5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) can be transformed 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 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 operates in the brain and main nerve system by increasing the production of the chemical serotonin. Serotonin can impact sleep, hunger, temperature level, sexual habits, and pain feeling.

Considering that 5-HTP increases serotonin levels, it is used for conditions in which serotonin is believed to play an essential role. These consist of anxiety, anxiety, and many other conditions, however there is no good scientific proof to support most of these usages. [1]


5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) can be converted to serotonin in the body. It is typically utilized for depression. It has less proof for insomnia 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 works in the brain and central nervous system by increasing the production of the chemical serotonin. Serotonin can impact sleep, cravings, temperature, sexual habits, and discomfort feeling.

Because 5-HTP increases serotonin levels, it is utilized for conditions in which serotonin is believed to play an important function. These include depression, anxiety, and lots of other conditions, however there is no good scientific proof to support the majority of these uses. [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 help. It is also marketed in numerous European countries for the indicator of major anxiety under the brand name Cincofarm, Levothym, Levotonine, Oxyfan, Telesol, Tript-OH, and Triptum.

A 2002 review 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 a lack of clinical data meeting the extensive standards of the day. More and larger research studies using existing approaches are needed to identify if 5-HTP is really efficient in treating depression. In little, controlled trials 5-HTP has likewise been reported to augment the antidepressant efficacy of the antidepressant clomipramine. A 2020 meta-analysis found oral 5-HTP supplements had a big impact size on anxiety symptom severity. Nevertheless, the included research studies were considered reasonably weak and the techniques and treatment period varied between the seven research studies taken a look at.

5-HTP is often taken by people coming down from MDMA to alleviate 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 taking in MDMA will accelerate serotonin production. DanceSafe declares that the anecdotal proof is widespread which the theory is physiologically sensible. Backing up this method is research performed by Wang, et al. in 2007, which observed that MDMA-induced deficiencies of 5-HT (serotonin) were restored in rats after administration of 5-HTP, and recommended that this approach might be scientifically useful in abstinent MDMA users.

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

In scientific trials of numerous design, 5-HTP has actually likewise been reported to deal with fibromyalgia, myoclonus, migraine, and cerebellar ataxia. Nevertheless, these clinical findings, as for all therapeutic findings with 5-HTP, are initial and require 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 utilizes it to produce serotonin, a chemical messenger that sends signals in between your nerve cells.

Low serotonin levels are related to depression, stress and anxiety, sleep disorders, weight gain and other illness.

Therefore, increasing your body’s production of serotonin may have different advantages.

For this reason, serotonin-producing 5-HTP supplements have actually become progressively popular.

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

It Can Help Weight Loss by Increasing Feelings of Fullness

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

Weight-loss can increase the production of hormones that make you feel starving. These sensations of consistent hunger can make dropping weight unsustainable in the long term.

5-HTP might combat these hunger-inducing hormonal agents, working to reduce appetite and assist you slim down.

In one research study, 20 individuals with diabetes were arbitrarily designated to receive either 5-HTP or a placebo for two weeks. The results showed that those who got 5-HTP taken in approximately 435 fewer calories daily, compared to the placebo group.

What’s more, 5-HTP mostly inhibited the consumption of calories from carbs, which was associated with better blood sugar level control.

Many other research studies have also found that 5-HTP increased feelings of fullness and assisted weight-loss in obese or obese people.

Moreover, animal studies have revealed that 5-HTP might lower excessive food intake due to stress or depression.

5-HTP is likely efficient at increasing feelings of fullness, which may assist you eat less and reduce weight.

Helps With Anxiety by Increasing Serotonin Levels

The results of 5-HTP on signs of depression have actually been well studied.

While the exact cause of anxiety is mostly unidentified, some researchers think that a serotonin imbalance may influence your mood in a way that causes anxiety.

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

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

Similarly, another analysis concluded that 5-HTP might help deal with anxiety.

Nevertheless, much of the research suggests that the possible antidepressive effects of 5-HTP are stronger when combined with other compounds or antidepressant medications, compared to when they are used alone.

Additionally, lots of evaluations conclude that additional, top quality studies are needed prior to 5-HTP can be suggested as a treatment for depression.

5-HTP supplements increase serotonin levels in your body, which may enhance symptoms of depression, especially when used in combination with other antidepressant substances or medications. Nevertheless, more research study is required.

Improved Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Supplementing with 5-HTP may enhance symptoms of fibromyalgia, a condition identified by muscle and bone pain, as well as basic weak point.

There is currently no known reason for fibromyalgia, however low serotonin levels have been connected with the condition.

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

Certainly, early proof suggests that 5-HTP may enhance signs of fibromyalgia, including muscle pain, sleep issues, anxiety and fatigue.

However, not enough research has been carried out to draw any clear conclusions about the effectiveness of 5-HTP at improving fibromyalgia symptoms.

5-HTP can boost serotonin levels in your body, which may help relieve some signs of fibromyalgia. Nonetheless, more research study is required.

Could Help Reduce Migraine Frequency

5-HTP is said to help with migraines, which are throbbing headaches that are often accompanied by nausea or disturbed vision.

While their specific cause is debated, some scientists 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 six months prevented or substantially decreased the variety of migraine attacks in 71% of participants.

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

Likewise, many other research studies have found that 5-HTP may be an effective treatment option for people 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 role in managing sleep. Its levels start to increase at night to promote sleep and fall in the 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 study revealed that a mix of 5-HTP and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) considerably reduced the time it took to fall asleep, increased sleep duration and improved sleep quality.

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

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

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

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

Suffering from unrequited love?

Studies have shown that 5-HTP can minimize anxiety and anxiety attack. For some people, chronic panic attacks are the outcome of low serotonin. Even for those with general feelings of stress, 5-HTP can be helpful. One study took a look at the impacts of 5-HTP supplements in youths who did not suffer from depression but had high levels of romantic tension. Out of the 15 individuals, all experienced reduced stress and anxiety after 6 weeks of taking 5-HTP.

5-HTP can improve your life

5-HTP is a crucial supplement that can assist enhance state of mind, regulate appetite, and handle pain. Talk with a healthcare provider about how 5-HTP can enhance a person’s lifestyle. [4]

Threats and negative effects

The possible threats and negative effects of 5-HTP differ amongst children, adults, and people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

In children

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

In adults

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

Serotonin syndrome

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

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

Serotonin syndrome normally 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 one of the following:.

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

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

Gastrointestinal problems

Some individuals report the following intestinal signs after taking 5-HTP:.

  • heartburn
  • gas
  • rumbling feelings in the stomach
  • sensations of uncomfortable fullness
  • Heart and blood vessel concerns

Serotonin causes tiny capillary to narrow, which helps promote blood clot. And while this narrowing can help stop bleeding after an injury, it may increase the danger of harmful blood clots in some individuals.

People with a history of high blood pressure or other cardiovascular risk factors must speak with a medical professional prior to taking 5-HTP.


Very high levels of serotonin in the blood might lead to osteoporosis, where the bones weaken, specifically in people with other threat elements for the condition.

Those with osteoporosis frequently do not experience any signs– the first sign is normally a damaged bone following a minor fall or another injury.

An individual who already has an osteoporosis diagnosis must speak to their doctor prior to taking 5-HTP.

Eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome

Eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS) is an unusual disease that triggers elevated levels of leukocyte called eosinophil in the body’s tissues. These raised levels can lead to the following signs:.

  • muscle discomfort, cramping, and weakness
  • skin rashes
  • breathing difficulties
  • tiredness

Extreme cases of EMS can lead to multiple organ failure and death. EMS is the syndrome that resulted in the deaths of a minimum of 30 people who took tryptophan supplements in 1989.

A couple of individuals who have taken 5-HTP have considering that reported signs of EMS.

Overdose and toxicity

Greater dosages of 5-HTP increase the danger of severe side effects, consisting of overdose and organ failure.

The FDA does not manage supplements, meaning there may be substantial differences in material and quality amongst batches and brand names. This inconsistency increases the danger of overdose and poisoning.


Just like any supplement, it is possible to have an allergic reaction to 5-HTP, while severe allergies are possible but rare.

Anybody who experiences symptoms of a severe allergy, or anaphylaxis, after taking 5-HTP must look for emergency situation medical attention. These symptoms may consist of:.

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

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

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

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

When considering the use of natural supplements, look for the guidance of your physician. You might also consider speaking with a specialist who is trained in the use of herbal/health supplements.

If you pick to use 5-hydroxytryptophan, use it as directed on the bundle or as directed by your medical professional, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider. Do not use more of this item than is advised on the label.

Do not utilize various types (tablets, liquid, tincture, teas, and so on) of 5-hydroxytryptophan at the same time without medical suggestions. Using different solutions together increases the threat of an overdose.

Call your medical professional 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.

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

Possible Interactions

If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use 5-HTP without very first speaking with your healthcare supplier.


Individuals who are taking antidepressant medications ought to not take 5-HTP without their provider’s supervision. These medications might integrate with 5-HTP to trigger serotonin syndrome, a harmful condition involving mental modifications, hot flashes, rapidly changing high blood pressure and heart rate, and perhaps coma. Some antidepressant medications that can connect with 5-HTP consist of:.

  • 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, might cause a scleroderma-like illness. Scleroderma is a condition where the skin becomes tough, thick, and swollen.

Tramadol (Ultram)

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

Dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, and others)

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

Meperidine (Demerol)

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

Triptans (utilized to treat migraines)

5-HTP can increase the threat of negative 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. Caution is advised in clients taking herbs or supplements that lower high blood pressure.

5-HTP may disrupt the method the body procedures particular 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 modify the results that other herbs or supplements possibly have on the P450 system.

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

5-HTP might connect with Alpinia zerumbet, antianxiety representatives (such as St. John’s wort), anticancer representatives, antidepressants (including monoamine oxidase inhibitors [MAOIs] and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors [SSRIs], anti-inflammatories, antiobesity representatives, anti-oxidants, antiseizure representatives, 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 developed by your body from tryptophan, a necessary amino acid acquired from foods. You also can get 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 in some cases are used for anxiety. If you’re pregnant these supplements may not be safe for you to take. Speak with your medical professional 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 Medicine and National Institutes of Health, caution against taking 5-HTP during pregnancy, noting lack 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 particularly harmful include nursing mothers, children, individuals with liver disease and those with Down syndrome. Taking 5-HTP with an antidepressant medication also is not recommended, as this drug combination can lead to a lethal condition called serotonin syndrome. [10]


5-HTP in the treatment of anxiety has languished for years. Intuitively, the potential is amazing, however from an useful level efficacy is no much better than placebo. In review of the science, effective combination of 5-HTP into a client management strategy is much more complicated 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 process involving a catecholamine part due to its capability to facilitate exhaustion of these neurotransmitters. 5-HTP must be administered thoroughly in clients due to the fact that exhaustion of dopamine and norepinephrine might exacerbate existing disease processes or precipitate beginning of catecholamine-related problems.

Administering serotonin or dopamine amino acid precursors should never include administration of only one amino acid. Incorrectly well balanced amino acid precursors are associated with decreased efficacy, increased adverse 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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