So you've heard that 5-HTP helps you get over that comedown. But how does it work? And what are the dangers associated with it?
What is 5-HTP?
5-HTP or 5-Hydroxytryptophan is the precursor to serotonin found from the African Griffonia Simplicifolia. In other words, it's what your body uses to naturally produce serotonin. Serotonin is important because it helps your body regulate sleep, appetite, body temperature as well as many other bodily functions. This is the rationale that most people who take 5-HTP use when taking 5-HTP after an event. But, scientific evidence of 5-HTP in treating symptoms of depression is weak, so do your own research and decide if its right for you.
What is serotonin syndrome?
Serotonin syndrome occurs when your body accumulates too much serotonin. Although normal amounts of serotonin improve mood, sleep and appetite, too much leads to agitation, confusion, twitching muscles, headaches and shivering. In severe cases, your muscles will become rigid and you might experience a fever or potentially even a seizure. If you experience any of these symptoms it is always best to seek help from a trusted medical professional.
The dangers of taking 5-HTP before the event
So naturally, if you take 5-HTP before or straight after the event, you are at risk of serotonin syndrome. 5-HTP before the event may pre-emptively increase serotonin levels before your body needs it and therefore place yourself at risk of serotonin syndrome. The same is true if you take it straight after the event, where you may have residual excess of serotonin still in your system. Therefore, it is important only ever take 5-HTP the day after the event to help with serotonin replenishment, rather than overdoing it.
What to look out for?
Most rave hangover multivitamins actually contain 5-HTP as an ingredient and they tell you to preload 3 days before and 3 days afterwards. This can be dangerous because it leaves your body susceptible to serotonin syndrome. Be on the lookout for this and only take it a day afterwards or choose one that hopefully does not contain 5-HTP in it. raveSUPPLEMENT does contain 5-HTP but it introduces it at spaced intervals the day AFTER the event to maximise recovery and to minimise the risk of getting serotonin syndrome.