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5 HTP and ADHD

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ADHD is a common disorder that affects children and can last long into adulthood. It is usually treated with psychostimulants but these can have pronounced effects on the brain. 5 HTP provides an alternative to conventional ADHD medication. Is it any good? Read on to find out.

How 5 HTP Supplementation Might Work for ADHD

The chief function of 5 HTP supplements is to increase serotonin levels in the brain.

There are 7 classes of serotonin receptors in the central nervous system and these are numbered from 5 HT1 to 5 HT7. Serotonin and serotonin drugs usually bind to these receptors to activate or inactivate the serotonin pathway.

However, these serotonin receptors are also responsible for regulating the release and activities of other neurotransmitters such as dopamine. Therefore, given the central role of dopamine in the presentation of ADHD, it follows that serotonin receptors can help regulate the neurotransmitter in the brain.

In fact, there is clinical evidence for such interaction. Some of the genes (or their variants) that have been shown to contribute to ADHD include those that express serotonin receptors (5 HT1B and 5 HT2A).

In certain parts of the brain, increasing serotonin levels can increase dopamine levels too through these serotonin receptors. Since the brain scans of ADHD patients show low dopamine levels, this is a welcome outcome.

Yet another way in which 5 HTP supplementation can help ADHD patients is by increasing mood and promoting learning and memory.

A high proportion of ADHD patients also suffer from mood disorders and depression. In fact, in adult ADHD sufferers, depression is the most common condition that occurs along with this hyperactivity disorder.

5 HTP can improve the symptoms of depression by increasing serotonin levels. In fact, physicians prefer to treat depression before ADHD, and increasing serotonin levels achieves this purpose.

Because 5 HTP (through serotonin) improves mood, it acts like psychostimulants which have a high success rate in the treatment of ADHD. By stimulating ADHD patients, 5 HTP can contribute to fulfilling the arousal need of these hyperactive patients and so reduce any compensatory signs of low arousal.

In fact, a study published in the journal, Science, in 1999 suggests that the serotonin pathway is involved in the paradoxical calming effect that psychostimulants have on ADHD patients.

Lastly, children with ADHD often have sleep issues. Taking 5 HTP can also improve this problem and help them sleep better.

Taking 5 HTP for ADHD

5 HTP should not be combined with ADHD drugs that also affect serotonin levels.

Furthermore, since there are multiple components to the progression of ADHD, not every patient may benefit from 5 HTP supplementation.

There is no standard dosage for 5 HTP in the management of ADHD. However, it is best to start with low doses, especially for children.

A low dose of 50 mg daily is recommended to see if 5 HTP can improve some of the symptoms of ADHD. Subsequently, this dose or its frequency of administration may be increased following consultation with your physician.





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