The acronym for 5-hydroxytryptophan (or 5-hydroxy-L-tryptophan) is 5-HTP, a compound found primarily in the brain. This compound is made from tryptophan, a natural amino acid inherent in foods. Tryptophan is an essential amino acid, which means that it cannot be made by the body. It must be obtained from food, particularly proteins. In the liver and brain, 5-HTP is converted to an important monoamine neurotransmitter called serotonin. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that transmit signals between neurons (nerve cells) in the brain.
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