5-HTP In Prime Time

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At press time, the National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA), a natural products trade association, alerted its members that Dateline NBC might air a television segment on 5-HTP (L-5-Hydroxytryptophan) as early as Monday, August 24, or the following week. 5-HTP is synthesized in the body from the amino acid tryptophan and is a precursor to serotonin -- a compound found in the brain, blood platelets and duodenal mucosa cells of the gastrointestinal tract. Serotonin plays a role in mood, behavior and sleep patterns.

NNFA said it expected the show would feature the findings of a study reported in the September 1, 1998, issue of Natural Medicine -- the findings of which were under a news embargo at press time -- as well as an article in The Journal of Rheumatology (1994) that attempts to draw negative comparisons between 5-HTP and L-Tryptophan. A contaminated L-Tryptophan product from a Japanese manufacturer was blamed for deaths of consumers taking the supplement in the 1980s. Previously, the 1994 Journal of Rheumatology article was unable to establish a convincing connection between 5-HTP and the problems previously attributed to L-Tryptophan.

Citizens For Health.

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