Healthy Origins® 5-HTP is a naturally occuring standardized extract of Griffonia simplicifolia containing greater than 99% pure 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). Extracts of Griffonia simplicifolia have been used traditionally in African medicine to inhibit diarrhea, vomiting and constipation, and as an aphrodisiac. 5-HTP is a precursor of serotonin (5-HT).
The diverse physiological funtions of serotonin in the body include actions as a neurotransmitter, a regulator of smooth muscle function in the cardiovascular and gastrointestinal system, and a regulator of platelet function. Serotonin is involved in numerous central nervous system actions such as regulating mood, sleep and appetite. In the gastrointestinal system, serotonin stimulates gastric motility. Serotonin also stimulates platelet aggregation.
As a precursor of serotonin, 5-HTP helps to normalize serotonin activity in the body. Considerable research has been conducted regarding the activity of 5-HTP. Some of the clinical studies are summarized below:
- MOOD - Dysregulation of serotonin metabolism in the central nervous system has been shown to affect mood. 5-HTP helps to normalize serotonin levels and, thereby positively affect mood. In a double-blind study using objective assessments of mood, researchers in Zurich reported significant improvements in mood with 5-HTP. Likewise, in a double-blind, multi-center study in Germany, researchers reported significant improvements in both objective and self-assessment indices of mood.
- SLEEP - Many studies have shown that depletion of serotonin results in insomnia, which is reversed by administration of 5-HTP. Likewise, Soulairac and Lambinet reported that 100mg of 5-HTP resulted in significant improvement for people who complained of trouble sleeping. Furthermore, serotonin is metabolized to the hormone melatonin, which is known to help regulate the sleep cycle, by increasing serotonin levels with 5-HTP, melatonin levels are also increased.
- APPETITE - Food intake is thought to suppress appetite through the production of serotonin from the amino acid tryptophan. Because it is an intermediary in the conversion process of tryptophan to serotonin, 5-HTP may reduce appetite in a similar manner as food intake, but without the calories. In a recent double-blind, placebo-controlled study, subjects taking 5-HTP lost significant weight compared to control subjects. A reduction in carbohydrate intake and early satiety were seen in the 5-HTP group.
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