What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

What is 5-Hydroxytryptophan?

Tryptophan is a naturally occurring amino acid in certain foods. In the human body it acts as a precursor to serotonin, which is then converted in Melatonin. A substitute form, 5-HTP or 5-hydroxytryptophan is a more common and readily available form of Tryptophan.

5-HTP has been shown to be effective in treating depression, fibromyalgia, headaches and insomnia.1

The primary use of 5-HTP is for depression . Several small short-term studies have found that it may be as effective as standard antidepressant drugs. 1 Since standard antidepressants are also used for insomnia and anxiety , 5-HTP has also been suggested as a treatment for those conditions, but there is only very preliminary evidence as yet that it works. 2 Similarly, antidepressant drugs are often used for migraine headaches . Some, but not all, studies suggest that regular use of 5-HTP may help reduce the frequency and severity of migraines, as well as help other types of headaches. 3 4 5 6 7 8 Additionally, preliminary evidence suggests that 5-HTP can reduce symptoms of fibromyalgia 9 and perhaps help you lose weight. 10 11 12

5-HTP should not be used in combination with antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI) or herbs that have MAOI activity. 4

As Tryptophan is sometimes recommended for relieving insomnia, it may cause some drowsiness.

Some users have reported nausea in the first few days of usage, but it typically goes away.