You might have read in my first blog post why I started using 5-HTP tablets. Although it’s fine just telling you it worked for me, anyone looking to try 5-HTP for the first time should look carefully into it – as with any supplement.
5-Hydroxytryptophan, which is known as 5-HTP, is a dietary supplement that is made from the seeds of the Griffonia Simplicifolia plant, found in parts of West and Central Africa. It is a woody climbing shrub that grows to 3 metres, and bears greenish flowers and then black pods.
The seeds of the plant are often used as a herbal supplement, because the 5-Hydroxytryptophan they contain is an important building block for the human body to form serotonin. It is widely recognised as the precursor to serotonin. Serotonin plays an important role in the body specially as a neurotransmitter to transport signals between neurons in the nervous system. Griffonia Simplicifolia also has a legume lectin called GS Isolectin B4, which binds to alpha-D-galactosyl residues of polysaccharides and glycoproteins. This supplement is often given by spider silk farmers to increase production of stronger silk.*
Put more simply, 5-HTP is a compound which gets converted into serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is one of the principal neurotransmitters involved in happiness and anti-depression. Many people, and a number of scientific studies, claim that 5-HTP helps to restore serotonin levels in people who don’t have enough in their system, which is a problem that can lead to depression, anxiety, tiredness and weight gain amongst many things.
You might know that I first tried 5-HTP tablets to give my body a stronger start to my working mornings, and to cope with some periods of minor depression. But when you look around at the different benefits people are claiming, 5-HTP appears to cover much more than this. There is much documented commentary claiming that 5-Hydroxytryptophan has been used as an aid to relieve the symptoms of anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia, insomnia, premenstrual syndrome, binge-eating related to obesity, attention deficit disorder, and chronic headaches. There is also some suggestion that 5-HTP has featured in the treatment of certain seizures and symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Whatever you do, don’t use 5-HTP in place of medication that your doctor has prescribed. But if any of the above apply to you, its worth seeing for yourself what it can do. It certainly worked for me.