5-HTP is one of the most popular mood-enhancing supplements on the market today. Lot’s of people claim it works to improve symptoms of depression and contribute to a better night’s sleep. It is considered a natural amino acid. I want to discuss the dry details of 5-HTP and then move on to discuss my own personal experiences with it.
5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is an amino acid that your body naturally produces. It is created from another amino acid called tryptophan. It’s also found in animal protein based foods such as chicken, fish, beef, eggs and dairy products. It is manufactured from Griffonia simplicifolia, which is an African shrub. The seeds of this plant are 20% 5-HTP.
5-HTP is marketed for those who have anxiety, depression, suffer from insomnia or bad migraines. It is also used for fibromyalgia and ADHD. It is also pitched as a weight loss aid due to effects on reducing the appetite.
So why and how would 5-HTP work? In simple terms, 5-HTP is converted into both serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is often connected to the brain’s happiness fuel while melatonin is considered a sleep neurotransmitter.
Studies have shown that people who battle depression are often shown to possess a low amount of serotonin. Low serotonin is also often linked to anxiety and insomnia and possibly weight gain in some people. Melatonin signals that it is time to hit the sack and go to sleep.
Does it work? Well, there is a shortage on scientific studies but no shortage on anecdotal evidence.
Here’s a study showing 5-HTP is beneficial for anxiety.
Here’s research showing it does help for depression.
Here’s a study showing 5-HTP users take less time to fall asleep.
WARNING: DO NOT TAKE 5-HTP WITH ANTIDEPRESSANTS!
The National Institutes of Health recommends NEVER to take 5-HTP with the following:
You also shouldn’t mix it with sleeping medications
How did it work out for me?
I’m not a doctor. But I have used 5-HTP for pretty good results. Here’s what I noticed…
It worked wonderfully at first, but over time, it seemed to lose its effects and even make me feel a little bit anxious. It almost seems as if you build up your serotonin to a good level and you should stop. I keep it around for anxious days and it does well. Occasionally, I take it for a week and it seems great.
Actor Jim Carrey swears by 5-HTP. The user reviews are pretty solid on Amazon. I really feel like most people report a week’s time at most to feel results. I feel results right away. I think it really comes down to each person’s unique body.
Some say it can be used for months. That wasn’t the case for me. Some say it only loses its effectiveness but I felt more like it turned against me after using it for more than a couple of weeks. But it isn’t as if I was being strict in terms of a diary, so this portion of my assessment should be taken with a grain of salt. It is also important to understand that lifestyle is the biggest driving factor in conquering depression and anxiety. Typically, when I take 5-HTP, I am pursuing a healthier life in the first place so that should be accounted for when giving my opinion consideration. And this is most often the case with any health supplement. Most of the time, we rarely make one change when we are trying to get our health in order.
In terms of weight loss, I really have no idea if this would work. You’d need to do research beyond this article. I do know feeling depressed causes me to eat so in some ways, I can say 5-HTP likely was a benefit. But I don’t have much to lose, either. Diet would definitely be the driving factor here.
Where to Buy?
You can purchase it direct on Amazon, this is the one I use. I have also been able to readily purchase it at all GNCs and Whole Foods. It is easy to find. I take 200mg per dose. I do once a day when I am taking it. 100 to 300 milligrams is recommended.
It is worth giving a try. But I’d also recommend eating a healthy diet and exercising and doing some meditation. If you are living an unhealthy lifestyle, I doubt 5-HTP does much for you. You’d likely be wasting your money. Get your life in order first, then try it for best results. You might end up finding that it really works for you.