Griffonia simplicifolia is a shrub native to Africa and it’s seed contains a high concentration of the brain and sleep booster, 5-Hydroxytryptophan. 5-HTP is an amino acid the body produces in the production of serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter largely responsible for our moods, depression, and anxiety levels. It has been used for centuries for its medicinal properties and is sold across the world for its beneficial properties as a nutritional supplement. The theory behind its usage is that serotonin deficits are to blame for depression, anxiety, and sleep issues. Serotonin is essential for body clock functions and regulation of sleep-wake behavior, making this vegan and natural supplement great for getting a healthier, more restful night of sleep - which we can all use a little help with.
Where do 5-HTP Supplements come from?
5-HTP occurs naturally in the body. We make our own supply, which is turned into serotonin. A 5-HTP supplement is extracted from the seeds of the Griffonia simplicifolia tree. It is a climbing, woody, shrub that flowers thick green blooms with hard black pods. Manufacturers extract it from the exuberance of wild Griffonia simplicifolia trees, package, and sell it as a supplement. Until 1995, it was only available with a prescription from a doctor or medical professional.
How Does 5-HTP Work?
Ingesting 5-HTP causes increased production of serotonin in the brain and central nervous system, according to WebMD. Serotonin affects a wide variety of bodily activities including appetite, sleep, mood, pain levels, and libido. Diseases and health issues thought to be governed by serotonin release are often treated with 5-HTP because it speeds up serotonin synthesis. Some issues usually attributed to low levels of serotonin, such as depression, can also have other causes, making intake of 5-HTP unhelpful.
How Can 5-HTP Help Me?
5-HTP can potentially aid in the reduction of symptoms for any malady stemming from a lack of serotonin. These include:
- Sleep issues
- Chronic pain management
How Does 5-HTP Help with Sleep?
5-HTP is produced in the body from Tryptophan, another amino acid. Tryptophan is also used in the production of serotonin. It is also a promoter of health sleep within the body. It is found in proteins in the food we eat. Ingesting 5-HTP helps induce better sleep by encouraging further synthesizing of amino acid Tryptophan. Lab tests on animals show that those that were administered caffeine to induce insomnia were affected by a combination of 5-HTP and gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA). Once exposed to the combination of amino acids, deep and lengthy sleep was induced.
How Do I Incorporate 5-HTP into my Sleep Routine?
Supplements can be found in pill and powder form. Pills are in 25, 50, and 100 mg capsules. There may be smaller amounts in multi-vitamin tablets. There is no recommended daily allowance. The FDA has not approved the medicinal usage of 5-HTP. A common dosage is 50-100 mg a day and most experts recommend starting with a 25 mg dose (a serving of FOCL Night contains 50 mg). After a few days, you will be able to gauge effects and adjust the dosage to what’s right for you. As with any supplement, a healthcare professional should be consulted.
Using 5-HTP to support a healthy life and sleep routine can be as easy as taking a daily supplement. If you’re looking to optimize this natural sleep aid even further, you can also take it with other botanicals that support sleep cycles. Valerian root, Purple Passion Flower, and Hops, which upregulate GABA, are also synergistic with 5-HTP. Not into buying a bunch of different supplements and taking dozens of capsules? FOCL Night combines Premium Hemp CBD with Valerian Root, Purple Passion Flower, Hops Flower, and 5-HTP to give you the ultimate night of sleep in 2 nightly capsules.
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Good sleep is something that evades all of us from time to time—but there are some supplements that claim they can help. And in terms of valerian root vs melatonin, two of the most popular on the market, the results might surprise you.