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another 5-HTP thread

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I am interested in others' experiences and thoughts on this supplement. On the one hand, it seems sort of philosophically better to me to use a supplement which enables the body to produce what it naturally does (but more), rather than a drug which inhibits a natural process, forcing the serotonin level up. But, I've read (Chemistry of Joy) that 5-HTP has some of the same drawbacks and side effects as SSRIs. That author recommends using it with supervision (which I am not), just like an SSRI.

 

I'm also concerned that I'm still breastfeeding my 4 yo. For about 3 weeks I've been taking the lowest dose, 50 mg/day, right after the one time she nurses (bedtime). My 6 yo noticed a difference in my mood the first day I took it, before she knew I was doing it. I think the trade-off of taking an untested supp. (which occurs naturally in the body) might be worth it if my parenting is better, if I'm modeling self-confidence and emotional stability; at the same time, I really don't think dd2 is ready to wean. I know of other women who have made a similar choice. Any thoughts?

 

WebMD says there is an association with eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS), which may be caused by a common impurity, but they don't say what it is, or how to avoid it. Anybody know how to evaluate a brand, or have any links or info on EMS and 5-HTP?

 

Or any other links regarding safety? I looked at wikipedia, and everything else so far appears to be from people who are selling it, and some of the claims go way beyond what I saw in the book I read. Would appreciate it if anyone has anything based on research. tia

post #2 of 3

I haven't taken 5-htp, but I have taken tryptophan. Its been forever since I did the research but I think tryptophan is supposed to be safer than 5-htp for nursing. But they work essentially the same way. 5-htp stands for 5-hydroxytryptophan. tryptophan converts to 5-htp in the body. I had good success with it, and most definitely did NOT have the same side effects as I did on SSRIs, not even close. From what I read (and I don't have any sources I can point to, just going from memory from when I remember reading about it, which was over a year ago, so forgive me if I mix up some details and get the story wrong!) tryptophan used to be the standard treatment for depression in..the 80s? I think prozac was trying to break into the market but wasn't being taken very seriously because tryptophan worked so there wasn't a need. Then there was a contaminated batch from China which caused a few deaths, and it was quickly pulled from the market. Suddenly prozac didn't look so bad! So now tryptophan/5-htp is making its comeback. 

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

I hadn't really considered tryptophan as I read that a high percentage is lost in the digestive tract, unlike 5-HTP. Will think about that as an alternative, esp since it occurs more abundantly in foods, therefore likely to be very safe. Pretty sure the supp. brands I use aren't made in China . . . but might have to look into that. That whole story sounds suspicious. Good reason to avoid big pharma.

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