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 5-HTP:Nature's Serotonin Solution?  
 
The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Natural Medicine Research by . View all columns in series
Ray Sahelian Will 5-HTP be the next supplement superstar? On Jan 17th, PrimeTime Live discussed the possible benefits of this serotonin precursor in the therapy of obesity, depression and insomnia.

5-hydroxytryptophan is a natural supplement that has been available as a pill over the counter since 1995. It is sold by a number of vitamin companies, usually in a dosage of 50 mg. Tryptophan, an amino acid found in our food converts into 5-HTP which in turn converts into serotonin. Serotonin is an important brain chemical involved in mood, behavior, appetite, and sleep. Studies published over the past three decades show that 5-HTP can be helpful in conditions that normally require prescription medicines such as Prozac, Xanax, sleeping pills, and diet drugs. But how safe is 5-HTP?

Dr. Ray Sahelian, M.D., one of the world's foremost experts on natural supplements, and author of the newly published 5-HTP: Nature's Serotonin Solution (Avery, 1998, $10.95) believes 5-HTP holds a great deal of promise. "5-HTP helps control appetite, improve mood, and reduce anxiety. However, consumers must be cautious. Few long-term studies are available to determine 5-HTP's safety. Until we learn more about this interesting supplement, I recommend consumers to not continuously use 5-HTP longer than three months without a break." Sahelian also recommends physician supervision.

In his clinical practice Dr. Sahelian has observed that side effects with 5-THP can include nausea, daytime sleepiness, and nightmares.

For more information, see Dr. Sahelian's web site for the latest updates at www.raysahelian.com

      
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 About The Author
Ray Sahelian, M.D., is a popular and respected physician who has been seen on numerous television programs including NBC Today, Dateline NBC, and CNN, and quoted by countless major magazines such as Newsweek He......moreRay Sahelian MD
 
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