5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is an amino acid that the body produces naturally and is used to create serotonin – a chemical messenger sending signals between your nerve cells.

When the body is low on serotonin, symptoms such as anxiety, depression, sleep disorders and weight gain can all naturally result.

Knowing how to naturally increase your serotonin levels has various benefits. Taking 5-HTP supplements is therefore recommended to boost your serotonin levels whenever you’re feeling down.

1. Supports Weight Loss

By increasing your feelings of fulness, 5-HTP can cause you to eat less and even lose weight. Feeling constantly hungry is a sign that can make weight loss unsustainable over the long-term. Weight loss can increase the production of these hormones and make you more hungry.

5-HTP can counteract hunger-inducing hormones, helping to suppress your appetite and the weight loss process. One study of 20 people with diabetes were randomly assigned either 5-HTP or a placebo for two weeks. Their results showed that those consuming 5-HTP ate approximately 435 fewer calories each day, when compared with the placebo group.

5-HTP also inhibits calorie intake from carbohydrates, and this was associated with better blood sugar control. There are many other studies which have found 5-HTP increases feelings of fulness and supports weight loss in overweight or obese people.

Various animal studies have also shown that 5-HTP can reduce excessive food intake when experiencing states of emotionl stress or depression.



2. Beats Depression By Increasing Serotonin Levels

The exact cause of depression isn’t exactly known but researchers believe it may be caused by serotonin imbalance. This can potentially influence your mood and even lead to depression.

5-HTP supplements may increase serotonin levels and several small studies have found that 5-HTP can reduce depression symptoms. The two of them didn’t use placebos for comparison, so this limits the strength of the findings. Another analysis suggests that 5-HTP may help with treating depression.

5-HTP’s potential anti-depressive effects are strong when combined with other substances or antidepressant medications. Especially in comparison to when they are used alone.

While more research is needed, the findings are promising that 5-HTP can naturally increase serotonin levels in your body. When serotonin levels increase, symptoms of depression may improve. This is especially true when they are used in combination with other medications or anti-depressant substances.



3. Improved Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Taking 5-HTP may improve the symptoms of fibromyalgia, a condition that involves bone and muscle pain plus feelings of general weakness.

Fibromyalgia is thought of as rheumatic disease. This means that inflammatory proteins known as cytokines may initiate or cause more inflammation in the body.

Low serotonin levels are linked with this condition. This has led researchers to believe that increasing your 5-HTP may benefit people with fibromyalgia.

5-HTP has been shown to improve symptoms of fibromyalgia, including anxiety, fatigue, muscle pain and sleep problems. One study found that people given a combination of 5-HTP and antidepressant medication called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) reported significanty reduced levels of pain.



4. May Reduce Migraine Frequency

People experiencing migraines may benefit from taking 5-HTP for their throbbing headaches, nausea or disturbed vision. Some researchers believe that migraines may be triggered by low levels of serotonin. One hundred and twenty four people compared their ability of 5-HTP and methysergide daily (common migraine medicine) for six months.

They discovered that supplementing with 5-HTP on a daily basis significantly decreased or prevented the number of migraine attacks in 71% of participants.

Another study of 48 students found that 5-HTP produced a 70% decrease in the frequency of headaches, compared with an 11% decrease in the placebo group. Many other studies have also found that 5-HTP can be an effective option for treating people suffering with migraines.


5. Better Sleep By Increasing Your Melatonin Production

Melatonin has a vital role in regulating your sleep patterns. Levels of melatonin rise in the evening when sleep is imminent and fall in the morning when it’s time to wake up.

Taking a 5-HTP supplement may help to promote sleep and increase melatonin production within the body. One study showed that a combination of 5-HTP and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) significantly reduces the time it takes to fall asleep. It also takes longer to fall asleep, while increasing the sleep duration and improving sleep quality.

As a chemical messenger, GABA promotes relaxation and combining it with 5-HTP has a synergistic effect. Improved sleep quality is another benefit of taking 5-HTP and this is especially true when combined with GABA. 


These are five of the best benefits of taking 5-HTP. While some people may experience various side effects, if you are at all uncertain, it’s recommended to consult your doctor first.


Recommended Examples


sleepwellSleep Well™ – A proprietary combination of 5-HTP, Melatonin, Valerian Root, Passiflora, Hops, MSM and Vitamin B3. 5-HTP has been shown to increase REM sleep, deep sleep and reduce symptoms of insomnia. Available from Good Health Naturally.