5-HTP vs Melatonin
DISCLAIMER: This article has been written for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Dietary supplements are becoming quite popular nowadays. They provide numerous health benefits and it is very convenient to incorporate them into your daily routine.
5 HTP and melatonin are two naturally occurring chemicals available as supplements. They improve your sleep quality, manage anxiety and depression, and help you lose weight.
Follow the article below to know more about the individual benefits of 5-hydroxytryptophan and melatonin.
5 HTP or oxitriptan is an amino acid that acts as a precursor for the neurotransmitter serotonin. Low levels of serotonin can result in sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, and weight gain.
Regular consumption of 5 HTP supplements increases serotonin levels in your body and in turn, provides multiple health benefits that are described in detail below:
Being a precursor molecule 5-hydroxytryptophan promotes the synthesis of serotonin. This increased level of serotonin translates to more melatonin (sleep hormone) in your body.
Melatonin regulates sleep but naturally, its level rises in low light or in the evening. The benefit of 5 HTP is that it bypasses the effect of time or light on melatonin levels and helps to fight insomnia in an efficient way.
A migraine can be described as a moderate to severe headache that is felt as a throbbing pain on one side of your head. It is often accompanied by different symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light.
One of the reasons that can trigger migraine is the abnormal brain activity disturbing neurotransmitters such as serotonin.
Hence, increasing the serotonin levels by consuming 5 HTP supplements can help reduce both the severity and frequency of migraine attacks.
Serotonin regulates your mood and is therefore known as the happiness hormone. An imbalance in serotonin levels can lead to anxiety and depression.
5 HTP supplementation increases the synthesis of serotonin by the brain and reduces the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
PROMOTES WEIGHT LOSS
Being overweight or obese can increase your risk of developing diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and metabolic disorders.
Therefore, it is important to maintain a healthy body weight not only to stay physically fit but also to prevent several health issues.
When you begin to lose weight, your body produces hormones that make you feel hungry. This constant feeling of hunger may result in overeating or binge-eating and can hinder your weight loss journey.
5 HTP counteracts the effect of hunger-inducing hormones and promotes the feeling of fullness. As a result, you consume fewer calories and do not overeat.
RECOMMENDED DOSAGE AND SIDE EFFECTS
5-hydroxytryptophan is typically used in doses of 150 to 800 mg per day. It is considered safe to use when consumed within the recommended limit but can result sometimes cause an individual to experience the following side effects, especially when taken in large quantities:
- Stomach pain
- Muscle spasms
- Sexual dysfunction
Although 5 HTP is safe for routine use you should be a little cautious when consuming it in the following circumstances:
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding – There is a very limited amount of knowledge available regarding the safety of 5 HTP consumption during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Hence it is advised to stay on the safe side and avoid the use of 5-hydroxytryptophan while you are pregnant or breastfeeding
- Surgery – Drugs administered to a patient during surgery can affect his or her serotonin levels. 5 HTP causes the brain to synthesize more serotonin. Consumption of 5-hydroxytryptophan before surgery can lead to excessive production of serotonin which may result in complications. Therefore, it is advised to stop using 5 HTP supplements at least two weeks before the surgery.
INTERACTIONS WITH THERAPEUTIC DRUGS
5-hydroxytryptophan interacts with different classes of medicinal drugs including sedatives and serotonergic drugs. Using melatonin along these medications can result in several complications such as breathing difficulties, seizures, and cardiac problems.
Hence, it is recommended to consult your physician about melatonin supplementation especially when you are routinely taking some other medications.
The pineal gland that is present in your brain produces a hormone named melatonin. This hormone regulates circadian rhythm and acts as an antioxidant.
Being natural hormone melatonin provides numerous health benefits some of which are explained below:
IMPROVES SLEEP QUALITY
Lack of sleep reduces your concentration and focus and you are less able to fulfill your daily responsibilities efficiently. Therefore, you should try to sleep properly so that you can perform effectively throughout the day.
Lifestyle choices, work and personal commitments, stress and certain health conditions can disturb your sleep cycle. As a result, you feel physically and mentally tired.
Melatonin is a chemical also known as sleep hormone. It regulates your sleep cycle and consuming it regularly as a dietary supplement not only increases the duration of sleep but also improves sleep quality.
Melatonin also decreases the time that is taken to fall asleep. Another promising thing about melatonin as a sleep aid is that it has minimum side effects compared to sleeping pills.
FIGHTS SEASONAL DEPRESSION
Seasonal depression or seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression related to changes in seasons and affects an individual each year around the same time.
Researchers have linked seasonal depression with changes in your circadian rhythm that are caused by seasonal light changes.
Melatonin is responsible for regulating your circadian rhythm and hence its consumption in the form of dietary supplements can reduce the symptoms of seasonal depression.
PROMOTES EYE HEALTH
Eyes are a true blessing. They enable you to perform day-to-day tasks quite conveniently and appreciate the beauty of nature.
The world is witnessing an upward trend in eye-related problems among individuals of all age groups. The increasing use of mobile phones and other electronic gadgets can damage your eyes badly.
It is high time that we take necessary measures to protect our eyes. Sleeping properly, reducing screen time, and eating eye-healthy foods and dietary supplements are some of the ways to prevent vision problems.
Melatonin is an antioxidant that can keep your eyes healthy by preventing cell damage. It may also be beneficial for different eye conditions such as glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration.
REDUCES SYMPTOMS OF GERD
Gastroesophageal reflux disease or GERD is a common gastrointestinal tract condition that is caused by the reflux of stomach acid into the esophagus.
Patients of GERD may present with heartburn, nausea, belching, and other symptoms. It is important to seek proper medical attention for the treatment of GERD because if left untreated it can cause multiple complications including esophageal cancer.
Melatonin supplements help to reduce the symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease by blocking the secretion of stomach acid.
Melatonin also decreases the production of nitric oxide which is a chemical responsible for relaxing the lower esophageal sphincter. As a result, stomach acid is unable to enter the stomach.
RECOMMENDED DOSAGE AND SIDE EFFECTS
The typical dose of melatonin for adults is about 8 mg per day. Within this limit it is safe to use melatonin on a daily basis however some people might experience the following side effects:
Melatonin is a safe-to-use dietary supplement that can be consumed regularly. However, the following are some of the conditions in which you should take melatonin with great care to avoid any complications:
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding – There is no sufficient amount of knowledge available about the safety of melatonin intake during pregnancy or breastfeeding. Hence pregnant and lactating women are advised to stay on the safe side and avoid using melatonin.
- Bleeding disorders – People suffering from bleeding disorders are advised not to use melatonin as it can make bleeding worse.
- Transplant recipients – Individuals who undergo a transplantation procedure are on immunosuppressive drugs to reduce the likelihood of transplant rejection. Melatonin can increase the activity of immune system and counteract the effects of immunosuppressants.
INTERACTIONS WITH THERAPEUTIC DRUGS
Melatonin interacts with different medicinal drugs and may either hamper their therapeutic effects or increase the risk of side effects caused by them.
Antidiabetics, anticoagulants, immunosuppressants, and contraceptives are some of the classes of drugs that interact with melatonin.
It is advised to speak to your doctor regarding your ongoing medications when using melatonin supplements.
IN A NUTSHELL
5 HTP and melatonin are two of the popular dietary supplements available on the market. They are safe and easy to use and support different body functions.
5 HTP is a precursor of the neurotransmitter serotonin and helps to fight insomnia, tackle depression and anxiety, reduces the frequency of migraine attacks, and promotes weight loss.
Melatonin is a pineal gland hormone having antioxidant properties. It regulates your circadian rhythm, improves sleep quality, reduces symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease, protects the eyes, and fights seasonal affective disorder.
It is recommended that you speak with your healthcare provider before starting 5 HTP or melatonin supplements especially if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medications for any underlying health conditions.