5-Hydroxytryptophan—commonly known as 5-HTP—is a compound made naturally in the body. 5-HTP is created as a by-product of the amino acid L-tryptophan. 5-HTP helps the body to produce more serotonin.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a key role in regulating mood and sleep-wake cycles. Healthy levels of serotonin contribute to a positive mood and outlook and also promote restful sleep. Serotonin also plays an important role in many other of the body’s functions, including digestion, appetite reduction, and pain perception.
How Does 5-HTP Improve Sleep?
Because of its role in creating serotonin, 5-HTP is indirectly involved in producing melatonin, a hormone that is critical for sleep. Melatonin helps the body’s bio clock stay in sync, and regulates daily sleep-wake cycles. A strong bio clock and regular sleep-wake routines are the cornerstone of healthy, restful, rejuvenating sleep. Research suggests that 5-HTP may help shorten the time it takes to fall asleep and increase sleep amounts.
How Does 5-HTP Reduce Appetite?
5-HTP can 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.
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.
5-HTP Dosage and Supplement Instructions
As a supplement, 5-HTP comes from the seeds of an African shrub known as Griffonia simplicifolia.
These supplements are not the same as L-Tryptophan supplements, which may also increase serotonin levels. L-tryptophan is an essential amino acid found in protein-rich foods, such as dairy products, poultry, meat, chickpeas and soybeans.
5-HTP is not present in foods and can only be added to your diet through a supplement.
The recommended dose for 5-HTP depends on your reason for taking it.
Here are some general guidelines to get you started:
- Weight management:250–300 mg, 30 minutes prior to a meal.
- Mood enhancement:50–100 mg, 3 times per day with meals. Use for at least one week to notice a beneficial effect.
- Fibromyalgia symptom relief:100 mg, 3–4 times per day with meals. Use for at least two weeks to notice a beneficial effect.
- Migraines:100–200 mg, 2–3 times per day with meals. Use for two to three weeks to notice a beneficial effect.
Sleep aid:100–300 mg, 30–45 minutes before bed. Stack with L-Theanine to increase effectiveness.