Supplement Forms/Alternate Names

  • 5-HTP


Principal Proposed Uses

Other Proposed Uses

Many antidepressant drugs work, at least in part, by raising serotonin levels. The supplement 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) has been tried in cases of depression for a similar reason: the body uses 5-HTP to make serotonin, so providing the body with 5-HTP might, therefore, raise serotonin levels.As a supplement, 5-HTP has also been proposed for all the same uses as other antidepressants, including aiding weight loss, preventing migraine headaches, decreasing the discomfort of fibromyalgia, improving sleep quality, and reducing anxiety.


5-HTP is not found in foods to any appreciable extent. For use as a supplement, it is manufactured from the seeds of an African plant (Griffonia simplicifolia) .

Therapeutic Dosages

A typical dosage of 5-HTP is 100 to 300 mg 3 times daily. Once 5-HTP starts to work, it may be possible to reduce the dosage significantly and still maintain good results.

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. 1,2 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. 3 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. 4-10 Additionally, preliminary evidence suggests that 5-HTP can reduce symptoms of fibromyalgia11 and perhaps help you lose weight. 12-15 5-HTP has also been studied as a potential treatment for menopausal symptoms.

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