Supplement Forms/Alternate Names

  • 5-HTP, L-5-HTP

Introduction

5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is made from the seeds of an African plant. You can take it by mouth in pill form. It has been used to treat depression and anxiety. It has also been used to treat obesity, migraines, fibromyalgia, and sleep problems. It raises the amount of serotonin the body makes. Serotonin is a hormone and neurotransmitter that helps to make your mood stable.

Dosages

Studies have used doses of 100 to 400 milligrams daily.

What Research Shows

May Be Effective

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

5-HTP appears likely to be safe in low doses. The most common problems people have had are nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and sleepiness. It should not be taken by pregnant women or those who are breastfeeding. There is not enough known about its safety.3

Interactions

Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse, such as:

  • People taking medicine that affects serotonin levels, such as anti-depressants, should consult with their doctor before taking 5-HTP. 3

Revision Information

  • Reviewer: EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC
  • Review Date: 03/2019 -
  • Update Date: 03/02/2019 -