I have been seeing a great deal about 5-HTP on the internet, with absolutely no idea what it was. There seems to be some powerful claims about 5-HTP – A Natural Cure For Depression. I knew absolutely nothing about this stuff, so I decided to do some in depth research, here are my findings.
Where 5-HTP Comes From
When I started looking at the ingredients this really made me laugh. 5-HTP is made from 100% Griffonia extract, no really Griffonia. I nearly spat my tea out when I read that, it sounds like some kind of musical instrument.
Okay so what is Griffonia I hear you all cry, it’s a flowering plant in the legume family (plants that have pods like peas or beans). Its found mainly on the western coast of western Africa and in some central parts of Africa.
The 5-HTP is highly concentrated in the Griffonia’s seeds. So after harvesting, the seeds are removed and then pressed this creates a powder.
It is then placed in a solvent system made up of water and methanol, the extraction from this is around 98% 5-HTP.
How 5-HTP Is Made Up
The full name of 5-HTP is 5-Hydroxytryptophan, it can also be known as oxitriptan. It is a naturally occurring amino acid with chemical precursor as well as a metabolic intermediate in the biosynthesis of the neurotransmitter serotonin. That is a lot to take in but I think it is important to note that this is a natural anti-depressant.
5-HTP increases serotonin in the brain.
Many antidepressant tablets are classed as SSRI’s, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor’s. In layman’s terms serotonin is the brains happy juice, and an inhibitor keeps the juice in the brain longer to make you happier. This is a little simplistic, but it is much easier to understand described this way.
Over The Counter
It seems that in most countries it is available without the need to see a doctor first, and can be purchased over the counter at many online and offline retailers. In some countries they even brand it with other names to retail as an antidepressant.
Prices seem vary on strength but on average it seems to be around $20 (£15).
You can compare prices, quantity and strength on Amazon.
Most seem to contain around 180 capsules which would last around 6 months. There are of course other quantities available.
I also noticed that the dosage can vary too. The dosage ranges from 200mg to 400mg, but I cannot find what dosage is best to take. Many retailers state the higher the dosage the better the effect would be.
You can also obtain 5-HTP combined with other natural ingredients such as Valerian and St John’s Wart. Nutrition Blends offer a full rundown of the ingredients and their benefits. Take a look over on their site by clicking this link.
What Can 5-HTP Be Used For
It seems that it is primarily advertised as being used for depression. But it appears it can also be used for sleep, a dietary supplement and as an appetite suppressant. 5-HTP was trialed for the effectiveness of treating depression and gave better results than the placebo, which means that it was taken that it would be a good for the treatment for depression. However, many professionals say that there as not been enough quality research to back this.
As with any kind of medication, even natural remedies they can come with side effects. It seems that the side effects are almost the same as clinical antidepressants. The side effects are heart burn, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, sexual dysfunction, vivid dreams or nightmares and muscle issues. Some research suggests that low-quality 5-HTP products can exasperate these side effects.
5-HTP can also have contraindications, which means it can cause a negative effect taking it with other medications that are prescribed or bought over the counter. This can also be natural herbal remedies.
At this point I feel it is very important to remind you that you should always talk to your health professional before taking new remedies or medication, even natural ones.
5-HTP – A Natural Cure For Depression
Even though I have wrote a list of negatives above, it is important to point out that virtually all medication or natural remedies have side effects. But taking into account the benefits of taking the medication or natural remedy could outweigh these. It is also not written in stone that you would have any side effects, you may have a few or all of them.
After my research I decided to also check out reviews, most where positive so it seems they work for the people that try them and they repeatedly receive five star reviews.
I take a lot of medication every day. I have no idea whats in the medication I take, other than the main ingredient and they are certainly not natural. So I feel that I would try out 5-HTP and intend to discuss this with my healthcare professional. Taking a natural antidepressant appeals to me much more than taking man made chemicals. But I think I would need to try it out for myself before I could class 5-HTP the best natural cure for depression.
I will of course keep you updated.
Have you tried 5-HTP or would you try it? Share your thoughts below. If you have any questions please write them below and I will get back to you.