Depression and Alleviating Anxiety: 5-HTP Could be Worth a Try

5-htp-remedyAfter many studies, it has been proven that 5-HTP helps improve the mood of depressed patients and help panic attacks. The same sources also recommended that more research on 5 -HTP should be done before claims were made.

5 HTP for Sleep and Weight Loss

5 HTP may aid in weight loss and improve sleep patterns for some individuals. Research has shown that good serotonin levels may lower your appetite by assisting in weight loss. Serotonin is converted into melatonin in the pineal gland and melatonin  regulates sleep cycles.  The theory is that if 5- HTP can increase serotonin levels, it may be able to improve sleep and aid in weight loss.  In the medical articles reviewed, positive results have been reported but the authors caution that more research is needed before claims can be made.

5 -HTP Dosage

As with all nutritional supplements or medications, individual response is a variable. It is clear that large excesses of serotonin in the peripheral circulation can cause cardiovascular disease and other adverse effects. Too much 5- HTP in the diet could potentially result in too much serotonin in the peripheral circulation.

Some sources suggest that 5- HTP can be safely used as a nutritional supplement at a dosage of up to 100 mg. per day.  Some believe that much larger dosages can be consumed without adverse effects.  Some also suggest that 5- HTP, especially in larger doses should be used with the prescription drug carbidopa. The purpose of this drug is to prevent the 5- HTP from being converted to serotonin in the peripheral circulation.

5- HTP Precautions & Side Effects

5 -HTP is available in health food stores and is generally considered safe, and beneficial for many individuals.  Negative effects to 5- HTP use or conditions under which 5- HTP use should only be under the supervision of a physician, are conditions in which increased serotonin levels may be harmful.  This list is generic and does not represent a contraindication for all individuals. You should get professional advice if you have questions, especially if prescription medications are also being used.

  1. Cardiovascular Diseases (high blood pressure, post-stroke, post-heart attack)
  2. Extremely Elderly Persons
  3. People with Parkinsons Disease, Cancer or Autoimmune Diseases (Scleroderma, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, Lupus)
  4. Lung Diseases
  5. Chronic Alcoholism
  6. Liver diseases (hepatitis or cirrhosis)
  7. Parasitic Infection
  8. AIDS
  9. Anorexia Nervosa
  10. Low protein Diets
  11. Allergies (severe)
  12. Myalgia (persistent pain and weakness of the muscles)
  13. Peripheral Neuropathy (pain weakness of the muscles)
  14. Rash or Flushing
  15. Edema
  16. Nausea
  17. Diarrhea
  18. Sickle cell anemia
  19. Hemophilia
  20. Pregnancy

5- HTP should not be used if you are taking anti-depressantdrugs, MAO Inhibitors, SSRI’s like Prozac, Tricyclic meds, Parkinson’s Meds, Alcohol drinks, sleeping meds, or antihistimines and cold meds as well as cancer chemotherapy, Anti-depressant drugs or even antibiotics.

The principal reason for not combining 5-htp with these classes of medications is that many of them may also increase serotonin levels or affect other neurotransmitters, but by different biochemical mechanisms. The combination, in some cases, has the potential of acting together to dramatically increase serotonin levels, which when combined, could have adverse effects.

While tryptophan is not as strong as 5-HTP, it may also be safer to use. Its effectiveness is enhanced by the inclusion of synergestic factors including lysine, niacin and synergistic herbal extracts.

Alcohol and 5-HTP should not be taken together. You should allow at least six hours between use of alcohol and 5 HTP.

Courtesy of The Nutrition Advisor Blog

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