Natural Depression & Anxiety Relief – A Healthier Way To Happiness
5-HTP For Natural Depression & Anxiety Relief
Although it may sound like it, 5-HTP has nothing to do with your computer. It’s a nutrient that can improve your mental health and function in a big way.
5-HTP (short for 5-Hydroxytryptophan) is made from one of the essential amino acids: tryptophan. You’ve probably heard of tryptophan when talking about your Thanksgiving turkey and feeling sleepy afterwards. But tryptophan does much more than that and is found in other high-protein foods like beef, chicken, and fish – and in dairy products. Your body uses the tryptophan you ingest to make 5-HTP.
Of course, you can also take 5-HTP as a dietary supplement. It can be isolated from the seeds of an African plant called Griffonia simplicifolia.
How 5-HTP Acts On Your Brain
5-HTP’s small molecular size allows it to pass easily through the blood-brain barrier that basically separates your brain from the rest of your body to protect it. Once through, it quickly converts to serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps the nerves in your body communicate with each other. Serotonin affects your entire body, but has an especially strong influence on your brain.
Serotonin can elevate mood by contributing to feelings of happiness and well-being. It even helps regulate your appetite. Low serotonin levels are linked to many problematic conditions – migraines, weight gain, poor concentration, aggressive behavior, even fibromyalgia. So, getting more 5-HTP in your body can help alleviate the severity of these problems, or possibly get rid of them altogether.
Another important factor is how 5-HTP contributes to better quality sleep. And we all know how good sleep improves our mental and physical health. It does this by increasing the amount of time spent in two vital sleep stages: deep sleep and REM sleep. In a study, participants who took a 5-HTP supplement felt more rested and refreshed when they woke up.
5-HTP and Depression
Because of its ability to directly increase serotonin, 5-HTP supplementation may be an effective natural treatment for depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. That gives you two ways to attack depression with 5-HTP – because poor sleep is a big contributing factor to depression.
European doctors have been prescribing 5-HTP to treat depression and insomnia for the last 25 years or so. There are many reports of people actually recovering from depression with few to no side effects. When you compare this with the long list of side-effects of prescription antidepressants, it’s clear how important it is to try natural depression remedies first. One study showed that over 50% of people who had long-term depression showed no improvement from standard antidepressant drugs, but felt better after taking 5-HTP alone.
Increase Your 5-HTP Intake Through Your Diet
First, consume plenty of foods that are high in tryptophan. This will allow your body to make 5-HTP while simultaneously providing it with other amino acids that are essential for good health. Excellent food sources of tryptophan include:
- pasture-raised meat
- raw dairy
- wild caught salmon
- sesame seeds
Just a note about sesame seeds. They are a cross-reactor with gluten, so if you’re sensitive to gluten, you might also be sensitive to sesame seeds, because your body sort of confuses them.
How To Use A 5-HTP Supplement
To boost serotonin levels directly and quickly, you can take a 5-HTP supplement in addition to getting tryptophan from your food.
Important: If you’re taking an antidepressant, you need to talk to your doctor before taking a 5-HTP supplement, because the 5-HTP is going to affect your serotonin levels.
It’s a good idea to start with a low dose and gradually increase it if you need to. The recommended dosage of 5-HTP for depression (and most of the other conditions I mentioned earlier) is somewhere between 50 to 100 milligrams, taken 3 times a day. So, that’s a total daily dosage of between 150 and 300 milligrams for an adult.
If you want to use 5-HTP to get better sleep at night, you can try a single dose of 100 milligrams about 30 minutes before you go to bed.
I’ve included 5-HTP in my formulation for better sleep, which is called Vitamin Zzzz. It contains 16 nutrients to help you fall asleep faster and get a better night’s rest. Each serving includes 30 milligrams of 5-HTP, which you may notice is less than the 100 milligrams I just mentioned. That’s because the Vitamin Zzzz formulation has 250 milligrams of other nutrients that will also help you fall asleep. But if you’re just taking 5-HTP alone for sleep, 100 milligrams is a good place to start.
I hope this information is helpful for you, especially if you’re looking for non-pharmaceutical ways to improve your mental health and sleep quality. For more health tips, please subscribe to my YouTube channel and check out my other blogs.
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