The Durk Pearson & Sandy Shaw®
Life Extension NewsTM
Volume 19 No. 8 • December 2017


The Centers for Disease and Control reports, for the period of 1999 to 2014, suicides in the U.S. have increased almost steadily, especially among teenagers and young adults. The incidence of suicide can be decreased, however, by 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), as shown in studies. For more, read on ...


“After a period of nearly consistent decline in suicide rates in the United States from 1986 through 1999, suicide rates have increased almost steadily from 1999 through 2014 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NCHS Data Brief No. 241, April 2016).” The CDC report noted that suicide rates for adolescents and young adults were increasing during the period of 1999 to 2014 and suicide was among the leading causes of death in that age group.

The suicide rate for the U.S. military population has increased over the last decade, according to studies. This increase in suicides has been found to correlate with deployment in military action, indicating that increased stress plays a significant role. (Du, 2016)


  • Du et al. The role of nutrients in protecting mitochondrial function and neurotransmitter signaling: implications for the treatment of depression, PTSD [post-traumatic stress disorder), and suicidal behaviors, Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr, 56(15):2560-78 (2016).


A deficiency of serotonin is associated with impulsive violent behavior, including suicide. TPH, tryptophan hydroxylase, is the rate limiting enzyme in the conversion of tryptophan to 5-hydroxytryptophan, the direct precursor to serotonin. “The TPH1 gene has been found to be related to ... behaviors including suicide ...” (Reuter, 2005)

In a somewhat later paper (Jacobsen, 2008), the TPH2 (tryptophan hydroxylase 2) gene was reported to be the rate-limiting step in the conversion of tryptophan to 5-hydroxytryptophan and to lead to slow serotonin (5-HT) synthesis. This slow synthesis is associated with SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor) treatment refractoriness, as is seen in some depressed patients taking an SSRI, such as fluoxetine (Prozac® ) (Jacobsen, 2008).

A deficiency of tryptophan would result in a deficiency of 5-hydroxytryptophan and, therefore, a deficiency of serotonin. However, even a diet containing adequate tryptophan could result in a deficiency of serotonin if there is an inadequate amount of the rate limiting enzyme, tryptophan hydroxylase (TPH), which is necessary to convert the tryptophan to 5-hydroxytryptophan which is then decarboxylated to convert it to serotonin. Thus, a deficiency of serotonin can occur even when individuals take a tryptophan supplement, a problem that might be overcome by taking supplemental 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) rather than tryptophan.

5-HTP is found in our Serene Tranquility™ with 5-HTP formulation.


  • Reuter et al. Identification of first candidate genes for creativity: a pilot study. Brain Res. 1069:190-7 (2006).
  • Jacobsen et al. suspension test can be reversed by co-treatment with 5-hydroxytryptophan. Psychopharmacology. 199:137-50 (2008).

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