This post was originally published in January 2019. Updated in November 2022.
5 HTP or 5-Hydroxytryptophan is an amino acid that your body produces. 5 HTP benefits range from losing weight to reducing the symptoms of some health conditions.
You can find 5-HTP supplements anywhere as it’s commercially produced now. It comes from the seeds of Griffonia Simplicifolia which is an African shrub.
5-HTP helps our body produce serotonin which sends messages between nerve cells in the brain. By increasing the production of serotonin, your body may gain more benefits.
Low levels of serotonin can cause some problems such as:
- sleep disorder.
- PMS (premenstrual syndrome).
In this article, I will include the top benefits of 5 HTP, the right dosage, possible side effects, and more FAQs.
Let’s dive right into it…
Table of Contents
What Are 5 HTP Benefits?
1- May Treat Depression
Scientists do not know what is causing depression. But they believe that low levels of serotonin can influence your mood and it could cause depression.
So taking 5 HTP supplements can increase serotonin levels, and this could help treat depression.
A study showed that 5-HTP supplements can reduce the symptoms of depression in adult women.
Plus, Researchers found that taking 5 HTP supplements with antidepressant medication is more beneficial and stronger compared to when they are taken alone.
2- Reduces Migraines
Researchers believe that low levels of serotonin can cause a migraine
Scientists held a study on 124 people who have constant migraines. They wanted to compare the effectiveness of 5 HTP supplements and methysergide.
So they divided the patients into two groups and treated the patients randomly. The first group was treated with 5 HTP supplements and the other group with methysergide, a common migraine medication.
The study showed a significant improvement in 71% of the patients who took 5 HTP supplements. They took it for six months every day and the number of migraine attacks was decreased or prevented.
3- Improves The Symptoms Of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body. The exact cause of this condition is still unknown. But low serotonin levels contribute to this condition.
A study showed that 5 HTP supplements may improve the symptoms of primary fibromyalgia syndrome after 90 days of the treatment.
It may reduce fibromyalgia symptoms including:
- fatigue and anxiety.
- sleep problems.
In a study, researchers gave fibromyalgia sufferers a combination of monoamine-oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) and 5 HTP supplements. The result was significant as the pain reduced. But we need more and newer research to confirm these results.
4- Helps You Lose weight
One of the top 5 HTP benefits is its ability to help you lose some stubborn weight. 5-HTP supplements may help you feel full which will reduce your calorie intake by eating less and as a result, you lose weight.
In a study, 20 diabetic patients were randomly divided into two groups. The first group took the 5-HTP supplement and the other one took a placebo for two weeks.
It showed the group that took 5 HTP supplements lost weight. And their daily energy intake and carbohydrate intake significantly decreased, which led to better blood sugar control.
Looking for the best 5 HTP supplement? Check: How To Find The Best 5 HTP Supplement: Top 6 Picks
5- Helps You Sleep Better
5 HTP helps our body produce serotonin, and when serotonin is available, melatonin can be produced.
Melatonin is a hormone that helps you fall asleep. Its levels rise in the evening so you can sleep and fall in the morning to help keep you awake.
5-HTP supplements increase the production of melatonin in your body which helps you sleep well.
A study showed that combining 5 HTP and GABA helps reduce sleep latency. Plus, they can improve the quality of sleep and increase the duration of sleep.
6- Reduces The Symptoms Of Parkinson’s Disease
Taking 5-HTP daily with the other conventional medication for a month could reduce shaking. But this improvement lasts for only 5 months.
What Are The Possible Side Effects Of Taking 5-HTP Supplements?
Patients might experience some side effects including:
Keep in mind that these side effects can get worse if you increase the dose. So you should start with a small dose of about 50-100 mg twice a day. Then gradually increase the dose if you don’t experience any side effects.
Some people who took the supplements developed a condition called eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome. It’s a serious condition that causes extreme muscle pain, muscle cramps, and blood abnormalities.
Also, combing 5 HTP supplements with medications that increase the production of serotonin could cause serotonin syndrome. This syndrome is a life-threatening condition.
Moreover, there is not enough available information about the safety of taking 5 HTP supplements during pregnancy. So it’s better to not take it.
So if you want to take 5-HTP supplements, it’s highly recommended to check with a healthcare provider first.
The recommended dosage :
- Migraines: 100-200 mg, 3 times a day. take it for at least 3 weeks to notice an effect.
- Weight Loss: 250-300 mg before a meal.
- Depression: 150 mg per day.
- Fibromyalgia symptoms: 100 mg, take it 3 times a day for at least 3 weeks to notice a difference.
- Sleep: 100-300 mg, take it 30-45 minutes before bed.
Some medications could interact with 5 HTP which can cause serious health problems. So talk to your doctor before taking 5 HTP to make sure it’s safe for you.
Is There A Downside To Taking 5-HTP?
Yes. Taking 5-HTP could cause some side effects like nausea, bloating, diarrhea, vomiting, or stomachache. So it’s best to consult a doctor first and start with a small dose.
Does 5-HTP Work Immediately?
No. It takes at least 2-3 weeks to start noticing a beneficial effect.
Should I Take 5-HTP In The Morning Or At Night?
If you want to take it to help you sleep better, you should take 5-HTP 30-45 minutes before bed. But if you want to take it to boost your mood, lose weight, or reduce migraines, you will need to take it several times a day.
The Bottom Line
5 HTP is a natural chemical that helps your body produce serotonin which can boost your health. 5 HTP benefits include improving symptoms of health conditions, treating some health issues, and helping you lose weight and sleep better.
Taking 5 HTP supplements could cause some minor side effects. But taking small doses of 5 HTP and then increasing the dose gradually could help decrease side effects effectively.
It’s best to consult your healthcare provider before taking 5 HTP supplements to avoid complications.