5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is an amino acid that your body naturally produces.
Your body uses it to produce serotonin, a chemical messenger that sends signals between your nerve cells.
Low serotonin levels are associated with depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, weight gain and other health problems
Therefore, increasing your body’s production of serotonin may have various benefits.
For this reason, serotonin-producing 5-HTP supplements have become increasingly popular.
Here are 5 potential health benefits of 5-HTP, based on science.
1. It Can Aid Weight Loss by Increasing Feelings of Fullness
5-HTP may increase feelings of fullness, causing you to eat less and lose weight.
Weight loss can increase the production of hormones that make you feel hungry. These feelings of constant hunger can make losing weight unsustainable in the long term
5-HTP may counteract these hunger-inducing hormones, working to suppress appetite and help you lose weight
In one study, 20 people with diabetes were randomly assigned to receive either 5-HTP or a placebo for two weeks. The results showed that those who received 5-HTP consumed approximately 435 fewer calories per day, compared to the placebo group
What’s more, 5-HTP primarily inhibited the intake of calories from carbohydrates, which was associated with better blood sugar control
Many other studies have also found that 5-HTP increased feelings of fullness and aided weight loss in overweight or obese people
Moreover, animal studies have shown that 5-HTP may reduce excessive food intake due to stress or depression
Helps With Depression by Increasing Serotonin LevelsThe effects of 5-HTP on symptoms of depression have been well studied.
While the exact cause of depression is largely unknown, some researchers believe that a serotonin imbalance may influence your mood in a way that leads to depression
5-HTP supplements are thought to treat depression by increasing serotonin levels.
In fact, several small studies have found that 5-HTP reduced symptoms of depression. However, two of them did not use placebos for comparison, limiting the strength of their findings.
Similarly, another analysis concluded that 5-HTP may help treat depression.
However, much of the research suggests that the potential antidepressive effects of 5-HTP are stronger when combined with other substances or antidepressant medications, compared to when they are used alone
Moreover, many reviews conclude that additional, high-quality studies are needed before 5-HTP can be recommended as a treatment for depression
Improved Symptoms of FibromyalgiaSupplementing with 5-HTP may improve symptoms of fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by muscle and bone pain, as well as general weakness.
There is currently no known cause of fibromyalgia, but low serotonin levels have been associated with the condition.
This has led researchers to believe that increasing serotonin levels through 5-HTP supplements may benefit people with fibromyalgia.
Indeed, early evidence suggests that 5-HTP may improve symptoms of fibromyalgia, including muscle pain, sleep problems, anxiety and fatigue.
However, not enough research has been conducted to draw any clear conclusions about the effectiveness of 5-HTP at improving fibromyalgia symptoms.
Could Help Reduce Migraine Frequency5-HTP is said to help with migraines, which are throbbing headaches that are often accompanied by nausea or disturbed vision.
While their exact cause is debated, some researchers believe they are triggered by low serotonin levels.
One study in 124 people compared the ability of 5-HTP and methysergide, a common migraine medication, to prevent migraines.
It found that supplementing with 5-HTP daily for six months prevented or significantly decreased the number of migraine attacks in 71% of participants.
In another study in 48 students, 5-HTP produced a 70% decrease in headache frequency, compared to an 11% decrease in the placebo group.
Similarly, many other studies have found that 5-HTP may be an effective treatment option for people with migraines.
Can Promote Sleep by Increasing Your Melatonin Production5-HTP produces serotonin, which can be converted into the hormone melatonin.
Melatonin plays an important role in regulating sleep. Its levels begin to rise in the evening to promote sleep and fall in the morning to help wake you up.
Therefore, supplementing with 5-HTP may promote sleep by increasing melatonin production in your body.
One human-based study showed that a combination of 5-HTP and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) significantly reduced the time it took to fall asleep, increased sleep duration and improved sleep quality.
GABA is a chemical messenger that promotes relaxation. Combining it with 5-HTP likely has a synergistic effect.
In fact, several animal and insect studies suggest that 5-HTP improves sleep quality and that the effect is greater when combined with GABA.
While these results are promising, the lack of human-based studies makes it difficult to recommend 5-HTP for improving sleep quality, especially when it is used in isolation.
Possible Side Effects of 5-HTP
Some people may experience nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting and stomach pain when taking 5-HTP supplements. These side effects are dose-dependent, meaning they get worse when increasing your dose.
To minimize these side effects, start with a dose of 50–100 mg two times per day and increase to the appropriate dose over a two-week period.
Some medications increase serotonin production. Combining these medications with 5-HTP may cause dangerous serotonin levels in your body. This is called serotonin syndrome, a potentially life-threatening condition.
Medications that may increase your body’s serotonin levels include certain antidepressants, cough medicines or prescription pain relievers.
Since 5-HTP may also promote sleep, taking it with prescription sedative medications, such as Klonopin, Ativan or Ambien, may cause too much sleepiness.
Due to the potential for negative interactions with other medications, consult your doctor or pharmacist before taking 5-HTP supplements.
When buying supplements, look for the NSF or USP seals, which indicate high quality. These are third-party companies that ensure supplements contain what they claim on the label, without impurities.Source - https://www.healthline.com.