Serotonin

Food and mood

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The article presents information on serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for feeling calm and relaxed and for experiencing a sense of well-being. When one consumes carbohydrates, serotonin...

3 NATURAL CURES FOR INSOMNIA

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1. GUIDED IMAGERY Twelve insomniacs who listened to a relaxing guided-imagery CD every night for five weeks reported sleeping more soundly (and having less depression and anxiety as well), according to a June 2007 study from Federal University of São Paulo in Brazil. (Visit amazon.com for a wide range of guided-imagery CDs.)

5-HTP

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CAN ONE REMEDY END depression, insomnia and migraine and help you lose weight? The answer is "Yes!" says naturopath Murray, of Bastyr University in Seattle, author of The Healing Power of Herbs and The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. The remedy is 5-hydroxytryptophan, or 5-HTP for short, a naturally occurring compound produced in the body by the amino acid tryptophan, which in turn produces the neurotransmitter serotonin.

5-HTP and Increased Well-Being

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The importance of serotonin to emotional equilibrium is reflected in the popularity of Prozac(TM), Zoloft(TM) and Paxil(TM). This new class of antidepressant drugs was developed after the tryptophan ban. Collectively, they are called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs. They provide the brain with additional serotonin by inhibiting the breakdown and reuptake of existing serotonin stores. Although this action frequently has the desired emotional effect, it is not surprising to learn that their use results in a number of undesirable side effects.

5-HTP In Prime Time

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At press time, the National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA), a natural products trade association, alerted its members that Dateline NBC might air a television segment on 5-HTP (L-5-Hydroxytryptophan) as early as Monday, August 24, or the following week. 5-HTP is synthesized in the body from the amino acid tryptophan and is a precursor to serotonin -- a compound found in the brain, blood platelets and duodenal mucosa cells of the gastrointestinal tract. Serotonin plays a role in mood, behavior and sleep patterns.

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