What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

5-Hydroxytryptophan Usage

Written by FoundHealth.


Effect of 5-Hydroxytryptophan on Depression

Tryptophan is ingested through food or supplements. Once in the body, tryptophan synthesizes serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is responsible for regulating mood, appetite...

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Effect of 5-Hydroxytryptophan on Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Tryptophan (5-HTP) has been historically prescribed for the treatment of depression, but since anxiety is often a symptom of depression, this is sometimes also prescribed for anxiety as well....

Read more about Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Tryptophan (5-HTP).

Effect of 5-Hydroxytryptophan on Panic Disorder

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 of tryptophan, 5-HTP or...

Read more about Panic Disorder and 5-Hydroxytryptophan.

Therapeutic Uses

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


  1. Byerley WF, Judd LL, Reimherr FW, Grosser BI. 5-Hydroxytryptophan: a review of its antidepressant efficacy and adverse effects. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 7(3):127-37.
  2. Kahn RS, Westenberg HG, Verhoeven WM, Gispen-de Wied CC, Kamerbeek WD. Effect of a serotonin precursor and uptake inhibitor in anxiety disorders; a double-blind comparison of 5-hydroxytryptophan, clomipramine and placebo. Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2(1):33-45.
  3. Titus F, Dávalos A, Alom J, Codina A. 5-Hydroxytryptophan versus methysergide in the prophylaxis of migraine. Randomized clinical trial. Eur Neurol. 25(5):327-9.
  4. Bono G, Criscuoli M, Martignoni E, Salmon S, Nappi G. Serotonin precursors in migraine prophylaxis. Adv Neurol. 33():357-63.
  5. Maissen CP, Ludin HP. Comparison of the effect of 5-hydroxytryptophan and propranolol in the interval treatment of migraine [translated from German]. Schweiz Med Wochenschr. 1991;121:1585-1590.
  6. De Giorgis G, Miletto R, Iannuccelli M, Camuffo M, Scerni S. Headache in association with sleep disorders in children: a psychodiagnostic evaluation and controlled clinical study--L-5-HTP versus placebo. Drugs Exp Clin Res. 13(7):425-33.
  7. Longo G, Rudoi I, Iannuccelli M, Strinati R, Panizon F. [Treatment of essential headache in developmental age with L-5-HTP (cross over double-blind study versus placebo)] Pediatr Med Chir. 6(2):241-5.
  8. De Benedittis G, Massei R. Serotonin precursors in chronic primary headache. A double-blind cross-over study with L-5-hydroxytryptophan vs. placebo. J Neurosurg Sci. 29(3):239-48.
  9. Caruso I, Sarzi Puttini P, Cazzola M, Azzolini V. Double-blind study of 5-hydroxytryptophan versus placebo in the treatment of primary fibromyalgia syndrome. J Int Med Res. 18(3):201-9.
  10. Ceci F, Cangiano C, Cairella M, Cascino A, Del Ben M, Muscaritoli M, Sibilia L, Rossi Fanelli F. The effects of oral 5-hydroxytryptophan administration on feeding behavior in obese adult female subjects. J Neural Transm. 76(2):109-17.
  11. Cangiano C, Ceci F, Cairella M, Cascino A, Del Ben M, Laviano A, Muscaritoli M, Rossi-Fanelli F. Effects of 5-hydroxytryptophan on eating behavior and adherence to dietary prescriptions in obese adult subjects. Adv Exp Med Biol. 294():591-3.
  12. Cangiano C, Ceci F, Cascino A, Del Ben M, Laviano A, Muscaritoli M, Antonucci F, Rossi-Fanelli F. Eating behavior and adherence to dietary prescriptions in obese adult subjects treated with 5-hydroxytryptophan. Am J Clin Nutr. 56(5):863-7.


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