5-Hydroxtryptophan (5-HTP) is an amino acid that is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin. 5 HTP is made by the seeds of the African plant Griffonia simplicifolia. This is herbal supplement and it is metabolized into serotonin.
It functions to alleviate depression by enhancing serotonin neurotransmission. Moreover, this supplement is also used to treat fibromyalgia, insomnia, binge-eating, attention deficit disorder, and chronic headaches.
5-HTP is not present in significant amounts in a typical diet. The human body manufactures 5-HTP from L-tryptophan, a natural amino acid found in most dietary proteins. However, eating food that contains L-tryptophan does not significantly increase 5-HTP levels.
Recently study in the 1970s and early 1980s have shown 5-HTP to be more effective than placebo in treating depression. The others small studies have compared 5-HTP to standard antidepressant medications. However, these studies have some notable drawback (small sample size, short durations, no placebo group, poor definition of depression, and the inclusion of patients with bipolar depression).
Furthermore 5-HTP has side effect and the most common side effect of 5-HTP are nausea, vomting, diarrhea, and aneroxia. In addition, euphoria, hypomania, restlessness, rapid speech, anxiety, insomnia, aggressiveness, and agitation have also been reported. It can happen and it possible because 5-HTP causes seizures in children with Down syndrome. Nonetheless, people who have kidney disease, peptic ulcers, or blood Platelet disorder should not use 5-HTP.
Very high intakes of 5-HTP have caused muscle jerks in guinea pigs and both muscle jerks and diarrhea in mice. Injected 5-HTP has also caused kidney damage in rats. To date, these problems have not been reported in humans. “Serotonin syndrome,” a serious but uncommon condition caused by excessive amounts of serotonin, has not been reported to result from supplementation with 5-HTP
Hygiene production have to concern about this product manufacture and there is some concern about contamination, even though the manufacture of 5-HTP is different from that of the standard tryptophan, which was banned in 1989.