An estimated one in 20 people experience some of the symptoms of fibromyalgia – a long-term condition that causes widespread pain in the body . Could taking the dietary supplement 5-htp help?
What is fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia (or fibromyalgia syndrome – FMS) is a chronic pain condition that is also connected to increased nerve sensitivity, fatigue, muscle stiffness, insomnia, brain fog and cognitive problems with memory and concentration, headaches, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The exact cause of fibromyalgia is still unknown but it is thought to be linked to abnormally high levels of certain brain chemicals and fluctuations in the way the central nervous system (spinal cord, brain and nerves) transmit pain messages around the body. Many people who go on to develop fibromyalgia experienced a stressful event, such as an injury or infection, operation, giving birth, or bereavement or relationship breakdown. It is also notoriously difficult to diagnose, as there’s no single test for the condition and the symptoms can overlap with other illnesses.
What’s the link between fibromyalgia and serotonin?
As the cause is still unknown, the treatments offered for sufferers of fibromyalgia are diverse, ranging from talking therapies like cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and lifestyle changes (such as exercise programmes and massage techniques) to painkillers and antidepressants. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter – a body chemical that helps to regulate a lot of its functions, including sleep, mood and appetite. Serotonin influences your pain thresholds by interacting with other chemicals involved in processing pain, including substance P and endorphins. It is also crucial in helping you to get restorative sleep. It’s no surprise that more and more research is finding that disruptions to serotonin in the body are a hallmark of fibromyalgia, with patients often showing markedly lower levels  .
How does 5-htp work?
5-htp is a chemical compound that the body easily breaks down into serotonin. Used to treat depression for over 30 years, it allows you to boost the amount of serotonin you have on hand in the body to transmit signals between nerves, improving your sleep, mood and appetite, amongst other functions. In a study of fibromyalgia patients, regularly taking 5-htp was found to relieve their depression, anxiety, insomnia and somatic pain symptoms  – a finding that has since been replicated  .
Why brain feed?
Each tablet contains 102.5mg of 100% naturally derived 5-htp, without using unnecessary bulking agents. Twice the strength of comparable tablets from high street favourites Holland & Barrett and MyProtein, they’re the product of brain feed’s approach to creating natural, safe, functional nutrients that are grounded in scientific data.
 I.Caruso, P. Sarzi Puttini, M.Cazzola, V. Azzolini (1990). Double-Blind Study of 5-Hydroxytryptophan versus Placebo in the Treatment of Primary Fibromyalgia Syndrome, [online] Vol 18, Issue 3. Available at: http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/030006059001800304 . [Accessed 21 July 2017].
 John H. Juhl, D.O. (1998). Fibromyalgia and the serotonin pathway,[online] Volume 3, Issue 5., pgs. 367-375 . Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9802912 [Accessed 21 July 2017].
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