Without enough serotine in your body, you will have problems with your weight, you may get depressed, and sleep might just be a dream. Your body needs to have enough serotine-producing amino acid, the 5-HTP amino acid, to avoid these problems.

Depression, heart problems, weight gains, and insomnia are common problems experienced by people whose serotine levels are low. 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is a byproduct of the L-tryptophan amino acid, and the body easily converts it to serotine. 5-HTP is manufactured from Griffonia simpicifolia, a commercial plant native to Africa. This chemical messenger relies on signals between the brain and the central nervous system to control sleep, appetite, sexual desires, heart condition, and weight. Find out everything you need to know about 5-HTP from this article.

Science-based benefits of 5-HTP

The following are the benefits of 5-HTP as backed by science;

i.                    5-HTP may help with depression

Depression is a mental condition affecting millions of people today. The conventional way of managing depression has been the use of antidepressants. Some of these do not even work or work but initiate worse side effects than the benefits of the medication. The other way of managing depression that’s fast becoming popular is using 5-HTP supplements, and the results have been promising, except for a few effects.

One clinical trial did a study that involved giving depressed patients 50mg of antidepressant fluvoxamine thrice a day or 100mg of 5-HTP. The research concluded that 5-HTP was just as effective as the antidepressant, although some side effects were recorded. Another systematic study conducted in 2015 reviewed various studies and concluded that 5-HTP worked better than placebo.

ii.                 5-HTP may help you lose weight

People are concerned about losing weight and staying fit today more than ever. In fact, they are willing to go to all heights to achieve weight loss. Studies have shown that taking 5-HTP supplements may help a person lose weight. One problem people often face while trying different weight loss suggestions such as intermittent fasting is increased hunger feelings, a problem that 5-HTP seems to manage well.

When you take 5-HTP supplements, one benefit you will reap is lowered feelings of hunger. 5-HTP does this by stimulating the production of hormones that induce fullness and counteracting the hunger-inducing hormones. With this sort of effect, your appetite is suppressed, and as you eat less, you easily attain your weight loss goal. In addition, 5-HTP may inhibit calorie intake, thereby lowering a person’s blood sugar levels and the risk for diabetes. 5-HTP supplements have also been used to control food intake among people who eat uncontrollably due to stress or depression.

iii.               5-HTP may help you manage migraines

Migraines are more than just headaches; they are severe and affect you for longer periods, even days, making a person less productive and possibly stressed. There are many methods of managing migraines, and studies point to 5-HTP supplements claiming that they may be just as helpful as other therapies. Such therapies include using a drug known as methysergide.

In one clinical study, patients who often suffered from migraines were given 600mg of 5-HTP supplements daily for six months. At the end of the study, the patients had significantly improved, and the researchers concluded that 5-HTP was just as effective as methysergide. Another study looked at migraine sufferers being given either propranolol or 5-HTP daily for four months. At the end of the study, sufferers from both groups had improved. Still, propranolol recorded better results, with its participants experiencing fewer episodes of migraines and using analgesics fewer times.

iv.               5-HTP may help you manage fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a condition that makes a person feel severe pain in the bones, ligaments, tendons, joints, and multiple points and experience general body weakness. The problem is afflicting many today, and that’s why its solution or management is vital. Recent studies believe that supplementing with 5-HTP could help people manage fibromyalgia.

In one study, people suffering from fibromyalgia were given either 5-HTP supplements or a placebo. The study recorded positive results with the administration of 5-HTP supplements only after four weeks. The paining points experienced less pain, and the stiffness was also reduced. Besides, those who suffered from depression, anxiety, and migraines also noticed improvements with these problems. The studies are just at a preliminary stage, and they cannot be used to conclude that 5-HTP would be exceptionally effective at managing fibromyalgia. Further research is needed for viable conclusions to be drawn.

v.                  5-HTP may help improve your sleep patterns

Insomnia and other sleep problems affect people and lower their productivity when they cannot focus during the day. Researchers suggest that taking 5-HTP supplements alongside sleep-aiding medications could help a person solve his sleep problems, especially because the body converts 5-HTP to serotonin which is later converted to melatonin, a hormone that induces sleep. One study focused on human-based research that involved giving people with insomnia and other sleep problems 5-HTP supplements alongside gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). The study recorded promising results and showed that the participants took a short time to sleep, slept for longer, and their frequency of waking up in the night reduced.

Of course, using GABA and 5-HTP together results in a synergistic effect, especially because GABA is meant for inducing relaxation and helping a person sleep, while 5-HTP induces the production of melatonin, a hormone that also helps a person relax. Some studies conducted in animals and insects also showed that 5-HTP supplements can significantly help boost sleep and lower waking up episodes besides other sleep problems. The challenge is that most of these studies are based on insects and animals instead of human beings. Therefore, stating how effective 5-HTP can be for sleep problems when used in isolation becomes a problem.


5-HTP is a form of amino acid L-tryptophan. 5-HTP supplements can be manufactured from Griffonia simplicifolia and used to handle many health challenges. This article has shared five common benefits of 5-HTP supplements. These include sleep problems, weight loss, fibromyalgia, depression, and migraines.

Crystal Kadir

MS, Durham University GP The work of a family doctor includes a wide range of clinical diversity, which requires extensive knowledge and erudition from a specialist. However, I believe that the most important thing for a family doctor is to be human because the cooperation and understanding between the doctor and the patient are crucial in ensuring successful health care. On my days off, I love being in nature. Since childhood, I have been passionate about playing chess and tennis. Whenever I have time off, I enjoy traveling around the world.