What Is 5 HTP?


Quick Answer

According to WebMD, 5-Hydroxytryptophan is a supplement used to increase the serotonin level in the brain and central nervous system. Commercial production of 5-HTP, which is a chemical by-product of L-trytophan, comes from Griffonia simplicifolia. It is used to treat depression, insomnia and fibromyalgia, among other disorders.

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Full Answer

WebMD warns that taking 5-HTP can cause drug interactions with pharmaceutical antidepressants and with sedatives given prior to surgery. These interactions can result in negative physical effects, such as heart problems, shivering and anxiety. WebMD also warns against taking 5-HTP while pregnant and recommends talking to a doctor or pharmacist about proper dosing.

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