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About Mind/Body Consultant Services & Protocols

Protocols: 5-hydroxy-L-tryptophan(5-HTP)


Description: Immediate precursor to serotonin extracted from Griffonia simplicifolia plant.

Method of Action: Stimulates brain serotonin levels by increasing cellular serotonin output. In double-blind, multi-center controlled study 5-HTP was found as effective (at dosage level below) to the SSRI drug fluvoxamine (Luvox). Research studies have found elevated levels of serotonin in the cerebral spinal fluid after ingestion of 5-HTP without a rise in platelet 5-HT indicating inhibition of peripheral decarboxylation. Elevations in cortisol, human growth hormone and prolactin have been reported in multiple studies. 5-HTP appears to be associated with a drop in core body temperature in males and a rise in core body temperature in females.

Indications and Potential Usage: Depression; Anxiety; Possibly Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder; Insomnia; Fibromyalgia; Alcohol Withdrawal; Weight Loss; Migraine Headache; Weight Loss

Contraindications: Do not use this product if you are pregnant or lactating without first seeking advice from your physician. Scleroderma patients should take 5-HTP only under close medical supervision. Do not use this product if you have a predisposition to high blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, or autoimmune disease. Persons with liver damage should not consume 5-HTP. Persons have experienced a rash, difficulty breathing, or flushing of the skin associated with 5-HTP use should discontinue use of this product.

Dosage and Administration: Effective 5-HTP dosage varies widely. Initial recommended dose: 50mg with each of three meals. For optimal 5-HTP absorption meal proceeding should be low in protein and high in carbohydrates. If you do not experience results in 7 days you may increase 5-HTP to 100 mg three times daily. Some research studies have used 600 mg per day and this dosage should not be exceeded. To increase absorption of 5-HTP take vitamins B6 (25-50 mg) - a cofactor that degrades toxic tryptophane metabolites and aids in conversion of 5-HTP to serotonin - Vitamin C (200-500 mg) and magnesium (10 mg) at least 30 minutes before or after 5-HTP dosing. Alcohol should be avoided within 6 hours of 5-HTP use.

Clinical Effect In: Some mood elevation effects are often reported within 30 to 90 minutes. Main effect varies widely based on physical condition of the patient and the disorder being treated. A clinical reponse is likely in several days to two weeks.

Adverse Reactions: Long-term controlled studies have not been conducted with this product and some of the below information is theoretical only. General: May cause mild gastrointestinal upset during first few days of use. May cause mild sedation, or (infrequently) agitation and caution is recommended when operating a motor vehicle. Serotonin Syndrome: Taken in amounts much higher than the above recommended dosage range or in conjunction with other SSRI or MAOI drugs 5-HTP can cause or contribute to serotonin syndrome. (Do not use this product without first reviewing our handout on serotonin syndrome for more information.) Immune System: Repeated high-dose administrationof 5-HTP has caused depression of dependent, humoral, hemolytic, primary immune response in mice. Mice infected with Friend Lukemia treated with 5-HTP showed significant delays in the 5-HTP clinical progression of the disease. Cardiovascular: Higher (500-1,000 mg/day) doses of 5-HTP have been found to cause deceleration of heart rate related to decrease in sympathetic neural traffic to the hart. In rat studies 5-HTP produced a bradycardia when administered intracerebroventularly but this was not attributed to the 5-HTP itself. Ventricular fibrillation threshold elevations (42%) and effective refractory period prolongation have been recorded. Decreased resting arterial blood pressure has been correlated with 5-HTP use. Prolonged high-level use should be monitored with EKG testing every 90 days in persons with AIDs, cancer, advanced age, autoimmune disease, or Scleroderma. Carbadopa: Some researchers theorize that, when taken in doses over 100 mg/day, 5-HTP should be combined with the drug carbidopa to prevent excessive levels of serotonin production in the peripheral blood circulation. Contaminants: Very low levels of impurities such as peak E (1,1'-ethylidenebis[tryptophan], 3-(phenylamino)alanine, peak-x, and peak AAA have been reported in some 5-HTP products. Some of these contaminants are similar to those associated with eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS). EMS is characterized by elevated eosinophil (certain white blood cells) count, severe muscle and joint pain (myalgias), weakness (neuropathy), swelling of arms and legs (peripheral edema), hair loss, low grade fever, skin rash, pulmonary disorders, and severe fatigue. Two cases of EMS have been linked to use of 5-HTP and resolved after discontinuation of the 5-HTP. (If you notice any of the above symptoms in italics discontinue 5-HTP use immediately and consult your physician.) Our office recommends synthetic 5-HTP or, if unavailable, products from the Griffonia simplicifolia plant which have been analyzed for purity using the method recommended by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If you suspect that an herb or other supplement is making you sick, call the FDA's MedWatch hotline at 800-332-1088 or contact the agency via its website at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

Known Interactive Effects: Do not initiate use within 4 weeks of taking another serotonin enhancing drug or use in conjunction with bright light phototherapy without professional supervision. Do not initiate use until 4 weeks after discontinuing use of a MAOI medication under any circumstances. Do not use if pregnant or nursing. Not for use by children under 14 years of age. Do not use in combination with weight loss drugs, L-dopa, tricyclic or other antidepressant medications, high doses of antihistamines, illegal drugs cancer chemotherapy or (possibly) antibiotic medications.

Additional Considerations: Some studies suggest 5-HTP eventually loses agnostic serotonergic effect and becomes a serotonin antagonist. Use enteric coated product that doesn't dissolve in stomach. Always consult a physician who is familiar with this product and it's possible immunological side effects before use. High quality 5-HTP products: Allergy Research Group, NF Formulas. Possible other good quality sources: Hypericum Buyers Club, Nature's Way, Natrol, Weider Nutritional, Now Natural Foods, Life Enhancement.

Warnings: The information above is provided for educational purposes and may not be construed as a medical prescription or as a substitute for the advice of your physician. Do not use this product without first consulting your physician especially if you are pregnant or lactating. Be advised that some herbs and dietary supplements can cause severe allergic reactions in some individuals and may also have an adverse result in conjunction with other medications, or treatments. You should regularly consult your physician in matters regarding your health and particularly in respect to symptoms and conditions which may require diagnosis or medical attention. Reevaluate use of this product after 6 months.

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