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5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) can be converted to serotonin in the body. It is frequently used for anxiety. It has less evidence for sleeping disorders and anxiety.

5-HTP is a chemical byproduct of the protein foundation L-tryptophan. It is produced commercially from the seeds of an African plant known as Griffonia simplicifolia. 5-HTP operates in the brain and central nerve system by increasing the production of the chemical serotonin. Serotonin can impact sleep, hunger, temperature level, sexual habits, and pain experience.

Because 5-HTP increases serotonin levels, it is used for conditions in which serotonin is thought to play an essential role. These consist of depression, anxiety, and numerous other conditions, but there is no good clinical evidence to support most of these uses. [1]


5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) can be converted to serotonin in the body. It is often utilized for depression. It has less proof for sleeping disorders and anxiety.

5-HTP is a chemical byproduct of the protein building block L-tryptophan. It is produced commercially from the seeds of an African plant referred to as Griffonia simplicifolia. 5-HTP works in the brain and main nerve system by increasing the production of the chemical serotonin. Serotonin can affect sleep, cravings, temperature, sexual habits, and pain sensation.

Because 5-HTP increases serotonin levels, it is used for conditions in which serotonin is thought to play an essential role. These consist of anxiety, anxiety, and numerous other conditions, but there is no good clinical proof to support the majority of these uses. [2]


5-HTP is offered nonprescription in the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, and the UK as a dietary supplement for usage as an antidepressant, appetite suppressant, and sleep help. It is likewise marketed in numerous European nations for the indicator of significant depression under the trade names Cincofarm, Levothym, Levotonine, Oxyfan, Telesol, Tript-OH, and Triptum.

A 2002 evaluation concluded that although the information examined recommends that 5-HTP is more reliable than placebo in the treatment of depression, the proof was insufficient to be definitive due to an absence of clinical data fulfilling the rigorous standards of the day. More and larger research studies using existing approaches are required to figure out if 5-HTP is genuinely reliable in treating depression. In small, regulated trials 5-HTP has likewise been reported to augment the antidepressant effectiveness of the antidepressant clomipramine. A 2020 meta-analysis discovered oral 5-HTP supplementation had a big effect size on anxiety sign intensity. Nevertheless, the included studies were considered fairly weak and the methods and treatment duration varied between the 7 studies examined.

5-HTP is often taken by people coming down from MDMA to ease post-MDMA dysphoria. As 5-HTP is a needed precursor for the brain to produce more serotonin, and MDMA utilize diminishes a person’s natural serotonin levels, it is thought that taking 5-HTP after consuming MDMA will accelerate serotonin production. DanceSafe declares that the anecdotal evidence is widespread and that the theory is physiologically sensible. Supporting this method is research conducted by Wang, et al. in 2007, which observed that MDMA-induced depletions of 5-HT (serotonin) were brought back in rats after administration of 5-HTP, and recommended that this approach might be scientifically beneficial in abstinent MDMA users.

At high dosages, or in combination with carbidopa, it has actually been used off-label to deal with obesity (by promoting weight-loss).

In medical trials of various design, 5-HTP has also been reported to treat fibromyalgia, myoclonus, migraine, and cerebellar ataxia. However, these clinical findings, when it comes to all therapeutic findings with 5-HTP, are preliminary and require verification in larger trials. [3]

Science-Based Advantages of 5-HTP

5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is an amino acid that your body naturally produces.

Your body uses it to produce serotonin, a chemical messenger that sends out signals in between your nerve cells.

Low serotonin levels are connected with anxiety, anxiety, sleep conditions, weight gain and other health issue.

For that reason, increasing your body’s production of serotonin might have various advantages.

For this reason, serotonin-producing 5-HTP supplements have ended up being significantly popular.

Here are 5 potential health advantages of 5-HTP, based on science.

It Can Help Weight Reduction by Increasing Feelings of Fullness

5-HTP might increase feelings of fullness, triggering you to eat less and drop weight.

Weight reduction can increase the production of hormones that make you feel starving. These sensations of consistent hunger can make slimming down unsustainable in the long term.

5-HTP may neutralize these hunger-inducing hormones, working to reduce hunger and help you lose weight.

In one research study, 20 individuals with diabetes were randomly designated to receive either 5-HTP or a placebo for 2 weeks. The outcomes revealed that those who received 5-HTP taken in around 435 fewer calories per day, compared to the placebo group.

What’s more, 5-HTP mostly prevented the consumption of calories from carbohydrates, which was related to much better blood sugar control.

Lots of other studies have actually also discovered that 5-HTP increased feelings of fullness and assisted weight loss in overweight or obese people.

Furthermore, animal research studies have actually revealed that 5-HTP might lower extreme food intake due to tension or anxiety.

5-HTP is likely reliable at increasing feelings of fullness, which might assist you consume less and drop weight.

Helps With Anxiety by Increasing Serotonin Levels

The impacts of 5-HTP on symptoms of depression have actually been well studied.

While the specific reason for anxiety is mainly unknown, some scientists believe that a serotonin imbalance may affect your state of mind in such a way that results in depression.

5-HTP supplements are believed to treat depression by increasing serotonin levels.

In fact, several small research studies have actually discovered that 5-HTP decreased symptoms of anxiety. However, two of them did not utilize placebos for contrast, restricting the strength of their findings.

Likewise, another analysis concluded that 5-HTP may assist deal with depression.

Nevertheless, much of the research suggests that the potential antidepressive effects of 5-HTP are more powerful when combined with other substances or antidepressant medications, compared to when they are used alone.

Additionally, numerous evaluations conclude that additional, top quality research studies are needed before 5-HTP can be suggested as a treatment for anxiety.

5-HTP supplements increase serotonin levels in your body, which may enhance signs of anxiety, especially when utilized in combination with other antidepressant compounds or medications. Nonetheless, more research is needed.

Improved Manifestations of Fibromyalgia

Supplementing with 5-HTP may enhance signs of fibromyalgia, a condition defined by muscle and bone pain, along with general weak point.

There is currently no known reason for fibromyalgia, but low serotonin levels have actually been associated with the condition.

This has led researchers to believe that increasing serotonin levels through 5-HTP supplements might benefit individuals with fibromyalgia.

Indeed, early evidence recommends that 5-HTP may improve symptoms of fibromyalgia, consisting of muscle pain, sleep problems, stress and anxiety and tiredness.

However, insufficient research study has been performed to draw any clear conclusions about the effectiveness of 5-HTP at enhancing fibromyalgia signs.

5-HTP can improve serotonin levels in your body, which might help eliminate some signs of fibromyalgia. Nonetheless, more research is required.

Could Help In Reducing Migraine Frequency

5-HTP is said to help with migraines, which are pulsating headaches that are frequently accompanied by queasiness or disturbed vision.

While their precise cause is debated, some scientists believe they are triggered by low serotonin levels.

One research study in 124 people compared the ability of 5-HTP and methysergide, a common migraine medication, to prevent migraines.

It discovered that supplementing with 5-HTP daily for 6 months avoided or considerably reduced the variety of migraine attacks in 71% of individuals.

In another research study in 48 trainees, 5-HTP produced a 70% decline in headache frequency, compared to an 11% decline in the placebo group.

Likewise, numerous other studies have actually discovered that 5-HTP might be an efficient treatment alternative for people with migraines.

5-HTP may help you have fewer migraines by increasing your serotonin levels.

Can Promote Sleep by Increasing Your Melatonin Production

5-HTP produces serotonin, which can be converted into the hormone melatonin.

Melatonin plays a crucial function in controling sleep. Its levels start to increase in the evening to promote sleep and fall in the early morning to help wake you up.

For that reason, supplementing with 5-HTP might promote sleep by increasing melatonin production in your body.

One human-based research study showed that a combination of 5-HTP and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) substantially minimized the time it required to go to sleep, increased sleep period and improved sleep quality.

GABA is a chemical messenger that promotes relaxation. Combining it with 5-HTP likely has a synergistic impact.

In fact, a number of animal and insect studies recommend that 5-HTP enhances sleep quality and that the effect is greater when combined with GABA.

While these outcomes are promising, the lack of human-based research studies makes it difficult to suggest 5-HTP for enhancing sleep quality, especially when it is utilized in isolation.

5-HTP may promote sleep by increasing melatonin production, an essential sleep-regulating hormone. [3]

Experiencing unrequited love?

Studies have actually shown that 5-HTP can decrease stress and anxiety and anxiety attack. For some people, persistent anxiety attack are the outcome of low serotonin. Even for those with general sensations of tension, 5-HTP can be useful. One study took a look at the results of 5-HTP supplements in youths who did not experience anxiety but had high levels of romantic stress. Out of the 15 participants, all experienced decreased anxiety after 6 weeks of taking 5-HTP.

5-HTP can improve your life

5-HTP is an important supplement that can assist enhance mood, control appetite, and manage discomfort. Talk to a doctor about how 5-HTP can improve an individual’s quality of life. [4]

Threats and adverse effects

The potential dangers and adverse effects of 5-HTP differ amongst children, adults, and people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

In kids

According to health specialists, 5-HTP is not safe for children.

In adults

The possible side effects of 5-HTP in grownups include the below.

Serotonin syndrome

Serotonin syndrome is a life threateningTrusted Source emergency situation that happens when a person has precariously high levels of serotonin in their brain. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome might consist of:.

  • confusion
  • anxiety
  • muscle twitches or convulsions
  • sweating
  • shivering
  • diarrhea

Serotonin syndrome generally takes place as a result of taking several serotonin-producing drugs. For instance, an individual might establish the condition after taking a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor with among the following:.

  • another antidepressant
  • 5-HTP
  • John’s wort

Due to this risk, people who take antidepressants or other serotonin drugs need to not take 5-HTP.

Gastrointestinal problems

Some individuals report the following gastrointestinal symptoms after taking 5-HTP:.

  • heartburn
  • gas
  • rumbling experiences in the stomach
  • feelings of unpleasant fullness
  • Heart and blood vessel issues

Serotonin causes small blood vessels to narrow, which assists promote blood clotting. And while this constricting can assist stop bleeding after an injury, it may increase the danger of dangerous embolism in some people.

People with a history of high blood pressure or other cardiovascular risk aspects need to speak to a physician before taking 5-HTP.


Very high levels of serotonin in the blood might result in osteoporosis, where the bones damage, particularly in individuals with other danger factors for the condition.

Those with osteoporosis typically do not experience any signs– the first indication is normally a broken bone following a small fall or another injury.

A person who already has an osteoporosis diagnosis should speak with their medical professional before taking 5-HTP.

Eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome

Eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS) is an unusual illness that triggers elevated levels of white blood cells called eosinophil in the body’s tissues. These raised levels can cause the following symptoms:.

  • muscle discomfort, cramping, and weak point
  • skin rashes
  • breathing problems
  • fatigue

Extreme cases of EMS can lead to several organ failure and death. EMS is the syndrome that caused the deaths of at least 30 individuals who took tryptophan supplements in 1989.

A few people who have actually taken 5-HTP have considering that reported symptoms of EMS.

Overdose and toxicity

Greater doses of 5-HTP increase the danger of severe adverse effects, including overdose and organ failure.

The FDA does not manage supplements, indicating there may be substantial differences in content and quality amongst batches and brands. This disparity increases the risk of overdose and poisoning.


As with any supplement, it is possible to have an allergic reaction to 5-HTP, while severe allergic reactions are possible but rare.

Anyone who experiences signs of an extreme allergy, or anaphylaxis, after taking 5-HTP ought to look for emergency situation medical attention. These signs may consist of:.

  • skin rash or hives
  • swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat
  • shortness of breath or problem breathing
  • stomach discomfort
  • stomach cramps
  • throwing up or diarrhea
  • a feeling of impending doom
  • During pregnancy and breastfeeding

Scientists have not sufficiently evaluated the security of using 5-HTP when pregnant or breastfeeding. As a result, individuals who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid taking this supplement. [5]

How to take 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan)?

Usage 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) exactly as directed on the label, or as recommended by your physician. Do not utilize in bigger or smaller sized quantities or for longer than suggested.

When thinking about making use of organic supplements, seek the guidance of your doctor. You might likewise think about seeking advice from a practitioner who is trained in making use of herbal/health supplements.

If you pick to use 5-hydroxytryptophan, utilize it as directed on the package or as directed by your physician, pharmacist, or other doctor. Do not use more of this item than is recommended on the label.

Do not utilize different types (tablets, liquid, cast, teas, and so on) of 5-hydroxytryptophan at the same time without medical suggestions. Utilizing different formulas together increases the danger of an overdose.

Call your physician if the condition you are treating with 5-hydroxytryptophan does not improve, or if it gets worse while using this product.

If you need surgery, stop taking 5-hydroxytryptophan at least 2 weeks ahead of time.

Store at space temperature away from moisture and heat. [7]

Possible Interactions

If you are presently being treated with any of the following medications, you need to not utilize 5-HTP without first talking with your healthcare service provider.


Individuals who are taking antidepressant medications need to not take 5-HTP without their supplier’s supervision. These medications might integrate with 5-HTP to cause serotonin syndrome, a hazardous condition involving mental changes, hot flashes, quickly fluctuating blood pressure and heart rate, and potentially coma. Some antidepressant medications that can connect with 5-HTP include:.

  • SSRIs: Citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Paxil), fluoxetine (Prozac), sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Tricyclics: Amitriptyline (Elavil), nortriptyline (Pamelor), imipramine (Tofranil)
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs): Phenelzine, (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate)
  • Nefazodone (Serzone)
  • Carbidopa

Taking 5-HTP with carbidopa, a medication utilized to deal with Parkinson illness, might trigger a scleroderma-like disease. Scleroderma is a condition where the skin ends up being tough, thick, and irritated.

Tramadol (Ultram)

Tramadol, utilized for discomfort relief, and often recommended for individuals with fibromyalgia, might raise serotonin levels excessive if taken with 5-HTP. Serotonin syndrome has actually been reported in some people taking the two together.

Dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, and others)

Taking 5-HTP with dextromethorphan, discovered in cough syrups, might cause serotonin levels to increase to unsafe levels, a condition called serotonin syndrome.

Meperidine (Demerol)

Taking 5-HTP with Demerol may cause serotonin levels to increase to dangerous levels, a condition called serotonin syndrome.

Triptans (used to deal with migraines)

5-HTP can increase the risk of adverse effects, consisting of serotonin syndrome, when taken with these medications:.

  • Naratriptan (Amerge)
  • Rizatriptan (Maxalt)
  • Sumatriptan (Imitrex)
  • Zolmitriptan (Zomig) [8]

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

5-HTP might cause low high blood pressure. Care is advised in clients taking herbs or supplements that lower blood pressure.

5-HTP may hinder the method the body procedures certain herbs or supplements using the liver’s cytochrome P450 enzyme system. As a result, the levels of other herbs or supplements may end up being too high or too low in the blood. It may likewise alter the results that other herbs or supplements potentially have on the P450 system.

5-HTP might increase the quantity of drowsiness triggered by some herbs or supplements.

5-HTP may communicate with Alpinia zerumbet, antianxiety agents (such as St. John’s wort), anticancer representatives, antidepressants (consisting of monoamine oxidase inhibitors [MAOIs] and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors [SSRIs], anti-inflammatories, antiobesity agents, antioxidants, antiseizure agents, antipsychotics, cannabinoids, cholesterol-lowering representatives, chromium, herbs that lower the seizure threshold, hormone herbs and supplements, jujubosides from Ziziphus jujuba Mill. var. spinosa (Bunge) Hu ex H.F.Chow, L-tyrosine, magnesium, melatonin, niacin, pain relievers, protein, SAMe, sedatives, serotonin receptor villains, spinosin, theanine, thyroid herbs and supplements, tryptophan, tryptophan-containing foods, or vitamin B6. [9]

Can You Take 5-HTP While Pregnant?

5-hydroxytryptophan, or 5-HTP, is a chemical precursor to the mood-regulating neurotransmitter serotonin. It is created by your body from tryptophan, an essential amino acid acquired from foods. You likewise can acquire 5-HTP from dietary supplements made from the seeds of the African tree Griffonia simplicifolia. Due to their function of raising serotonin levels, 5-HTP supplements sometimes are utilized for depression. If you’re pregnant these supplements may not be safe for you to take. Talk to your doctor prior to taking any dietary supplements, consisting of 5-HTP.

Both the University of Maryland Medical Center and MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. Library of Medication and National Institutes of Health, caution against taking 5-HTP during pregnancy, noting lack of proof relating to 5-HTP’s safety. In fact, MedlinePlus advises against taking 5-HTP regardless of whether you’re pregnant. Other groups for whom taking 5-HTP supplements might be especially hazardous consist of nursing moms, children, people with liver illness and those with Down syndrome. Taking 5-HTP with an antidepressant medication also is not suggested, as this drug combination can result in a deadly condition called serotonin syndrome. [10]


5-HTP in the treatment of depression has actually languished for years. Intuitively, the potential is remarkable, however from an useful level efficacy is no better than placebo. In evaluation of the science, reliable integration of 5-HTP into a patient management strategy is far more complex than merely giving some 5-HTP in order to have more serotonin throughout the system.

Administration of 5-HTP alone is contraindicated for anxiety and any procedure including a catecholamine element due to its ability to assist in depletion of these neurotransmitters. 5-HTP ought to be administered thoroughly in patients since depletion of dopamine and norepinephrine might intensify existing illness processes or speed up start of catecholamine-related issues.

Administering serotonin or dopamine amino acid precursors should never ever involve administration of only one amino acid. Incorrectly balanced amino acid precursors are connected with decreased efficacy, increased adverse effects, and depletion of the nondominant system. [11]


  1. https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/natural/794.html
  2. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-794/5-htp
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5-Hydroxytryptophan
  4. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/5-htp-benefits
  5. https://renuerx.com/nutraceuticals/6-surprising-benefits-of-5-htp/
  6. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/5-htp-side-effects#risks-and-side-effects
  7. https://www.everydayhealth.com/drugs/5-htp-5-hydroxytryptophan
  8. https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/supplement/5-hydroxytryptophan-5-htp
  9. https://www.naturalmedicinejournal.com/journal/many-uses-5-htp
  10. https://www.livestrong.com/article/499315-can-you-take-5-htp-while-pregnant/
  11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3415362/
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