5-HTP: Mood and Sleep

Often mood and sleep disorders go hand in hand. According to UK statistics, every 1 in 4 people will suffer from a mental health problem each year. Whereas, in any given week 1 in 6 people in the UK will experience chronic mental illness (anxiety and depression). Alternatively, 67% of adults in the UK report disrupted sleep and 23% report sleeping fewer than 5 hours a night. But, what is causing this and what can be done about it?

There are multiple factors that are thought to contribute to poor sleep and mental health. These may include genetic factors or social factors. Some adults may attribute these to work stress, financial burden or worrying about family and relationships. Truly the source of the problem can be ever-changing or sometimes unknown.

If you are familiar with the world of supplements you may have heard of 5-HTP or 5-hydroxytryptophan. Typically know for its benefits to mood and sleep 5-HTP is a natural compound that is found in the body as well as in African plants.

What is 5-HTP in the body?

5-HTP is created in the body from dietary tryptophan. Tryptophan is an amino acid found in many foods such as salmon, eggs, spinach, nuts and seeds. Tryptophan goes through a number of chemical changes to form either serotonin or melatonin. From tryptophan to 5-HTP the conversion is supported by cofactors Iron, Vitamin B3, B9 and Calcium. This naturally creates 5-HTP within the body. At this stage, we are supplementing the 5-HTP. From here, the 5-HTP is converted to 5-hydroxytryptamine or Serotonin. This is facilitated by cofactors, Vitamin B6, C, Magnesium and Zinc. From here it can go on to convert to melatonin using a specific enzyme and another amino acid called methionine.Picture Source: https://understand-andcure-anxietyattacks-panicattacks-depression.com/5-htp-Melatonin.html

What is 5-HTP extracted from a plant?

In addition to the body being able to generate 5-HTP, there is a plant source of the same compound too. 5-HTP can be extracted from the Griffonia simplicifolia. This is a plant native to Africa. This is most often found in the west of Africa, particularly +and Nigeria. This is the largest natural source of 5-HTP in nature. The 5-HTP is extracted from the seeds of the plant. Each seed contains about 20% 5-HTP.

5-HTP Health benefits

One thing that should be made clear is that 5-HTP does not carry any approves health claims, that being said it does have an abundance of supporting evidence.

Sleep

For some, sleep eludes us. Whether that’s due to stress, hormones, weather or light, chasing sleep isn’t easy for everyone. According to a survey performed by the Mental Health Foundation, results showed that sleep score reduced with age, and men had a better sleep score than that of women. Further to this, only 38% of the study population reported being ‘good sleepers’.

One animal study found that administering a GABA and 5-HTP mixture improved the latency, duration and quality of sleep. Another study supported this by finding that 5-HTP administration increases serotonin synthesis which leads to improvements in sleep.
Mood

For most of us we have good and bad days, mood can be delicate and easily shaken. ​In 2013, there were almost 4 million cases of mood disorders in the UK. A 2016 survey found that every 3.3/100 people have depression, and 5.9/100 people have a generalised anxiety disorder. Studies have shown that people with mood disorders have abnormalities in serotonin receptors. A 2014 review found that ‘5-Hydroxytryptamine receptors are activated by the serotonin neurotransmitter, while the 5-HTP transporter reuptakes the serotonin neurotransmitter from the synaptic cleft. Altered receptor and/or serotonin transporter (SERT) function may be associated with mental health disorders’

Our mood is governed by serotonin or the happy hormone. Serotonin is made in the same pathway as 5-HTP. One study that looked at multiple pieces of research found that 5-HTP was more effective in improving symptoms of depression than a placebo.

Lifestyle changes for improved mood and sleep

●  Set a bedtime routine, try going to bed at the same time every day

●  Try to minimise blue light exposure in your day

●  Take time in natural light.

●  Dim the lights in the evenings

●  Take part in exercise, this can be as simple as a walk

●  Take part in self-care activities

●  Do what makes you happy

●  Remain social, try to keep regular contact with friends and family

●  Be patient with yourself, and be kind to yourself

●  Take time to relax and rewind before bed - reading, meditation, breathing exercises

●  Seek support from your GP

Our tablets and Cautions

Our 5-HTP tablets contain 100mg of high-quality 5-HTP. The tablets are easy to swallow and very small, measuring only 9mm in diameter. All our tablets are made in a certified facility ( FSSC ISO 22000) and produced using certified and high potency ingredients.

*Please be mindful that 5-HTP should not be taken alongside any anti-depressants. Please consult your doctor before taking.

WRITTEN BY HARRIET HUNTER, ANUTR. NUTRITIONIST

References

●  https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/statistics-a nd-facts-about-mental-health/how-common-are-mental-health-problems/

●  https://www.aviva.com/newsroom/news-releases/2017/10/Sleepless-cities-revealed-as-o ne-in-three-adults-suffer-from-insomnia/

●  https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/sites/default/files/fundamental-facts-about-mental-healt h-2016.pdf

●  https://examine.com/supplements/griffonia-simplicifolia/

●  https://pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Griffonia+simplicifolia

●  https://www.nhs.uk/news/lifestyle-and-exercise/sleep-problems-in-the-uk-highlighted/

●  https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166432816302650

●  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9727088

●  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11869656

●  https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00026832