26 mins read

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

5-HTP is a chemical by-product of the protein foundation L-tryptophan. It is produced commercially from the seeds of an African plant called Griffonia simplicifolia. 5-HTP operates in the brain and central nerve system by increasing the production of the chemical serotonin. Serotonin can affect sleep, cravings, temperature level, sexual behavior, and discomfort feeling.

Since 5-HTP increases serotonin levels, it is used for conditions in which serotonin is thought to play an important function. These include depression, anxiety, and many other conditions, but there is no good clinical proof to support the majority of these usages. [1]


5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) can be transformed to serotonin in the body. It is frequently utilized for anxiety. It has less proof 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 referred to as Griffonia simplicifolia. 5-HTP operates 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 experience.

Because 5-HTP increases serotonin levels, it is utilized for conditions in which serotonin is thought to play a crucial role. These include depression, anxiety, and numerous other conditions, however there is no good clinical proof to support the majority of these usages. [2]


5-HTP is offered nonprescription in the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, and the UK as a dietary supplement for use as an antidepressant, cravings suppressant, and sleep aid. It is also marketed in many European nations for the indication of significant anxiety under the brand name Cincofarm, Levothym, Levotonine, Oxyfan, Telesol, Tript-OH, and Triptum.

A 2002 evaluation concluded that although the information assessed recommends that 5-HTP is more reliable than placebo in the treatment of anxiety, the evidence was insufficient to be definitive due to a lack of clinical information fulfilling the strenuous requirements of the day. More and larger studies utilizing present methods are needed to determine if 5-HTP is truly efficient in treating depression. In little, regulated trials 5-HTP has actually also been reported to augment the antidepressant effectiveness of the antidepressant clomipramine. A 2020 meta-analysis discovered oral 5-HTP supplements had a large effect size on anxiety symptom seriousness. Nevertheless, the included studies were thought about fairly weak and the approaches and treatment period varied between the seven studies examined.

5-HTP is sometimes taken by people boiling down from MDMA to ease post-MDMA dysphoria. As 5-HTP is a necessary precursor for the brain to produce more serotonin, and MDMA use depletes an individual’s natural serotonin levels, it is believed that taking 5-HTP after consuming MDMA will accelerate serotonin production. DanceSafe claims 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 exhaustions of 5-HT (serotonin) were restored in rats after administration of 5-HTP, and recommended that this method might be scientifically useful in abstinent MDMA users.

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

In clinical trials of various style, 5-HTP has actually likewise been reported to treat fibromyalgia, myoclonus, migraine, and cerebellar ataxia. Nevertheless, these scientific findings, when it comes to all restorative findings with 5-HTP, are initial and require verification in bigger trials. [3]

Science-Based Advantages 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 out signals in between your nerve cells.

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

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

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

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

It Can Aid Weight Loss by Increasing Feelings of Fullness

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

Weight loss can increase the production of hormonal agents that make you feel starving. These sensations of continuous appetite can make dropping weight unsustainable in the long term.

5-HTP might neutralize these hunger-inducing hormonal agents, working to reduce appetite and assist you drop weight.

In one study, 20 people with diabetes were randomly appointed to receive either 5-HTP or a placebo for 2 weeks. The outcomes showed that those who got 5-HTP taken in roughly 435 fewer calories each day, compared to the placebo group.

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

Numerous other research studies have also discovered that 5-HTP increased sensations of fullness and assisted weight loss in obese or overweight individuals.

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

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

Assists with Depression by Increasing Serotonin Levels

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

While the precise reason for depression is mostly unknown, some researchers think that a serotonin imbalance may influence your state of mind in a manner that leads to depression.

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

In fact, several little studies have actually found that 5-HTP minimized symptoms of depression. Nevertheless, 2 of them did not utilize placebos for comparison, restricting the strength of their findings.

Similarly, another analysis concluded that 5-HTP might help treat depression.

However, much of the research study recommends that the potential antidepressive results of 5-HTP are stronger when integrated with other compounds or antidepressant medications, compared to when they are utilized alone.

Additionally, lots of reviews conclude that additional, top quality studies are required prior to 5-HTP can be recommended as a treatment for anxiety.

5-HTP supplements increase serotonin levels in your body, which might enhance symptoms of anxiety, particularly when utilized in mix with other antidepressant compounds or medications. Nevertheless, more research study is required.

Enhanced Manifestations of Fibromyalgia

Supplementing with 5-HTP might enhance signs of fibromyalgia, a condition identified by muscle and bone discomfort, along with basic weak point.

There is currently no known cause of fibromyalgia, however low serotonin levels have actually been associated with the condition.

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

Undoubtedly, early proof suggests that 5-HTP might improve symptoms of fibromyalgia, including muscle discomfort, sleep problems, stress and anxiety and tiredness.

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

5-HTP can increase serotonin levels in your body, which may assist ease some signs of fibromyalgia. Nevertheless, more research is required.

Might Help Reduce Migraine Frequency

5-HTP is stated to assist with migraines, which are pulsating headaches that are typically accompanied by queasiness or disturbed vision.

While their precise cause is debated, some scientists believe they are activated 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 significantly reduced the number of migraine attacks in 71% of individuals.

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

Likewise, lots of other studies have actually discovered that 5-HTP might be an efficient treatment option for individuals with migraines.

5-HTP might assist you have less 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 rise at night 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 revealed that a mix of 5-HTP and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) considerably decreased the time it took to drop off to sleep, increased sleep period and enhanced sleep quality.

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

In fact, numerous animal and insect studies recommend that 5-HTP improves sleep quality and that the impact is greater when combined with GABA.

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

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

Suffering from unrequited love?

Research studies have shown that 5-HTP can reduce stress and anxiety and anxiety attack. For some individuals, persistent panic attacks are the outcome of low serotonin. Even for those with basic feelings of stress, 5-HTP can be beneficial. One research study took a look at the effects of 5-HTP supplements in youths who did not struggle with anxiety but had high levels of romantic stress. Out of the 15 individuals, all experienced lowered anxiety after 6 weeks of taking 5-HTP.

5-HTP can improve your life

5-HTP is a crucial supplement that can assist increase mood, manage hunger, and handle pain. Talk to a healthcare provider about how 5-HTP can improve a person’s quality of life. [4]

Dangers and negative effects

The potential dangers and side effects of 5-HTP vary amongst kids, grownups, and people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

In kids

According to health professionals, 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 takes place when a person has dangerously high levels of serotonin in their brain. Symptoms of serotonin syndrome may consist of:.

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

Serotonin syndrome normally occurs as a result of taking numerous serotonin-producing drugs. For example, a person 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 danger, people who take antidepressants or other serotonin drugs ought to not take 5-HTP.

Gastrointestinal problems

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

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

Serotonin causes tiny capillary to narrow, which helps promote blood clot. And while this narrowing can assist stop bleeding after an injury, it may increase the threat of dangerous embolism in some people.

People with a history of hypertension or other cardiovascular danger elements should consult with a medical professional prior to taking 5-HTP.


Very high levels of serotonin in the blood may result in osteoporosis, where the bones deteriorate, particularly in individuals with other danger aspects for the condition.

Those with osteoporosis often do not experience any symptoms– the very first indication is generally a broken bone following a small fall or another injury.

An individual who currently has an osteoporosis medical diagnosis must speak to their physician prior to taking 5-HTP.

Eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome

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

  • muscle discomfort, cramping, and weakness
  • skin rashes
  • breathing problems
  • fatigue

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

A couple of people who have actually taken 5-HTP have because reported signs of EMS.

Overdose and toxicity

Higher doses of 5-HTP boost the danger of serious side effects, consisting of overdose and organ failure.

The FDA does not regulate supplements, implying there may be considerable distinctions in material and quality amongst batches and brand names. This inconsistency increases the threat of overdose and poisoning.


As with any supplement, it is possible to have an allergy to 5-HTP, while severe allergies are possible but unusual.

Anybody who experiences symptoms of a severe allergy, or anaphylaxis, after taking 5-HTP needs to look for emergency medical attention. These symptoms might include:.

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

Researchers have not adequately examined the security of using 5-HTP when pregnant or breastfeeding. As a result, people who are pregnant or breastfeeding must 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 doctor. Do not utilize in bigger or smaller sized amounts or for longer than advised.

When thinking about making use of natural supplements, seek the recommendations of your physician. You may also think about seeking advice from a specialist who is trained in making use of herbal/health supplements.

If you select to utilize 5-hydroxytryptophan, use it as directed on the plan or as directed by your physician, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider. Do not utilize more of this item than is advised on the label.

Do not utilize different types (tablets, liquid, cast, teas, etc) of 5-hydroxytryptophan at the same time without medical recommendations. Using different formulas together increases the danger of an overdose.

Call your doctor if the condition you are treating with 5-hydroxytryptophan does not enhance, or if it worsens while using this product.

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

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

Possible Interactions

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


People who are taking antidepressant medications need to not take 5-HTP without their provider’s guidance. These medications might integrate with 5-HTP to cause serotonin syndrome, a hazardous condition involving mental changes, hot flashes, quickly varying high blood pressure and heart rate, and possibly coma. Some antidepressant medications that can communicate 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 utilized to deal with Parkinson disease, might trigger a scleroderma-like disease. Scleroderma is a condition where the skin becomes difficult, thick, and swollen.

Tramadol (Ultram)

Tramadol, used for discomfort relief, and often recommended for individuals with fibromyalgia, might 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 trigger serotonin levels to increase to dangerous levels, a condition called serotonin syndrome.

Meperidine (Demerol)

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

Triptans (used to deal with migraines)

5-HTP can increase the threat 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 trigger low high blood pressure. Care is advised in patients taking herbs or supplements that lower high blood pressure.

5-HTP might disrupt the way the body procedures specific 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 expensive or too low in the blood. It might likewise alter the effects that other herbs or supplements possibly have on the P450 system.

5-HTP might increase the quantity of sleepiness caused by some herbs or supplements.

5-HTP may connect with Alpinia zerumbet, antianxiety representatives (such as St. John’s wort), anticancer agents, antidepressants (consisting of monoamine oxidase inhibitors [MAOIs] and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors [SSRIs], anti-inflammatories, antiobesity agents, 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, painkillers, 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 necessary amino acid obtained from foods. You also 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 medical professional before 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, keeping in mind lack of evidence regarding 5-HTP’s safety. In fact, MedlinePlus advises against taking 5-HTP no matter whether you’re pregnant. Other groups for whom taking 5-HTP supplements might be particularly dangerous include nursing moms, kids, people with liver illness and those with Down syndrome. Taking 5-HTP with an antidepressant medication also is not advised, as this drug combination can result in a dangerous condition called serotonin syndrome. [10]


5-HTP in the treatment of anxiety has languished for years. Intuitively, the potential is extraordinary, however from a practical level effectiveness is no much better than placebo. In review of the science, effective combination of 5-HTP into a patient management plan is far more complicated than just offering some 5-HTP in order to have more serotonin throughout the system.

Administration of 5-HTP alone is contraindicated for depression and any procedure including a catecholamine part due to its capability to assist in exhaustion of these neurotransmitters. 5-HTP should be administered thoroughly in clients due to the fact that deficiency of dopamine and norepinephrine might exacerbate existing disease processes or precipitate onset of catecholamine-related problems.

Administering serotonin or dopamine amino acid precursors need to never involve administration of only one amino acid. Poorly balanced amino acid precursors are connected with reduced effectiveness, increased side 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/
Our Score

Latest from Blog


This short article talks about how federal governments look for public endorsement of their policies through