Apr 25

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Does the 5-HTP Supplement Improve Bipolar Disorder?

Does the 5-HTP Supplement Improve Bipolar Disorder?

Does the 5-HTP Supplement Improve Bipolar Disorder?

If you or your loved one suffers from bipolar disorder, then you may be wondering if supplements can help. 5-HTP, also known as 5-hydroxytryptophan, is a popular supplement that is used by some patients with this condition. However, before you pick up a bottle, you may want to consider the following tips.

What is 5-HTP?

5-HTP or 5-hydroxytryptophan can influence serotonin levels in the brain. It is a chemical made from tryptophan, which is an amino acid, in the body. 5-HTP supplements are usually made from seeds that come from the Griffonia simplicifolia shrub.

Unfortunately, you cannot get 5-hydroxytryptophan from food. Although you can eat items such as turkey that has tryptophan, your body has to convert this amino acid into 5-HTP.

Does 5-HTP Help Bipolar Disorder?

Several studies indicate that 5-HTP can help people with depression. It may be beneficial for mild depression in people who have bipolar disorder. Since it affects serotonin, studies show that it may increase calmness and improve moods. Low serotonin levels are associated with higher levels of depression and insomnia, so some patients feel better after taking 5-hydroxytryptophan.

Should You Take 5-HTP?

First, before you take any supplement, you must talk to your doctor and discuss all of your medications. 5-HTP can interfere with many drugs including antidepressants. Second, if you or a loved one is currently experiencing mania, then 5-HTP can actually make your symptoms worse. It can increase serotonin levels to a dangerous level and can make the mania phase worse. Serotonin syndrome, which can affect your heart and blood pressure, may lead to a coma.

Although research shows that 5-HTP supplements may help depression, it is not a substitute or replacement for bipolar medications and therapy. You should always consult with your doctor before taking 5-HTP or another type of supplement.

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