinal cord injury, supplementation with 5-HTP restored normal levels of serotonin.

Side Effects of 5-HTP

1) 5-HTP can Cause Nausea and Vomiting
Since serotonin in the digestive system controls gut movement, all interventions that increase serotonin levels, including 5-HTP supplementation and SSRI antidepressants, can cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

The most commonly reported side effects of 5-HTP in all clinical trials in humans are nausea and vomiting as the quick surge of serotonin throughout the body is not well tolerated.

Slow-released 5-HTP may be better tolerated and less likely to cause side effects.

2) Long-Term Supplementation with 5-HTP can Deplete Dopamine, Norepinephrine, and Epinephrine
Serotonin shares the same conversion (AAAD) and breakdown enzyme (MAO) with catecholamine neurotransmitters (dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine).

Long-term supplementation of 5-HTP can cause imbalances of these neurotransmitters, which can worsen neurological and psychiatric diseases. It is therefore recommended that 5-HTP supplementation is supervised by qualified clinicians and balanced with catecholamine precursors.

3) 5-HTP and Serotonin Syndrome
Serotonin syndrome explains a set of symptoms caused by very high levels of serotonin, which can be very serious and life-threatening.

Mild symptoms include shivering, sweating, tremor, restless limbs, and headache. Serious symptoms include hypertension, fever, mania, hallucination, and ataxia.

Serotonin syndrome is almost exclusively caused by SSRI and MAOI combinations, causing excessive levels of serotonin in the brain.

5-HTP or 5-HTP in combination with SSRI has not been reported to cause serotonin syndrome.

4) 5-HTP and Eosinophilia Myalgia Syndrome
Eosinophilia myalgia syndrome (EMS) is a disease causing severe, disabling, chronic muscle pain, skin symptoms, and other neurotoxic reactions which has affected over 1,500 people and caused at least 38 deaths. The FDA estimated that there are 10 EMS cases associated with 5-HTP worldwide.

It seems more likely that it is caused by a bacterial contamination in the supplement than tryptophan or 5-HTP itself. No new cases of supplement-related EMS have been reported since 1990.

5) 5-HTP Absorption and Elimination
5-HTP is rapidly absorbed in the upper intestine, with 50% of 5-HTP absorbed in 1.5 hours.

Elimination of 5-HTP is also rapid, with 50% absorbed in 2 hours.

Due to the rapid pharmacokinetics of 5-HTP, slow-release supplementation of 5-HTP may be more beneficial to maintain serotonin levels in the brain.

About 70% of ingested 5-HTP is found in the bloodstream.

Patients who take 5-hydroxytryptophan have severely decreased levels of P450 expression.

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

ADULT By mouth:
For depression: Several studies have used doses of 150-3000 mg daily in up to three divided doses for 2-6 weeks. Doses have also been gradually increased from 150 mg daily for 2 weeks up to 400 mg daily for 4 weeks.

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