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  • Writer's pictureDr. Kristen Mitteness

5-HTP: What's the hype?

Do any of these statements resonate with you?

"My life is great, I have nothing to complain about but I don't feel happy."

"I have a hard time sleeping even though I am active during the day and eat well."

"My body aches and my doctor thinks I have fibromyalgia but I don't know what to do."

"I think I have the winter blues but vitamin D doesn't seem to help."

I feel like I've been recommending 5-HTP to people left, right and center lately. The more I research it and use it, the more I love it. So, what's the hype?

5-HTP is an amino acid that converts into serotonin in the brain and gut. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter. It carries signals and information along the nerves. It is very important in regulating mood and making melatonin. Serotonin is essential in helping us feel good, sleep well and remember things. A lack of serotonin can lead to depression, moodiness, poor sleep, poor memory, fibromyalgia, anxiety, difficulty detoxing and low sex drive.

We can increase our serotonin levels through exercise, eating well and taking 5-HTP. We negatively impact our serotonin levels by eating sugar, drinking alcohol or taking drugs. Lack of sunlight, leaky gut and lack of exercise will also decrease serotonin levels.

If you are already taking an anti-depressant, 5-HTP is not recommended. If you feel like you have the winter blues, have difficulty sleeping or have fibromyalgia symptoms, taking 100 to 300mg of 5-HTP may be helpful. I take it along with Best Rest Formula about one hour before I go to bed and have had great results.

Last November I had my own personal case of "everything in my life is good but I don't feel happy." I thought it could be my living conditions and my decreased activity. So, I changed my attitude about my home life and I made exercise a priority. I felt much better, but was still missing something. I've used 5-HTP in the past and I decided to try it again. Honestly, it was a night and day difference. My mood was instantly improved and I felt like I woke up refreshed. I take it 3-4 nights per week. I'm not a fan of becoming reliant on anything to sleep, so I like to take breaks from it on occasion.

We are currently carrying 5-HTP Plus from Douglas Labs. In addition to 5-HTP, it has B6, L-tyrosine and L-glutamine which help with the conversion to serotonin. I love the stuff.

If you have additional questions, feel free to chat about this option with your favorite health care provider or learn more here and here.

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