5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is an intermediate in the natural synthesis of the essential amino acid tryptophan. Tryptophan is converted into 5-HTP, which in turn is converted into serotonin, an important neurotransmitter that is associated with the regulation of sleep, mood, appetite, aggression, temperature and sexual behavior.
Supplementation with 5-HTP is preferable to supplementing with L-tryptophan. 5-HTP is derived naturally from the seeds of the Griffonia plant, where L-tryptophan is produced synthetically or through bacterial fermentation. 5-HTP crosses into the brain more readily than L-tryptophan, as it is able to cross the blood-brain barrier without competing with other amino acids for uptake. Unlike L-tryptophan, 5-HTP cannot be shunted into niacin or protein production.
Supplementing with 5-HTP provides the advantage of bypassing the conversion of L-tryptophan into 5-HTP, eliminating possible obstacles in the synthesis of serotonin. This conversion process can be inhibited by many factors including stress, insulin resistance, increasing age, and deficiencies of vitamin C, folate, and iron.
Oral 5-HTP is well-absorbed in the intestine without the need for a transporter and is not affected by the presence of other amino acids. As such, it may be taken with meals without reducing effectiveness.
Patient One 5-HTP supplies 100 mg of natural 5-hydroxytryptophan. Studies suggest that 5-HTP supports healthy levels of serotonin, the chemical messenger that affects emotions, behavior, appetite and sleep.
Adequate levels of serotonin in the brain are related to a balanced emotional state. By regulating activity of certain excitatory hormones, including dopamine and noradrenaline, serotonin helps promote a sense of calmness and relaxation. In numerous studies, significant positive response was shown in individuals with negative mood status when supplementing with 50–300 mg 5-HTP daily.
Acting as a satiety signal in the brain, serotonin helps naturally regulate food intake. Studies support the role of 5-HTP in appetite and weight management. When used in higher doses (300 mg 3 times per day), 5-HTP has been shown to decrease food consumption and reduce weight.
As a precursor of melatonin, serotonin is involved in regulating sleep patterns and has a beneficial effect on sleep/wake cycles and sleep quality.