5-HTP supplement: what is it, and can it help you?

The complement referred to as 5-HTP is out there in each pure and artificial variations and is utilized by some folks to deal with quite a lot of wellness points.

This is a have a look at what this complement is, its security profile, uncomfortable side effects and drug interactions, and the potential well being advantages that 5-HTP has to give you for a balanced life-style.

What’s 5-HTP?

In your physique, 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is a chemical produced naturally from the important amino acid referred to as tryptophan. The U.S. Nationwide Library of Drugs states that it is the forerunner of serotonin.

Pure dietary supplements that include 5-HTP are created from a plant referred to as Griffonia simplicifolia that is native to international locations in West Africa corresponding to Congo, Sierra Leone and Ghana, in response to the College of Texas El Paso.

A 2020 overview revealed within the Worldwide Journal of Molecular Science by researchers from the College of Turin in Italy discovered that lately, scientific breakthroughs have additionally allowed for the manufacturing of some artificial 5-HTP dietary supplements.

5-HTP advantages

As a result of 5-HTP is transformed into serotonin (also referred to as 5-hydroxytryptamine or 5-HT) within the physique, it supplies a lot of potential advantages in your general well being and well-being.


The Pure Medicines Complete Database charges 5-HTP as “presumably efficient” for treating despair, in response to the Nationwide Library of Drugs, and it might work in addition to some antidepressant medication which might be used to deal with the situation.

Researchers who have been finding out 5-HTP’s results on digestive tract points in mice famous that it confirmed promise for treating each despair and constipation. An absence of the neurotransmitter serotonin in intestine neurons was noticed within the research, which was revealed in 2019 in Gastroenterology.

The authors mentioned in a Columbia College information launch that this was much like the restricted serotonin ranges noticed in mind neurons of individuals with despair.

“The intestine is usually referred to as the physique’s ‘second mind,'” defined lead research creator Dr. Kara Gross Margolis, an affiliate professor of pediatrics and molecular pathobiology at New York College. “It accommodates extra neurons than the spinal twine and makes use of most of the similar neurotransmitters because the mind. So, it should not be shocking that the 2 situations might be brought on by the identical course of.”

Though there’s nonetheless restricted proof to help it, 5-HTP is utilized by some folks to assist handle a number of different well being points as nicely.


The overview from the College of Turin discovered that 5-HTP considerably diminished anxiousness signs in a couple of research. It appeared notably useful for serving to folks with panic assaults.

Weight problems

Based on Mount Sinai Well being, a restricted variety of research discovered that individuals who take 5-HTP might have a neater time dropping pounds.

A research within the Journal of Dietary Dietary supplements in 2022 discovered that 48 “exercise-trained” men and women who took 100 mg of 5-HTP day by day for eight weeks had a major discount in fats mass as in comparison with the group who took a placebo.


In an in-depth have a look at sleep problems, the Nationwide Heart for Complementary and Integrative Well being notes that the serotonin that 5-HTP converts into can itself be transformed into melatonin. Since melatonin helps regulate sleep-wake cycles, 5-HTP could also be a helpful sleep support for these scuffling with insomnia as a consequence of well being points or different issues.

For instance, a 2021 research within the journal Sleep and Respiration confirmed that 5-HTP elevated REM sleep in folks with Parkinson’s illness. REM sleep is related to higher studying and reminiscence processing.


“We’re starting to grasp that fibromyalgia is a illness of ache processing,” mentioned Dr. Benjamin Abraham in an article for the Cleveland Clinic, the place he treats sufferers for ache.

The College of Turin overview additionally discovered that girls with fibromyalgia had decrease ranges of 5-HTP of their our bodies, and supplementing with the chemical helped enhance signs corresponding to ache and fatigue.

5-HTP uncomfortable side effects

Memorial Sloan Kettering Most cancers Heart lists these potential uncomfortable side effects of 5-HTP:

  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Insomnia
  • Complications

5-HTP drug interactions

5-HTP dietary supplements have quite a lot of drug interactions, Memorial Sloan Kettering notes, and needs to be prevented should you take:

  • Serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs)
  • Different serotonergic medication
  • Carbidopa (Lodosyn)
  • St. John’s wort
  • SAM-e complement

Is 5-HTP protected?

In a primer that included precautions on use of 5-HTP, Mount Sinai Well being states {that a} toxin referred to as Peak X was present in dietary supplements containing 5-HTP’s precursor tryptophan within the late Nineteen Eighties. No poisonous ranges of Peak X have been present in 5-HTP since that point.

As well as, the College of Turin overview on 5-HTP research discovered that no vital ranges of any toxins or impurities have been present in 5-HTP over the last 20 years.

To make sure you get the right dosage and keep away from any drug or well being situation interactions, it is really useful that you just seek the advice of your physician earlier than you start taking 5-HTP dietary supplements, particularly if you’re pregnant or nursing. For adults, 150 to 800 mg doses are typically thought of protected, in response to Nationwide Library of Drugs.

Extra data:
Massimo E. Maffei, 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP): Pure Prevalence, Evaluation, Biosynthesis, Biotechnology, Physiology and Toxicology, Worldwide Journal of Molecular Sciences (2020). DOI: 10.3390/ijms22010181

Narek Israelyan et al, Results of Serotonin and Gradual-Launch 5-Hydroxytryptophan on Gastrointestinal Motility in a Mouse Mannequin of Despair, Gastroenterology (2019). DOI: 10.1053/j.gastro.2019.04.022

Cassandra Evans et al, The Results of 5-HTP on Physique Composition: An 8-Week Preliminary RCT, Journal of Dietary Dietary supplements (2022). DOI: 10.1080/19390211.2022.2076760

Mario Meloni et al, Preliminary discovering of a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover research to guage the protection and efficacy of 5-hydroxytryptophan on REM sleep conduct dysfunction in Parkinson’s illness, Sleep and Respiration (2021). DOI: 10.1007/s11325-021-02417-w

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5-HTP complement: What’s it, and might it provide help to? (2023, Could 24)
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