We will certainly meet people who will not equate mood disorders with a kind of disease, although in fact they should be treated as such. If this condition is not so dominant in our lives that we are unable to function properly on an everyday basis, it is worth getting mood-enhancing supplements. A popular and effective way to do this would be to use a dietary supplement called 5-HTP, or 5-hydroxytryptophan.
What is 5-HTP?
5-HTP or 5-hydroxytryptophan, is a derivative of the amino acid – tryptophan – which is the basic substrate for the synthesis of serotonin, known and commonly referred to as the hormone of happiness. The substance is mainly extracted from the seeds of Griffonia simplicifolia, an African plant with black pods and green flowers.
One of the most important characteristics of 5-hydroxytryptophan is that it has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, however, it can only do so in an unchanged form and only before being transformed into serotonin. If the aforementioned change occurs in the peripheral blood, the serotonin thus produced will not have the ability to reach the brain.
Benefits of 5-HTP
As noted in the introduction, the purpose of a 5-HTP supplement, in particular, is to improve mood and well-being. Getting down to the specific benefits, it is indicated that 5-hydroxytryptophan supplementation brings benefits like:
- Improves mood and reduces symptoms of depression – in order for the supplement to be effective in this aspect, depressive conditions should be caused by a deficiency of tryptophan due to either poor diet or dysregulation of enzymes metabolizing tryptophan as a result of chronic inflammation
- Improves sleep quality – serotonin participates in the process of melatonin synthesis, which guarantees the effectiveness of 5-HTP. 5-HTP, indirectly by increasing serotonin synthesis, reduces stress and has a calming effect. It has a direct effect on falling asleep and maintaining proper sleep.
- Reduces appetite – 5-HTP causes us to feel satiety faster.
As with many supplements on the market, one of the most important issues is determining the proper dosage. 5-HTP supplements usually come in the form of a capsule or tablet containing 50, 100, or 200 mg of the active substance. Basing on the current research state, 50 mg is considered a mild dose, while 100 or 200 mg is considered an optimal dosage of 5-HTP. However, the most important thing is not to exceed the acceptable daily dose, i.e. from 200 to even 600 mg (in exceptional cases and high demand). Depending on your needs and the advice of your doctor, you can take a 5-HTP supplement daily or just occasionally.