5-htp not safe? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 14 Old 10-27-2008, 04:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've read in a couple of the current posts that it is not safe to take 5-htp while breastfeeding. Also, it seems that there might be some evidence that 5-htp isn't safe in general because of possible side effects.

I was taking 5-htp right before I started having all of these severe anxiety issues. I had gone to a naturopath and she told me that 5-htp was safe for nursing and would be useful to help me sleep. So, I took it and it did help me fall asleep but it didn't keep me asleep. And it didn't help my anxiety at all. So, maybe we should have sticky about it since so many mamas are searching for natural ways of treating their anxiety and they may try this and have adverse affects.

"Breastfeeding is a robust, biologically stable activity so central to our evolutionary identity that it names the class of animals to which we belong" (Breastfeeding Atlas, Third Edition)
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#2 of 14 Old 10-27-2008, 07:04 PM
 
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Not safe. And I had a naturopath tell me it was, too. BUT IT IS NOT. Absolutely not.

Maybe that is why my state will not even recognize NP's.

It is not tested, not known what kind of side effects will pass on to baby, and the dosage can be different in every pill because it's not regulated. Too big a gamble to take, especially when it's not just you taking it, it is your baby, too.

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#3 of 14 Old 10-27-2008, 07:45 PM
 
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I used 5HTP with no adverse side effects and absolutely loved it. It was the only thing that helped my 5 years of SEVERE anxiety attacks. However, if it doesn't help you than I certainly wouldn't take it. As far as making it a sticky so that other moms know- I dunno. I think it's fantastic. I had a few docs look into the safety of it as well and it came back safe from all of them.


Are you taking a B vitamin supplement (as a side note- may help the anxiety).
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#4 of 14 Old 10-27-2008, 07:47 PM
 
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I went back and read through your post again. A quick fix for me when I was having anxiety was chamomile tea (I got the kind with Valerian- which is a miracle herb imo, but you're not supposed to take it while bf-ing).

It would also help you sleep.
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#5 of 14 Old 10-27-2008, 08:29 PM
 
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Check Kellymom.com and Dr. Hale. 5 HTP is not safe for baby at all. We do not know how much of it gets into milk, and therefore you could be affecting baby's brain as it develops. We KNOW that zoloft, IF it gets into milk, does so in UNDETECTABLE amounts, so that is safe. Tested, researched, and safe.

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#6 of 14 Old 10-27-2008, 09:11 PM
 
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I don't know. 5-HTP has been a life saver for me. And I am nursing and we are all ok... great in fact.
I also use a B complex and Omega fatty acids, as well as Co-Q 10.
I have been off all of it for about a month now, but it seriously saved my life when I was having PPD/PPA.

But if you feel bad don't take it!

H

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#7 of 14 Old 10-27-2008, 11:07 PM
 
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I started going to acupuncture once a week. After years of anxiety attacks the acupuncture totally took care of it. I recommend it to anyone!!!
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#8 of 14 Old 10-28-2008, 10:43 AM
 
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I don't know, I just take it for granted that it is much safer to take something that is *known* not to get into breast milk than take a chance on something that might. And something, like zoloft, that is tested and researched over many years where there are no studies on 5HTP while nursing.

Julia Ross is a huge advocate of 5HTP for depression, but she cautions in her book never to take it while breastfeeding. So I would take it from someone like her, since she really believes in the stuff.

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#9 of 14 Old 11-02-2008, 11:48 AM
 
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Another option is Trytophan. It's more money than 5-HTP but is believed to be safe during nursing.

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#10 of 14 Old 11-02-2008, 12:01 PM
 
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The problem is that 5-HTP hasn't been studied on nursing moms, so we don't know if it's safe or not. It might mess up the baby's developing brain- or it might be safer than SSRIs. The simple fact is that we don't know.

As with any other drug or supplement, it works for some people, makes others feel worse, and has no effect on others. That's completely separate from the safety issue.

I started taking Prozac when I was nursing a 1.5yo- I was in bad shape and it just wasn't the time to experiment with new meds that might not work for me (I'd taken Prozac before DS was born.) Had I been nursing a younger baby I probably would have tried one of the "safer for BF" meds first- but DS was old enough that my dr felt Prozac was safe enough for him.

About 2 years later, I weaned off of the Prozac and onto 5-HTP. I still take the 5-HTP today. I wasn't worried about the effects on DS at that point since he was nursing so little. The Prozac had ceased to help me and I needed to do SOMETHING- at that point I weighed the risks and benefits and decided to go ahead with an "untested" supplement vs trying a higher dose of Prozac or a new med altogether. I also increased my B vitamins and started CLO around this time. The result was a much faster reduction in depression symptoms than if I was going with a new medication- which benefitted 3.5yo DS more (not having a depressed mom) than the risks of medication traces in the small amount of breastmilk he was still consuming.

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#11 of 14 Old 08-26-2013, 07:21 PM
 
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"Check Kellymom.com and Dr. Hale. 5 HTP is not safe for baby at all. We do not know how much of it gets into milk, and therefore you could be affecting baby's brain as it develops. We KNOW that zoloft, IF it gets into milk, does so in UNDETECTABLE amounts, so that is safe. Tested, researched, and safe."

^^ Thanks so much, mom, for pointing out Kellymom.com and Dr Hale's HORRIBLE misjudgment!! Now I won't trust either of them. Zoloft IS NOT SAFE for anyone. There has even been a mass lawsuit against it... Big Pharma really has people fooled!
 

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#12 of 14 Old 09-08-2013, 07:57 PM
 
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mom0810- you do realize 5HTP is an amino acid, right? . . it's a form of tryptophan, which is in tons of foods- such as Turkey, chocolate, and much more.  That's the reason there aren't studies.  I'm certain there are studies in Germany- they've compared it to the most common drugs on the market.  I wish I could read German- because in America only drugs are studied, because there's money behind them.  Nutrition and natural remedies are very poorly studied here, because they don't have big money behind them, like the drug companies do, and the drug companies don't want competition.  Can anyone find translated studies?  I know for fact Germany (who's sciences wipe us off the board) has done them, but you'd have to be able to read German =/  I would like to see some science. . . not freak out hype.  I'm not afraid of eating turkey, but I'd certainly like to know more of what's been studied.  I seem to be getting fibromyalgia or something- many studies link 5 HTP to pain relief in the case of Fibromyalgia- and my DD is 29mo old, and doesn't nurse at night anymore.  In fact she usually only nurses a handful of times a day.

 

It may be that the NPs have read the German studies- American doctors ignore studies done beyond our border, but that's stupid; there are several other countries whose medical knowledge makes us look like toothless goons.  So my verdict is still out

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#13 of 14 Old 10-21-2013, 08:30 AM
 
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My naturopath also recommended 5HTP and I am still breastfeeding. She told me it was safe, but I was concerned after reading more about it online. I also had HORRIBLE obsessive anxiety while taking it. And I would sleep well while I was asleep.... but then I would wake up in the middle of the night and my mind would be racing! I stopped taking it after 6 days, The naturopath then got my bloodwork back and saw that I have extremely low progesterone levels (level 1!) and said that when your hormones are not balanced you are more likely to have a reaction like I did. So I would say that since most nursing moms have low progesterone and not particularly well-balanced hormones, it may not be a great match. I was disappointed because I was hoping that it would be a good match. Additionally, I'm all for more "natural" remedies but what I read online was disconcerting. I'm now on oral progesterone to get my level up. It has been very interesting to learn that the symptoms of low progesterone are mood symptoms - depression, anxiety, extreme mood swings, low libido. I've been searching for the right forum to ask if anyone else has experience with oral progesterone relieving anxiety and depression.

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#14 of 14 Old 12-03-2013, 12:43 PM
 
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Jeff: The reason Zoloft is safe to use while breastfeeding has nothing at all to do with it's safety otherwise.  It is safe for a breastfeeding infant because the drug does not pass through in breastmilk.  So, basically, it's safe because it's not there.  

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