Thorne 5-Hydroxy-Tryptophan (5-HTP) is a naturally occurring amino acid that is a metabolite of tryptophan, a common amino acid found in some proteins. It is an intermediate metabolic precursor to the biosynthesis of the neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin. 5-HTP increases the production of serotonin and therefore, serotonin's increased presence at neurosynaptic junctions in the central nervous system. This is what the SSRI antidepressants such as Prozac and Zoloft do but they do it by inhibiting the reuptake of serotonin... a different mechanism than increasing its natural production as 5-HTP does.
Because a lack of serotonin has been associated with depression, 5-HTP has been shown to be effective in treating mild to moderate depression in medical studies. Because it enhances the production of "the sleep hormone" melatonin, 5-HTP has also been shown to be helpful in treating insomnia. Medical studies have also shown some benefit of 5-HTP in the treatment of fibromyalgia and anxiety disorders.
Please note: 5-HTP should not be taken along with other SSRI antidepressants and MAO inhibitors. A total washout period is needed before taking 5-HTP after stopping SSRIs and MAO inhibitors. Please consult your health care practitioner for guidance on this.
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