5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is an amino acid that is very similar to tryptophan, another common amino acid. Both compounds have been marketed for treating depression. However, batches of tryptophan contaminated with peak Xand other compounds have caused eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome. 5-HTP preparations may contain similar contaminants, so until further evidence is available, it may be best to avoid this compound.

References and Additional Reading


Bowling AC. Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Multiple Sclerosis. New York: Demos Medical Publishing, 2007.

Bowling AC, Stewart TS. Dietary Supplements and Multiple Sclerosis: A Health Professional’s Guide. New York: Demos Medical Publishing, 2004.

Jellin JM, Batz F, Hitchens K, et al. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. Stockton, CA: Therapeutic Research Faculty, 2009.

Ulbricht CE, Basch EM, eds. Natural Standard Herb and Supplement Reference: Evidence-Based Clinical Reviews. St. Louis: Elsevier-Mosby, 2005.


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