Being in pain can make us desperate to find relief. We use things that aren’t good for our bodies and well-being, because anything seems better than hurting. During my search, I came across something called 5-HTP. It’s deemed the “fibro miracle drug” by many researchers. Naturally, I wonder if those researchers also have chronic pain issues….
So, what is 5-HTP?
5-hydroxytryptophan (big word, right?!) 5-HTP is interesting, because it is a precursor to serotonin. This is important because low levels of serotonin is a suspected trigger for the development of fibromyalgia and other chronic pain syndromes. Are your ears perked up as much as mine were?
Some background: serotonin is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter that helps us sleep better. It also effects how we process pain and helps control our appetites. Wait, there’s more! Serotonin is also used to improve our mood by reducing feelings of depression and anxiety. Almost sounds too good to be true!
So, why is that important? 5-HTP interacts with endorphins and other elements in our bodies that are involved in the sensation of pain in a positive way. What happens is 5-HTP is converted from an essential amino acid called L-tryptophan that we get from our diets. From there, the 5-HTP is changed into serotonin. It crosses over the brain barrier and boom! It starts doing its magic. Pretty amazing stuff. For more information about serotonin, click here.
Needless to say, I was convinced. One of the goals of Kneading Fibro is to investigate these so-called natural cures for fibromyalgia. After reading several reviews, I went ahead and ordered a bottle of 100mg 5-HTP by a brand called Nested Naturals thru Amazon. I’m a prime member so I can’t resist the free two day shipping! A portion of purchases on their supplements goes to their non-profit charity “Vitamin Angels“, who provide nutrition for needy children. I can help my body while simultaneously helping kids. Nice.
There have been alleged studies on those living with fibromyalgia taking 100mg of 5-HTP 3 times a day for at least 30 days. It was shown that sufferers not only had a decrease in tender points, but also in the intensity of pain. There was a noticeable difference in morning stiffness; their quality of sleep and sleeping patterns; and their level of fatigue, depression and anxiety. After reading this, I was ready to inhale an entire bottle, although through further search I wasn’t able to locate any concrete studies.
**Forewarned, 5-HTP should not be taken if you are on anti-depressants; too much serotonin is dangerous! Please read more here: Serotonin Syndrome
I’ve been taking 5-HTP (along with my prescriptions) for about 3 weeks now. I take 100mg twice a day, but started taking it three times a day on Monday.
On the first night, I took it with melatonin, because I was out of my regular sleep medicine. I did not have a good reaction. I was extremely jittery and awake most of the night. According to reviews, many take it at bedtime and sleep great, so results vary.
Unfortunately, my morning stiffness is still there. I also still get tired, moody, and insatiably hungry. However, I can’t deny that my overall level of pain has decreased. I don’t toss and turn throughout the night from pain and insomnia as often. When I do get up, my feet and ankles still hurt, but they don’t always feel like they’re going to snap underneath me.
I can’t confirm whether 5-HTP is a miracle supplement or a natural cure for fibromyalgia, but I can say I feel a little better. Adding this one to the pill book. I have experienced minimal to no side effects taking the Nested Naturals brand of 5-HTP along with my regular medications (aside from the one night with melatonin). If you’re interested in trying this supplement, please consult with your physician or pharmacist and click on one of the affiliate links throughout the article!