I received an email the other day from fellow migraineur Christi Flaherty of Illinois. She was recently “turned on” to 5-HTP, a supplement recommended by her migraine doctor. It’s a serotonin regulator, and her doctor has been recommending it as a preventative option for migraine. Christi said it does seem to be helping with her migraines and she wanted to share this information with us all.
I had not heard of this supplement as of yet, but thought I'd look it up on a few sites for you. It appears to be a supplement mostly recommended for alternative treatment of depression, as it helps increase levels of the brain chemical serotonin. Increased serotonin has also been connected to weight loss, decrease of panic attacks, helping with headaches and migraines, decrease of insomnia episodes (it helps with melatonin levels too), and with pain from fibromyalgia. It appears that it is still quite early and that there are not many definitive studies on the secondary effects of 5-HTP beyond its effects on the symptoms of depression.
If you're not great about taking daily medication (up to 3 times a day), this supplement is probably not for you. This is the dosing information I commonly found for migraine relief:
"For migraine prevention: Work gradually up to a dosage that controls migraine pain, starting with 50 mg three times a day but ultimately exceeding no more than 100 mg three times a day. It may take several months to get the full benefit of 5-HTP's migraine-preventive effects."
I don't know about you all, but I have had my problems with depression. From what I have learned, migraineurs very often suffer with depression... we may be more chemically prone to it and of course the stress from migraine pain doesn't help. So if you have both issues going on right now and are not already on an SSRI (Prozac type drugs) or other drug that will act negatively with 5-HTP (check the interactions info), you may want to ask your doctor about this.
Please visit the following links to learn more. Please understand that I can't warrant any of these sites to be accurate. Much of the information found on the web about supplements comes from manufacturers or others trying to sell the supplement... and therefore may be biased.
VERY IMPORTANT!! Make sure you check with your doctor before taking ANY new substance (herbal OR pharmaceutical).
I don't know about you all, but I am definitely going to be calling my doctor to see if it's okay for me to try this. I am a horrible night owl and have a terrible time falling asleep, do have a history of depression, have horrible problem controlling my weight and eating habits, and have migraines. Sound like a serotonin problem to anybody? I will post here in a couple months and let you know what happened with my trial of this supplement.
No more migraines,