The body’s natural chemical, L-5 hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), is also available as a nutritional supplement.
Some people think that 5-HTP can help with disorders related to serotonin, such as depression. More testing, however, is required to decide whether it is as efficient as some say.
The potential advantages and risks of 5-HTP supplements are examined in this article. It also provides examples of these supplements that individuals might consider trying.
What is 5-HTP?
Serotonin in the brain is a chemical that helps control the mood, satisfaction, and anxiety of a person. This hormone is produced by the body naturally through a series of chemical processes, with 5-HTP being a precursor to serotonin.
The drug was previously only available via prescription. Since 1995, however, companies have been offering 5-HTP as a nutritional supplement.
Low levels of serotonin are correlated with many behavioral and emotional problems. They include:
An individual with high serotonin levels, on the other hand, can experience serotonin syndrome. If a person takes drugs that increase levels of this hormone, this may occur. Symptoms could include:
- shivering or excessive sweating
- high blood pressure
- uncontrollable twitching
- high fever
- loss of consciousness
- irregular heartbeat
The risk of serotonin syndrome is increased by taking drugs or supplements known to raise serotonin levels.
Some physicians, researchers, and individuals believe it may help increase serotonin levels in the body because of the 5-HTP connection to this hormone. Experts are not entirely clear on the efficacy of 5-HTP, however.
With some evidence to promote its use, there are a few possible benefits of taking 5-HTP. They include:
- supporting weight loss
- helping depression
- improving sleep
The role of 5-HTP in promoting weight loss was investigated by an older study. The researchers gave a supplement containing 5-HTP to 10 females with obesity.
The study concludes that more satiety and lower BMI were experienced by those given the supplement than the placebo group. This indicates that 5-HTP will encourage weight loss. This was a small study, however, and further research is needed to validate the results.
Another research indicates that 5-HTP could be beneficial for depression treatment. 60 individuals who met the medical criteria for a depressive episode were split into two classes by researchers. One group received 5-HTP while an antidepressant was given to the other. Both groups showed a decrease in depression after 8 weeks.
A third research demonstrates that 5-HTP can be successful in improving sleep quality and duration. Researchers gave an amino acid supplement containing 5-HTP and gamma-aminobutyric acid to nine individuals with difficulty sleeping. A further nine were given a placebo.
The individuals who got the supplement fell asleep more easily and for longer. They woke up less often than in the placebo party, too.
Some research indicates that 5-HTP can also assist with:
- migraine pain
In a 2012 study, however, researchers looked at positive 5-HTP arguments. They conclude that taking 5-HTP supplements will decrease their efficacy in treating depression without balancing them with other amino acids. Increased side effects may also result.
There are several older reports on the health benefits of 5-HTP. To evaluate how successful this drug is in helping different health conditions, new research is required.
For most people, the side effects of 5-HTP are generally mild. They include:
- feeling full
- rumbling sensations
List of 5-HTP supplements
There are several 5-HTP supplements available for purchase. We list four items below that individuals may wish to try.
Please notice that these items have not been tried by the writer of this post. All knowledge about goods is solely research-based.
Nested Naturals 5-HTP
Four evaluation stages are conducted by Nested Naturals on their 5-HTP supplements. It is also accredited by GMP and evaluated independently.
This supplement does not include GMOs and is vegan. Their product claims that relaxation and calmness are promoted, which is consistent with the studies available.
Swanson 5-HTP Maximum Strength
Swanson is a 5-HTP manufacturer accredited by GMP. Furthermore, they indulge in third-party testing of their supplements.
This product assists with mood and mental well-being, which is confirmed by some research , the company claims.
Natrol’s 5-HTP supplement releases 5-HTP over 10 hours on a slow basis.
Their brand claims that it encourages stress relief and helps individuals keep a positive attitude.
Myprotein 5-HTP capsules
Myprotein says their supplements of MyVitamin are primarily for health and fitness.
They say their capsules of 5-HTP will help boost sleep and recommend taking it on an empty stomach before bed. Since this product contains 50 milligrams of 5-HTP per tablet, a person who prefers a lower dose may be well suited.
Other ways to boost serotonin
There are other ways to increase serotonin in the body naturally, including:
- regular exercise
- bright light exposure, such as sunlight
- self-induced changes in mood
- increasing the amount of tryptophan in a person’s diet
When to see a doctor
Before taking 5-HTP, a person should speak to their physician. Before taking these supplements, people who are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, or breastfeeding should consult their doctor.
If they take any other drugs, such as antidepressants, a person should also talk to a medical professional, as taking supplements can interfere with how they work. In order to explore any potential complications, anyone dealing with medical conditions should also contact their physician first.
If they believe they are having side effects of 5-HTP, people should see a doctor. If these symptoms become serious, seek emergency medical treatment.
In some individuals, taking 5-HTP supplements can promote sleep and help with depression and weight loss. There is, however, not enough evidence to support the other supposed health benefits of 5-HTP.
An individual should look for supplements that are licensed and checked by third parties to help ensure their quality.
Each individual should speak to their doctor before introducing a supplement. Before taking 5-HTP, anyone taking certain prescription drugs or dealing with certain conditions should also consult a medical professional.
They may suggest other alternatives, such as exercise, dietary changes, and exposure to sunlight, if doctors do not prescribe these supplements for an individual.