Insomnia causes are many
Insomnia causes many debilitating symptoms such as fatigue, poor memory, lack of coordination, difficulty focusing, and aggression. Insomnia causes include:
Insomnia and Serotonin deficiency
One of the most common insomnia causes is a Serotonin deficiency. A deficiency of Serotonin can be the result of a high carbohydrate diet with inadequate amounts of animal protein in the diet.
Serotonin is a Monoamine neurotransmitter in the brain that is responsible for producing a calm and relaxed mood. A serotonin deficiency has been linked with:
Serotonin is the most abundant neurotransmitter in the brain. There are also more serotonin receptors in the brain than for any other neurotransmitter as well, so your brain needs a constant supply of Serotonin to work properly
Serotonin is the precursor to Melatonin which is a neurotransmitter made in the pineal gland, which specifically induces sleep and controls our circadian rhythm. When it starts getting dark outside, our pineal gland starts to make more Melatonin to get us ready for sleep. If there is an inadequate supply of Serotonin in the brain, this will result in too little Melatonin production, resulting in difficulty falling asleep, light sleep, or waking frequently at night, all forms of insomnia causes.
5 HTP and Insomnia
5 HTP (5- hydroxytryptophan) is the precursor molecule to Serotonin production. 5 HTP is a form of Tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid, "essential" meaning we have to get it from our diet and cannot be manufactured within the body.
Good dietary sources of tryptophan include turkey, chicken, red meat, eggs, dairy products, and almonds. A vegetarian diet tends be too low in tryptophan, and many different symptoms of serotonin deficiency can result, including insomnia.
The conversion of tryptophan into 5 HTP requires the action of a special enzyme, which requires activated B6 (P5P or pyridoxal-5-phosphate), niacin, zinc and magnesium in order to work. A nutritional deficiency of any of these nutrients can result in a Serotonin deficiency, even if you are eating enough protein.
Both 5 HTP and tryptophan can be taken as nutritional supplements. Since tryptophan requires the liver to convert it into 5 HTP first before being able to be used by the brain as a precursor for serotonin, it takes longer to work than taking straight 5 HTP supplements.
5 HTP is derived from an extraction of the Griffonia simplicifolia seeds, a woody shrub native to West and Central Africa. This product is very safe to use and tends to be a very effective treatment for insomnia, since it increases Serotonin which will therefore raise Melatonin production as a result.
5 HTP can also help with any other serotonin deficiency symptoms as well such as anxiety, sugar cravings, depression, fibromyalgia, headaches, and addiction, without the side effects that are common with SSRI's (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor's) whihc is a class of drugs that include Prozac and Zoloft. If you are presently taking these medications, always consult with your doctor or health practitioner before using 5 HTP because the combination of 5 HTP with an SSRI drug can raise serotonin too much, causing "Serotonin syndrome".
SSRI medications such as Prozac work by selectively blocking serotonin from being taken in by the serotonin receptors in the synapse between neurons. This causes serotonin to remain active within the synapse for a longer period of time, fooling the brain into thinking there is more serotonin than there really is, without actually raising serotonin levels at all.
The problem with SSRI drugs is that because they block the reuptake of serotonin, it is not allowed to be used as the building block for other important neurotransmitters such as Melatonin, endorphins (our body's natural painkiller), and enkaphalins (our feel good molecules). This is why long term use of SSRI's such as prozac is one of the most common insomnia causes.
5 HTP and tryptophan actually raises the production of Serotonin, not simply fooling the brain into thinking there is more serotonin than there actually is, which can lead to more severe side effects, and makes it very dangerous to stop taking SSRI's without the close supervision of a medical doctor.
5 HTP is non-addictive and you can stop it at any time without any dangerous side effects. It is simply food for the brain that it would get from eating protein under normal circumstances.