By Katie Reeves
Sub-edited by Ella Thwaites and Jasmine Wing
The amino acid 5-HTP has the ability to increase the levels of the ‘feel-good’ hormone Serotonin – but what does this mean for our health?
This particular supplement has been subject to a plethora of medical studies over the past few years, with many claiming it can help with anything from depression to healthy weight loss. But what are the facts?
5-Hydroxytryptophan is the by-product of the protein L-tryptophan and is commonly referred to as 5-HTP. It is produced from the seeds of an African plant known as the Griffonia simplicifolia.
The supplement works by increasing the production of serotonin, often referred to as the ‘feel-good’ hormone. Serotonin in the body can have an effect upon your temperature, pain, appetite, sleep and mood.
Various studies now suggest that a 2-4 week period of orally taking 5-HTP can be as beneficial as traditional depression medication. Other studies, however, propose that the supplement may be better combined with other conventional methods of treating depression such as talking therapy.
Many scientists believe that some types of depression can be at least partly caused by an imbalance of serotonin in the brain. 5-HTP tablets can address this imbalance and improve symptoms for some patients in trials. Click here for more information:
5-HTP has been shown to help some people feel fuller for longer.
Studies have shown that over two weeks, people who received 5-HTP ate on average 435 fewer calories per day. See the results of this particular study here:
Many of us suffer from insomnia in some form – and not sleeping properly can wreak havoc on our bodies in the long term. If you are struggling with not being able to get a full night of shut-eye, 5-HTP might well be able to help you.
As the supplement increases the levels of serotonin, it can be converted into the hormone melatonin, which plays a crucial role in regulating sleeping patterns.
Can it help me?:
A number of studies link 5-HTP to better sleep, weight loss, and improved mood. The effects will depend on the individual and therefore the best way to see if it helps you is to simply give it a go! Just make sure it doesn’t interact with any of your existing medications before you take it.