5 HTP and 5-Hydroxytryptophan Information

5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is derived biochemically from the essential protein amino acid L-tryptophan. Tryptophan and 5-HTP dietary are believed to aid in increasing serotonin levels in the brain.

Until November, 1989, L-tryptophan was a popular nutritional supplement in the U.S. In November 1989, the FDA recalled supplementary L-tryptophan because of several reports associating the amino acid with some severe side-effects. These side-effects were part of a syndrome called the eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome. As it turned out, the cause of the syndrome was due to a contaminant in a batch of L-tryptophan that was produced from a genetically modified microorganism (GMO) and not L-tryptophan itself. Although the manufacturing of 5-HTP is different from that of tryptophan, there is still concern that some 5-HTP supplements may contain similar contaminants. It is important to obtain dietary supplements of 5-HTP from manufacturers that adhere to high quality standards. At least two organizations, NSF International and the United States Pharmacopeia (USP), offer programs that make sure manufacturers follow high quality practices.