5-HTP for Depression, Anxiety and Low Serotonin

Multiple Cures Reported
Posted by Kathryn (Toronto, Ontario)
5 out of 5 stars

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.

5-HTP for Teenagers
Posted by Dana (Sheridan, Wyoming) on 12/19/2013

Would 5-HTP be advisable for my 16 year old son? He seems to be tired a lot, gets frequent headaches, looks to have low energy (except when he is with his friends and has bouts of anxiety. He has a huge homework load from AP classes but handles his homework well. I worry about his headaches and anxiety. Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you.

5-HTP for Teenagers
Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee, Usa) on 12/20/2013

Hi Dana,

It is worrisome to see a teen work hard and be tired and have headaches! I have seen this too with my sons.

One thing is that teens do need more sleep for a time during the mid-teen years. I have worried when it appears my teens need more sleep than their younger siblings. Teens often do not get adequate sleep and often get irregular sleep. But between school and social lives etc, it can be hard to get them to sleep enough. Does he have trouble sleeping? Sleepytime tea before bed actually helps a lot for many, if so. I don't know that I would start with 5-HTP, I don't know much about it. But others may have another thought on this.

I agree with Mike that getting him some concentration nutrition is important. Teens are growing and need extra nutrition. Unfortunately, they are often not getting a very good diet, especially if they are consuming fast food, energy drinks, caffeine, etc. In fact, MSG (in fast food or processed food), processed sugar, and energy drinks can all cause headaches and anxiety.

Most of us are iodine deficient. A drop of Lugol's iodine daily, or a kelp tablet (not as much iodine, but still helpful to some.) might be helpful. Low iodine affects energy poorly. Also, daily vitamin C and D and B complex would be good. I did this for my son who is 17 and it did make a noticeable difference.

Sometimes a few simple changes will help. Sometimes it might be more complex. An underlying virus could cause be involved and then I would consider Dave's colloidal silver plan.

Keep us posted on what you try and how it is going. If the first things you try don't work, EC posters will likely have some more ideas for you!

~Mama to Many~

Posted by Kristina (Beverly, Ma) on 04/03/2010

I'm sorry for the delay in my response - I take the 5htp once a day at about 10:30am. If I took it immediately upon waking, I'd probably take two a day... but taking it at that hour, I only need one.

I usually feel pretty good all by myself in the mornings.

5-HTP and Zoloft
Posted by Bee (Anon, Anon) on 03/15/2010

If you do take 5-HTP and Zoloft, there is a chance that your serotonin levels will rise too high. Also, realize that there is a chance of withdrawal as you wean yourself off of Zoloft. I would consult with a medical professional to help you wean off the Zoloft gradually, to ease any withdrawal. I used 5-htp to help wean off Paxil(another SSRI)- I'm at a half dose now, but not trying to reduce it any right now. I had really severe withdrawal so it may be better to give your system a break before starting the 5-htp. At least in my experience weaning off is really hard and it's important to take care of yourself and have the support of someone to help you get through it.

5-HTP and Zoloft
Posted by Kimbies (Omaha, Nebraska) on 03/26/2010

regarding the question of taking 5HTP with Zoloft. As long as you have a window of over 8-10 hours between taking the Zoloft and 5HTP it should not be a problem. Many people successfully are on both just not at the same time in the day as to avoid Seratonin overload.

Side Effects of 5-HTP
Posted by Sheryn (Milwaukee, Wi) on 04/17/2010

Susan and others...I noticed while researching several options to treat low-level depression, that many caution against using if your depression has a bipolar (manic) component. My guess is that increasing serotonin in that instance leads to the manic activity and irritability (depressed mood manic energy me = one serious crabby-butt, lesson learned with an ill-fated combo of stimulants for attention deficit).

The solution for you may lie in working with other parts of your brain chemistry. Maybe see what folks are recommending for bipolar/cyclothymia.

Posted by Chicagorock (Chicago, Il) on 03/06/2011

Hi patricia
you might try neuroassist. it's a mix of htp-5 with other co-factors that you need in balance. they say that htp-5 alone with put your other neurotransmitters out of whack, here is their web site www.neuroassist.com/. my therapist said that her clients are doing much better with neuroassist. hope you feel better, patricia, good luck.

5-HTP Side Effects
Posted by Kejuka (Nappanee, Indiana) on 03/08/2011

This information is just amazing, good timing! I started a search for my teenage daughter that has migranes often, big appitite, low on energy & lack of concentration at school. I do not want to get her on any medication period! Her personality is most often like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh! I'm going to start with 5-HTP for her, would you suggest A. M. & P. M. Or just once daily to start out? Thank You for giving me hope!

5-HTP vs L-Tyrptophan
Posted by Robin (Rural, VA) on 11/15/2008

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.

Posted by Harrier (Long Beach, CA) on 11/27/2005
5 out of 5 stars

I was recently diagnosed as having some mild anxiety was was given Zoloft. However the side effects were too 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.

5-HTP Side Effects
Posted by Charlotte (Honolulu, Hi) on 02/02/2013
1 out of 5 stars


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.

Posted by Sara (Sacramento, Ca) on 09/29/2012

Hi Adam, I am glad 5HTP helped you out with your depression and sleeping problems. I am 39 female who suffers from mood swing, depression and ADD. It is my last semester in undergraduate school, but I can not focus and get it done. After reading your comments, I bought a 5HTP from Vitamin Shoppe today each capsul has about 50 mg in it. How many times a day do you take 5HTP. Please reply me back and wish you all the best in your life.

5-HTP Side Effects
Posted by Guata (Provo, Ut) on 07/27/2012
3 out of 5 stars

Better But With Side Effects

I tried 5-HTP, 50 mg. I slept great but woke up with burst blood vessels in my left eye. I tried it a few nights later and the same thing happened: I slept great again but had the burst blood vessels again. I don't dare use it anymore.

Posted by Gean (Salina, Ks) on 03/25/2010

Do you take the 5-HTP in the morning, or at night? Thank you.

5-HTP and Zoloft
Posted by Jamie (Breese, Il) on 03/13/2010

I have battled with depression since I was a freshman in highschool, im 29 now. I take 150mg of Zoloft everyday. If I wanted to try this 5-HTP would I also have to stop taking the Zoloft or could I take both. The Zoloft does not help with my times of excessive worrying, mood swings, or the feeling of being tired all the time. Any suggestion??

5-HTP Side Effects
Posted by Susan (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada) on 02/13/2010
0 out of 5 stars

After hearing the great things about 5-HTP, I gave it a whirl for my anxiety and sleeplessness. I reacted very paradoxically to this supplement, as within two hours I was alert and energetic to the point of hyperactivity, also my mood became very agitated and I was extremely cranky with those that I love. The only good thing was that I got through a mountain of housework in a half day because I just could not stop. The effects carried on into the night and I only was able to sleep for an hour at most. Wanting to give this a really good trial, I carried on for about a week but the effects were the same, I hated the way I was feeling, and I finally gave the tablets away.

Posted by Patricia (Gainesville, FL) on 06/16/2009

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?

5-HTP for Children
Posted by Melinda (Richardson, Texas) on 07/14/2008

I would love to learn more about 5-HTP or L-lysine and its use for children. I have a 6 year old with "rolandic" epilepsy and a 10 year old with adhd. We would love to find a way to medicate naturally as all the traditional medications have a list of side effects that we deal with. Any information on how to use this remedy on children would be great!

5-HTP Side Effects
Posted by jill (Rochester, UK) on 12/14/2007
0 out of 5 stars

I would be interested to know if anyone else has had horrible side effects from taking 5-HTP I get stomach cramps terrible palpitations dizzyness and still feel awful the next day. Am I the only one, everyone I read about seems to think it's the best thing since sliced bread. Help!!

5-HTP Side Effects
Posted by Violet (Atlanta, Georgia) on 03/29/2008

For Jill--yes 50 mg of 5htp did make me feel anxious, flushed, and a little weird. I now take just 25 mg a day and that makes me sleep much better...the calming effect still feels a little odd to me, but I think this supplement has raised my mood, which was extremely depressed. I would suggest lowering your dose. A lot of info. on the web suggests taking very high dosages a day and I think this may be based on clinical trials, which use a lot of a drug to see the effects quickly. This is not necessarily advisable for everyday folks.

5-HTP Side Effects
Posted by Rolf (Los Angeles, Ca, Usa) on 07/25/2012

Interestingly enough, and rather contrary to the popular marketing perspective, much of the research on tryptophan and 5-hydroxytryptophan documents that it isn't particularly beneficial for insomnia and depression.

Worst of all, there are many distressing side effects from the use of (prolonged) tryptophan supplements, such as cancer promotion. I wrote an article on this, "Tryptophan Side Effects: L-Tryptophan Is Far From Harmless", which you can access at http://www.supplements-and-health.com/tryptophan-side-effects.html

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