During life every fifth person suffers from depression. This frequency of the disease is entirely independent of the individual’s standard of living and also the country or the culture prevailing in the country. At present it is estimated that about 8 % of all people are affected by this form of psychosis. Thus, depression is one of the most common and most expensive diseases – following cardiac disease involving the coronary arteries.
Depression may occur in two forms – it may either be manic or bipolar, or it may be unipolar or severe. In manic depression the patient’s mood fluctuates within a few weeks between euphoric and depressive phases, partly also with severe consequences on the individual’s judgment and ability to act. In the second type, namely severe depression, which used to be incorrectly termed «endogenous depression» in the past, the main symptoms are loss of drive, anxiety, a sensation of emptiness, hopelessness, loss of ideas and drive. It is not clear how depression develops in terms of neurophysiology. However, in the last few years it became clear that the neurotransmitters serotonin and noradrenalin play an important role in the emergence of the disease.
In the nerve cells, first tryptamine and then 5–hydroxytryptophan (5 HTP®) are formed from the essential amino acid tryptophane (essential means that the body cannot produce the substance on its own). This results in the accumulation of hydrogen and degradation of carbon, which eventually leads to the formation of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5 HT) serotonin.
A deficiency of serotonin may cause depression, states of anxiety, and aggressiveness. Besides, serotonin plays an important role in the sleep rhythm, appetite, in memory and learning abilities, pain control, and also in inflammatory reactions and bowel peristalsis.
Stress, addictive behavior, overweight, migraine attacks, the pre-menstrual syndrome, and thoughts of suicide are often associated with low serotonin levels.
In the cardiovascular system serotonin influences the contraction of arteries and thus helps to control blood pressure. In the skeletal muscles serotonin dilates the vessels and enhances blood flow.
Another disease associated with a serotonin deficiency is fibromyalgia. It is a complex disease marked by severe muscle pain, fatigue, fever, insomnia, symptoms of an irritable colon, and swollen lymph nodes. The cause is unknown. Women are most commonly affected by this condition.
Several medicines such as anorectic agents, anti-cholesterolemic agents and also certain diets inhibit the formation of serotonin and may trigger symptoms of a serotonin deficiency.
Trials have shown that the administration of 5 HTP®, the precursor substance of serotonin, markedly raises the serotonin level in the body. Unfortunately the typical, rather unbalanced diet in the western world does not contain sufficient quantities of 5 HTP®. The ingestion of food containing tryptophane also does not substantially raise serotonin levels. Serotonin itself cannot be administered because it is degraded in the body before it can unfold its effect.
The pharmaceutical industry realized the significance of serotonin a long time ago. Medications that inhibit the re-uptake of serotonin in the cells, so-called serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) are available in the market since a few years. These substances cause serotonin levels to remain high. They are mainly used in antidepressants. Regrettably, many of these medications are associated with significant side effects. Since 5 HTP® cannot be patented, pharmaceutical companies are naturally not interested in marketing this product for commercial purposes.
One capsule contains 25 mg, 50 mg, 100 mg or 200 mg 5 HTP® (5–hydroxytryptophan) in pharmaceutical grade.
Other ingredients: rice flour, magnesium stearate, SiO2.
Depression: 300 – 400 mg daily
Migraine: 400 – 600 mg daily
Sleep disorders: 100 – 300 mg daily
Fibromyalgia: 300 mg daily
As an anorectic agent: 600 – 900 mg daily
For general enhancement of wellbeing and a balanced mood, 100 – 200 mg should be taken daily.
The recommended daily dosage should not be exceeded.