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A Health, Nutrition, and Alternative Medicine Blog

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Does serotonin promote sleep?

Written by Tena Moore

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that regulates sleep as well as mood, appetite, sexuality, metabolism and body temperature. Neurotransmitters send messages to the nerves and help different parts of the brain communicate with one another. When levels of serotonin are low, one might suffer from sleeping disorders, depression, and either a decreased appetite, or an increased appetite with cravings for sweet foods. Serotonin is most closely associated with treating depression, though many people use it as a sleep aid as well.

Although serotonin is a natural chemical produced in the body, it can also be found in some foods and is available as a supplement. If you aren’t sleeping well, you can either uptake your healthy serotonin-rich, high protein foods such as turkey, beef, chicken, fish, and dairy. If you would rather take a nutritional supplement, 5-HTP is recommended. 5-HTP, or 5-Hydroxytryptophan, is an amino acid that aids in producing serotonin in the body. It is sold in vitamin and health food stores and is marketed as a sleep aid, a treatment for depression, and a helpful aid for suppressing the appetite.

If you suffer from low mood, sleeplessness and other depression symptoms, a 5-HTP supplement may help your overall mood and sleeping patterns. If you do not suffer from any type of low mood, stress or depression (and who doesn’t?) then you may want to take the supplement melatonin, which is the most well-known dietary supplement for promoting sleep.

Other Posts

  • What foods have both fiber and protein?
  • What are some good fiber foods?
  • Getting enough fiber is extremely important
  • What herbs or supplements are commonly used for depression?
  • Lutein also protects the skin from UV damage
  • DMAE is found in oily fish, but small amounts of it are also produced in the body

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    Friday, February 20, 2009

    5-HTP (5-Hydroxy-Tryptophan) for depression and anxiety?

    Feeling depressed or anxious? Can’t sleep? Have a headache? You may want to try picking up some 5-HTP (5-Hydroxy-Trytophan) supplements from your local pharmacy or health food store. 5-HTP comes from the seed pods of the West African plant, Griffonia simplificifolia, and has been linked to serotonin production and melotonin. Serotonin is a brain chemical that is responsible feelings of well-being and melatonin is a hormone that promotes sleep.

    5-HTP has been studied extensively. Many studies have found it to be a competent supplement for depression and anxiety disorders; one clinical trial found it to be of equal effectiveness to fluvoxamine, a antidepressant medication that comes with many side effects. In earlier days tryptophan was also proven to be helpful for depression, but since then 5-HTP has been proven to be even more effective than tryptophan. Other studies have found 5-HTP helpful for obesity, migraine headaches and even fibromyalgia treatment.

    Many people use 5-HTP to help promote regular sleep cycles. The supplement may be found in capsule, extract and powder forms.

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    The Vitamin Stuff Health Nutrition Dictionary

    Disclaimer: The information provided here is for informational purposes and is not medical advice. Individuals wishing to use supplements or alternative medicine therapies should consult with their doctor beforehand.

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