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Could anxiety be curbed with one supplement?

July 03, 2017 - Natural

5-HTP. An odd looking word, that has surged in popularity in recent years amongst scientists, nutritionists and individuals who are looking to optimise their brain function in a safe, and natural way. It’s application in the improvement of anxiety and sleep have been proven scientifically, as well as through a large online consensus on the efficacy of this miraculous supplement.

5-HTP is often derived from the seeds of the Griffconia simplicifolia, a plant native to Central and West Africa. Although it can be found in a few food sources such as pumpkin, potatoes and various greens in meagre amounts, the seed pods of Griffonia simplicifolia are a rare source of this chemical in abundance. It’s comparably much easier to obtain L-Tryptophan (the pre-cursor to 5-HTP) in your diet from foods such as asparagus and soy beans, but the advantages of supplementing the direct precursor to serotonin ensure that the benefits are maximised.

5-HTP is an amino acid, and the immediate nutrient precursor of serotonin, a neurotransmitter with wide reaching important uses. Serotonin is strongly linked to mood, sleep, and a whole host of important biological functions: meaning that if your body is better able to produce serotonin, due to having more of the building blocks available through supplementation, it is possible in some cases to dramatically improve problems caused by deficits of serotonin.

The large amount of scientific evidence backing both 5-HTP and L-Tryptophan as a viable supplement for improving cognitive function continues to amass. One eye-opening study into the efficacy of 5-HTP’s mood alleviating properties found that 99 patients who were described as suffering from therapy resistant depression where given a course of 200 mg daily of 5-HTP, resulting in a complete recovery was seen in 43 of the 99 participants.

For a multitude of reasons, individuals may have deficits in areas of the incredibly complex pathways involving serotonin, and this may have unfortunately wide reaching and debilitating effects, including depression, anxiety, sleeplessness etc. So therefore, by giving your body the building blocks of your bodies’ own personal mood regulator, you’re going to be able to produce it much more easily!

5-HTP also has an effect on cortisol levels in the blood. Serotonin is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, and it actually works to modulate a lot of key metabolic and neurological processes. When we have sufficient levels of serotonin, it acts to regulate our sleep wake cycle and stabilize stress levels. This is obviously massively useful for those suffering from anxiety, as taking 5-HTP can prevent the rush of cortisol which precedes a massive increase in anxiety, completely naturally by using your brain’s own neurochemistry to fix your anxious tendencies.

Another natural function of serotonin is the pre-cursor of a chemical called melatonin. Melatonin is an important hormone produced by the pineal gland, which promotes our natural sleep/wake cycle, as well as general body relaxation. Melatonin is also vital in the recovery from issues of depression, and low negative affect. It is indeed mind-blowing how the consumption of one solitary chemical can have such a profound effect on the bodily globally, and how it can aid in so many different issues.

Although I don’t suffer from any affective disorders, or problems with sleep personally, I have found that through taking a course of 5-HTP and L-tryptophan daily for around month now has given me more restful sleep, a better ability to resolve problems, and a better clarity of mind, as well as pretty much constantly having a resiliently good moo

Good brands to use in order to get the maximum benefit from this wonderful amino acid and its pre-cursor are Viridian, and Cytoplan. Cytoplan produce a 5-HTP plus supplement, and Viridian provide L-Tryptophan supplements, both offer high quality, vegan and naturally sourced ingredients, and both supplements have a Naturally Healthy Foods seal of approval.

Thank you for reading, and please follow Natural Healthy Foods on social media for more interesting and informative pieces of vibrant and healthy plant-based living.


Marty Hinz, 5-HTP Efficacy and Contradictions,, Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, 2012, 8: 323-328.
Dr Lam, 5-HTP Benefits for Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome,