Serotonin, an important brain neurotransmitter, is key in the regulation of appetite, mood, and melatonin production. The presence of serotonin in the brain is associated with a balanced emotional state. Tryptophan, an essential amino acid, is a precursor for the synthesis of serotonin. Tryptophan crosses the blood-brain barrier and is converted to L5-hydroxytryptophan, which in turn is converted into serotonin. Unfortunately, tryptophan faces many obstacles during its journey into brain tissue.
As a metabolic intermediate in the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin, 5-HTP can also serve as a precursor of serotonin. 5-HTP offers a number of advantages over tryptophan. 5-HTP is derived naturally from the seeds of the Griffonia plant, unlike tryptophan which is produced synthetically or through bacterial fermentation. 5-HTP crosses into the brain more readily than tryptophan as it is able to cross the blood-brain barrier without competition for uptake. 5-HTP is significantly more effective than tryptophan; one 50 mg capsule of 5-HTP is roughly equivalent to 500 mg of tryptophan. Finally, research studies have shown 5-HTP to be safe at levels as high as 900 mg. As a result, 5-HTP is a safe and effective means of increasing brain serotonin levels.
One to two capsules per day, between meals or as directed by a physician. Vitamin B6 is necessary for the conversion of 5-HTP to serotonin. Thus, an adequate intake of vitamin B6 is necessary to derive optimal benefits of 5-HTP.