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