Benefits of 5-HTP
Sleep and sleep-wake cycles
Because of its role in creating serotonin, 5-HTP is indirectly involved in producing melatonin, a hormone that is critical for sleep. Melatonin helps the body’s bio clock stay in sync, and regulates daily sleep-wake cycles. A strong bio clock and regular sleep-wake routines are the cornerstone of healthy, restful, rejuvenating sleep. Research suggests that 5-HTP may help shorten the time it takes to fall asleep and increase sleep amounts.
5-HTP can be effective in improving mood, and easing symptoms of stress and anxiousness, which can in turn interfere with sleep.
Research also indicates that 5-HTP may be effective in helping to reduce sleep terrors in children.
Stress, anxiety, and depression
5-HTP has been shown in scientific studies to promote relaxation and alleviate stress and anxiety. The relaxation and anti-anxiety properties of 5-HTP appear to come from its ability to elevate levels of serotonin. Research has demonstrated that 5-HTP may reduce the risks of panic attacks and symptoms of panic, as well as anxiety and emotional stress. Research also indicates 5-HTP may be effective in helping to alleviate depression.
Appetite suppression and weight control
For decades, 5-HTP has been recognized as important to appetite regulation. Higher levels of serotonin are linked to diminished appetite. Keeping serotonin levels from dipping can help keep appetite in check, and may help reduce cravings for carbohydrates. As a serotonin booster, 5-HTP may help to suppress appetite. Research indicates that 5-HTP may be effective in helping people who are overweight or obese lose weight.
Fibromyalgia is a condition that often combines chronic physical pain with sleep problems. Research indicates that 5-HTP can help improve fibromyalgia symptoms, including pain, tenderness, daytime fatigue, sleep quality, and anxiety.
Migraines and headache pain
There’s scientific evidence indicating that 5-HTP may be able to reduce the frequency of migraine headache attacks and reduce pain from chronic headaches.
Other uses for 5-HTP
Because of its direct influence over serotonin and indirect influence over other hormones including melatonin, scientists are investigating the therapeutic potential for 5-HTP for a range of conditions, including:
• Menopausal symptoms
• Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
• Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
• Attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
• Parkinson’s disease
• Alzheimer’s disease
• Nervous system disorder
• Ramsey-Hunt syndrome
• Alcohol and drug withdrawal symptoms
5-HTP: what to know
Always consult your doctor before you begin taking a supplement or make any changes to your existing medication and supplement routine. This is not medical advice, but it is information you can use as a conversation-starter with your physician at your next appointment.
The following doses are based on amounts that have been investigated in scientific studies. In general, it is recommended that users begin with the smallest suggested dose, and gradually increase until it has an effect.
A range of doses from 25mg to 500mg and higher has been studied in scientific research, for sleep problems, anxiety, depression, stress, appetite suppression, and other conditions.
Possible side effects of 5-HTP
5-HTP is generally well tolerated by healthy adults. Possible side effects of 5-HTP include stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, heartburn, excessive sleepiness, muscle spasms, and sexual problems.
People with the following conditions should consult with a physician before using a 5-HTP supplement:
• Pregnancy and breast feeding
• Surgery patients (Some surgery medications can affect serotonin. It’s generally recommended that people stop taking 5-HTP at least two weeks ahead of scheduled surgery.)
It’s important to talk with your doctor before you begin taking 5-HTP or any other supplement, and to make sure you’re getting your supplements from a reliable provider.
The following medications and other supplements may interact with 5-HTP. Effects may include increasing or decreasing sleepiness and drowsiness, interfering with the effectiveness of the medications or supplements, and interfering with the condition that is being treated by the medication or supplement. These are lists of commonly used medications and supplements that have scientifically identified interactions with 5-HTP. People who take these or any other medications and supplements should consult with a physician before beginning to use 5-HTP.
Interactions with medications:
• Carbidopa (used to treat Parkinson’s disease)
• Dextromethorphan (found in cough medicines including Robitussin DM and others)
• Antidepressant medications
• Pain medications (including Demerol, Talwin, Tramadol and others)
• Sedative medications