Facts About 5-HTP
Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine or 5-HT) plays a vital role in the body and in the brain. According to Michael T. Murray in his book 5-HTP: The Natural Way to Overcome Depression, Obesity, and Insomnia, "out of the dozens of neurotransmitters, serotonin is the one most involved in the onset-and for that matter, the treatment-of various medical and psychiatric problems. If something goes wrong with the serotonin system, the impact can be tremendous. The consequences of serotonin deficiency syndrome can be devastating and include plunging moods, health threatening food cravings, ruined sleep, skull-cracking headaches, overwhelming body pain, and just plain exhaustion. Because low serotonin can result from the stress and strain of our modern way of living...I consider serotonin deficiency syndrome to be one of the most widespread amd debilitating medical problems of our time (pg. 17)."
Obviously maintaining adequate serotonin levels in the body is crucial to your health. An adequate supply brings a feeling of calmness, mild euphoria and relaxation, while a low supply taxes the body and contributes to a wide variety of mental and physical problems. So how can we maintain healthy levels of serotonin in our bodies? Serotonin can't be imported into the body from an outside source (such as a pill or an injection)
but an outside source can provide the raw materials that the bodies needs to produce serotonin. And this is where 5-HTP comes into play. 5-HTP provides these raw materials and can pass through the blood-brain barrier more readily than tryptophan (an amino acid that can be converted into serotonin).
From Michael T. Murray's (N.D.) book 5-HTP: The Natural Way to Overcome Depression, Obesity, and Insomnia, Bantam Books, 1998.