Last Modified on Nov 09, 2014
5 HTP is an amino acid derived from the seeds of the Griffonia simplicifolia, a West African medicinal plant. The full compound is 5-hydroxytryptophan, and is part of the synthesis of the neurotransmitter serotonin from the amino acid tryptophan. Low serotonin levels can manifest as a number of modern maladies. In particular, positive associations exist between using 5 HTP and depression, and as a result 5 HTP is useful for people coping with depression.
While a relatively new health supplement in the United States, it has been used medicinally in European countries for decades. Additional health claims about 5 HTP promote its use for other health conditions associated with low serotonin levels including obesity, narcolepsy, migraines and daily headaches, tension headaches, sleep apnea, insomnia, bulimia, premenstrual syndrome, fibromyalgia, and carbohydrate cravings.
How to Fight Depression and Other Ailments with 5 HTP
On this page you can find uses for 5 HTP submitted to us by our readers. Popular uses for 5 HTP are for alcohol addiction and depression; but in addition we have a number of ongoing discussions over 5 HTP use and experience. Let us know what you use 5 HTP for; and if you know of a cure that we do not have listed yet, please do not hesitate to share it with us!
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5-HTP Reader Feedback
11 0 User Ratings
My daughter take 5HTP but she takes P-5-P along with it. Does anyone have any info on the P-5-P. After reading some of the side effects some people have had I am a little afraid to take it. I have just started on Tumeric. Had to quit Bill's spray and ACV as it made my throat so sore my voice dropped a few levels. Any one else had this happen?
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[YEA] 5-HTP for depression. This little pill did wonders for me. I had been feeling depressed for around a month due to heavy family problems. When I finally put all my symptoms together (oversleeping, hopelessness, sadness, emotionally unstable) I instantly came to this site. Cold showers did not appeal to me at all; I live in sunny CA and still get cold. I ordered the pills and thankfully they came the next day. I take one or two (depending on how I am doing) 100mg pills a day. My mood has definitely improved and I am finally returning to my normal self. They also seem to have reduced my terrible headaches. I recommend 5-HTP to all!
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Digby, Nova Scotia, Canada
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Auckland, New Zealand
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Brownsville, Texas, Usa
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Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, Usa
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Somebody help me clear up something. I came across some L-Tryotophan 500 mg at a drug store, in a sale bin, which I understand is no longer being sold. Doing a little research, this is a typical size dosage. I had been planning on buying some 5Htp anyway. Which is generally sold in 100 mg. I keep reading that L-Tryptophan and 5Htp are the same thing. Why would there be such a vast difference in the amount of the capsules? And if they are not the same thing, someone please explain the difference.
I had also read that if you are using 5Htp to help you sleep, you have to take a lot (maybe 5) of capsules. This is not very cost effective, as a bottle of 60 would cost you about $20. I had sleep in mind when I bought the L-Tryptophan, and took one capsule. I slept like a baby. And believe me that is rare for me.
Replied by Peggy
[YEA] I found this remedy when I was looking for herbal remedies for my daily headaches. I found 5-HTP. According to the article,some of the things it helped with are insomnia, headaches, anxiety & depression. I thought could it be? I immediately went to my husband to show him what I had found because he had problems sleeping at night as well. We went a few days later to our local drug store and picked up a bottle of 50mg. 5-HTP. We had decided on the lowest dosage available in our area, upping the dosage as we went along if it was necessary. We have only been on it for a few days now but there is a very noticeable difference. We both have been sleeping through the night and feeling more refreshed when we wake. My anxiety attacks are gone as well as my headaches. We both are much less snappish than what we were before. We haven't noticed any side effects so far. We are taking them with a meal or a small snack and so far we have stayed at 50mg. Thanks for the very useful information that lead to this discovery!
Replied by Brian
[YEA] Just wanted to echo the positive experiences reported here. After a bit of internet research, I kind of guessed at a regimen that might work for me, which is one 250mg rhodiola capsule before breakfast, one before lunch, and then 50mg 5-HTP before bed. In fact I found this site because I Googled "5-HTP" and "rhodiola" to see if there was any danger in taking them both, but I see several of you have also come up with a similar plan. Very assuring, and I have to say I felt a bit of triumph for having arrived at the same conclusion that others have made of my own accord.
Anyway, I've been taking it for a short while and I am still flabbergasted at how effective it is. I really just can't get over it. I could feel the effects after the very first dose of rhodiola. Not only did it improve my mood, it made me feel, well, happy! And it improved my personality. Low seratonin levels were impacting my life in many negative ways but now I am a new person.
Also it seems to have eliminated my morning headaches and neck stiffness, but I can't say whether that is attributed to the rhodiola or the 5-HTP. From what I've read it may likely be the 5-HTP.
However as others have stated, I would take caution in the dosage of rhodiola. I have found that if I take the afternoon dose too close to the morning dose, I do become a bit jittery and restless. Still happy--not nervous--but jittery and restless nonetheless.
Rhodiola is obviously powerful stuff and I'm sure it's not for everyone, but if you are the type of person that it can benefit, then like the others here that have reported positive experiences, I think you'll be astounded as to how effective it can be.
[YEA] Hi' I found 5 htp a couple years ago on the internet , looking for some thing to help my saddness and depression, so i heard about 5 htp , well i was desprite and i took 2 + 100 every day , it helped me so so much , i go off it some times because the side effects for me are, it makes me get my period more ofton , mind you i think that is when i was taking 300 mg . and also it has caused me to get itchy palms of my hand ,and the back of my head . but now that iv gone down on them and taken a break for a few months , im good . but i have to go on them because it helps me so much for depression . i have just discovered the 5 htp with 200 mg L- Ter , wow as far as im concerned its a bloody mirical . it changes my hole mood . makes me very happy .but for sure one other side effect im not as hungry when im on it . and i dream more vividly . but as fare as im concerned its a wonder drug , sorry for the spelling.lets just hope the drug companys don't take them away .
[YEA] I began taking 5-HTP for depression and anxiety and sleeplessness during a very emotionally stressful breakup. I have Not had an anxity attack since 3-07 which I had suffered from off and on for several years. I sleep so much better. I am able to think clearer and stay focused and concentrate so much better as well as improved my memory. I am thankful for this. My dr. wanted to put me on Wellbutrine. NO Thank U!
[YEA] 5HTP is greatly helping myself and my daughter with our symptoms of fibromyalgia. I have tried low doses of antidepressants in the past but nothing worked as well to improve my sleep as 5-HTP has. I take 200mg per night. My type comes with several essential cofactors to assist in proper seratonin production. No side effects for me, unlike with the other drugs. I'm considering it for more members of my family. We have a genetic sleep and pain disorder. Hopefully we can find the right dose for all of us. I advise everyone to see a qualified ND or sympathetic MD before self dosing to be extra safe but side effects are rare thankfully.
[YEA] I was recently diagnosed as having some mild anxiety was was given Zoloft. However the side effects were to great for me to continue. I have been trying L- Glutamine and 5 HTP for about a month and appear to find a leveling off or those problems. For me although it seems to have helped, the jury is still out and I'm not sure if this is helping or its me in the fact I only recently recognized it was a problem. I have read that 90% of the people who try natural alternatives for depression / anxiety return to prescriptions. That is very high. I only wish I recognized my problem earlier. The only people I see pushing the natural alternatives are people who have things to gain. There have been no real blind study on 5 HTP. I do not crave junk food or caffeine nearly as much. If that is a symptom of improvement, perhaps I'm getting there.
[YEA] I am taking 5-HTP to help me with sleeping. My 16 yr old daughter is also taking it to help with stress and weight control as well as sleeping. We have found it has helped a lot and I don't have to take it every day . My kids call them the turkey pills because the amino acid they contain are the same as the one found in turkey, milk, bananas etc. We both take 100 or 200 mg a day.
[YEA] My 6year old grandson was diagnosed with "Select Mutism" 2 years ago and rather than put him on "Prozac", my daughter did some research and learned about 5HTP and chose to try it first. He started on 50mg every night. His psychologist saw the same results with the 5HTP as children on prescribed drugs. It's been a miracle for him. I have since then also taken it since our family seems to have anxiety problems and ADD runs in the family and it has helped very much with these problems. I usually take 100mg to 200mg daily depending on my stress levels at the time. We are so grateful our little grandson did not have to take Prozac or a similar drug. I would highly recommend it as a first choice to try at least.
EC: Selective Mutism is a childhood anxiety disorder characterized by a child’s inability to speak in select social settings, such as school. These children understand language and are able to talk normally in settings where they are comfortable, secure and relaxed.
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Manhattan, New York
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1 0 User Ratings
[YEA] Help to stop drinking: I have had difficulty with alcohol consumption for years, did not drink every day but when I did I did to excess.Then a friend sugessted 5-HTP which has greatly reduced my desire to drink and when I do I have a few and just get that feel that I dont want any more.I take 200mg 5-HTP at bedtime and 100mg in morning both on empty stomach. I now sleep great feel, calm and just drink socially now like those without drinking issues.
1 0 User Ratings
[YEA] I used to take an Rx SSRI for seasonal depression and weight loss but after two years, my body decided it didn't want it anymore. I got anxious to the point of paranoia, I binged on sweets, and I lost the will to do much beyond sit in front of my TV/computer.
I weaned off it and discovered 5-htp. When I first began taking it, I took low doses (25 mg or 50mg) a couple times a day. It would work fine for a couple days and then I would have side effects like bone aches, sleepiness (no matter how much sleep I got), anxiety, and constant hunger. I tried taking smaller doses and found it to have no effect. Frustrated, I nearly stopped taking it.
I then found a time-release capsule of 5-htp. There is at least one company that makes it in a 100mg. It works incredibly well. I haven't felt this "normal" in a very long time. I'm awake during the day and I sleep at night, I eat normally and stop eating when I'm no longer hungry, and I'm able to handle stressful situations calmly. I honestly don't feel like I have any side effects.
I am 32 years old and female. The other things I take daily are a 'complete' vitamin, rhodiola rosea 400mg lysine 500mg, glucosamine/condroiton, fish oil, and 1000 mg of vitamin D. I've been taking all of those for years before taking 5-htp.
If you're having trouble with the 'normal' doses of 5-htp, I highly recommend trying the time release version before giving up on it entirely.
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Side Effects of 5-HTP
1 0 User Ratings
|BETTER BUT WITH SIDE EFFECTS (1)||17%|
|SIDE EFFECTS (3)||50%|
[WARNING!] hey everyone who wants to try 5-HTP you should research it first... It's the cause of Eosinophilia Myalgia Syndrome (EMS). I thought I was going to try it until I read about this. The side effects among other things are extreme muscle pain, tremors, and it's a life-long condition. It has also killed people.
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Edinburgh, Scotland, Uk
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Replied by Kimi
San Diego, Ca
[SIDE EFFECTS] One time I purchased a bottle of 5-htp, and after taking one capsule morning & evening, just twice, I threw the bottle away. My reaction to 5-htp was horrific; upon further research I learned that high levels of serotonin are associated with SEVERE ANXIETY. I also read that the spice ginger is a serotonin antagonist, so I have a bottle on hand, just in case I ever feel so anxious ever again.
Then I read somewhere online that there is a set of people whose depression responds to Acetyl L-Carnitine, they said the depression lifted in these people when using 3-4 grams a day, and to take two grams of acetylcarnitine on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning.
This amino acid is the most amazing substance; I've never been able to take more than 2 grams per day - there is such great mental clarity, there is utter inability to be depressed, but there simultaneously is no euphoria - just calm lucid clarity. I've read that it assists the brain in making many different neurotransmitters - so it is not anything, not anything at all like 5-htp which floods the brain with serotonin - which, if you don't need it, might create severe anxiety.
Replied by Anonymous
Oz, Middle Earth,