What is Benefits of 5 HTP Supplement?

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benefits of 5 htp

What is benefits of 5 htp supplement?

Other Names: 5-hydroxytryptophan


5-HTP or 5-hydroxytryptophan is a compound formed inside the body from an amino acid known as tryptophan. This amino acid is found in beef, fish, wheat germ, chicken, nuts, dairy products and other high-protein foods. It is then converted into an essential brain chemical called serotonin.

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Serotonin, which is a neurotransmitter, is responsible for appetite, moods and sleep.  Therefore, by taking 5-HTP and Tryptophan nutritional supplements, it supposedly normalizes the levels of serotonin in the central nervous system and brain.

5-HTP supplements are made from extracts of an African plant called Griffonia Simplicifolia. Once 5-HTP is included in one’s diet, it will have a positive influence on anxiety, sexual behavior, mood, aggression, appetite, sleep and temperature.

The 5-HTP supplements could be taken in tablet or capsule form. It is also important to note that the dosage varies for each condition and it should first be consulted with the doctor.


There have been continuous concerns regarding 5-HTP’s effectiveness and safety due to its chemical connection to a supplement called L-tryptophan.

During the late 1980s, more than thirty people died and thousands of people became ill – all of which were linked to L-tryptophan consumption.

Although investigations have concluded that these cases were caused by the impurity in manufacturing the product, and not because of the L-tryptophan supplement itself, it was still banned from the U.S. market.

In 1994, the 5-HTP compound was introduced. This compound, unlike the L-tryptophan, does not include bacteria in its ingredients. Therefore, 5-HTP is believed to be less risky in regards to contamination.

However, medical experts are still concerned about possible impurities and they recommend to take only small doses of 5-HTP.

Health Benefits

The deficiency of the tryptophan amino acid that could lead to depression, suicidal thoughts, insomnia and pellagra.

According to 5-HTP researches, taking supplements provide positive effects on a variety of illnesses. However, it specifically helps conditions that are related with low serotonin levels such as:


5-HTP improves moods in cases of anxiety, panic attacks and depression by increasing the serotonin levels of the brain. According to studies, low levels of serotonin in one’s brain could contribute to depression and most prescribed drugs for patients who suffer this illness increase the levels of serotonin.


According to medical researches, consuming tryptophan supplements before going to bed could stimulate sleepiness and holdup waking times. It also insinuates that 5-HTP could be efficient in treating insomnia, which is related with depression. In addition to treating insomnia, the supplementation of 5-HTP may also enhance one’s quality of sleep.

Fibromyalgia and migraines

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition that usually causes fatigue and muscle pains. Both fibromyalgia and severe migraines have been linked to the brain’s low level of serotonin. By increasing 5-HTP compound levels, the patient may improve pain tolerance for fibromyalgia and reduce the duration and intensity of migraines.


Medical researches have evidences that link weight gain from low levels of tryptophan. A study of overweight individuals, with and without diabetes, have proven that each person has decreased carb intake by promoting satiety (or the feeling of fullness). Thus, it allowed them to lose weight.

Possible Side Effects

Side effects from 5-HTP are usually mild. It may include drowsiness, nausea, gas, constipation, diarrhea, cramping, or a decrease in sex drive.

Summary of 5-HTP supplements

Since there are cases of contaminants in other supplements, it is important to purchase the supplements from a reputable source. Given that 5-HTP supplements are available even without prescription, you should first consult with your physician to ensure that the increase in serotonin levels may not be potentially harmful, should you have other medical conditions.

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