5-HTP for Migraine - Check Before You Swallow

Teri Robert @trobert Health Guide
  • 5-HTP is an amino acid produced by the human body from the essential amino acid L-tryptophan (LT), which is found in dietary proteins. It's clinical value is in it's ability to increase production of serotonin, and it has been used clinically for more than 30 years. 5-HTP occurs naturally in two places -- the human body and the seeds of the Griffonia Simplicifolia, a West African medicinal plant. Let's see if I can simplify this a bit: Food that contains LT in the proteins -> 5-HTP -> serotonin.

    Why is serotonin so important?
    Serotonin (also called 5-hydrotryptophan) is found in the cells of the brain and intestine and in the platelets of our blood. When the walls of blood vessels are damaged, serotonin is released from the platelets to constrict the blood vessel and prevent hemorrhage. In the tissue of the intestine, it acts as a stimulant to make the smooth muscle contract. Most people are probably most familiar with serotonin as it acts in the brain - as a neurotransmitter that aids in the transmission of nerve impulses between synapses. All of these functions make serotonin very important to all of the body's systems. Serotonin deficiency has been implicated in mood disorders, appetite control, premenstrual syndrome, autism, eating disorders, fibromyalgia, appetite control, the pain phase of migraine, and other conditions and disorders. Some serotonin is converted by our pineal gland into melatonin, the hormone that controls our sleep cycle. Thus, serotonin deficiency is also linked to insomnia and other sleep disorders.

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Published On: May 30, 2008