An amino acid, 5-HTP or 5-Hydroxytryptophan, helps create serotonin, a chemical in the brain. Low serotonin levels in humans can cause several health problems such as obesity, depression, headaches and muscular aches and pains. Many of these side effects can be helped and possibly eliminated if serotonin levels in the brain are elevated, which is where 5-HTP comes in.
What's 5-HTP Used For?
How Long Does It Take to Work?
The dosage and length of time 5-HTP takes to work depends on why a person is taking the amino acid. If someone suffers from headaches, depression or weight problems, then it's recommended to take 50 mg of 5-HTP three times a day. In one to two weeks, the person should feel a difference and see some results. If nothing seems to change, the dose can be increased to 100 mg. It's recommended to take 5-HTP as capsules or tablets to avoid nausea. If a person is taking 5-HTP to combat insomnia, he should take 100 to 300 mg approximately 30 to 45 minutes before bedtime, and it should take about three days to begin to work. If a person plans to take 5-HTP continuously, he should be aware that there are some problems that have been found when taking more than 300 mg of this supplement a day for long periods of time. Be sure to check in with your doctor if this is the case.
How Does 5-HTP Effect the Body?
The human body naturally creates 5-HTP from tryptophan, an amino acid. In the body, 5-HTP is used to produce serotonin. Supplements, such as 5-HTP, can be bought at health food stores if the body isn't producing enough 5-HTP or serotonin on its own. Lack of serotonin is often associated with carbohydrate cravings. This is because when a person eats carbohydrates, serotonin in the brain is increased for a short time. So the body uses the 5-HTP supplement to increase serotonin in the body's cells, which can stop the carb cravings before they ever happen.