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5-HTP: The Natural Way to Overcome Depression, Obesity, and Insomnia Paperback – June 1, 1999

4.1 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

5-HTP is a naturally derived amino acid that has been shown in comprehensive studies to be safer than prescription drugs for the treatment of insomnia and depression, and can also be used for treating obesity, migraine headaches, fibromyalgia, and premenstrual syndrome. It may prove to be more popular than St. John's wort for the treatment of depression and other serotonin-related conditions, as it's been shown to produce results in as little as two weeks, while the herb may take a month or longer.

Author Michael Murray, N.D., a leading naturopath and coauthor of The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, delves very deeply to explain the hows and whys of depression at the neurotransmitter level, and the illustrations of presynaptic membranes may be a bit much for the lay reader. There are also several sections with intimidating titles along the lines of "Enhancing 5-HTP with Catecholamine Precursors." But the book's comprehensiveness makes up for its occasional denseness. Murray includes enlightening sections on nutrition for peak serotonin synthesis, other complementary herbal supplements, and many online and physical sources for obtaining 5-HTP. --Erica Jorgensen --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Murray (Encyclopedia of Nutritional Supplements, Prima, 1996) believes that the symptoms of depression, obesity, headaches, insomnia, anxiety, hyperactivity, premenstrual syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia can be alleviated by taking the amino acid 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan). The body converts 5-HTP into serotonin, a neurotransmitter vital for brain function, and Murray argues that increased serotonin levels mitigate much of the discomfort associated with the conditions cited above. He devotes major chapters to depression, weight loss, insomnia, and headache, with each following the same format: exploration of the condition and orthodox treatment, review of studies using 5-HTP, and recommendations for therapeutic doses. Personal stories illustrate how patients have benefited from 5-HTP. It is apparent from warnings given throughout the book, however, that use of this natural supplement is not without danger, especially if taken with certain prescription medicines. Buy for alternative health collections only if demand warrants.AJodith Janes, Cleveland Clinic Fdn., OH
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (June 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0553379461
  • ISBN-13: 978-0553379464
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #443,611 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on January 26, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Minor obsessive-compulsive disorder run in my family. A brother of mine is taking Zoloft. I was looking for a natural alternative to treat symptoms that I've had that are considered "mild" by the psychiatric community (my symptoms don't prevent me from holding down a job and having relationships). I've been unable to find a cure with behavioral modification. This book had the information I needed to understand the neurological and behavioral systems that are affected by serotonin deficiency. I was impressed with Dr. Murray's presentation of scientific studies and comparisons of 5-HTP against pharmological alternatives. I'm on 5-HTP now and it "magically" cured my 20-year compulsion. 5-HTP is no placebo. Like one of the other reviwers, I have to take 5-HTP in the morning. Taken before bedtime, I experience very vivid dreams and wake up at 3:00 a.m., unable to get back to sleep.
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Format: Hardcover
This well-written and extremely interesting book is a must-read for anyone suffering from insomnia, carbohydrate cravings (which often lead to obesity), depressed moods, or migraines. All of these medical problems have been linked to lack of serotonin, a chemical that the human brain makes naturally, which plays a part in the ability to feel pleasure, feel satisfied after eating, and feel well rested. Dr. Murray introduces his reader to a naturally-derived serotonin booster, 5-HTP, which has had positive effects on obese, insomniac, and depressed patients in both medical studies and in his own patients, so far without the negative side effects associated with Prozac and fen-phen.
While I agree with Amazon's assessment that the in-depth neurobiology of Dr. Murray's book can be intimidating, I see that as more of an indication of his unwillingness to patronize his readers by omitting it because it's "too hard for us." I would actually greatly distrust anyone who advised me to introduce a new substance into my body without telling me exactly what effect it was going to have on me in great detail. Try not to be intimidated by all those Latin names and medical terms - Murray really does try to explain these very complicated concepts in layman's terms.
I also greatly respect Murray's holistic approach to curing depression and obesity - he is never satisfied with merely selling us a miracle pill that can cure all of the reader's health problems without any effort on his or her part in this book. In addition to detailing the positive effects of 5-HTP as a dietary supplement, he strongly emphasizes good nutrition, proper sleep and exercise, and having a positive attitude as well, which I find reassuring, given the number of crash-diet and snake-oil peddlers out there.
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By A Customer on January 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
When I skimmed the book jacket it was like reading a list of my symptoms: strong need for carbs in the evening, depression, difficulty in sleeping. I bought the book, but wasn't expecting any miracles. Well, I found one. Dr. Murphy painstakingly documents hundreds of clinical studies that prove the effectiveness of this amino acid when used to treat everything from obesity to migranes. He never asks the reader to take a leap of faith; rather he explains everything about this product in exceptional detail. I was so impressed with both the book, as well as the results I saw within 3 days of my taking this supplement, that I gave my copy of the book to my doctor. He specializes in hereditary diseases and thanked me for passing this on to him. Warning: as is noted in the book, some people (like myself) do experience nausea when first trying this supplement. This was easily fixed by taking tablets that are coated -- like aspirin -- so they don't dissolve in the stomach, but in the intestines. Thank you Dr. Murphy.
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Format: Paperback
Regarding the debate between Murray's book and Sahelian's, each has merit. The bottom line is that both books offer considerable information on the benefits of 5-HTP. For many it is proving to be a viable solution to the conditions that plague so many. Murray's book offers substantial information that is easy to understand, but the recommended high initial dosage has worried some consumers. My sister has taken 5-HTP for a while now and is seeing great improvement without suffering from the side effects of the SSRI she had been on previously. A site where she has had great service as well as a variety of product choices is iHerb. She is pleased that they offer several choices of 5-HTP with dosages as low as 50 mg. so she could initially start with a low dosage and then find what works best for her.
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By A Customer on September 19, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I had such a hard time falling asleep, accompanied by debilitating anxiety, until I read this book and started taking 5-HTP. My problem was so serious that I found I was sleeping with my eyes open (Ouch!) The very first night I took it, I slept like a baby. I was unable to take prescription sleep aids and anxiety drugs because of depression and other medical problems. I felt immediate relief with 5-HTP.
The scientific studies referenced in this book made be feel very comfortable in taking 5-HTP. They were written in an easily understandable format. The author basically drew a map of the path 5-HTP takes throughout the body. Well done Dr. Murray!
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