Low levels of 5 HTP can cause a myriad of conditions which may respond to 5HTP supplements.
5 HTP Benefits
Disruptions in emotional well-being, including depression and anxiety, have been linked to serotonin imbalances in the brain. People with fibromyalgia often have low serotonin levels in their blood.
Supplements of 5-HTP may increase serotonin synthesis in these cases. The cause of migraine headaches is related to abnormal serotonin function in blood vessels and 5-HTP supplementation may help correct this abnormality. Insomnia has been associated with tryptophan deficiency in the tissues of the brain; therefore, 5-HTP may provide a remedy for this condition.
There are some studies of 5-HTP and depression that are suggestive. A Japanese trial with 107 patients in 1974 found that 74 improved with the supplement. A Swiss study in 1991 compared the antidepressant Luvox (fluvoxamine) with 5-HTP and found them equally effective, although both treatments produced side effects. 5-HTP most commonly caused nausea and other gastrointestinal distress.
5-HTP should not be taken with antidepressants, weight-control drugs, other serotonin-modifying agents, or substances known to cause liver damage, because in these cases 5-HTP may have excessive effects. People with liver disease may not be able to regulate 5-HTP adequately and those suffering from autoimmune diseases such as scleroderma may be more sensitive than others, to 5-HTP. These people should not take 5-HTP without consulting a knowledgeable healthcare professional.
The safety of taking 5-HTP during pregnancy and breast-feeding is not known at this time.