5-HTP (Hydroxytryptophan) Supplements - Side Effects, Benefits

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5-HTP (Hydroxytryptophan) Supplements - Side Effects, Benefits

Jarrow's 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is an extract of Griffonia simplicifolia seeds from coastal West Africa.  Purity is assured by HPLC.


Tryptophan vs. 5-HTP
In the 1970s, the American health food industry began to provide an alternative method of getting more tryptophan -- tryptophan supplements.  Many people found that 500 to 3,000 mg of supplementary tryptophan daily provided practical solutions.  In 1989, the FDA removed tryptophan from the American health food market due to a mysterious outbreak of a rare but serious ailment -- eosinophilia myalgia (EMS).  This EMS epidemic was later traced to a single batch of contaminated tryptophan from a Japanese producer. 


Fortunately, a safe, natural and effective alternative to tryptophan has been researched for over 30 years.  This substance is L-5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP).  5-HTP is not produced by bacterial fermentation (as was the tainted tryptophan) nor chemical synthesis, but is extracted from the seeds of the Griffonia plant.


In the hundreds of papers published on 5-HTP during the past 30 years, we have not been able to uncover a single reported incident of death or serious injury from oral 5-HTP use.  To our knowledge, there is not even a single published medical reference to any such presumed death or injury.

Side Effects
5-HTP may intensify the effects of various antidepressant drugs.  Van Praag notes that 5-HTP combined with the tricyclic antidepressant clomipramine proved more effective than clomipramine alone.  Yet, because of the potentially powerful but unpredictable synergy when 5-HTP is combined with drugs, those using MAO-inhibitor drugs, tricyclic antidepressants, SSRI's such as Prozac, Paxil or Zoloft, and the diet drugs Pondimin (DL-fenfluramine) or Redux (D-fenfluramine), should use 5-HTP only with medical supervision.  Similarly, those wishing to reduce or eliminate their serotonin-potentiating drugs, should do so only with medical supervision.


The main side effects occasionally experienced by 5-HTP users reported in the scientific literature is gastrointestinal (GI) upset gas, nausea, diarrhea, and cramping.  This GI upset happens only to a minority of users, and even then, only occasionally.  It usually lessens or disappears in the first few days or weeks of use.  The published studies also indicate that taking 5-HTP with food (i.e., partway through a meal or snack) also minimizes the risk of GI upset.


Recommended Dosage for 5HTP / 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan)
Starting with a low dose (25-50 mg) and increasing the dose slowly (every 3 - 5 days) up to a maximum of 200 - 300 mg daily will also minimize the side effects of GI upset.  Total daily intake should be divided into 2 - 4 doses, with no more than 100 mg per dose.  Those suffering from gut disorders, such as ulcers, irritable bowel disease, Crohn's disease, celiac disease (sprue), etc., and those with just an extremely 'sensitive' GI tract, should probably use 5-HTP with great caution, or not at all.  The use of aloe vera juice/gel and/or ginger extracts may lessen or eliminate the occasional GI side effects of 5-HTP.

Warnings Information:

  • For dietary supplement use only,
  • Keep 5-HTP (hydroxytryptophan) supplements out of reach of children,
  • Do not exceed recommended dosage,
  • If you have a bad reaction or side effects, discontinue use immediately,
  • When using, please inform your physician,
  • If you are pregnant, lactating or have a medical condition, consult your health care professional before using this or any other nutritional supplement,
  • In the event of or if the effects of allergic reaction occurs, discontinue 5HTP (hydroxy tryptophan) supplements immediately.

Pg 2 | Pg 3 | Dr. Michael Murray on 5HTP

Order:  5-HTP

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