5-hydroxytryptophan or 5-HTP are commonly used as supplements to promote serotonin levels. The brain uses serotonin to regulate mood, appetite and other important functions.
Unfortunately, there is no 5-HTP in the food we eat. However, 5-HTP supplements are widely available from African plant Simple Grizzly Bear seeds. More and more people use these supplements to help improve mood, regulate appetite and help muscle discomfort. But are they safe?
What is the 5-HTP?
Since 5-HTP is sold as a herbal supplement rather than as a drug, it has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). There are not enough human trials to prove or refute validity, risk or side effects. Nevertheless, 5-HTP is still widely used as a herbal remedy, and there is some evidence that it may be effective in treating certain symptoms.
People take supplements for many reasons, including weight loss, sleep disorders, mood disorders and anxiety. These conditions can be naturally improved by increasing serotonin levels.
According to a study, taking 50 to 3000 mg of 5-HTP supplements a day can improve depression, overeating, chronic headache and insomnia.
5-HTP is also used to relieve symptoms of fibromyalgia, epilepsy and Parkinson's disease. Because patients with fibromyalgia have lower serotonin levels, they may get some relief from pain, morning stiffness and insomnia. Some small studies have been carried out, some of which are promising. Other possible side effects need to be further studied to determine the optimal dose and treatment time. This study failed to support the claim that 5-HTP supplements contribute to symptoms of epilepsy or Parkinson's disease.
Possible side effects of 5-HTP
Excessive 5-HTP in the system can lead to increased serotonin levels, leading to side effects such as anxiety, tremor and serious heart problems.
Some people taking 5-HTP supplements have severe eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS). It can cause abnormal blood and excessive muscle tenderness.
It is not clear whether EMS is caused by accidental pollutants or by 5-HTP itself. Keep this in mind when deciding whether 5-HTP is right for you.
Taking 5-HTP supplements has other possible side effects. If you have sleepiness, digestive problems, muscle problems or sexual dysfunction, stop using it immediately and seek medical attention immediately.
If you take other antidepressants that increase serotonin levels, such as SSRIs and MAO inhibitors, don't take 5-HTP. Care should be taken when taking carbidopa. 5-HTP may also interact with other drugs, so any supplements must be consulted before starting a new drug.
Patients with Down syndrome are not advised to use 5-HTP because it is associated with seizures. In addition, do not take 5-HTP for two weeks before surgery, because it may interfere with some commonly used drugs in surgery.