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A Supplement to Aid Mental Health and Weight Loss?

Bulk Nutrients Ambassador Tarran Lee

What is Serotonin?

Serotonin is a chemical messenger that sends signals between your nerve cells.

Low levels of serotonin are associated predominantly with mental health concerns, including depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders, as well as weight gain and other health problems.

It’s safe to say that increasing the body’s production of serotonin can have various benefits, with 5-HTP a supplemental product that can boost serotonin.

What Benefits Can 5-HTP Have?

For someone looking for a supplement that could help them sleep better, reduce symptoms of depressionor suppress their appetite, 5-HTP has scientific backing to make a difference.

5-HTP can stimulate the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that’s responsible for regulating mood and behaviour. 5-HTP has also been linked to promoting restful sleep and potentially contributing to effective weight management.

It’s generally known as being well absorbed when taken as an oral supplement, with around 70 percent hitting the bloodstream.

5-HTP for Mental Health

5-HTP has a strong research background when it comes to the potential benefits for people suffering from a wide range of mental health conditions. Research has linked the benefits of 5-HTP on anxiety and depression, by its ability to boost serotonin levels.

5-HTP and Depression

Depression has been scientifically linked to a serotonin imbalance, with some researchers believing that may influence a person’s mood in a way that leads towards depression.

One study of 15 females found that combining 5-HTP with creatine improved symptoms of depression after eight weeks. Another small study of people with Parkinson’s Disease concluded that 5-HTP could help improve symptoms of depression of those with the condition, compared to a placebo.

A lot of research into the use of 5-HTP to treat depression suggests the effects are stronger when combined with other substances or antidepressant medications – however this is not recommended to be trialled without strict medical advice, due to potential side effects.

5-HTP and Anxiety

There is however less research on the benefits of taking 5-HTP for anxiety.

One research study found that 5-HTP reduced anxiety and panic in people who were diagnosed with a panic disorder. The researchers did not find a difference in anxiety in other participants who didn’t have a panic disorder.

It’s believed that a lack of serotonin plays a role in anxiety and panic, but there isn’t enough research yet to prove a link to using 5-HTP to increase serotonin and reduce anxiety at the same time.

5-HTP and Sleep

Serotonin, produced by 5-HTP, can be converted into the hormone melatonin, which helps aid people in getting to sleep and staying asleep. Melatonin levels rise in the evenings which promotes sleep, and then gradually fall in the morning to help end sleep ahead of the new day.

A study of 5-HTP and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) showed the combination helped those in the study fall asleep faster and have a longer and better quality night’s sleep. Other studies of 5-HTP suggest it helps improve sleep quality, and the impact is greater when combined with GABA.

5-HTP for Weight Loss

Taking 5-HTP may increase feelings of fullness, causing you to eat less and potentially lose weight as a result.

Weight loss can increase the production of hormones that make you feel hungry, with the feelings of constant hunger potentially making weight loss unsustainable in the long term.

5-HTP may counteract those hormones, working to suppress the appetite and aid you in losing weight.

A study of 20 people with diabetes saw some receive either a 5-HTP supplement or a placebo for two weeks. Those who received 5-HTP consumed fewer calories (more than 400 less) per day compared to the placebo group, also seeing it inhibit the intake of calories from carbohydrates, associated with better blood sugar control.

Other studies have found links between taking HTP-5 and increased feelings of fullness, aiding weight loss in people who are overweight.

5-HTP and Fibromyalgia

5-HTP supplements are being researched for their efficacy treating symptoms of fibromyalgia, a condition that sees people suffer muscle and joint pain, tiredness and brain fog.

While it’s not yet known what causes fibromyalgia to occur in the body, it has been linked to low levels of serotonin, suggesting that increasing serotonin levels by using a supplement like 5-HTP can benefit those suffering from the potentially debilitating condition. Early research has suggested it may improve symptoms such as muscle pain, sleep problems, anxiety, and fatigue.

5-HTP Side Effects

The most common adverse effects of 5-HTP include nausea, vomiting and diarrhea – some less common side effects include headaches, insomnia, and palpitations.

It is not safe to take 5-HTP in combination with SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, a commonly prescribed type of antidepressant) and it’s recommended to consult a healthcare professional before taking it as a supplement.

Ryan Bevan Head of Operations TGA

Ryan Bevan

Ryan Bevan works hard to ensure strict TGA compliance, coordinating with external consultants, and managing intricate documentation - all while drawing strength from Bulk Nutrients' exceptional Quality Assurance team.

More about Ryan Bevan


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