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5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin.[1]

Theory[edit | edit source]

The reaction that causes 5-HTP to become serotonin requires the action of the enzyme aromatic-L-amino-acid decarboxylase (AADC). Vitamin B6 is also required as a cofactor.[1] The same enzyme catalyzes a number of other reactions,[1] including:

5-HTP has been shown to increase serotonin levels in the central nervous system.[2]

Evidence[edit | edit source]

Reports about serotonin levels in ME/CFS patients are mixed. One study hypothesized, based off of their findings on tryptophan, that ME/CFS patients fell into two groups: a group with high brain serotonin, and a group with normal serotonin.[3] Multiple studies have found high, low, or normal serotonin, due either to different diagnostic criteria or ME/CFS subgroups.[3]

Risks and safety[edit | edit source]

Because 5-HTP increases brain serotonin, users are at risk for serotonin syndrome if they also take other medications which increase brain serotonin,[4]. Medications which come under this category and which are commonly taken be ME/CFS patients include:

Other medications, including other supplements, may also increase brain serotonin - make sure you tell your pharmacist and your doctor if you are taking 5-HTP.

Costs and availability[edit | edit source]

Learn more[edit | edit source]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "AADC". Human Metabolome database. Retrieved May 1, 2018.
  2. Turner, Erick H; Loftis, Jennifer M; Blackwell, Aaron D (2006). "Serotonin a la carte: Supplementation with the serotonin precursor5-hydroxytryptophan". Pharmacology & Therapeutics. 109 (3).
  3. 3.03.1 Badawy AAB, AAB; Morgan, CJ; Llewelyn, MB; Albuquerque, SRJ; Farmer, A (2005). "Heterogeneity of serum tryptophan concentration and availability to the brain in patients with the chronic fatigue syndrome". Journal of Psychopharmacology. 19 (4): 385–391.
  4. "5-HTP Uses, Side effects, Interactions, Doses, and Warnings". WebMD. Retrieved May 29, 2018.

cofactor A substance that acts with another substance to bring about certain effects. In biochemistry, a cofactor is a molecule that is necessary for a given biochemical reaction, but is not an enzyme or substrate of the reaction.

enzyme a substance produced by a living organism which acts as a catalyst to bring about a specific biochemical reaction.

central nervous system (CNS) - One of the two parts of the human nervous system, the other part being the peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system consists of the brain and spinal cord, while the peripheral nervous system consists of nerves that travel from the central nervous system into the various organs and tissues of the body.

The information provided at this site is not intended to diagnose or treat any illness.
From MEpedia, a crowd-sourced encyclopedia of ME and CFS science and history.