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The Blood Type Diet Archives Volume 18

5HTP (Griffonia)

Posted By: Sue 0-
Date: Tuesday, 23 October 2001, at 7:21 a.m.

In Response To: 5HTP (Bertha)

Can Griffonia Free You From Depression and Anxiety?

Maybe. The answer to this may be a little complex. All the data are not in, but bear with me, because this seed extract may really help you. (I know you’re asking, “What is this stuff?” But, again, bear with me.)
We are seeing an increasing problem with depression in today’s stressful world. Depression can take the form of anxiety, sadness, and eating disorders resulting in weight loss, weight gain, sleeping disturbances, and numerous other problems.
A common denominator to depression on the physical side is a neurotransmitter brain chemical, known as serotonin. Many studies have shown that adding serotonin to the body can relieve the symptoms of depression and anxious depression, and can help patients lose weight and normalize sleep patterns.
We cannot give a person serotonin directly, so the traditional medical approach has been to use a class of drugs known as SSRI’s (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors). These SSRI’s prevent the re-uptake of serotonin in the brain, which results in increased levels of serotonin. Depression, anxiety, and the other symptoms mentioned are frequently caused by a decreased level of serotonin.
In general, the SSRI’s are safe, and literally millions of prescriptions have been used for them in Europe as well as in the United States. Drugs in this category include Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Celexa, Luvox and others. As with any drug, there are side effects in certain individuals, but, generally, they are well tolerated (though rarely, more serious problems occur in which patients experience unusual outbursts of temper and violence). Occasional episodes of nervousness and fatigue have also been observed.
From God’s creation, we see His hand reaching down to help us. He did not create SSRI’s in the plant kingdom, but He did even better. He created certain chemicals—amino acids that the body naturally converts to serotonin - that achieve an increase in serotonin levels. Though He created several chemicals in this category, one that has aroused particular enthusiasm is 5-HTP. This is an extract from a plant seed called Griffonia Simplicifolia.
Here’s where it becomes a little complicated. Generally, the body uses an amino acid called L-tryptophan, which is converted to serotonin in the body. Tryptophan occurs naturally in milk and turkey, among other things (this is probably why we get sleepy after a warm glass of milk at night and after a turkey dinner).
Before tryptophan is converted to the beneficial brain transmitter serotonin, it is first converted to 5-HTP. More of the 5-HTP is converted to serotonin if we ingest it directly, and this is where the griffonia seed comes in. Only about 3-5 percent of a normal dose of tryptophan is converted to serotonin, whereas 70 percent of oral 5-HTP is changed into the beneficial chemical. Also, tryptophan is no longer available on the market, due to a contaminated batch that was produced in Japan several years ago.
Studies have shown that 5-HTP, when put in head-to-head trials with the SSRI drug Luvox, showed approximately a 50 percent improvement over the prescription drug. The natural 5-HTP was much better tolerated than the prescription drug. In the study used, patients took 100 mg. of 5-HTP three times daily.
The 5-HTP not only helps with depression, but also anxiety symptoms. Many patients do not realize that anxiety can be part of true depression, though this seems somewhat of a paradox. Another benefit is that these neurotransmitter chemicals in the brain can have a direct effect on appetite, and 5-HTP can help overweight patients achieve a weight loss. Insomnia, which is common with depression, also decreases markedly when on this natural supplement.
This is not the end of the story. There are many other neurotransmitters in the brain that are critically important, including dopamine, norepinephrine, etc. Serotonin appears to be one of the most prominent, and we now have a God-created chemical that can have a direct impact on the increasingly common problem of depression. This particular supplement is available over-the-counter in health food stores. I strongly suggest that you pray about whether this supplement is part of God’s natural pathway that He wants to use in your healing from depression and its accompanying symptoms.
For more information on Dr. Cherry’s ministry, visit his Web site:

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