5-Hydroxytryptophan or 5-HTP is a naturally occurring amino acid, a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin and an intermediate in tryptophan metabolism. It is marketed in the United States and other countries as a dietary supplement for use as an antidepressant, appetite suppressant, and sleep aid.

5-HTP for Depression

Preliminary research has shown that 5-HTP may be as effective as antidepressants, with fewer and less severe side effects. In a six week research study, 63 people were given either 5-HTP (100 mg three times a day) or an antidepressant in the Prozac family (fluvoxamine, 50 mg three times a day). They were found to be equally beneficial.

5 HTP for Sleep and Weight Loss

5 HTP may aid in weight loss and improve sleep patterns for some individuals. Research suggests that good serotonin levels may reduce appetite thereby assisting in weight loss. Serotonin is converted into melatonin in the pineal gland and melatonin, in turn, regulates sleep cycles. The theory is that if 5 HTP can increase serotonin levels, it may be able to improve sleep and aid in weight loss. In the medical articles reviewed, positive results have been reported.

5-HTP Dosage

Take one or two 5 HTP capsules in the evening on an empty stomach as needed, or as recommended by your doctor. Daytime 5 HTP supplement use may sometimes lead to grogginess, although there is a wide variation in individual response, including feeling "balanced."


You must not take 5HTP if you are already taking a SSRI – anti depressants prescribed by your doctor.

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