Scientists and researchers have found a natural supplement that will safely and efficiently boost serotonin levels and reduce depression, obesity, insomnia, migraine headaches, and anxiety: enteric coated 5-HTP.
5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is the amino acid that is the middle step between tryptophan and the important brain chemical serotonin. 5-HTP boosts serotonin levels and may offer benefit in conditions linked to low serotonin levels. Considerable scientific evidence indicates that low serotonin levels are linked to a number of common conditions, including depression, obesity, fibromyalgia and headaches. Commercially available 5-HTP is isolated from a seed from an African plant (Griffonia simplicifolia).
How can it help with depression? There is excellent documentation that 5-HTP is an effective antidepressant agent. 5-HTP often produces very good results in patients who are unresponsive to standard antidepressant drugs. More patients in a double-blind study responded to 5-HTP than fluvoxamine and 5-HTP was quicker acting than the fluvoxamine. The real advantage of 5-HTP in this study was the low rate of side effects. The most frequent side effect with 5-HTP was mild nausea, but this only occurred in less than one out of ten subjects. The enteric coated caplets used in this product, however, virtually eliminate any nausea.
Fibromyalgia is a recently recognized disorder regarded as a common cause of chronic musculoskeletal pain and fatigue. 5-HTP can largely improve the painful picture of fibromyalgia as demonstrated in several double-blind studies.
There have been several clinical studies with 5-HTP in headaches, both migraine and tension headaches, that have showed excellent results. In particular, 5-HTP is very effective in the prevention of migraine headache. Because chronic headache sufferers have low levels of serotonin in their tissues, some researchers refer to migraine and chronic headaches as a "low serotonin syndrome".
Several clinical studies have shown 5-HTP to produce good results in promoting and maintaining sleep in normal subjects as well as those experiencing insomnia. One of 5-HTP's key benefits in the treatment of insomnia is its ability to increase sleep quality.
Many people may be predisposed to being overweight because they have a decreased conversion of tryptophan to 5-HTP and, as a result, decreased serotonin levels. By providing preformed 5-HTP, this genetic defect is bypassed and more serotonin is manufactured. 5-HTP literally turns off hunger!
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