Posted by: Naz | 2009-10-09


Dear Doc, I am trying to decrease my use of Lorien and want to know if you have any comment on 5-HTP? On the internet it says it is a direct precursor for the neurotransmitter serotonin (the “ feel good”  hormone). 5-HTP has profound mood-lifting and anti-depressant effects (but without the side effects).

Thank you

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Our expert says:
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Dear Naz
You can't use 5 HTP together with an antidepressants or herbs like St Johns wort as it increases the effects and side effects of antidepressant medication. It is also dangerous to use this with anti allergy medication, cold medication or alcohol. 5 HTP is defnitely not side-effect free and usually causes headaches. 5-HTP should be avoided by pregnant women, nursing mothers and those with significant cardiovascular disease. It is also contraindicated in those with carcinoid tumors. Large doses of 5-HTP or taking 5 HTP with Vit B6 may significantly increase serum levels of serotonin which, at least theoretically, may result in the serotonin syndrome which can be very serious. Serotonin syndrome causes:
Brain effects: mental confusion, hypomania, hallucinations, agitation, headache, coma
Autonomic effects: shivering, sweating, increased body temperature, high blood pressure, fast heart rate, nausea, diarrhea.
Body effects: muscle twitching, uncontrolled muscle movements, tremor.
Although some naturalists suggest a dosage of 50 - 400 mg per day one should not take more than 100 mg per day - more could cause unpleasant side effects.
Dr Bets

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