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5-HTP
Overview
5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is an amino acid that is the intermediate step between tryptophan and the important brain chemical serotonin. There is a massive amount of evidence that suggests that low serotonin levels are a common consequence of modern living. The lifestyle and dietary practices of many people living in this stress-filled era results in lowered levels of serotonin within the brain. As a result, many people are overweight, crave sugar and other carbohydrates, experience bouts of depression, get frequent headaches, and have vague muscle aches and pain. All of these maladies are correctable by raising brain serotonin levels. Conditions associated with low serotonin levels helped by 5-HTP:

Depression
Obesity
Carbohydrate craving
Bulimia
Insomnia
Narcolepsy
Sleep apneaMigraine headaches
Tension headaches
Chronic daily headaches
Premenstrual syndrome
Fibromyalgia

What is 5-HTP ?
5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), also known as oxitriptan (INN), is a naturally-occurring amino acid and chemical precursor as well as metabolic intermediate in the biosynthesis of the neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin from tryptophan. It is also produced commercially from the seeds of an African plant (Griffonia simplicifolia)

5-HTP works in the brain and central nervous system by increasing the production of the chemical serotonin. Serotonin can affect sleep, appetite, temperature, sexual behavior, and pain sensation. Since 5-HTP increases the synthesis of serotonin, it is used for several diseases where serotonin is believed to play an important role including depression, insomnia, obesity, and many other conditions

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Where it is found
Though 5-HTP is found in food only in insignificant quantities, it is a chemical involved intermediately in the metabolism of tryptophan, an amino acid found in turkey, milk, potatoes, pumpkin, and various greens.

See Cobalamin related videos:
video icon 5HTP benefit and side effects of 5htp, dosage, anxiety, weight loss, sleep   (4.59)
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video icon Low Serotonin Affects Mood - Healthy Living with Dr. Meg Jordan    (1.14)
Product related PDF file:
5HTP
The 5HTP Anti-Stress Guide
5-HTP for Improved Sleep, Mood and Weight Loss

Benefits / uses
5-HTP is an amino acid. The body makes 5-HTP from tryptophan (an essential amino acid) and converts it to an important brain chemical known as serotonin. Tryptophan and 5-HTP dietary supplements help raise serotonin levels in the brain, which may have a positive effect on sleep, mood, anxiety, aggression, appetite, temperature, sexual behavior, and pain sensation.

Depression - Low levels of serotonin in the brain can contribute to the development of depression. Many drugs prescribed for depression increase serotonin levels. Some studies indicate that 5-HTP may be as effective as certain antidepressant drugs in treating individuals with mild to moderate depression.
Such individuals have shown improvements in mood, anxiety, insomnia, and physical symptoms.

Fibromyalgia - 5-HTP has been shown to improve sleep quality and reduce pain, stiffness, anxiety, and depression in individuals with fibromyalgia.
Insomnia - Medical research indicates that supplementation with tryptophan before bedtime can induce sleepiness and delay wake times. Studies also suggest that 5-HTP may be useful in treating insomnia associated with depression.

Headaches - Some studies suggest that 5-HTP may be effective in children and adults with various types of headaches including migraines.

Obesity - There is some evidence that low tryptophan levels may contribute to excess fat and carbohydrate intake.

Doses
Some studies have used dosages of 300 mg a day for depression but any dose above 100 mg to be high. Most products are sold in 50 and 100 mg capsules. Some people do well with 20 to 50 mg, while others may temporarily require 100 mg or more. Those who do well with small doses can open a capsule by pulling on each end and take a portion mixed with water. 5-HTP is best absorbed on an empty stomach. Some users have tried taking a smaller amount sublingually, that is, under the tongue.

Possible Side effects / Precautions / Possible Interactions:
There is concern that it can cause a serious side effect called eosinophilia myalgia syndrome. Some people think this side effect is only caused by a contaminant in some 5-HTP products; but there is not enough scientific evidence to know if it is caused by 5-HTP, a contaminant, or some other factor. Until more is known, 5-HTP should be avoided.

Other potential side effects of 5-HTP include heartburn, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, sexual problems, and muscle problems.

Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: 5-HTP is POSSIBLY UNSAFE in pregnancy and breast-feeding. Avoid using it.

Down syndrome: There are reports of 5-HTP causing seizures in some people with Down syndrome. In one group studied, 15% of people with Down syndrome receiving long-term 5-HTP treatment experienced seizures.

Interactions:
Medications for depression (Antidepressant drugs) interacts with 5-HTP
5-HTP increases a brain chemical called serotonin. Some medications for depression also increase serotonin. Taking 5-HTP along with these medications for depression might increase serotonin too much and cause serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety. Do not take 5-HTP if you are taking medications for depression.

Some of these medications for depression include fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), amitriptyline (Elavil), clomipramine (Anafranil), imipramine (Tofranil), and others.

Medications for depression (MAOIs) interacts with 5-HTP
5-HTP increases a chemical in the brain. This chemical is called serotonin. Some medications used for depression also increase serotonin. Taking 5-HTP with these medications used for depression might cause there to be too much serotonin. This could cause serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety.

Some of these medications used for depression include phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), and others.

Carbidopa (Lodosyn) interacts with 5-HTP
5-HTP can affect the brain. Carbidopa (Lodosyn) can also affect the brain. Taking 5-HTP along with carbidopa can increase the risk of serious side effects including rapid speech, anxiety, aggressiveness, and others.

Dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, and others) interacts with 5-HTP
5-HTP can affect a brain chemical called serotonin. Dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, others) can also affect serotonin. Taking 5-HTP along with dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, others) might cause too much serotonin in the brain and serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety. Do not take 5-HTP if you are taking dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, and others).

Meperidine (Demerol) interacts with 5-HTP

5-HTP increases a chemical in the brain called serotonin. Meperidine (Demerol) can also increase serotonin in the brain. Taking 5-HTP along with meperidine (Demerol) might cause too much serotonin in the brain and serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety.

Pentazocine (Talwin) interacts with 5-HTP
5-HTP increases a brain chemical called serotonin. Pentazocine (Talwin) also increases serotonin. Taking 5-HTP along with pentazocine (Talwin) might increase serotonin too much. This could cause serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety. Do not take 5-HTP if you are taking pentazocine (Talwin).

Tramadol (Ultram) interacts with 5-HTP
Tramadol (Ultram) can affect a chemical in the brain called serotonin. 5-HTP can also affect serotonin. Taking 5-HTP along with tramadol (Ultram) might cause too much serotonin in the brain and side effects including confusion, shivering, stiff muscles, and others.

Research studies / References

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a b Turner EH, Blackwell AD (2005). "5-Hydroxytryptophan plus SSRIs for interferon-induced depression: synergistic mechanisms for normalizing synaptic serotonin". Medical Hypotheses 65 (1): 138-44. doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2005.01.026. PMID 15893130.
http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0306-9877(05)00068-X.


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arw
a b Shaw K, Turner J, Del Mar C (2002). "Tryptophan and 5-hydroxytryptophan for depression". Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (Online) (1): CD003198. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD003198. PMID 11869656.


arw
Rahman MK, Nagatsu T, Sakurai T, Hori S, Abe M, Matsuda M (1982). "Effect of pyridoxal phosphate deficiency on aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase activity with L-DOPA and L-5-hydroxytryptophan as substrates in rats". Jpn. J. Pharmacol. 32 (5): 803-11. doi:10.1254/jjp.32.803. PMID 6983619.


arw Bouchard, S; Bousquet, C; Roberge, AG (1981). "Characteristics of dihydroxyphenylalanine/5-hydroxytryptophan decarboxylase activity in brain and liver of cat.". Journal of neurochemistry 37 (3): 781-7. PMID 6974228.


arw Gomes P, Soares-da-Silva P. (1999). "L-DOPA transport properties in an immortalised cell line of rat capillary cerebral endothelial cells, RBE 4.". Brain Res. 829 (1-2): 143-150. doi:10.1016/S0006-8993(99)01387-6. PMID 18445233.


arw Bouchard S, Roberge AG (1979). "Biochemical properties and kinetic parameters of dihydroxyphenylalanine--5-hydroxytryptophan decarboxylase in brain, liver, and adrenals of cat". Can. J. Biochem. 57 (7): 1014-8. doi:10.1139/o79-126. PMID 39668.


arw Amamoto T, Sarai K (1976). "On the tryptophan-serotonin metabolism in manic-depressive disorders. Changes in plasma 5-HT and 5-HIAA levels and urinary 5-HIAA excretion following oral loading of L-5HTP in patients with depression". Hiroshima J. Med. Sci. 25 (2-3): 135-40. PMID 1088369.


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arw Magnussen I, Jensen TS, Rand JH, Van Woert MH (1981). "Plasma accumulation of metabolism of orally administered single dose L-5-hydroxytryptophan in man". Acta pharmacologica et toxicologica 49 (3): 184-9. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0773.1981.tb00890.x. PMID 6175178.


arw Birdsall TC (1998). "5-Hydroxytryptophan: a clinically-effective serotonin precursor". Alternative medicine review : a journal of clinical therapeutic 3 (4): 271-80. PMID 9727088.


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arw Caruso I, Sarzi Puttini P, Cazzola M, Azzolini V (1990). "Double-blind study of 5-hydroxytryptophan versus placebo in the treatment of primary fibromyalgia syndrome". The Journal of International Medical Research 18 (3): 201-9. PMID 2193835.


arw Trouillas P, Serratrice G, Laplane D, et al. (May 1995). "Levorotatory form of 5-hydroxytryptophan in Friedreich's ataxia. Results of a double-blind drug-placebo cooperative study". Archives of Neurology 52 (5): 456-60. PMID 7733839. http://archneur.ama-assn.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=7733839. Retrieved 2009-07-30.


arw Birdsall TC (August 1998). "5-Hydroxytryptophan: a clinically-effective serotonin precursor". Alternative Medicine Review : a Journal of Clinical Therapeutic 3 (4): 271-80. PMID 9727088. http://www.thorne.com/altmedrev/.fulltext/3/4/271.pdf. Retrieved 2009-07-30.


arw De Benedittis G, Massei R (1985). "Serotonin precursors in chronic primary headache. A double-blind cross-over study with L-5-hydroxytryptophan vs. placebo". Journal of Neurosurgical Sciences 29 (3): 239-48. PMID 3913752.


arw a b Gustafsson BI, Tømmerås K, Nordrum I, Loennechen JP, Brunsvik A, Solligård E, Fossmark R, Bakke I, Syversen U, Waldum H (March 2005). "Long-term serotonin administration induces heart valve disease in rats". Circulation 111 (12): 1517-22. doi:10.1161/01.CIR.0000159356.42064.48. PMID 15781732.


arw a b Xu J, Jian B, Chu R, Lu Z, Li Q, Dunlop J, Rosenzweig-Lipson S, McGonigle P, Levy RJ, Liang B (December 2002). "Serotonin mechanisms in heart valve disease II: the 5-HT2 receptor and its signaling pathway in aortic valve interstitial cells". Am. J. Pathol. 161 (6): 2209-18. doi:10.1016/S0002-9440(10)64497-5. PMC 1850896. PMID 12466135.
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arw PMID 18209781 Joy T, Walsh G, et al. Increase of urinary 5-hydroxyindoleacetic acid excretion but not serum chromogranin A following over-the-counter 5-hydroxytryptophan intake. Can J Gastroenterol. 2008 Jan;22(1):49-53.


  Barney CC, Threatte RM, Kikta DC, Fregly MJ. (June 1981). "Effects of serotonin and L-5-hydroxytryptophan on plasma renin activity in rats.". Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 14 (6): 895-900. doi:10.1016/0091-3057(81)90380-4. PMID 7019933.


arw Ma Z, Zhang G, Jenney C, Krishnamoorthy S, Tao R. (July 2008). "Characterization of serotonin-toxicity syndrome (toxidrome) elicited by 5-hydroxy-l-tryptophan in clorgyline-pretreated rats.". Eur J Pharmacol. 588 (2-3): 198-206. doi:10.1016/j.ejphar.2008.04.004. PMID 18499101.


arw Izumi T, Iwamoto N, Kitaichi Y, Kato A, Inoue T, Koyama T. (2006). "Effects of co-administration of a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor and monoamine oxidase inhibitors on 5-HT-related behavior in rats.". Eur J Pharmacol. 532 (3): 258-264. doi:10.1016/j.ejphar.2005.12.075. PMID 16488409.


arw Jacobs G, Kamerling I, de Kam M, et al. (Nov 2008). "Enhanced tolerability of the 5-hydroxytryptophane challenge test combined with granisetron". J Psychopharmacol. (Oxford) 24 (1): 65-72. doi:10.1177/0269881108094299. PMID 18719048.


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