5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) can be transformed to serotonin in the body. It is frequently utilized for depression. It has less evidence 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 central nerve system by increasing the production of the chemical serotonin. Serotonin can affect sleep, hunger, temperature, sexual behavior, and discomfort sensation.

Considering that 5-HTP increases serotonin levels, it is utilized for conditions in which serotonin is believed to play a crucial role. These include anxiety, stress and 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 typically utilized for depression. It has less evidence for sleeping disorders and anxiety.

5-HTP is a chemical by-product of the protein building block L-tryptophan. It is produced commercially from the seeds of an African plant known as Griffonia simplicifolia. 5-HTP operates in the brain and main nervous system by increasing the production of the chemical serotonin. Serotonin can affect sleep, hunger, temperature, sexual behavior, and discomfort feeling.

Considering that 5-HTP increases serotonin levels, it is used for conditions in which serotonin is thought to play an important function. These include anxiety, stress and anxiety, and lots of other conditions, however there is no good clinical evidence to support most of these usages. [2]


5-HTP is sold over the counter in the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, and the UK as a dietary supplement for usage as an antidepressant, appetite suppressant, and sleep aid. It is likewise marketed in many European countries for the indication of major depression under the brand name Cincofarm, Levothym, Levotonine, Oxyfan, Telesol, Tript-OH, and Triptum.

A 2002 review concluded that although the data evaluated suggests that 5-HTP is more efficient than placebo in the treatment of anxiety, the proof was insufficient to be conclusive due to an absence of clinical information fulfilling the rigorous standards of the day. More and larger studies utilizing present methodologies are required to determine if 5-HTP is really reliable in treating anxiety. In small, controlled trials 5-HTP has also been reported to enhance the antidepressant efficacy of the antidepressant clomipramine. A 2020 meta-analysis found oral 5-HTP supplements had a large result size on anxiety symptom seriousness. Nevertheless, the included studies were thought about fairly weak and the techniques and treatment period varied between the 7 studies taken a look at.

5-HTP is in some cases taken by individuals boiling down from MDMA to relieve post-MDMA dysphoria. As 5-HTP is an essential precursor for the brain to produce more serotonin, and MDMA utilize diminishes an individual’s natural serotonin levels, it is thought that taking 5-HTP after consuming MDMA will accelerate serotonin production. DanceSafe claims that the anecdotal evidence is widespread which the theory is physiologically reasonable. Backing up this method is research study carried out by Wang, et al. in 2007, which observed that MDMA-induced deficiencies of 5-HT (serotonin) were brought back in rats after administration of 5-HTP, and suggested that this method might be scientifically helpful in abstinent MDMA users.

At high dosages, or in mix with carbidopa, it has actually been utilized off-label to treat weight problems (by promoting weight reduction).

In medical trials of various style, 5-HTP has also been reported to treat fibromyalgia, myoclonus, migraine, and cerebellar ataxia. Nevertheless, these clinical findings, as for all healing findings with 5-HTP, are preliminary and need confirmation in larger trials. [3]

Science-Based Benefits 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 signals in between your nerve cells.

Low serotonin levels are connected with depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, weight gain and other illness.

For that reason, increasing your body’s production of serotonin may have numerous benefits.

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

Here are 5 possible health advantages of 5-HTP, based upon science.

It Can Aid Weight-loss by Increasing Sensations of Fullness

5-HTP may increase sensations of fullness, causing you to eat less and lose weight.

Weight loss can increase the production of hormones that make you feel hungry. These feelings of continuous appetite can make dropping weight unsustainable in the long term.

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

In one research study, 20 people with diabetes were arbitrarily designated to get either 5-HTP or a placebo for 2 weeks. The outcomes showed that those who got 5-HTP taken in around 435 less calories each day, compared to the placebo group.

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

Many other studies have actually also found that 5-HTP increased feelings of fullness and aided weight loss in overweight or overweight people.

Additionally, animal research studies have actually revealed that 5-HTP might lower excessive food intake due to stress or anxiety.

5-HTP is likely efficient at increasing sensations of fullness, which might assist you consume less and slim down.

Helps With Depression by Increasing Serotonin Levels

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

While the specific cause of anxiety is mostly unknown, some scientists believe that a serotonin imbalance may influence your state of mind in such a way that leads to anxiety.

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

In fact, a number of small research studies have actually discovered that 5-HTP minimized symptoms of depression. However, 2 of them did not utilize placebos for contrast, limiting the strength of their findings.

Likewise, another analysis concluded that 5-HTP may help deal with anxiety.

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

Moreover, numerous evaluations conclude that extra, top quality studies are needed prior to 5-HTP can be recommended as a treatment for anxiety.

5-HTP supplements increase serotonin levels in your body, which may enhance signs of anxiety, specifically when used in mix with other antidepressant substances or medications. Nevertheless, more research is needed.

Improved Manifestations of Fibromyalgia

Supplementing with 5-HTP may improve signs of fibromyalgia, a condition defined by muscle and bone discomfort, along with basic weakness.

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

This has actually led scientists to think that increasing serotonin levels through 5-HTP supplements may benefit people with fibromyalgia.

Certainly, early evidence suggests that 5-HTP may improve symptoms of fibromyalgia, including muscle pain, sleep issues, stress and anxiety and fatigue.

Nevertheless, inadequate research has actually been conducted to draw any clear conclusions about the efficiency of 5-HTP at improving fibromyalgia symptoms.

5-HTP can increase serotonin levels in your body, which might help ease some symptoms of fibromyalgia. Nevertheless, more research study is needed.

Could Help Reduce Migraine Frequency

5-HTP is stated to aid with migraines, which are throbbing headaches that are typically accompanied by nausea or disrupted vision.

While their exact cause is discussed, some researchers believe they are set off by low serotonin levels.

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

It found that supplementing with 5-HTP daily for 6 months prevented or significantly decreased the number of migraine attacks in 71% of participants.

In another study in 48 students, 5-HTP produced a 70% decrease in headache frequency, compared to an 11% reduction in the placebo group.

Similarly, lots of other research studies have actually found that 5-HTP may be a reliable treatment alternative for individuals with migraines.

5-HTP might 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 an important function in controling sleep. Its levels start to increase in the evening to promote sleep and fall in the morning to assist wake you up.

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

One human-based research study showed that a mix of 5-HTP and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) considerably decreased the time it required to fall asleep, increased sleep period and improved sleep quality.

GABA is a chemical messenger that promotes relaxation. Integrating it with 5-HTP most likely has a synergistic result.

In fact, numerous animal and insect research studies recommend that 5-HTP improves sleep quality which the effect is greater when integrated with GABA.

While these results are promising, the lack of human-based research studies makes it difficult to suggest 5-HTP for improving sleep quality, particularly when it is used in isolation.

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

Experiencing unrequited love?

Research studies have revealed that 5-HTP can minimize anxiety and anxiety attack. For some people, persistent panic attacks are the outcome of low serotonin. Even for those with basic feelings of stress, 5-HTP can be advantageous. One research study looked at the impacts of 5-HTP supplements in young people who did not struggle with anxiety however had high levels of romantic stress. Out of the 15 participants, all experienced minimized anxiety after 6 weeks of taking 5-HTP.

5-HTP can improve your life

5-HTP is a crucial supplement that can help enhance state of mind, manage cravings, and handle discomfort. Speak to a doctor about how 5-HTP can improve a person’s lifestyle. [4]

Dangers and negative effects

The prospective risks and adverse effects of 5-HTP vary among kids, grownups, and individuals who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

In kids

According to health experts, 5-HTP is not safe for kids.

In adults

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

Serotonin syndrome

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

  • confusion
  • stress and anxiety
  • muscle twitches or spasms
  • sweating
  • shivering
  • diarrhea

Serotonin syndrome typically occurs as a result of taking numerous serotonin-producing drugs. For example, an individual might develop 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 should not take 5-HTP.

Intestinal issues

Some people report the following gastrointestinal signs after taking 5-HTP:.

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

Serotonin triggers small capillary to narrow, which helps promote blood clot. And while this narrowing can help stop bleeding after an injury, it may increase the threat of hazardous blood clots in some individuals.

People with a history of hypertension or other cardiovascular threat factors ought to talk with a medical professional prior to taking 5-HTP.


Extremely high levels of serotonin in the blood may cause osteoporosis, where the bones weaken, particularly in people with other threat elements for the condition.

Those with osteoporosis typically do not experience any symptoms– the very first sign is typically a broken bone following a minor fall or another injury.

A person who already has an osteoporosis medical diagnosis need to speak with their medical professional prior to taking 5-HTP.

Eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome

Eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS) is an uncommon illness that causes elevated levels of leukocyte called eosinophil in the body’s tissues. These raised levels can cause the following signs:.

  • muscle pain, cramping, and weak point
  • skin rashes
  • breathing difficulties
  • fatigue

Severe cases of EMS can result in multiple organ failure and death. EMS is the syndrome that caused the deaths of a minimum of 30 people who took tryptophan supplements in 1989.

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

Overdose and toxicity

Higher dosages of 5-HTP increase the threat of major negative effects, consisting of overdose and organ failure.

The FDA does not manage supplements, suggesting there might be significant differences in material and quality amongst batches and brand names. This inconsistency increases the risk of overdose and poisoning.

Allergic reaction

Similar to any supplement, it is possible to have an allergy to 5-HTP, while severe allergies are possible however rare.

Anybody who experiences signs of a severe allergy, or anaphylaxis, after taking 5-HTP ought to seek emergency medical attention. These symptoms may include:.

  • skin rash or hives
  • swelling of the lips, tongue, or throat
  • shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • stomach pain
  • stomach cramps
  • vomiting or diarrhea
  • a feeling of impending doom
  • During pregnancy and breastfeeding

Researchers have not adequately examined the safety of using 5-HTP when pregnant or breastfeeding. As a result, individuals who are pregnant or breastfeeding needs to 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 prescribed by your medical professional. Do not use in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than suggested.

When considering the use of herbal supplements, look for the recommendations of your doctor. You might likewise think about speaking with a professional who is trained in using herbal/health supplements.

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

Do not use various kinds (tablets, liquid, cast, teas, etc) of 5-hydroxytryptophan at the same time without medical guidance. Utilizing different formulations together increases the danger of an overdose.

Call your medical professional if the condition you are treating with 5-hydroxytryptophan does not enhance, or if it gets worse while using this item.

If you require surgical treatment, stop taking 5-hydroxytryptophan a minimum of 2 weeks ahead of time.

Shop at space temperature far from moisture and heat. [7]

Possible Interactions

If you are presently being treated with any of the following medications, you ought to not use 5-HTP without first talking with your health care company.


Individuals who are taking antidepressant medications need to not take 5-HTP without their provider’s guidance. These medications might combine with 5-HTP to trigger serotonin syndrome, an unsafe condition involving psychological changes, hot flashes, rapidly changing blood pressure and heart rate, and perhaps coma. Some antidepressant medications that can engage 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 used to treat Parkinson illness, may trigger a scleroderma-like health problem. Scleroderma is a condition where the skin becomes hard, thick, and irritated.

Tramadol (Ultram)

Tramadol, used for discomfort relief, and in some cases prescribed for people with fibromyalgia, may raise serotonin levels too much if taken with 5-HTP. Serotonin syndrome has actually been reported in some individuals 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 dangerous levels, a condition called serotonin syndrome.

Meperidine (Demerol)

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

Triptans (utilized to treat migraines)

5-HTP can increase the threat of negative effects, including 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 trigger low high blood pressure. Caution is encouraged in patients taking herbs or supplements that lower blood pressure.

5-HTP may hinder the way 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 expensive or too low in the blood. It might likewise modify the impacts that other herbs or supplements possibly have on the P450 system.

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

5-HTP might interact 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 representatives, anti-oxidants, antiseizure agents, antipsychotics, cannabinoids, cholesterol-lowering representatives, chromium, herbs that lower the seizure limit, hormonal 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, a vital amino acid gotten from foods. You also can obtain 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 used for depression. If you’re pregnant these supplements may not be safe for you to take. Speak with your doctor prior to taking any dietary supplements, including 5-HTP.

Both the University of Maryland Medical Center and MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, caution against taking 5-HTP during pregnancy, keeping in mind absence of proof relating to 5-HTP’s security. 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 mothers, children, individuals with liver illness and those with Down syndrome. Taking 5-HTP with an antidepressant medication likewise is not recommended, as this drug mix can lead to a life-threatening condition called serotonin syndrome. [10]


5-HTP in the treatment of anxiety has languished for years. Intuitively, the capacity is extraordinary, but from an useful level effectiveness is no much better than placebo. In review of the science, efficient integration of 5-HTP into a client management strategy is far more complex than merely offering some 5-HTP in order to have more serotonin throughout the system.

Administration of 5-HTP alone is contraindicated for anxiety and any procedure involving a catecholamine part due to its ability to help with depletion of these neurotransmitters. 5-HTP should be administered thoroughly in patients due to the fact that deficiency of dopamine and norepinephrine may worsen existing illness procedures or speed up start of catecholamine-related problems.

Administering serotonin or dopamine amino acid precursors ought to never involve administration of only one amino acid. Poorly balanced amino acid precursors are connected with decreased effectiveness, increased negative effects, and deficiency 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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