Our expert says:
I am open to natural medication, but I also believe one should look at scientific data.
Several small clinical trials have found that 5-HTP is as effective as antidepressants, with fewer side effects. However, a 2002 systematic review of studies published between 1966 to 2000 found that only one out of 108 studies met the quality standards. The small study that did meet the quality criteria found that 5-HTP worked better than placebo at alleviating depression.
"A large number of studies appear to address the research questions, but few are of sufficient quality to be reliable. Available evidence does suggest these substances are better than placebo at alleviating depression. Further studies are needed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of 5 – HTP and tryptophan before their widespread use can be recommended. The possible association between these substances and the potentially fatal Eosinophilia – Myalgia Syndrome has not been elucidated. Because alternative antidepresants exist which have been proven to be effective and safe the clinical usefulness of 5 – HTP and tryptophan is limited at present."
Stopping your anti-depressant may cause a relapse in your condition. They do not think that taking more than 100mg per day of 5 HTP is safe, and some batches have been contaminated as it is regarded as a nutritional supplement rather than a medicine, and thus does not fall under the strict regulations for medication manufacturing.
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