What is 5-HTP?
5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is a molecule that your body makes naturally. It is created from another molecule named tryptophan, which is found in many foods such as meat, dairy, eggs and seafood. 5-HTP is also found in an African plant called Griffonia Simplicifolia.
It has been marketed in many health supplements for a lot of different purposes. Some of those include: anxiety, depression, ADHD, sleep disorders, fibromyalgia and even weight loss. It has so many uses in the body because it is connected to the production of two very important chemicals; namely serotonin and melatonin.
As discussed in a previous post, melatonin controls your sleep cycles (also known as circadian rhythm). High levels of it tell your body to sleep, and low levels keep you awake.
Research suggests that taking 5-HTP may help reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, and also increase the duration of your sleep. It has also been found to help children who suffer from night terrors. According to Psychology Today, 5-HTP has also been found to support improved sleep quality.
You may have heard that your night’s sleep is composed of 5 separate stages. The last stage of the cycle is called Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. This is the stage in which your brain is most active; your eyes move rapidly from side to side, and when most of your dreams happen. It is also the stage of the sleep cycle in which your memories are stored in long-term memory, and your body regenerates.
REM is thus a crucial part of your sleep. According to Dr Murray, 5-HTP can increase your REM sleep by about 25%, making your entire night more restful and regenerating.
If you often feel tired in the morning, restless at night, or like you are not remembering important facts and events, you may want to look into supplementing your healthy lifestyle with 5-HTP.
Where can I get 5-HTP?
Written by David Sautter
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.