The chemical 5-hydroxytryptophan, commonly called 5-HTP, is made from the essential amino acid tryptophan. Foods rich in tryptophan include turkey, chicken and brown rice. 5HTP converts in the body to a neurotransmitter called serotonin, which passes signals between brain cells. According to the University of Maryland, 5HTP’s ability to raise serotonin levels means it may be helpful for certain health conditions. 5HTP supplements should only be taken under the supervision of a healthcare provider.
Fibromyalgia, a chronic condition, causes pain in the ligaments, joints and tendons explains the Mayo Clinic. Other common symptoms include, fatigue, multiple tender points and sleep disturbances. According to the University of Maryland, fibromyalgia sufferers often have low levels of serotonin.
In a study published in a 1992 issue of “The Journal of International Medical Research,” researchers found that 5-HTP was effective in improving the symptoms of fibromyalgia, including pain intensity, fatigue, number of tender points and anxiety.
The University of Maryland recommends 50 to 100 g of 5-HTP, one to three times a day.
Fibromyalgia sufferers should consult a doctor before taking any 5-HTP supplements.
According to the University of Maryland, depression is more than just feeling sad but is a mood disorder, where feelings of anger, sadness, loss and frustration interfere with daily life.
Fluoxetine and sertraline are a class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, that increase levels of serotonin in the brain. According to the University of Maryland, as 5-HTP may also increase the levels of serotonin in the brain, it may help the symptoms of depression. The University recommends 100mg of 5HTP a day to help with depression. Patients with depression should not take a 5-HTP supplement without the supervision of a doctor.
A migraine, a very painful type of headache, is often described as a throbbing or pulsing pain in one area of the head. Migraines cause sufferers to become sensitive to noise and light and sometimes to feel sick and vomit. According to the Mayo Clinic, some migraine sufferers get warning signs, such as tingling in the arms and legs, or flashes of light, just before a migraine starts.
According to the University of Michigan, an abnormal serotonin function in blood vessels may be related to the cause of migraine headaches and 5-HTP by increasing levels of serotonin may help correct this abnormality. To help reduce the severity and frequency of migraines, the University of Michigan recommends 400 to 600 mg of 5-HTP daily. Migraine sufferers should consult a health care practitioner before taking a 5-HTP supplement.
- Mayo Clinic: Fibromyalgia
- University of Maryland: 5-HTP
- “The Journal of International Medical Research:” Primary fibromyalgia syndrome and 5-hydroxy-L-tryptophan: a 90-day open study: Puttini PS, Caruso I: 1992
- University of Maryland: Depression
- Mayo Clinic: Migraine
- University of Michigan: 5-Hydroxytryptophan