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5-Hydroxytryptophan is an ingredient that is also commonly known as 5-HTP and that is found in a range of different types of nonprescription supplements that are currently available on the market.

Where Does 5-Hydroxytryptophan Come From?

It is a chemical byproduct of L-tryptophan, which is one of the building blocks of protein. That said, it can also be obtained from the seeds of griffonia simplicifolia, which is a plant that is native to Africa.

Why is 5-HTP Used?

While this substance is known to be helpful with a number of different types of issue, such as treating tension and migraine headaches, depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), fibromyalgia, and attention deficit disorder, it is also often used to help to control the binge eating that is associated with some common forms of obesity.

That said, just because 5-Hydroxytryptophan has been used for the treatment of a condition, illness or disease, it doesn’t mean it will actually work.  For that reason, it’s always a good idea to look into the research that has been conducted on this ingredient. By examining studies that have been published in medical journals, even if it’s just a matter of reading the abstract to see how the research was done and what they found, it will give you a better idea of what you might be able to expect.

It’s always important to speak with a doctor before starting the use of any new supplement.  Just because it isn’t a prescription medication, this doesn’t mean that it is necessarily safe for everyone.  5-Hydroxytryptophan is considered to be possibly safe when taken orally in limited doses by healthy adults, according to published literature.

What Has Research Found About 5-Hydroxytryptophan?

There have been many clinical studies conducted on 5-HTP in order to better understand its effects and its safety. This has helped in the formation of a strong understanding of how much is required in order to be able to obtain the desired results and to know just what types of outcomes can be expected from its use.

This research has been ongoing for decades and has determined that it can produce very positive appetite suppressing benefits that can make it easier for dieters to be able to adhere to a reduced calorie diet, without suffering from the pangs of hunger that would otherwise cause them to overeat. This makes it one ingredient that can be found in some effective products for weight management.

The mood supporting and balancing benefits of 5-HTP can also be quite beneficial to dieters. It is known to enhance the production of the brain chemical, serotonin, which can not only affect the size of the appetite, but that also helps to stave off depression.

This means that it helps to support good levels of motivation throughout the length of an attempt to lose weight. This added motivation can improve a dieter’s ability to stick with a program without giving up or losing hope, even when a plateau appears to have been reached.

How is 5-HTP Taken?

While 5-HTP is sometimes used on its own to help dieters to lose weight more effectively in conjunction with a healthy eating and exercising program, it is frequently used to greater benefit in high quality formulas that include other researched ingredients that complement these effects. This ingredient works well with several other known and studied substances and can help to provide a more complete tool for promoting healthy weight loss.

Are There Possible Side Effects?

Though most healthy adults can take 5-Hydroxytryptophan safely, there is still a chance that certain side effects could occur.  When taken in small amounts, any side effects that do occur are typically quite mild and bearable.  That said, there are certain factors that can lead to less pleasant side effects, such as taking too much of this substance all at once. Moreover, the presence of certain medical conditions or taking some prescription medications or drugs could increase the chances of unpleasant side effects.

High doses of 5-HTP – that is, doses of 6 grams or higher, can cause muscle spasms, stomach problems and more.  According to WebMD, research shows that up to 400 milligrams per day can be safely used for up to a full year.

There is record of some people taking it who have developed eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS), which is a serious condition that involves myalgia – that is, extreme muscle tiredness, and abnormalities of the blood (eosinophilia). That said, the connection between 5-HTP and those conditions has not yet been firmly made. It has been speculated that the conditions were the result of contaminants in the supplements used by those patients and was not an outcome of using 5-Hydroxytryptophan.

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