Serotonin: Properties, Benefits, Side-effects?
IMPORTANCE OF SEROTONIN
5-HTP is an amino acid produced by the human body from 'essential amino acid
L-tryptophan (LT), which is located in food proteins. Its clinical value lies in its ability to increase the production of serotonin, and has been used clinically for over 30 years.
In nature you can find 5-HTP in the human body and in the seeds of Griffonia simplicifolia, a West African medicinal plant.
The production process is simple:
Food that contains LT in the proteins -> 5-HTP -> serotonin
Because serotonin is so important?
Serotonin (also called 5-hydrotryptophan) is found in the cells of the brain and of the 'intestines and in the platelets of our blood. When the walls of the blood vessels are damaged, serotonin is the r Asciata from platelets to give rise to a constriction of blood vessels and prevent hemorrhage. In intestinal tissue acts as a stimulant of peristalsis (smooth muscle contraction).
Most people probably more familiar with the properties of serotonin to act on the brain as a neurotransmitter (helps the transmission of nerve impulses between synapses). These numerous functions make serotonin very important for all the systems of the human body and the deficiency leads to mood disorders, a faulty control appetite, premenstrual syndrome, autism, eating disorders, fibromyalgia, pain in migraine, and other disorders. Part of serotonin is converted by our pineal gland into melatonin, the hormone that controls the sleep cycle. Thus, the lack of serotonin is also linked to 'insomnia and other sleep disorders.
Increasing levels of 5-HTP
Since eating foods that contain L-tryptophan does not significantly increase the levels of 5-HTP is extracted from the seeds of Griffonia simplicifolia and marketed as a dietary supplement. The quantity of 5-HTP recommended varies depending on the disfuzione to correct.
Short pharmacological concepts:
The 5-hydroxytryptophan, or La-amino acid-b-(5-idrossiindolil) propionic acid, is derived from tryptophan, an essential amino acid, known to be the precursor dell'idrossitriptamina, or serotonin (5-HT); more precisely the 5-HTP is the intermediate step of conversion of tryptophan to serotonin, the transformation that occurs at the synaptic level.
Tryptophan, which is synthesized endogenously serotonin, is present in many foods, especially meat and dairy products. This essential amino acid is available in the plasma, both in its free form, is bound to plasma proteins, but only the free form, in competition with other amino acids, is able to cross the blood-brain barrier to be then converted by specific enzymes, in 5-HTP, first, and then, by the work of the L-amino acid decarboxylase, serotonin; the latter is, in turn, turned off for transformation in acid 5-Hydroxyindole-3-acetic acid (5-HIAA) by the work of mitochondrial enzymes (MAO). Ultimately, only a very small percentage of tryptophan taken with food is converted into serotonin.
Role of Serotonin and potential of 5-hydroxytryptophan against depression and obesity
Serotonin plays an important role as a neurotransmitter in the regulation of many activities at the level of the central nervous system, which control the threshold of pain, sleep induction, regulation of endocrine pituitary, neuronal excitability, thermoregulation, appetite, sexual behavior, aggression. Multiple studies have shown that increased levels of serotonin leads to elevated mood, decreased appetite, improved sleep. Conversely, depressive syndromes manifest themselves, in most cases, because of a defect in synaptic serotonin in certain slots of the brain.
With the term of SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors) are indicated those drugs able to selectively block the uptake of serotonin, or re-uptake, the part of the nerve endings, with a consequent increase in the level of this neurotransmitter at the level sinaptico5. Belong to this class drugs such as fluoxetine, paroxetine who present themselves as therapeutic indications depressive syndromes, whether or not accompanied by anxiety and sleep disorders, the forms of obesity linked to psychological disorders, bulimia nervous.
An increased level of serotonin can be achieved, however, even in the most natural way, for example, increasing the level of endogenous precursors dell'idrossitriptamina, which the L-5-HTP, which is a result, among other things, by numerous studies conducted between 1970 and 1980 to be more potent than the synthetic drugs tricyclic antidepressants. This would also avoid many of the side effects that SSRIs, like most drugs, causing our body.
An aid "natural", therefore, against the depression and some forms of obesity could be represented by its L-5-hydroxytryptophan. The administration of 5-HTP leads to a significant increase in the levels of serotonin not binding to plasma proteins, not competing with other amino acids in crossing the blood brain barrier, not being metabolized into nicotinic acid as occurs for tryptophan.
Pharmacokinetics of 5-HTP
5-HTP is rapidly absorbed orally; does not bind to plasma proteins; quickly crosses the blood brain barrier and then be converted to serotonin; is, therefore, eliminated by the kidneys as 5-HIAA.
CLINICAL APPLICATIONS AND DOSAGE
Depression and obesity
The antidepressant efficacy of 5-HTP has been studied in more than 500 patients treated with dosages from 50 mg / day to 600 mg / day for a period from 4 weeks to 8 months old, and showed a reduction in the intensity and depressive of depressive symptoms. A significant improvement was seen in 70% of treated patients.
The recommended dose of 5-HTP is 100 mg per day, divided into three doses. This dose is then gradually increased up to 300-600 mg daily (maintenance dose). This assay also allows a reduction in appetite, resulting in an obvious help in particular in the case of obesity.
Possible associations of L-5-HTP other specific therapies, but in this case, the combination should be administered with caution and under medical supervision.
Migraine and headache
It has been shown a link between serotonin and migraine attacks. More precisely, it was observed during these attacks a significant reduction of plasma levels of serotonin, an increase of those of 5-HIAA in the urine.
Clinical studies in over 400 patients showed an improvement of migraines and headaches, both in frequency and in severity; 74% of patients responded to treatment; 86% of cases it was found an improvement in symptoms of painful syndrome.