Lately I’ve been finding benefits from taking 5HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan). I was contacted by a fellow adoptive mom who has done extensive research on biomedical alternatives for her children about a study showing 5HTP as being helpful for weight loss in women. This study was of obese women who lost significant weight by taking high doses of 5HTP.
As my middle age, stress-related pudge was continuing to grow, I was intrigued. So I began taking a small dosage of 5HTP. The research was done on large doses of 5HTP, so I have yet to see a significant change in my weight, or even much reduction in appetite. I have had some intestinal discomfort though (listed as a possible side effect). But, I ran out while at the ATN conference at the beginning of the month, and by the time I returned home I had noticed a re-emergence of pain in my joints, headaches and night sweats that I had been attributing to peri-menopause.
So, back on the 5HTP I went – and I’m feeling better.
Then, last week, a newsletter arrived from the Vitamin Research Product group with an article entitled Natural Strategies for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. Because LuLu was recently taken off Strattera (due to some negative side effects), I have been looking for ways to increase her focus and reduce her inattentiveness. It has been obvious that the medication was helping with that last spring in school, because now she has much more difficulty staying with an assignment until it is completed.
This article outlined four nutritional supplements that the author has found help to manage ADHD. They are:
1. 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5HTP)
2. Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALC)
4. Taurine and Tyrosine
So, I decided to let LuLu try the 5HTP as well.
The results were immediate. She was much more focused and calm. She told me repeatedly that she “felt better”. Except, she too had this intestinal discomfort. That has greatly been reduced by giving her smaller dosages, spread out over the day, and always with meals.
So what is 5HTP?
It is a naturally occurring amino acid, a precursor to serotonin. It is produced from tryptophan, the amino acid that is commonly believed to make us sleepy after eating turkey. Actually tryptophan is in all protein (meat) and occurs in eggs, wheat and rice. And the Thanksgiving sleepiness is more likely due to overeating of carbohydrates than the small increase in tryptophan the body gets from eating turkey.
I’m happy to have given LuLu four “good” days so far, with the addition of this 5HTP into her daily regimen. But this morning I realized that the 5HTP we’re given also has B6 in it. B6 is commonly given with 5HTP because it is needed to convert the 5HTP to serotonin. So that got me to thinking…is she perhaps feeling better because of the B6 instead of the 5HTP? There’s evidence that this might be the case, given LuLu’s recent pyroluria test.