08 July, 2011
5-HTP for Menopause
Menopause is the time when a women stops menstruating and experiences symptoms related to less production of estrogen hormone in the body. The drop in estrogen levels in the body during menopause triggers physical as well as emotional changes such as depression, sleeping problems, night sweats and hot flashes. Supplementation with 5-HTP can ease menopause symptoms. Consult with your doctor about taking 5-HTP, and do not use it to replace medication prescribed by your doctor.
5-HTP is not present in significant amounts in the food you eat. It is manufactured from tryptophan, a natural amino acid found in most dietary proteins. In the body, 5-HTP is converted to an important neurotransmitter called serotonin, which helps regulate mood, behavior and sleep.
A study published in 2005 in the “Alternative Medicine Review” found that the administration of 5-HTP reduced the hot flash symptoms in menopausal women. Hot flashes are characterized by a sudden sensation of intense body heat, often with profuse sweating of the head, neck and chest. According to researchers, the mechanism for improvements in symptoms may be due to an increase in serotonin levels in the brain.
5-HTP has been used in alternative medicine as an aid to relieve the menopausal symptoms. A study published in 2009 in “Maturitas” found that 5-HTP at a dosage of 150 mg daily had a mild effect on the frequency of menopausal hot flashes. According to researchers, more studies are still needed to determine whether 5-HTP is a worthwhile treatment for this condition.
5-HTP, a so-called natural alternative to traditional antidepressants, works without side effects. Extensive analysis of several sources of 5-HTP have shown no toxic contaminants nor the presence of any other significant impurities, according to a study conducted by ISSI Laboratories. A 5-HTP supplement should always be taken under the supervision of a licensed physician.
- PubMed Health: Menopause
- University of Maryland Medical Center: 5-HTP
- “Alternative Medicine Review: Journal of Clinical Therapeutic”; The Potential of 5-hydryoxytryptophan for Hot Flash Reduction: A Hypothesis; J. Curcio et al.; September 2005
- “Maturitas”; Treatment of Menopausal Hot Fashes with 5-hydroxytryptophan; R. Freedman; December 2009.
- “Toxicology Letters”; Safety of 5-hyroxy-L-tryptophan; Y. Das et al.; April 2005.
- Jaroslav Frank/iStock/Getty Images