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First, 5-HTP has a very short half-life in the body — only about 90 minutes. That means that it is gone
from the body very rapidly after being consumed. This is the reason
that most people who take 5-HTP often need to take many doses throughout the day in order to maintain the effect.
The other problem with non-sustained release formulas is that when you
dump a lot of 5-HTP into the GI tract all at once, it is rapidly
converted to serotonin right there.
What you really want though, is for the majority of 5-HTP to be converted to serotonin in the brain.
So releasing it over a longer period of time allows the 5-HTP to be
gradually absorbed and converted where it is most needed... in the
Not only is this better for seeing a more long-lasting effect, but it can also help avoid stomach upset which some people experience as a side effect when 5-HTP is dumped into the intestinal tract all at once.
For most people, sustained release technology will also provide the ability to take a lower dose of 5-HTP, while still having the same — if not even greater — benefits.
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