What Are the Dangers of 5-HTP?

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5-HTP is 5-Hydroxytryptophan, a supplement your body creates from tryptophan, an amino acid. 5-HTP is used to create serotonin, a chemical in your brain that influences your mood. Consult your doctor before beginning any treatment program.

Nausea

  • The most common side effect of 5-HTP reported by patients is nausea. This can be avoided by taking the lowest recommended dose of 5-HTP, 100 mg three times per day, 20 to 30 minutes before meals.

Antidepressants

  • 5-HTP can have negative side effects when taken with antidepressants, as it increases their activity. It is best to avoid taking 5-HTP if you are taking a prescription antidepressant, especially if you are taking an MAO inhibitor.

Parkinson's Disease

  • If you have Parkinson's Disease and are taking Eldepryl, do not take 5-HTP at the same time. This combination can raise serotonin levels too much.

Serotonin Syndrome

  • Combining 5-HTP with illegal drugs, such as LSD or Ecstasy, is extremely dangerous. The combination can induce serotonin syndrome, which is when your serotonin levels get so high that you experience confusion, high blood pressure, rapid heart rate and seizures. In extreme cases, death could occur.

Scleroderma

  • Sclerodoma is a disorder where your skin and organs thicken. Some patients who have sclerodoma are unable to transform serotonin to its byproduct. Because of this, it is best for sclerodoma patients to avoid 5-HTP.

Vitamin B6

  • If you take 5 mg of vitamin B6 or more, this could cause 5-HTP to transform to serotonin prematurely, which can cause problems. Avoid 5-HTP if you are taking vitamin B6 supplements.

References

  • "5-HTP: Nature's Serotonin Solution;" Ray Sahelian, M.D.; 1998
  • "5-HTP: The Natural Way to Overcome Depression, Obesity and Insomnia;" Michael Murray, N.D.; 1998
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