5-HTP is sold over the counter in the UK as a dietary supplement which is used as an anti-depressant, sleep aid and appetite suppressant. But just what is this strange sounding supplement?
Well to get a little scientific it is metabolic intermediate and is a naturally occurring amino acid and chemical precursor. Our bodies make 5-HTP from L-tryptophan found in dietary proteins. This is then turned into serotonin which is a vital chemical in our body.
Put simply, serotonin is one of the most important chemicals which helps our brain to function normally. It is serotonin that helps support our sleep patterns, control our hunger and regulate our moods. In fact serotonin even keeps anxiety, depression, sexual behaviour and pain sensation in check, so without enough in your body you could feel very off kilter. What’s more, without 5-HTP to create serotonin, your body could be seriously lacking in an important chemical.
Unfortunately we can’t get 5-HTP in usual food sources and the only way to boost it, is to try and boost your levels of L-tryptophan. Luckily, this chemical is in various food sources including red meat, seafood, poultry, dairy products and peanuts. Yet, just because your diet may contain high levels of these foods, it is no guarantee that you will have enough tryptophan.
However, there is one way to boost your levels of 5-HTP and therefore your serotonin levels – by taking a supplement. 5-HTP supplements can be used to treat sleep problems, depression and anxiety, as well being an appetite suppressant.
One of the benefits of 5-HTP is as an appetite suppressant. It is believed that low levels of serotonin in the body can induce appetite, so by normalizing serotonin levels you can also reduce hunger pangs. Therefore, 5-HTP is often taken as a weight loss supplement.
Low serotonin levels have also been linked to anxiety and stress, so by increasing serotonin levels you can normalise your mood. There is evidence to suggest that taking 5-HTP can be as effective as taking anti-depressants, only without all the harmful side effects. So by taking the supplement you can help to reduce some of the symptoms of depression.
There are many supplements that aid weight loss, take Acid for example. This is a natural herb that has many benefits. Acai, suppresses your appetite making you fuller for longer. This also impacts on your energy levels, giving you more motivation to carry out everyday activities.