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5-HTP is generally derived from Griffonia simplicifolia (a plant native to Northern, Western and Central Africa) seeds although synthetic forms are available. It's a precursor to seratonin and functions as a tryptophan intermediary. 5-HTP is a naturally-occurring amino acid, The body makes 5-HTP from tryptophan (an essential amino acid) and converts it to an important brain chemical known as serotonin. It is marketed in the United States and other countries as a dietary supplement for use as an antidepressant, appetite suppressant, and sleep aid.


1) Depression— Low levels of serotonin in the brain can contribute to the development of depression. Many drugs prescribed for depression increase serotonin levels. Some studies indicate that 5-HTP may be as effective as certain antidepressant drugs in treating individuals with mild to moderate depression. Such individuals have shown improvements in mood, anxiety, insomnia, and physical symptoms.
2) Fibromyalgia— Although many factors can influence the stiffness, pain, and fatigue associated with fibromyalgia, evidence from several studies indicates that low serotonin levels may play a role in the development of this condition. 5-HTP has been shown to improve sleep quality and reduce pain, stiffness, anxiety, and depression in individuals with fibromyalgia.
3) Insomnia— Medical research indicates that supplementation with tryptophan before bedtime can induce sleepiness and delay wake times. Studies also suggest that 5-HTP may be useful in treating insomnia associated with depression.
4) Headaches—Some studies suggest that 5-HTP may be effective in children and adults with various types of headaches including migraines.
5) Obesity—low tryptophan levels may contribute to excess fat and carbohydrate intake. A study of overweight individuals with diabetes suggests that supplementation with 5-HTP may decrease fat and carbohydrate intake by promoting a feeling of satiety (fullness). Additional similar studies of obese men and women without diabetes found that supplementation with 5-HTP resulted in decreased food intake and weight loss.

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