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AKA 5htp and oxitriptan (INN) [Also see our topic on SAM-e] http://www.5-htp.net/Safety.asp 5-HTP Safety, Side Effects and Dangers Safety and Side Effects 5-HTP appears to be well tolerated with few and relatively mild side effects, the most common being nausea. However, large doses of 5-HTP should be avoided as it can result in the formation of excessively high levels of serotonin in tissues other than the brain, resulting in significant adverse reactions. 5-HTP is generally better tolerated than its SSRI counterparts, such as Prozac®........ Source: 5-HTP The Natural Way to Overcome Depression, Obesity, and Insomnia by Michael Murray, N.D. 5-HTP should not be taken concurrently with anti- depressants except under the supervision of a physician, because 5-HTP increases the activity of these drugs. 5-HTP should be avoided by pregnant women, nursing mothers and those with significant cardiovascular disease. It is also contraindicated in those with carcinoid tumors. Large doses of 5-HTP may significantly increase serum levels of serotonin which, at least theoretically, may result in the serotonin syndrome which can be very serious, although there have been no reports of the syndrome occurring with use of 5-HTP in humans. Do not exceed 900 mg per day. Vitamin B6 taken in doses of 5 milligrams or greater causes 5-HTP to be converted into serotonin before it passes into the brain. Since serotonin does not easily pass the blood-brain barrier as 5-HTP does, this effect is undesirable and can be detrimental. May have additive effects with tryptophan, St John's wort, and SAMe. Be sure to get 5-HTP from a reputable source to ensure purity, such as MedQuest Pharmacy. As with any supplement, 5-HTP can be abused. However, when used wisely, it has proven itself to be a safe and effective supplement........... *The information provided herein should not be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition. PROZAC is a registered trademark of Eli Lilly and Company. _______________________________________________________________________ http://www.progressivehealth.com/5-htp-risks.asp Dangers and Benefits of 5-HTP 5-HTP is a supplement used to help with many conditions, including depression, obesity, carbohydrate craving, bulimia, insomnia, narcolepsy, sleep apnea, migraine, headaches, and fibromyalgia. Although there are several conditions, which are helped by, taking 5-HTP there are also dangers when taking it with out know how to take it. Benefits of Taking 5-HTP 5-HTP is an amino acid. The body makes 5-HTP from tryptophan (an essential amino acid) and converts it to an important brain chemical known as serotonin. Tryptophan and 5-HTP dietary supplements help raise serotonin levels in the brain, which may have a positive effect on sleep, mood, anxiety, aggression, appetite, temperature, sexual behavior, and pain sensation. Depression - Low levels of serotonin in the brain can contribute to the development of depression. Many drugs prescribed for depression increase serotonin levels. Some studies indicate that 5-HTP may be as effective as certain antidepressant drugs in treating individuals with mild to moderate depression. Such individuals have shown improvements in mood, anxiety, insomnia, and physical symptoms. Fibromyalgia - 5-HTP has been shown to improve sleep quality and reduce pain, stiffness, anxiety, and depression in individuals with fibromyalgia. Insomnia - Medical research indicates that supplementation with tryptophan before bedtime can induce sleepiness and delay wake times. Studies also suggest that 5-HTP may be useful in treating insomnia associated with depression. Headaches - Some studies suggest that 5-HTP may be effective in children and adults with various types of headaches including migraines. Obesity - There is some evidence that low tryptophan levels may contribute to excess fat and carbohydrate intake. When Not To Take 5-HTP As with any supplement, 5-HTP can be abused. However, when used wisely, it has proven itself to be a safe and effective supplement. While this supplement appears to be safe for most people, 5-HTP danger occurs when people mix 5-HTP with prescription medications and herbal supplements. Taking too much 5-HTP is also dangerous. 5-HTP should not be taken concurrently with anti- depressants except under the supervision of a physician, because 5-HTP increases the activity of these drugs. Mixing SSRI medications and 5-HTP may result in a rare but extremely serious condition called serotonin syndrome. People with serotonin syndrome exhibit a variety of symptoms including confusion, restlessness, hallucinations, fever, nausea, and vomiting. Coma and death follow swiftly after symptoms appear. 5-HTP should be avoided by pregnant women, nursing mothers and those with significant cardiovascular disease. It is also contraindicated in those with carcinoid tumors. Mixing 5 HTP with herbal supplements for depression such as St. John's Wort is also not recommended. Like SSRI medications, St. John's Wort alters the delicate balance of brain chemistry. 5 HTP can tip the balance into dangerous territory. 5-HTP Overdose Individuals who take 5-HTP may expect it to act quickly, altering their mood overnight. Medications, supplements and herbs that act upon neurotransmitters usually need to be taken for several weeks before patients start to feel the effects. Some people take more and more 5 HTP, hoping that taking more will increase the effectiveness more quickly. This can create a dangerous condition called, serotonin syndrome. Many alternate health practitioners recommend starting slowly with 5 HTP and taking it for only short periods of time to avoid dangerous overdoses. 5-HTP Side Effects Reported side effects from taking 5-HTP include nausea, vomiting, and difficulty breathing. Dangerous doses of 5-HTP can cause agitation, fast heart rate, a boost in blood pressure—and in rare cases, coma and even death. Combining it with an antidepressant, any other drug that affects serotonin levels or herbal supplements like St. John's Wort can also cause such side effects. People who have heart disease, peptic ulcers, kidney disease, or clotting disorders should definitely not take this supplement. ____________________________________________________________________________________ http://wellnessletter.com/html/ds/ds5HTP.php 5-HTP Claims, Benefits: Treats or prevents insomnia, depression, and other problems; modifies mood. Bottom Line: In 1989, thousands of people taking tryptophan developed a rare and incurable blood disease, leading the FDA to ban all sales of the pills. 5-HTP, a close relative of tryptophan, is being taken as a substitute for it. Its potential dangers outweigh any possible benefits. Full Article, Wellness Letter, January 2005: Playing with Brain Chemicals For years people took tryptophan pills to treat insomnia and depression and to improve mood. This amino acid is converted in the brain into serotonin, an important neurotransmitter that affects mood and sleep, among other things. But in 1989 the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned all sales of tryptophan because of an outbreak of eosinophilic myalgia syndrome (EMS, a rare disorder that affects the skin, blood, muscles, and organs) among thousands of people taking the pills. At least 30 people died. The epidemic was traced to a bad batch of tryptophan from one Japanese manufacturer, which apparently introduced an impurity when it altered its manufacturing process. A cousin steps in Since then 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), a close relative, has replaced tryptophan in health-food stores and drugstores and on the Internet. The body makes 5-HTP from tryptophan; and like tryptophan, 5-HTP is converted to serotonin in the brain. The supplement is derived from the seeds of an African tree. For decades European doctors have used it to treat depression and several other disorders. Some small studies suggest that 5-HTP may be as effective as standard antidepressants, but most of these studies were not well designed. And other studies have not found a benefit. There’s some preliminary evidence that the supplement may play a role in weight loss and may help against mild insomnia. One problem: when some people take the supplement, their blood levels of 5-HTP do not rise, so there’s little chance of a benefit. Just how safe is it? Reported side effects include nausea, vomiting, and difficulty breathing. High doses of 5-HTP can cause agitation, fast heart rate, a boost in blood pressure—and in rare cases, coma and even death. Combining it with an antidepressant, any other drug that affects serotonin levels (such naratriptan or sumatriptan, used to treat headaches), or “herbal antidepressants” such as St. John’s wort can also cause such side effects. People who have heart disease, peptic ulcers, kidney disease, or clotting disorders should definitely not take this supplement. Even though the manufacture of 5-HTP is very different from that of tryptophan, worries about contamination remain. Researchers from the Mayo Clinic have found an impurity known as “peak X” in commercial samples of 5-HTP; the FDA has also spotted impurities. Substances similar to “peak X” were found in the tryptophan involved in the 1989 outbreak of EMS. So far, however, there have been no confirmed cases of the illness from 5-HTP supplements. Final thoughts: Some dietary supplements, notably 5-HTP, can influence brain chemicals. As the tryptophan story showed, even though they are marketed as “natural,” they can have serious adverse effects—just like traditional antidepressants. The potential dangers of 5-HTP outweigh any possible benefits. UC Berkeley Wellness Letter, January 2005 ____________________________________________________________________________________ http://www.ehow.com/about_5600605_5_htp-dangers-stomach.html 5-HTP & Dangers to the Stomach Tully Grey Tully Grey is a freelance writer living in Chicago who has been writing for 10 years. She attended Columbia College in South Carolina and is currently pursuing a B.A. in history. Her fiction has appeared in The Broadkill Review and will appear in The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. She has written nonfiction for The Post and Courier and iNeTours.com. By Tully Grey, eHow Contributor 5-HTP, or 5-hydroxytryptophan, is used by your body to produce brain chemicals like serotonin. Serotonin helps regulate your mood, appetite and energy level. 5-HTP helps maintain your serotonin levels, which can alleviate depression, kick-start weight loss and increase your energy. While 5-HTP can be beneficial, it does have side effects that can include mild gastrointestinal problems. Nausea Your digestive system can be sensitive to serotonin, and 5-HTP can lead to some mild nausea. The higher the dose, the more likely this is to happen. Higher doses are generally given to patients who are using 5-HTP to help with weight loss or fight obesity. Standard doses of 50mg to 100mg don't tend to bring on nausea. Diarrhea If your serotonin level becomes too high, you can develop serotonin syndrome. If this happens, you could experience side effects, one of which is diarrhea. The risks of serotonin syndrome increase when you take 5-HTP in combination with MAOIs, or monamine oxidase Inhibitors, as MAOIs prevent serotonin from being chemically broken down. Consult your doctor before beginning or ending any drug program. Empty Stomach If your reason for starting 5-HTP is appetite regulation, you should take it about 20-30 minutes before eating so that it will enter your brain and begin converting to serotonin faster. If you have other reasons for taking 5-HTP, you should be able to take it three times a day in small doses without nausea. You won't have to take it before meals if the purpose for taking it is not to promote weight loss or combat obesity. After Meals If you tend to eat more during the night hours than in the morning or during the day, it may be beneficial to take a 100mg dose of 5-HTP immediately after your last meal. If nausea follows, it should be temporary and subside after a few days. Sipping a ginger ale can be beneficial if nausea occurs after a meal. Avoid caffeinated drinks, as these can keep you awake as well as counteract the effects of 5-HTP. Gastrointestinal Side Effects Other side effects of 5-HTP that occur in the stomach are loss of appetite, diarrhea, cramps, vomiting and gas. Most of these symptoms occur when you take more than 100 ___________________________________________________________________________________ http://vitamins.lovetoknow.com/5_HTP_Danger 5 HTP Danger By Jeanne Grunert If you're concerned about 5 HTP danger, careful consideration of the risks and benefits may allay your fears. What Is 5 HTP? The product known as 5 HTP contains a naturally occurring brain chemical, 5-hydroxytryptophan. Synthesized from proteins containing tryptophan, 5 HTP whirls through the brain with a bevy of chemical compounds called neurotransmitters that affect mood, sleep, and appetite........... 5-HTP works with the neurotransmitter serotonin. Individuals take 5-HTP to combat depression, anxiety, and insomnia. Recently many companies have begun touting 5 HTP as a weight loss product. Both prescription and non-prescription supplements affecting serotonin appear to decrease appetite. Scientists aren't sure of the exact mechanism at work, but preliminary theories suggest that when serotonin levels are low, the body boosts the appetite in a quest to ingest as many foods as possible that provide the building blocks of serotonin. A 5 HTP Danger While this supplement appears to be safe for most people, 5 HTP danger occurs when people mix 5 HTP with prescription medications and herbal supplements. Taking too much 5 HTP is also dangerous. Antidepressants and 5 HTP People suffering from depression frequently take medications known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI). Medications in this category include brand names such as Prozac, Lexapro, Celexa, Paxil and others. The exact way that these medications improve mood isn't known, but doctors speculate that SSRI drugs block the reuptake of serotonin in the brain, leaving more circulating serotonin for use by the brain itself. This process improves neurotransmission among nerves that affect mood. SSRI medications exert a powerful influence on brain chemistry. It's no surprise then, to learn that taking 5 HTP and a prescription SRRI poses great danger. Remember that 5 HTP itself interacts in complex ways with the entire serotonin reuptake system in the brain. Because the SSRI medications are already altering the delicate symphony of chemicals, adding 5 HTP to the mix creates cacophony. Mixing SSRI medications and 5 HTP may result in a rare but extremely serious condition called serotonin syndrome. People with serotonin syndrome exhibit a variety of symptoms including confusion, restlessness, hallucinations, fever, nausea and vomiting. Coma and death follow swiftly after symptoms appear. Anyone taking antidepressant medications, 5 HTP or a combination of substances who begins exhibiting these symptoms should go to the nearest hospital immediately. Herbal Supplements and 5 HTP Just as mixing prescription medications with 5 HTP is dangerous, mixing 5 HTP with herbal supplements for depression such as St. John's Wort is also not recommended. Like SSRI medications, St. John's Wort alters the delicate balance of brain chemistry. 5 HTP can tip the balance into dangerous territory. If you have any questions about these medications, supplements or herbs, please consult your doctor or another qualified health professional, and always tell your doctor about vitamin and herbal supplements you are taking to avoid dangerous interactions. 5 HTP Overdose Individuals who take 5 HTP may expect it to act like a magic pill, altering their mood overnight. Medications, supplements and herbs that act upon neurotransmitters often need to be taken for several weeks before patients feel the effects. In their rush to feel better, some people take more and more 5 HTP, hoping that "more is better" and the substance will improve their mood faster. This can create the dangerous condition mentioned above, serotonin syndrome. Many alternate health practitioners recommend starting slowly with 5 HTP and taking it for only short periods of time to avoid dangerous overdoses. Other Side Effects People taking 5 HTP also report other side effects, including nausea and stomach upset, irritability, and insomnia. If symptoms worsen or you feel ill taking 5 HTP, discontinue and see a physician immediately. Peak X Dangers No discussion of 5 HTP danger is complete without mentioning "peak X", a term coined in 1994 when a woman came down with a serious and rare condition called eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS). In this condition, the body overproduces eosinophils. Eosinophils are white blood cells responsible for combating infections. In EMS, high levels of eosinophils cause trembling, extreme muscle pain, and shortness of breath. In 1994, a Canadian woman came down with symptoms of EMS after handling 5 HTP pills intended for her children who required the supplement for medical reasons. Although the children didn't become ill, they also had higher than normal levels of eosinphils. The suspected compound within 5 HTP that created these side effects was named "peak X". Today, most alternate health practitioners feel that the supply of 5 HTP is free from peak X. Dr. Michael T. Murray, a doctor of naturopathy, provides a complete case history on 5 HTP and peak X online, and concludes that it would take massive doses of 5 HTP to cause EMS symptoms. Anyone taking 5 HTP, however, should be aware of the possibility and check with a physician if they experience unusual symptoms.