Discussion in 'Diet, Nutrition and Supplements' started by 3sweeties, Jun 19, 2006.
Has anyone supplemented with this and is effective for helping your mood?
My husband started taking this a year ago for his depression and it has worked wonders... if he misses a dose we can both tell. He doesn't take any prescription antidepressants at all, just 5-HTP.
What exactly is it?
It's the precursor to serotonin.
I've been looking into it. People on both sides (pro/con) seem to cite R. Sahelian's book 5-HTP Nature's Seratonin Solution as a balanced book in terms of the effectiveness and possible side effects. What I've found so far is: it will interact with some drugs and more than 6g a day appears to harm liver function.
Eh. As a neuro person, I'd be careful. 5-HT isn't ONLY in the brain. You dont' want to screw things up.
I tend to agree. I feel that way about St. John's Wort, as well.
The potency of supplements like these varies greatly, and the potential side-effects are long-reaching. Like SC said, NTs are not only found in the brain and serve other functions as well.
Personally, I would (and did) feel much more comfortable with a prescription medication under a doctor's supervision. They're more controlled, the dose range is better understood, side effects more well-known, and there are more alternatives (different brands, mechanisms of action, etc) if you don't get results with the first one you try.
I think you should elaborate on your post. I'm sure many would like to hear more on this.
I just went to a naturopathic doctor yesterday and she told me to take this for my anxiety. Can you give me some examples on what else it could affect? I have researched it some on-line and have not been able to find any side effects except for nausea.
I have been supplementing for a few years with 5-HTP for ADHD on the advice of a Natuorpath. I have not had any side-effects, but I am curious about what potential side effects you all have heard of. I did research before I began taking it, but found no studies that reported long term adverse effects.
I know that it has helped my husband GREATLY and when he goes a day or two without it his depression is noticeable. I suppose that with any supplement it is a personal choice and there could possibly be side effects or consequences. How many prescription drugs have been dispersed like candy only to be found to cause heart problems, liver damage, or stroke? Plenty. As with any drug, research it and make an educated and responsible decision for yourself. Generally speaking, no drug or supplement is 100% safe.
Good point on the side effects associated with various prescription meds.
The idea is that by supplementing with 5-HTP you will increase the levels of serotonin in the brain. Since a decreased level of 5-HT (serotonin) is related to depression and anxiety, it is thought by giving someone the precursor of 5-HT, you will allow the body to synthesize MORE 5-HT, thereby helping with problems of depression and anxiety.
5-HT is synthesized via Tryptophan - 5HTP - 5-HT. Normally, tryptophan crosses the blood brain barrier, and is then converted to 5HTP by tryptophan hydroxylase (which is why turkey makes you feel happy). 5HTP is then converted to 5-HT by aromatic l-amino acid decarboxylase. BUT, this enzyme is not very specific and also converts DOPA to dopamine in other neurons. Normally levels of 5HTP are pretty low in the brain, AAAD is not saturated with it...hence when you significanly increase 5-HTP, you may inadvertantly ALSO increase dopamine levels as well.
There are 13 receptors for 5-HT scattered throughout the body. Each one has a slightly different role in things like anxiety and depression, regulation of sleep, motor activity, neurogenic inflammation, vasoconstriction, modulation of pain, and also interact with other neurotransmitters: GABA, dopamine, etc. as neuromodulators.
Some possible side effects have been increased cortisol levels, decreased libido, nausa and sleepiness (see above paragraph), etc.
In this country, supplements aren't regulated. You don't know if you're getting what you think you are getting, and people have not studied the interactions between any supplement with medications. Obviously you should NEVER take this if you are on ANY psychotropic medication. I wouldn't drink on it either, since alcohol can have an effect on brain function.
There really hasn't been that much long-term research on it from companies NOT trying to sell it. So just be careful.
Thanks for the info Strongchick. I appreciate you taking the time to post that. I often forget that supplements aren't regulated by the FDA like prescription meds are and that they can vary greatly from one brand to the next. So it's true that you can never truly know what you are getting. I'll keep this in mind and be a bit more aware of any possible symptoms from my 5-HTP.
I love how intelligent yet down to earth you are.
Turkey = happiness.
I think that sometimes people don't think about supplements having side effects just because they aren't regulated and are available without a perscription.