**DANGER, Will Robinson! DANGER! This post may contain affiliate links!**
Being in pain can make some of us desperate to find relief. We may use things that are not good for our bodies and well-being because at the time, anything seems better than hurting. Well, I am hurting (big surprise) and so I am looking for relief, but I want to find relief in products and actions that are good for me. During my hunt for such a product, I came across 5-HTP. You may have heard of it. It’s been deemed the fibro miracle drug by many researchers. I couldn’t help, but wonder if those researchers also had chronic pain issues…. After doing some reading, I was intrigued to learn more and try it out for myself.
I don’t have a lot to spend on products that don’t work, so I definitely tried to learn as much as I could before spending my hard earned money. Being sick is expensive! I’ve left work limping and hunched over too many times to throw cash away!
So, what is 5-HTP? It stands for 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?
Serotonin is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter that helps us sleep better; it effects how we process pain; and it helps control our appetites. Wait, there’s more! It’s also used to improve our mood by reducing feelings of depression and anxiety. Almost sounds too good to be true! 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. For more information about serotonin, click here.
Needless to say, I was fairly convinced by this point. After reading several reviews, I went ahead and ordered a bottle of 100mg 5-HTP by a brand called Nested Naturals on Amazon. I’m a prime member so I can’t resist the free two day shipping, otherwise I probably would have ordered it directly from the company. They are roughly the same price, plus a portion of purchases on their supplements goes to their non-profit charity “Vitamin Angels“, who provide nutrition for needy children. Help my body while simultaneously helping kids. Nice.
There have been alleged studies on those 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 have been taking 5-HTP (along with my prescriptions) for about 3 weeks now. I take 100mg twice a day, but have just started taking it three times a day on Monday. The first night I took it with melatonin before bed because I was out of my regular medicine. I did not have a good reaction. I was extremely jittery and awake most of the night. From some reviews I’ve read, some people do take it at bedtime and sleep great, so don’t let my experience scare you off. My morning stiffness is still there and I do still get tired, moody, and hungry. However, I can’t deny that my actual level of overall pain has decreased and 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 off from underneath me.
I can’t confirm whether this is a miracle supplement, however, I will admit I have felt a little better. So, I plan on keeping this supplement in my pill book. I may upgrade to the 200mg after this bottle is gone. 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 are interesting in trying this supplement, please consult with your physician or pharmacist. Better safe than sorry!