Analysis of HAPS ingredients
by Kirsten Chick, Nutritional therapist (D.N.N., mFNTP, mBSIO)
5-HTP and happiness
5-HTP has long been recognized as an important precursor to serotonin, one of your main happiness chemicals. Drugs that increase serotonin levels are often used to treat depression and anxiety. Serotonin is also involved in sleep, memory, appetite, and smooth muscle contraction. 5-HTP can be found naturally in some plants, including griffonia seeds.
Baobab for your brain and body
Baobab is a remarkable fruit that contains tryptophan, a precursor to 5-HTP, as well as an impressive array of other amino acids and minerals. Amino acids are proteins that are used to make all sorts of substances, including neurotransmitters (such as serotonin and dopamine), enzymes (for example for digestion and detoxification), hormones and actually every cell in your body.
To help convert 5-HTP and tryptophan into serotonin, your body needs B vitamins, particularly B2, B3 and B6, as well as magnesium, zinc and vitamin C . These same nutrients also help rebalance and reset your adrenal hormones, which are involved in your fight/flight/freeze response to stress. Each of those nutrients carries additional benefits that are supportive to your nervous system, tissue health and/or general wellbeing.
In addition, magnesium is required for energy production, which your nervous system needs, and is an important electrolyte that aids the flow of fluids – and therefore nutrients and hormones – towards and then in and out of each cell. Other electrolytes play an important role in helping signals flow through your nervous system.
Vitamin D has been well studied for its role in mental health, including depression. In the UK and Northern Europe, we can’t make vitamin D from the sun in the colder months, as the sun isn’t high enough above the horizon. This may explain why so many people struggle with mood in autumn, winter and early spring.
Diet vs. supplements
We can get most of these nutrients from our diet, but can we get enough? The soil is lower in nutrients than ever measured before. In addition, the longer foods sit on the shelf, and the more they are processed, the fewer there are of most nutrients. You may also need a boost if your digestive system isn’t absorbing nutrients particularly well. If you can find a good quality, easy-to take and even delicious supplement – well, for me it’s a no brainer.