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5-HTP is derived from the amino acid tryptophan and is used by the body to make serotonin, a neurotransmitter that affects mood and well-being. 5-HTP has been studied for fibromyalgia (FM). One double-blind study found that people with FM who received 5-HTP saw improvement in all symptoms, including pain, stiffness, sleep quality, anxiety and fatigue, vs. placebo. [Jour Int Med Res 1990; 18(3):201]

A few studies have also suggested that 5-HTP may improve sleep quality in healthy individuals as well as those with insomnia, but the research is not clear. Likewise, a few studies have suggested that 5-HTP may promote weight loss in overweight women, but more research is needed.

(Source: Natural Treatments for Fibromyalgia: An A to Z Guide, by Kenna Simmons. An official publication of the Arthritis Foundation. To purchase, visit www.arthritis.org.)