Do a little bit of digging around online and you will very quickly come across a vast number of people using 5-HTP supplements for a wide range of different reasons. To help simplify this, we have selected five of the most common reasons why people say they are using 5-HTP supplements, with links to a number of sources of information that we found most interesting.*
5-HTP is naturally produced in your body from tryptophan, and is converted in to serotonin. Dr. Oz explains that serotonin is an important hormone for regulating your mood and therefore 5-HTP helps improve mood. 5-HTP is often sold as a ‘mood enhancer’ that is a natural alternative to drugs according to Healthy Mag: “5-HTP may be your answer if you are depressed, anxious or unable to sleep. Serotonin helps to calm and soothe our nervous system, creating a sense of contentment. A natural and safe alternative to many new prescription drugs, designed to regulate brain serotonin levels, is available in the form of 5-HTP.”
Some people take 5-HTP supplements to help them with sleep and fatigue, and according to Fatigue Answers 5-HTP can also be taken to “relieve certain symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome“. Some people favour 5-HTP supplements as a natural alternative to prescription drugs. Getting enough restorative sleep is vitally important to a healthy and balanced life, and 5-HTP is one of the ways to achieve this according to Dr. Oz. Often poor sleep is an underlying barrier to proper recovery from a range of other issues. As Edie Summers says: “Herbal melatonin and 5-HTP changed my life because they allowed me to sleep. For people who can’t sleep they can never heal well.”
5-HTP is also found in low amounts in foods like turkey and bananas, and gives the body more of the raw materials needed to make more serotonin – which is the molecule that some claim helps elevate mood. 5-HTP supplements are sometimes proposed to those suffering with anxiety disorders, and in a study titled “Effect of a serotonin precursor and uptake inhibitor in anxiety disorders”, an 8-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 45 individuals suffering from anxiety disorders found that 5-HTP was effective. A range of reviews from anxiety-sufferers can be found on Web MD, including details of dose taken, duration, and the effects – with the majority of users saying that it was very effective.
Some consumers of 5-HTP supplements seek to address issues of mild depression. On Web MD, a popular independent health news and information website, you can read almost a hundred reviews of 5-HTP supplements taken for this purpose, and many of these reviews have been written by people looking for an alternative to anti-depressants. Some studies have indicated that 5-HTP supplements may work as well as certain antidepressant drugs to treat people with mild-to-moderate depression. Like the class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which includes Prozac and Zoloft, it is often claimed that 5-HTP increases the levels of serotonin in the brain. One study compared the effects of 5-HTP to fluvoxamine (Luvox) in 63 people and found that those who were given 5-HTP did just as well as those who received Luvox. However it said that the 5-HTP group also experienced fewer side effects than the Luvox group.
Some people take 5-HTP supplements in an attempt to help manage their appetite. Some health commentators have suggested that 5-HTP supplements work best for those who crave food around the clock, especially carbs. Dr. Oz extolls its impact on weight loss and appetite reduction: “5-HTP has been studied for over 30 years. Several clinical trials have suggested that it works to lower the number of calories eaten and aids in weight loss. One study compared overweight women who took 200mg of 5-HTP before each meal to those who took a placebo. The women who took the supplement ate 1,084 fewer calories per day and felt less hungry during the day. In another study, women who took 5-HTP lost 10.3 pounds over 12 weeks, compared to 2.2 pounds in the placebo group.”
As with any supplement, its good to read reviews of other people who have tried it, as well as getting advice from your doctor. We look forward to hearing your feedback from using the 5-HTP+ Patch, which enhances the benefits of 5-HTP by delivering it in a transdermal patch.