Do you know where 5-HTP comes from? – The Griffonia seed

5-htp, Griffonia, Griffonia simplicifolia

Despite its very synthetic sounding name, our 5-htp is a natural extract from the Griffonia simplicifolia seed and none of it is biosynthesised.

Where is the Griffonia simplicifolia seed from?

The Griffonia simplicifolia plant is grown in the tropical climate of Ghana, the Ivory Coast and Togo. It can grow up to 3m and when it flowers it produces seeds which, when ripe, contain between 14%-20% 5-htp. We only extract 5-htp from the seeds but the leaves of the plant actually contain serotonin in concentrations of 0.1-0.2%. They also have a surprisingly high protein content and contain calcium and phosphorous [1]. Its leaves are recognised as a natural anti-septic [2] and, in more traditional African medicine, chewing the stem is said to have an aphrodisiac effect whilst the plant's juices are used to treat urinary tract diseases.

5-HTP extraction

After industrial extraction methods have been applied to the seeds a 95–98% 5-HTP extract is obtained. (brain feed’s Griffonia seed extract of 102.5mg, standardised to 98% to provide 100mg 5-htp is the highest extract quality available.) Typically, most 5-HTP dietary supplements contain 25–100 mg of 5-HTP.

In this form the Griffonia seed extract is compressed into a tablet or mixed into a capsule as used as a dietary supplement for aiding depression treatment, appetite reduction and sleep induction. Studies in healthy volunteers found that oral administration of 5-HTP reduced the incidence of induced panic and associated symptoms when compared with placebo. [3]

Efficacy & benefits

Once ingested 5-HTP easily crosses blood-brain-barrier and is converted to serotonin. During the absorption of 5-HTP there is no need for special transport molecule. The absorption is also not influenced by amino acids, which allows 5-HTP to be administered with or without meals, without losing its efficacy.

This compound is well absorbed after oral administration (70% of the dose is introduced to bloodstream). It was proven, that therapeutic administration of 5-HTP may be efficient in depression, fibromyalgia, chronic head pains and insomnia [4, 5].

1. Bosch, CH, Griffonia simplicifolia (Vahl ex DC.) Baill. In: Schmelzer GH, Gurib-Fakim A, eds. Medicinal plants/Plantes médicinales 1 [CD-ROM]. Prota 11(1). Wageningen, Netherlands: PROTA; 2008. 2. Lemaire PA, Adosraku RK. An HPLC method for the direct assay of the serotonin precursor, 5-hydroxytrophan, in seeds of Griffonia simplicifolia . Phytochem Anal . 2002;13(6):333-337. 3. Maron E, Toru I, Vasar V, Shlik J. The effect of 5-hydroxytryptophan on cholecystokinin-4-induced panic attacks in healthy volunteers. J Psychopharmacol . 2004;18(2):194-199. 4. Keszthelyi D, Troost FJ, Masclee AM. Understanding the role of tryptophan and serotonin metabolism in gastrointestinal function. Neurogastroenterol. Motil. 2009; 21: 1239–1249. 5. Birdsall TC. 5-Hydroxytryptophan: A clinically-effective serotonin precursor. Altern. Med. Rev. 1998; 3: 271–280.

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