Your body naturally produces the amino acid 5-HTP, or 5-Hydroxytryptophan. Why? To produce the neurotransmitter serotonin, which sends signals between your nerve cells. Serotonin plays a key role in regulating your mood, sleep cycles, body temperature and pain sensations. As such, medical experts believe low levels of serotonin are a major factor in depression, insomnia, obesity and other health conditions.
5-HTP stimulates the production of serotonin by acting on the brain and central nervous system. Consuming 5-HTP increases serotonin levels in the body, which can help you manage weight, regulate your mood and reduce symptoms of depression.
Clinical research shows that taking 5-HTP by mouth, ranging from 150 to 300 mg daily for 2 to 4 weeks, can improve depression symptoms. Other exploratory studies suggest that 5-HTP could serve as an alternative antidepressant therapy for some people. These results stem from the fact that 5-HTP raises serotonin levels, especially when used in combination with other compounds that help regulate mood, like CBD.
Weight loss is another benefit of taking 5-HTP. When you try to lose weight by reducing calorie intake, your body produces hormones that make you feel hungry. Those feelings can make losing weight a challenge. But 5-HTP can counteract those hunger pangs by producing feelings of fullness and suppressing appetite. When you feel full, you’re less likely to eat and gain weight.
Interestingly, 5-HTP seems to inhibit the intake of calories from carbohydrates, especially. That can help people with diabetes control their blood sugar levels.
Low serotonin levels have also been linked to other health conditions, from fibromyalgia to migraines. Multiple studies have gound that 5-HTP’s ability to increase serotonin levels can help reduce the severity and frequency of migraine attacks. Additionally, 5-HTP can improve symptoms of muscle pain, sleep irregularity, anxiety and fatigue brought on by the central pain condition fibromyalgia.
In CBD products, 5-HTP commonly appears in formulas designed to improve mood and support relaxation and calmness. Like melatonin, 5-HTP can also help counteract feelings of alertness and difficulty falling asleep that can sometimes occur when taking CBD.
As a supplement, 5-HTP comes not from the foods we eat but from the seeds of the African plant Griffonia simplicifolia. And despite its benefits, 5-HTP has some possible side-effects that are important to consider.
Reported side effects include anxiety, shivering and heart problems. If you experience drowsiness, digestive issues, muscular issues or sexual dysfunction, stop taking 5-HTP and consult your doctor.
Relationship between the absorption of 5-hydroxytryptophan from an integrated diet, by means of Griffonia simplicifolia extract, and the effect on satiety in overweight females after oral spray administration — 2012