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Mood, Sleep, Serotonin and 5-HTP

Mood, Sleep, Serotonin and 5-HTP

Saturday, December 11th 2004

An African seed, Griffonia simplicifolia has caught the attention of researchers who are interested in its effects on a vitally important nerve transmitter - serotonin. Serotonin is the key to numerous brain functions and numerous central nervous system actions such as regulating mood, sleep and appetite. A decreased level of this neurotransmitter can cause depression, insomnia, obsessive/compulsive disorders as well as eating disorders leading to obesity or the reverse anorexia/bulimia.

Food = Happiness

Researchers have observed a link between eating behaviour and mood with neurotransmitters in the brain. Wurtman et al observed obese people eating high carbohydrate foods to make themselves feel better. They traced a route from carbohydrates (starches), which convert to sugar and stimulate the pancreas to release insulin. This raises brain levels of 5-HTP converting it to serotonin creating a feeling of happiness. But this is a high-calorie way of getting your serotonin.

Griffonia acts by providing the body with 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), an amino acid that easily crosses your blood brain barrier and is converted into serotonin in a natural process.


Disruption of serotonin metabolism in the central nervous system has been shown to affect mood. 5-HTP helps to normalise serotonin levels and thereby positively affect mood. In a double-blind study using objective assessments of mood, researchers in Zurich reported significant improvements in mood with 5-HTP. Likewise, in a double-blind, multi-centre study in Germany, researchers reported significant improvements in both objective and self-assessment indices of mood.


Many studies have shown that depletion of serotonin results in insomnia, which is reversed by administration of 5-HTP. Researchers reported that 100 mg of 5-HTP resulted in significant improvement for people who complained of trouble sleeping. Furthermore, serotonin is metabolised to the hormone melatonin, which is known to help regulate the sleep cycle. By increasing serotonin levels with 5-HTP, melatonin levels are also increased.

Reproduced unabridged from the October - December 2004 issue of Health and Herbal News, with the kind permission of Health and Herbs International Ltd.

Footnote from Ideal Health:

The following products are all useful for treating Stress & Depression:

5-HTP 120mg
5HTP 160mg 1-A-Day
Adrenal Formula
Adrenal Support
Clinical Strength St Johns Wort
Daily D
Magnesium Complex
Mineral Power
Multi Power
Super B Daily Stress +
Stress & Energy Support
Stress & Well-Being
Superior Magnesium
Supreme Hi-B-125
Whey Protein - Vanilla

Related health information can be found here:

Cardio Vascular Health
Weight Loss

Related articles can be found here:

Chromium Essential for sugar metabolism
CLA - Conjugated Linoleic Acid - vital spark for a lean body
Gymnema Sylvestre - traditional herb to help control blood sugar
Hoodia - A Natural Supplement that kills the appetite and attacks obesity!
Mood, sleep, serotonin and 5-HTP
Natural trends in diabetes care
Reduce abdominal fat with CLA
Rhodiola - helps fight obesity and depression
Sluggish thyroid function = low energy & weight gain
Take the HoodiaSlim Option
The mood food connection

If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.


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