5-HTP Safety

In order to avoid any possible complications, you should talk to your healthcare provider about safety issues with 5-HTP before taking the weight loss supplement. For instance, you should tell your healthcare provider prior to taking 5-HTP if you have Down syndrome or any allergies. Many healthcare providers do not recommend this supplement because it may cause a dangerous group of symptoms that affect the muscles and other parts of the body.

Is 5-HTP Safe?

5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is an ingredient often used in weight loss supplements (see Weight Loss Pills), although it is often used for other uses as well. In order to use 5-HTP safely, you should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking it if you have:
  • Down syndrome
  • Any other chronic disease or health problem
  • Any allergies, including to medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
  • Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
  • Breastfeeding.
You should also be sure to tell your healthcare provider about any other medicines you are taking, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Specific 5-HTP Warnings and Precautions

Some of the warnings and precautions to be aware of concerning the safety of 5-HTP include the following:
  • Supplements (including 5-HTP) are not regulated as closely as medications. In fact, supplements can be sold in the United States without ever having been shown to be safe or effective.
  • It has been reported that giving 5-HTP to people with Down syndrome may increase the risk of seizures.
  • There have been reports that 5-HTP supplements may cause eosinophilia myalgia syndrome (EMS), a dangerous group of symptoms that affect the muscles and other parts of the body. It is not clear if EMS is caused by contaminants in certain 5-HTP supplements or if it is caused by 5-HTP itself. Many healthcare providers recommend avoiding this product until this controversial matter is cleared up.
  • 5-HTP supplements may possibly interact with medications (see 5-HTP Drug Interactions for more information).
  • It is not known if 5-HTP is safe for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding (see 5-HTP and Pregnancy and 5-HTP and Breastfeeding).
  • If you decide to use supplements, keep in mind that what you see on the label may not reflect what is in the bottle. For example, some herbal supplements have been found to be contaminated with heavy metals or prescription drugs, and some have been found to have much more or much less of the featured ingredient than their label states.
Therefore, make sure the manufacturer of your 5-HTP product is a trusted and reputable manufacturer. It is a good sign if a manufacturer abides by the rules of Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). It is also a good sign if a product has the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) seal, which means that the product has been independently tested and shown to contain the correct ingredients in the amounts listed on the label. Your pharmacist is a good resource for information about which manufacturers are the most reputable.
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5-HTP Dietary Supplement

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