5-HTP Plus Formula capsules, provided by Douglas Laboratories, contain 75 mg of natural L-5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) extracted from seeds of the Griffonia plant, together with 7.5 mg of pyridoxal-5-phosphate and 50 mg of a proprietary blend of the neurotransmitters L-tyrosine and L-glutamine. This product has been certified to be free of a contaminant, peak ""x"", implicated in a past incidence of dietary tryptophan-associated eosinophilia myalgia syndrome (EMS).
Serotonin, an important brain neurotransmitter, is key in the regulation of appetite, mood, and melatonin
production. The presence of serotonin in the brain is associated with a balanced emotional state. This is
achieved in part by decreasing the activity of certain excitatory hormones, including dopamine and
noradrenaline. Serotonin also acts as a satiety signal in the brain, thereby naturally regulating food intake.
Additionally, as a precursor of melatonin, serotonin is involved in regulating sleep patterns. Serotonin is unable
to cross the blood-brain barrier and is therefore synthesized in the brain. Tryptophan, an essential amino acid,
is a precursor for the synthesis of serotonin. Tryptophan crosses the blood-brain barrier and is converted to L-
5-hydroxytryptophan, which in turn is converted into serotonin. Unfortunately, tryptophan faces many obstacles
during its journey into brain tissue. First, dietary intake directly affects body levels of tryptophan, as the body
can not endogenously produce it. High protein diets often provide greater amounts of tryptophan, yet higher
carbohydrate diets appear to enhance tryptophan uptake into the brain. Secondly, tryptophan must compete
with other amino acids for entry into the brain. Finally, tryptophan may be taken up by other tissues for protein
or niacin synthesis, and thus is not exclusively for use by the brain. As a metabolic intermediate in the
conversion of tryptophan into serotonin, 5-HTP can also serve as a precursor of serotonin. 5-HTP offers a
number of advantages over tryptophan. 5-HTP is derived naturally from the seeds of the Griffonia plant, unlike
tryptophan which is produced synthetically or through bacterial fermentation. 5-HTP crosses into the brain
more readily than tryptophan as it is able to cross the blood-brain barrier without competition for uptake.
5-HTP is significantly more effective than tryptophan; one 50 mg capsule of 5-HTP is roughly equivalent to
500 mg of tryptophan. Finally, research studies have shown 5-HTP to be safe at levels as high as 900 mg.
As a result, 5-HTP is a safe and effective means of increasing brain serotonin levels.
5-HTP Plus Formula capsules may be a useful nutritional supplement for individuals wishing to obtain the
benefits of this well-documented plant extract to increase their levels of brain serotonin.
One to two capsules per day, between meals or as directed by a physician. Vitamin B6 is necessary for the
conversion of 5-HTP to serotonin. Thus, an adequate intake of vitamin B6 is necessary to derive optimal
benefits of 5-HTP.