Research studies show an increasingly clear link between serotonin levels in the body and pain perception. Serotonin also affects sleep patterns and chronically sleep-deprived people experience higher rates of depression and pain. While some doctors prescribe antidepressants for patients suffering from fibromyalgia, a rheumatological disorder characterised by unexplained pain in the soft tissue (muscles, tendons), others use techniques that do not reply on prescription drugs. 5-HTP is a precursor to serotonin. When the patient takes 5-HTP, the body converts the supplement into serotonin on its own. The body then gets the serotonin it needs, without experiencing the side effects of prescription drugs. Some patients find that they cannot tolerate prescription drugs and, for those fibromyalgia patients, 5-HTP can be a valuable tool in fighting pain. Learn how to use 5-HTP for fibromyalgia pain in this article.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- 5-htp capsules
- Vitamin C
Read research studies so that you understand the relationship between serotonin and fibromyalgia. Look on PubMed and enter "fibromyalgia serotonin" in the search box.
Consult with the doctor who treats your fibromyalgia and ask if there are any drug or supplement reactions you should be concerned about if you start taking 5-HTP. You may need to educate your doctor about 5-HTP. Some doctors don't understand what it is or how it relates to fibromyalgia. Print research studies to take with you.
Reduce or eliminate any medications or supplements that might be contraindicated with 5-HTP, if needed. Be sure to do this under a doctor's supervision.
Ask a clerk at your local health food store about 5-HTP formulations. Buy a bottle with capsules in 50 mg doses.
Take 50 mg once per day to start. Drink lots of water when you take the 5-HTP.
Add vitamin C and vitamin B6 to the 5-HTP after one week. Some formulations of 5-HTP include vitamin C and vitamin B6. Look for these formulations online or in a health food store.
Work your way up to a level of 5-HTP that helps you sleep and that leads to reduced pain. This level is different for every patient.
Tips and warnings
- Some people find that the 5-HTP must be taken at night.
- Never exceed the recommended dosage.
- Never quit taking 5-HTP cold turkey. Wean off it slowly, under a doctor's supervision.
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