Patients frequently come in and say they were watching Dr. Oz. We sort of laugh because they always say the same thing, “Dr. Oz says. . . “. We are very grateful to Dr. Oz as he has done a lot to help educate people in what is good in natural care and also what is bad in natural care. Both are very important.
Today someone mentioned seeing something about 5-HTP and headaches, so I thought I would relate some of the benefits of 5-HTP and make sure you are aware of some problems associated with 5-HTP.
5-HTP, Headaches, Fibromyalgia, and Depression
5-HTP seems to be somewhat effective in preventing chronic tension headaches. 5-HTP can also help the headaches due to sleep disorders in children. However in childhood migraines 5-HTP wasn’t any more helpful than placebo. On the other hand, in chronic primary headaches it appeared to be more effective than placebo.
5-HTP also helps in relieving fibromyalgia symptoms as compared to a placebo. It is a great product to use in patients with fibromyalgia.
5-HTP is also for some helpful in reducing the symptoms of depression. May people seem to do well on it and they avoid the SSRI side effects.
5-HTP is Precursor to Serotonin
Our bodies employ 5-HTP in the process of producing serotonin. L-tryptophan is converted to 5-HTP and then 5-HTP is converted to serotonin. It is widely believed that 5-HTP’s effectiveness as a supplement derives largely from ability to enhance serotonin levels in the body.
Since 5-HTP is involved in serotonin production, you should avoid taking 5-HTP with all antidepressants, as there is a risk of serotonin syndrome when they are taken together. There is a large list of possible drug interactions so please review the list if you are taking 5-HTP. Some people also note a gastro-intestinal discomfort with 5-HTP. Also if you are going to have surgery discontinue 5-HTP at least 2 weeks prior to surgery.
There is a concern that 5-htp may be related to eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome however it does appear that most such symptoms were due to contaminated 5-HTP. Pick a good quality brand and beware of the symptoms which are much like fibromyalgia. Keep in mind, however, that nearly all of the cases were related to one manufacturer’s likely contamination and not to the 5-HTP.
Dosages of 5-HTP are usually 150-300 mg / per day. For sleep disorders it is often best to take 5-HTP before bedtime.