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Some 5-HTP Side Effects You Should Know About

If you intend to take 5-hydroxytryptophan or 5-HTP for one or two of its revered benefits, you should read this first. It is important that you become fully aware of possible 5-HTP side effects before jumping right into the bandwagon. Unfortunately, taking 5-HTP may most likely lead to mild to moderate side effects. What are we talking about here?

5-HTP is the precursor of an important neurotransmitter called serotonin. Serotonin is an important chemical responsible for appetite, mood and sleep. What we know today as SSRI's and anti-depressants work by elevating serotonin levels. The same effect can be seen when taking in 5-HTP supplements.

Supplementing with 5-HTP increases the serotonin levels in the brain. They increase the supply of building blocks to form serotonin. As you may know, depression, altered mood, anxiety, overeating, insomnia, headaches, and other related conditions can all be associated to low serotonin levels. 5-HTP can normalize these levels and make you become and feel normal again.

5 HTP Safety Precautions

In terms of 5-HTP, there are two general safety notes that you should consider. First, 5-HTP may most likely bring about side effects. Second, 5-HTP has to be taken with doctor's advice if you are already taking other medications. This is most especially true if your medication is related to the condition you aim to treat with 5-HTP.

5HTP Side Effect

Be aware that 5-HTP supplements do have side effects. It is generally available without needing a prescription, which is proof enough that it is safe to take and is beneficial. However, it is best that you only take them under the supervision of a licensed physician. This is because serotonin levels much higher than normal can actually be harmful.

Here are some of the reported 5-HTP side effects to watch out for:

  • Gastrointestinal disturbances such as flatulence, feeling of fullness, heartburn, edema, diarrhea or constipation and rumbling sensations
  • Nausea
  • Rashes or flushing
  • Headaches
  • Vivid dreams, at times worsening to become nightmares

In addition, for those suffering from the following conditions, it may be better to opt for an alternative medication as 5-HTP may bring about negative and harmful side effects:

  • Cardiovascular conditions which include high blood pressure, post-heart attack post-stroke
  • Chronic digestive disorders such as Crohn's Disease, ulcers, or irritable bowel syndrome
  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Liver and lung disease
  • Myalgia, Peripheral Neuropathy, sickle cell anemia and hemophilia

5-HTP Interactions

If you are currently taking medications such as anti-depressants or sedatives, you should check with your doctor first whether it is safe to take 5-HTP as well. You see, there are 5-HTP drug interactions that you should look into.

5-HTP should not be used if you are taking the following:

  • Anti-depressants
  • SSRI's or Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors
  • Anti-Parkinson's medications
  • Antibiotics
  • Weight Loss Medications
  • Tranquilizers and Barbiturates
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Cancer chemotherapy drugs

Again, emphasis must be put on 5-HTP not being taken together with alcohol. You should allow at least a 6 hour gap between intakes of alcohol and 5 HTP.

Associated 5-HTP danger can be avoided if you take them within the prescribe dose and under the close supervision of your doctor. If used the right way,

5-HTP supplements

can bring about great results and 5-HTP side effects can be set to minimum.


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