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5-HTP by Douglas Laboratories is a dietary supplement for serotonin support that contains 50mg of natural L-5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) extracted from seeds of the Griffonia plant in each vegetarian capsule.

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. This is achieved in part by decreasing the activity of certain excitatory hormones, including dopamine and noradrenaline.

Serotonin also acts as a satiety signal in the brain, thereby naturally regulating food intake. Additionally, as a precursor of melatonin, serotonin is involved in regulating sleep patterns. Serotonin is unable to cross the blood-brain barrier and is therefore synthesized in the brain.

Tryptophan, an essential amino acid, is a precursor for the synthesis of serotonin. Tryptophan crosses the blood-brain barrier and is converted to L-5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), which in turn is converted into serotonin. Unfortunately, tryptophan faces many obstacles during its journey into brain tissue.

First, dietary intake directly affects body levels of tryptophan, as the body can not produce it endogenously. High protein diets often provide greater amounts of tryptophan, yet higher carbohydrate diets appear to enhance tryptophan uptake into the brain.

Secondly, tryptophan must compete with other amino acids for entry into the brain. Finally, tryptophan may be taken up by other tissues for protein or niacin synthesis, and thus is not exclusively for use by the brain.

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 useful than tryptophan; one 50mg capsule of 5-HTP is roughly equivalent to 500mg of tryptophan.

Supplement Facts:
Each vegetarian capsule contains:
L-5-Hydroxytryptophan 50mg
Other Ingredients: cellulose and vegetable stearate.

Recommended Use:
Adults: As a dietary supplement, adults take one to two capsules per day, between meals or as recommended by a healthcare professional. Vitamin B6 is necessary for the conversion of 5-HTP to serotonin; thus, to derive optimal benefits of 5-HTP, one must ensure an adequate intake of vitamin B6.

References: Agren H, Reibring L, Hartvig P, et al. Low brain uptake of L- [11C]5-hydroxytryptophan in major depression: a positron emission tomography study on patients and healthy volunteers. Acta Psychiatr Scand 1991;83(6):449-455.
Babal K. The fall and rise of tryptophan. Nutrition Science News 1998;3(2):60-64.
Blundell JE. Serotonin and appetite. Neuropharmacology 1984;23(12B):1537-1551
Byerley WF, Risch SC. Depression and serotonin metabolism: rationale for neurotransmitter precursor treatment. J Clin Psychopharmacol 1985;5(4):191-206.
Cahill GM, Besharse JC. Circadian regulation of melatonin in the retina of Xenopus laevis: limitation by serotonin availability. J Neurochem 1990;54(2):716-719.
Cowley G, Underwood, A. A little help from serotonin. Newsweek Dec. 29, 1997/Jan. 5, 1998;78-81.
Goldbloom DS, Garfinkel, PE, Katz, R, Brown, GM. The hormonal response to intravenous 5- hydroxytryptophan in bulimia nervosa. J Psychosom Res 1996;40(3):289-297.
Ju CY, Tsai CT. Serotonergic mechanisms involved in the suppression of feeding by 5-HTP in rats. Chin J Physiol 1995;38(4):235-240.
Namboodiri MA, Sugden D, Klein DC, Mefford IN. 5- hydroxytryptophan elevates serum melatonin. Science 1983;221(4611):659-661.
Nicolodi M, Sicuteri F. Fibromyalgia and migraine, two faces of the same mechanism. Serotonin as the common clue for pathogenesis and therapy. Adv Exp Med Biol 1996;398:373-379.
Nolen WA, van de Putte JJ, Dijken WA, Kamp JS. L-5HTP in depression resistant to re-uptake inhibitors. An open comparative study with tranylcypromine. Br j Psychiatry 1985;147:16-22.
Richter-Levin G, Segal M. Serotonin, aging, and cognitive functions of the hippocampus. Rev Neurosci 1996;7(2):103-113.
van Praag HM. Management of depression with serotonin precursors. Biol Psychiatry 1981;16(3):291-310.
van Praag HM, Kahn RS. L-5-hydroxytryptophan in depression and anxiety. Schweiz Rundsch Med Prax 1988;77(34A):40-46. van Praag HM. Serotonin precursors in the treatment of depression. Adv Biochem Psychopharmacol 1982;34:259-286.
van Vliet IM, Slaap BR, Westenberg HG, Den Boer JA. Behavioral, neuroendocrine, and biochemical effects of different doses of 5-HTP in panic disorder. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol 1996;6(2):103-110.
Zmilacher K, Battegay R, Gastpar M. L-5-hydroxytryptophan alone and in combination with a peripheral decarboxylase inhibitor in the treatment of depression. Neuropsychobiology 1988;20 (1) :28-35.

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