5-HTP & GABA: The Dynamic Duo of Deep Sleep

First things first. What are 5-HTP & GABA?

5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is a naturally occurring amino acid that works in the brain and central nervous system in the production of the chemicals serotonin and melatonin.

Serotonin and melatonin are two of the most important brain chemicals for regulating the sleep/wake cycle. “Lifestyle choices like constant travel and an erratic sleep schedule can disrupt serotonin production. When serotonin levels are not normal, sleep disturbances and other issues can result, including depression and chronic fatigue syndrome.”1

Furthermore, studies have found that people who took 5-HTP went to sleep quicker and slept more deeply than those who took a placebo2.

Gamma-Amino Butyric Acid (GABA) is “an amino acid occurring in the brain as a neurotransmitter that acts to inhibit the transmission of nerve impulses.3” Essentially, GABA calms nerve activity, helping to elevate mood, reduce anxiety, and improve sleep patterns. In fact, GABA is the most potent depressive neuroamine in human brains.4

The Dynamic Duo?

A nutrient combination of GABA and 5-HTP has been found to decrease the time required to fall asleep with associated improvements in sleep duration and quality as assessed by the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index PSQI. Furthermore, the study finds, “An amino acid preparation containing both GABA and 5-hydroxytryptophan reduced time to fall asleep, decreased sleep latency, increased the duration of sleep, and improved quality of sleep.6

Wouldn’t all this sleep enhancement make me groggy in the morning?


Not only did we want quantity of sleep, but we wanted quality. We developed PowerDown to assist in obtaining a restorative sleep through deep sleep patterns. We made it our top priority to ensure this supplement didn’t negatively affect an athlete’s performance the next day. Quality of sleep (achieving full sleep cycles) is related to the feeling of wakefulness or feeling refreshed in the morning. It is important not to confuse 5-HTP or GABA with antihistamines, such as diphenhydramine, usually found in over-the-counter sleep aid medication and often associated with that groggy feeling in the morning. 5-HTP and GABA are naturally occurring amino acids, not histamine blockers.

2Attele AS, Xie JT, Yuan CS. Treatment of insomnia: an alternative approach.Altern Med Rev. 2000;5:249-259
3 http://www.dictionary.com/browse/gamma-aminobutyric-acid