5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is what your body uses to make serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps improve the quality of sleep. A double-blind, placebo-controlled study looked at 5-HTP or placebo in 50 people with fibromyalgia. After four weeks, there was improvement in pain, stiffness, anxiety, fatigue, and sleep. In addition, it often helps people to lose weight. Take 100 to 400 milligrams at night.

Caution: If you are taking a number of treatments that increase serotonin (e.g., antidepressants such as Prozac, St. John’s Wort, Ultram and Desyrel), taking doses higher than 200 mg of 5-HTP can result in serotonergic syndrome, a life-threatening reaction caused by a too-high level of serotonin. Because of this, discuss the use of 5-HTP with your doctor. If you are taking any of the serotonin-raising treatments, it is reasonable to limit the 5-HTP to 200 mg at night. If your heart rate is constantly above 90, even if you are not taking 5-HTP, you may be on too many treatments that raise serotonin and you should discuss lowering these with your doctor.

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