Tryptophan is an essential amino acid readily converted by the body to the neurotransmitter serotonin. Able to cross the blood-brain barrier, L-tryptophan is altered by enzymes to first form the intermediate amino acid 5-HTP and then serotonin. It is also the metabolic precursor to melatonin and to the B vitamin niacin. Supplementing the diet with pure L-tryptophan like TryptoPure™, found in Doctor’s Best L-Tryptophan products, can improve sleep and enhance mood, and may also be beneficial in reducing carbohydrate cravings.
5-HTP is the precursor of the neurotransmitter serotonin. It is obtained commercially from the seeds of the plant Griffonia simplicifolia. 5-HTP has been suggested as a treatment for many conditions. There is some research to support the use of 5-HTP in treating cerebellar ataxia, headache, depression, psychiatric disorders, fibromyalgia, and as an appetite suppressant or weight-loss agent. There is not enough scientific evidence to support the use of 5-HTP for any other medical condition.
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