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5-HTP for Weight Control

Also indexed as:5-Hydroxytryptophan, Hydroxytryptophan
5-HTP
5-HTP: Main Image

How Much Is Usually Taken by Dieters?

Appetite reduction and weight loss (averaging 11 pounds in 12 weeks) has occurred with amounts of 600 to 900 mg daily. In another clinical trial, 750 mg per day has been shown to be effective at decreasing carbohydrate and fat intake and promoting weight loss.

Side Effects

During the clinical trials described above, some people taking large amounts of 5-HTP experienced gastrointestinal upset (e.g. nausea) or, less often, headache, sleepiness, muscle pain, or anxiety.

A substance known as "Peak X" has been found in low concentrations in several over-the-counter 5-HTP preparations. Some researchers think this substance may be linked1, 2, 3 to toxicity previously reported4, 5, 6 in a 1989 L-tryptophan contamination incident. However, there is serious question about whether Peak X is actually the toxic agent and it may be unrelated to the problems previously associated with L-tryptophan.7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 Although two articles reported possible associations between 5-HTP consumption and toxicity symptoms similar to those attributed to contaminated L-tryprophan,15, 16 evidence linking 5-HTP or Peak X with any toxicity symptoms remains speculative. Although the structure of Peak X has recently been identified, there is no firm evidence that this substance has caused or contributed to any toxicity or disease.17

Very high intakes of 5-HTP have caused muscle jerks in guinea pigs18 and both muscle jerks19 and diarrhea in mice.20 Injected 5-HTP has also caused kidney damage in rats.21 To date, these problems have not been reported in humans. "Serotonin syndrome," a serious but uncommon condition caused by excessive amounts of serotonin, has not been reported to result from supplementation with 5-HTP; in theory it could be triggered by the supplement.22 However, the level of intake at which this toxic effect might potentially occur remains unknown.

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

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.23 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.

Interactions with Medicines

Certain medicines interact with this supplement.

Types of interactions:beneficial= Beneficialadverse= Adversecheck= Check
dnicon_BeneficialReplenish Depleted Nutrients

none

dnicon_BeneficialReduce Side Effects

none

dnicon_BeneficialSupport Medicine

none

dnicon_AvoidReduces Effectiveness

none

dnicon_AvoidPotential Negative Interaction
dnicon_CheckExplanation Required

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.