L-5-hydroxytryptophan also known as L-tryptophan or 5-HTP (shortened form) is an amino acid which the body produces from tryptophan, also another amino acid found in protein foods (fish, poultry, meat, dairy products, legumes, and nuts).
This is another highly effective ingredient in the Alteril Sleep aid.
Once it is absorbed, 5-HTP crosses the blood-brain barrier and is converted in the brain into serotonin, a neurotransmitter that does a crucial role in the regulation of anxiety, mood, appetite and sleep.
Since it increases the production of serotonin in the brain, many researchers and therapists believe that the 5-HTP can replace antidepressants family of selective inhibitors of serotonin reuptake or SSRIs.
This is why it is given the same therapeutic uses to treat anxiety, headaches, depression, migraine and insomnia, fibromyalgia, obesity and a variety of neurological problems.
This 5-HTP is extracted from the Griffonia simplicifolia, a plant of African origin found especially in Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, specifically its seed, which contains in 3% to 7 %. It is also possible to synthesize it in the laboratory.
Uses of L-tryptophan
- Depression: About thirty studies have examined the effectiveness of 5-HTP (990 subjects in total) to treat depression: most are small scale, and eleven of them did not include a placebo group. Among the ten double-blind studies with placebo, seven have concluded that 5-HTP was superior to placebo. The overall evidence is hard to interpret, especially since the vast majority of studies was conducted between 1960 and early 1980. And, although five trials were conducted, their result does not conclude definitively that 5-HTP is as effective as commonly prescribed antidepressants.
- Migraine and Chronic Headaches: Ten trials of low methodological quality have focused on the efficacy of 5-HTP on this issue. The results indicate that 400 mg to 600 mg of 5-HTP per day can reduce the frequency and intensity of migraines and headaches (599 subjects in total). During one study, the 5-HTP (600 mg per day for six months) was as effective as methysergide, a drug used to relieve migraine, while causing fewer side effects. Note that the vast majority of these trials date from the 1980s.
- Fibromyalgia: The results of a double-blind trial in fifty subjects with fibromyalgia suggests that treatment with 5-HTP (100 mg three times daily for a month) can relieve symptoms characteristic of fibromyalgia ( anxiety, fatigue, pain, stiffness,) effectively over placebo. The findings of a study (without placebo) on fifty subjects are in the same direction. Finally, during a trial conducted on two hundred patients, compared the effects of a combination of antidepressants type MAOI and 5-HTP (300 mg per day) than in either treatment alone: the MAOI combination / 5-HTP has been most effective in relieving symptoms of fibromyalgia and migraines often experienced by people with MS. The researchers believe that a serotonin deficiency is common to both diseases and other researchers also highlighted the link between low levels of serotonin and fibromyalgia.
- Anxiety and Panic Attacks: The results of a double-blind placebo trial on forty-five subjects indicate that 5-HTP may moderately reduce anxiety disorders. Moreover, recent studies suggest that 5-HTP can alleviate panic attacks and night terrors in children aged 3 to 10 years.
- Weight Loss: Four preliminary clinical trials conducted by a team of Italian researchers suggest that 5-HTP (750 mg to 900 mg daily) acts as an appetite suppressant and can facilitate the pursuit of dieting.
- Insomnia: L-trурtорhаn hаѕ been used ѕuссеѕѕfullу fоr реорlе wіth insomnia in many studies, including dоublе-blіnd trіаlѕ.
- Pаіn: Dоublе-blіnd rеѕеаrсh hаѕ also ѕhоwn thаt оrаl L-trурtорhаn саn increase tоlеrаnсе tо асutе раіn.
- Prеmеnѕtruаl Sуndrоmе: Sоmе research ѕuggеѕtѕ that L-tryptophan may help bаlаnсе mооd ѕуmрtоmѕ аѕѕосіаtеd wіth PMS.
- Obѕеѕѕіvе-Cоmрulѕіvе Dіѕоrdеr: With a dосtоr’ѕ ѕuреrvіѕіоn, ѕоmе people wіth OCD have еxреrіеnсеd ѕоmе ѕуmрtоm relief frоm ѕuррlеmеntіng wіth L-trурtорhаn.
- Sсhіzорhrеnіа: L-trурtорhаn supplementation hаѕ оссаѕіоnаllу bееn helpful for ѕресіfіс schizophrenia ѕуmрtоmѕ, ѕuсh аѕ аggrеѕѕіоn аnd memory funсtіоn.
- Sеаѕоnаl Affесtіvе Disorder: Some rеѕеаrсh ѕuggеѕtѕ thаt L-trурtорhаn alone or in соmbіnаtіоn with lіght thеrару mау іmрrоvе SAD ѕуmрtоmѕ.
Proper L-tryptophan Dosages
- Take 50 mg to 100 mg thrice per day.
Migraine and Headache
- Take 300 mg to 600 mg per day. Start at 100 mg per day and increase gradually to avoid possible gastrointestinal discomfort.
- Take 100 mg three times daily.
As a Sleep Aid
- Take 250 – 500 mg (effective treatment of insomnia may be at least 1,000 mg at bedtime)
- 2 to 4 grams per day
- 2 to 6 grams daily, during the second half of the menstrual cycle
- 6 grams daily (only under a doctor’s supervision)
- 1 to 8 grams daily (under a physician’s supervision)
Seasonal Affective Disorder
- Using doctor’s supervision, 2 to 4 grams per day, increasing up to 6 grams if no improvement