5-HTP for Migraines
Disclaimer: This content has been produced purely for informational and educational purposes only and is never intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical guidelines including diagnosis, advice, and treatment.
5-Hydroxytryptophan is a chemical used to make serotonin in the human body. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a significant role in nerve and brain function. This brain chemical significantly influences sleep, emotional health, pain management, inflammation, and other body functions. 5-HTP is also used to relieve migraine headaches and promote mental relaxation and sleep.
This supplement also known as oxitriptan has been considered an effective treatment for migraine and other types of headaches. This article takes a closer look at 5-HTP for migraines, its potential benefits, and possible risks and side effects.
What Is 5-HTP?
5-HTP also named oxitriptan is an amino acid naturally produced in the body and is used to make a brain chemical known as serotonin. Serotonin acts as a chemical messenger that connects the nerve cells by sending signals to them.
Decreased serotonin levels lead to depression, anxiety, weight gain, and sleep problems. It is necessary to maintain normal levels of these chemicals and serotonin-producing 5-HTP supplements are increasing in popularity day by day.
5-HTP and Migraines
Migraine is a usually moderate to severe throbbing pain occurring at one side of the head. It is a common health condition affecting about 1 in 5 women and 1 in 15 men. The exact cause of migraine is not known but it is said that it may occur due to disturbance in normal brain activity. Any disturbance in brain activity affects brain chemicals, blood vessels, and nerve signals.
According to studies, people suffering from migraine experience low levels of serotonin during and between migraine attacks. Migraine and serotonin are associated with each other and this connection is not exactly clear. However, it is claimed that serotonin deficiency makes the person more sensitive to pain.
For this reason, various techniques and methods are introduced to increase the production of serotonin to treat and prevent migraine episodes. These techniques may include triptans, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), and complementary and alternative therapy like exercise, meditation, and acupuncture.
Is 5-HTP Effective for Migraine?
5-HTP is naturally found in human body and the body converts this chemical into 5-HT known as serotonin which can manage pain. Various studies showed that these dietary supplements help promote serotonin production and indirectly help treat migraine and other types of headaches. However, some studies show conflicting results regarding the pain managing effects of oxitriptan.
An animal study showed that 5-HTP supplements may prevent brain changes that lead to migraine headaches. This study concluded that these supplements reduce the effects of triggers and help treat migraine headache.
Another study in two siblings suffering from a rare type of migraine associated with stroke-like symptoms showed that 5HTP helps manage pain. Supplementing with 5-HTP in these individuals helped improve the symptoms of migraine.
One research conducted to evaluate the effects of 5HTP on the prevention of migraine in children showed contradictory results. This study revealed that 5HTP does not show significant effects in decreasing the frequency of migraine episodes.
A study found that supplementing 5HTP for 26 weeks resulted in a 71% reduction in migraine attacks in individuals.
Another research in 48 individuals showed a 70% reduction in headache frequency in response to 5HTP compared to the placebo group which showed only an 11% decrease in headache.
May Help Manage Weight
5-HTP supplements have potential to reduce the production of the hunger hormone, suppress appetite, and increase weight loss. They increase the feeling of fullness and allow you to eat only limited calories which leads to weight reduction.
For weight management, 5-hydroxytryptophan supplements are taken 30-45 minutes before meals.
May Relieve Depression
Studies revealed that 5HTP has beneficial effects in reducing depression and anxiety. They regulate brain chemicals like serotonin which help improve mood and relieve depression symptoms. Several clinical trials found that these supplements work more effectively than many other antidepressant drugs.
Relieve Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
It is claimed that low serotonin levels may also cause bone and muscle pain. Supplementing with 5HTP increases serotonin levels which help relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
May Improve Sleep Quality
Melatonin is a hormone that helps improve sleep. 5HTP supplements increase the production of serotonin which is then converted to melatonin. Studies showed that consumption of 5HTP supplements in combination with gamma amino butyric acid resulted in improved sleep quality and sleep duration.
There are no recommended doses of 5HTP however several studies use 25-200mg of this supplement for adults. There are some suggestions or general guidelines for 5HTP doses for different health conditions.
- 100-200mg twice or thrice a day with meals for migraine.
- 250-300 mg half hour before meal for weight management.
- 50-100mg thrice daily with meals for enhancing mood.
- 100mg of 5HTP 3-4 times a day with meals to relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia.
- 100-300mg of 5HTP supplement 30-45 minutes before bed to improve sleep quality.
Possible Risks or Side Effects
5-HTP offers a perk of benefits for the body but may cause some adverse effects when used in large quantities.
Some people may experience digestive complaints like stomach upset, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting while using 5HTP supplements. To get rid of these symptoms start taking a 50-100mg dose of this supplement and gradually increase over the period of 1-2 weeks.
They may interact with some medications which increase the production of serotonin. These supplements when taken with these medicines can increase serotonin to a dangerously high level which may be life-threatening.
5HTP supplements can also interact with other medications like painkillers, antidepressants, and cough medicines.
These supplements should be avoided with sedative medicines, as they may increase sleepiness.
5HTP is a compound naturally produced in the body and can also be obtained from the diet. As we can’t get a moderate amount of this amino acid from the diet and need 5HTP supplements. 5HTP in the body converts to serotonin which helps relieve pain and reduce the episodes of migraine. Several studies showed that these natural supplements can relieve pain, reduce weight, decrease the symptoms of fibromyalgia and improve emotional and physical health.
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