5-HTP is on everyone's lips and is often referred to as a "natural miracle cure". It is not a miracle cure, but the body's own amino acid is said to help with very different problems and complaints and can significantly improve well-being.

The application possibilities are varied: As a precursor of the neurotransmitter serotonin, 5-HTP is used primarily for depression and anxiety disorders, but also for chronic pain, sleep or eating disorders. Many scientific studies have already looked at the effectiveness of 5-HTP and numerous testimonials give many people cause for hope. Since 5-HTP cannot be taken via food, the intake of dietary supplements with 5-HTP, which can be precisely dosed and easily applied, is a good option.

Table of contents

  • What exactly is 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)?
  • 5-HTP Effect - What you should know about it!
  • How long does it take for 5-Hydroxytryptophan to work?
  • 5-HTP Dosage - How to take the right dose!
  • Can 5-HTP have positive effects on depression?
  • Does 5-HTP support weight loss?
  • How long can 5-Hydroxytryptophan be taken?
  • Where can I buy 5-HTP?

Effect of 5-Hydroxytryptophan:

  • Supports weight loss through increased feeling of satiety
  • Improvement of depressive symptoms through improved serotonin balance
  • Relief of symptoms of fibromyalgia
  • Relief of migraine
  • Promotion of sleep through increased melatonin production

What is 5-HTP exactly?

5-Hydroxytryptophan (short: 5-HTP or 5HTP) is an amino acid that occurs naturally in the human body. It is needed to produce the neurotransmitter serotonin, which is sometimes - beware of confusion! - 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT for short). Serotonin is an important messenger for transmitting information between nerve cells and is involved in very many bodily functions.

If the body does not have enough serotonin, this can have negative consequences for health and well-being. Low serotonin levels are associated with various diseases and health problems such as depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, fibromyalgia, migraine or an increase in body weight.

Conversely, increasing serotonin levels by increasing serotonin production can have various positive effects on the body. In order for the body to produce serotonin, it requires the amino acid L-tryptophan. This is first converted into 5-HTP, the direct precursor of serotonin. The advantage of 5-HTP is that this amino acid can easily cross the blood-brain barrier and is then largely converted into serotonin.

Unlike L-tryptophan, which is found in bananas, legumes, nuts, potatoes and other vegetables, 5-HTP itself cannot be absorbed through food. It can only be added to the body externally through dietary supplementation. For this purpose, 5-HTP is obtained from the African black bean (Griffonia simplicifolia). The black seeds of this fast-growing climbing plant, which can grow up to 3 meters high, have been used in natural medicine in Africa for centuries. For this purpose, the seeds are taken from the seed capsules, dried and ground into powder. This is how you can buy 5-HTP online. As a dietary supplement, 5-hydroxytryptophan is then available either in powder or capsule form.

5-HTP Effect - What you should know about it!


As a direct precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin, 5-HTP can quickly and easily enter the bloodstream and pass through the blood-brain barrier. Due to its proximity to serotonin, it often proves more effective than its precursor L-tryptophan. However, there are also individual differences here and some people who feel a greater effect from L-tryptophan than from 5-HTP. For whom which substance is more effective, however, cannot be predicted. So all that remains is personal 5HTP experience through trial and error.

5-HTP has an influence on the serotonin balance. Thus, HTP 5 hydroxytryptophan promotes the body's own production of serotonin and can in this way indirectly improve problems caused by or accompanied by a too low serotonin level. These include, among others, depressive moods, anxiety, sleep disorders or weight problems. Therefore, taking 5-HTP can improve the symptoms of these health problems, as numerous testimonials show. In part, there are also some promising scientific studies that also provide evidence of the effectiveness of 5-HTP. The effect of 5-HTP in detail:

Support for weight loss through increased feeling of satiety

The positive effect of 5-HTP on weight is indirect. This is because 5-HTP can increase the feeling of satiety, which causes individuals to eat less and thus lose weight. This also has to do with serotonin, because it happens that a too low serotonin level increases appetite and especially the desire for sweets. A constant feeling of hunger or even cravings is one of the most common reasons why overweight people give up on diets or dietary changes and fall back into old behavioral and eating patterns, making weight loss impossible. This can be counteracted by 5-HTP.

For example, animal studies have shown that 5-HTP can reduce excessive food intake, which is often associated with stress or depression [1, 2]. And various human studies also provided promising results. Among other things, it has been observed that taking 5-HTP seems to reduce cravings for sweets and carbohydrates in general, thus influencing the types of foods that are consumed [3]. Those who wish to reduce their weight can take advantage of this effect and place the intake of 5-HTP about 20-30 minutes before a meal.

Improvement of depressive symptoms by increasing serotonin levels

While the cause of depression is still not conclusively understood, one well-known theory is that depressed mood is the result of a serotonin imbalance in the body, or at least is influenced by serotonin [4]. Modern antidepressants (called serotonin reuptake inhibitors), which aim to increase serotonin levels, are also based on this theory. Dietary supplements containing HTP 5 hydroxytryptophan could also increase serotonin levels and in this way reduce depressive moods. However, unlike serotonin reuptake inhibitors, 5-HTP does not inhibit reuptake at neurons but promotes serotonin production.

In fact, the effects of 5-HTP on depression are comparatively well studied. Several studies have shown that 5-HTP works better than placebo and can improve depressive symptoms [5].

Also, 5-HTP seems to be a promising alternative for patients who do not respond to conventional antidepressants [6]. However, there is evidence that the antidepressant effect of 5-HTP is greater when it is taken in combination with other substances or medications than when it is used alone [6], in which case it is difficult to determine which substance plays what role in improving symptoms. There was also no comparison with a placebo control group in this study. Further studies are therefore required to make a reliable statement in this regard [7].

Caution: Because of its possible antidepressant effect, 5-HTP should not be taken in combination with conventional antidepressants, otherwise there is a risk of serotonin overdose, which can cause serious health problems.

Relief of symptoms of fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a condition in which sufferers experience muscle and bone pain, as well as general weakness. In addition to a severe feeling of exhaustion, sufferers also report sleep disturbances and morning stiffness, along with constant pain, especially in the neck, shoulders and back, through the hips, and down to the shins. These symptoms significantly affect the ability to function and the well-being of those affected.

The cause of the condition is not yet known, but it has been found that people with fibromyalgia tend to have low serotonin levels [8]. Therefore, they may benefit from the effects of 5-HTP. Some scientists suggest that low serotonin levels increase susceptibility to pain and vice versa: higher serotonin levels may decrease the transmission of pain signals.

In fact, some scientific studies show that various clinical parameters can be significantly improved by 5-HTP without causing severe or permanent side effects [9, 10].

Relief of migraine

It is possible that migraine may also be triggered by low serotonin levels [11, 12]. In this case, treatment with HTP 5 hydroxytryptophan would lead to a reduction in headache frequency or intensity, which has indeed been observed in early studies: For example, an Italian study of 48 students who regularly suffered from headaches showed that the frequency of their headaches decreased by 70% with 5-HTP, whereas the reduction was only 11% when they took placebo [13].

Another early study found - compared to a currently popular migraine medication - mainly a positive effect on the intensity and duration of headache attacks [14]. Here, the intake of 5-HTP was associated with fewer side effects than the conventional migraine drug, which, however, has since been withdrawn from the market due to excessive side effects. 5-HTP was also shown to have a positive effect in the interval treatment of migraine. In a Swiss double-blind study with 39 migraine patients, 5-HTP showed a significant reduction in the frequency of migraine attacks [15].

Promotion of sleep through increased melatonin production

Sleep deprivation is a widespread problem because those who do not get enough sleep get tired faster, suffer from emotional fluctuations and concentration problems. If the phases of insufficient sleep last longer, there is a risk of serious health problems such as obesity, cardiovascular diseases, impairment of the immune system and cognitive disorders.

The neurotransmitter serotonin, which is produced by 5-HTP, can be converted into the hormone melatonin. This hormone plays an important role in sleep regulation. In the evening, the amount of melatonin is increased, which promotes sleep, and towards the morning, melatonin becomes less and less, so you wake up more easily.

Taking 5-HTP can increase melatonin production in the body and thus promote sleep. Animal studies seem to confirm this [16, 17], where 5-HTP was used together with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA for short). The combination of 5-HTP and GABA also proved effective in a human study: compared to a placebo group, the drug-mix group showed a shorter time to fall asleep and a longer sleep duration with better sleep quality [18].

Also, 5-HTP seems to improve the so-called REM phases ("rapid eye movement"). They are indispensable for restful sleep. In a study with healthy volunteers, the intake of 5-HTP led to a significant increase in REM sleep compared to placebo intake [19]. Deep sleep phases also became longer, without an increase in total sleep time. Similar effects were also seen in schizophrenic children [20].

Administration of 5-HTP also appears to have a positive effect on children with sleep anxiety (also called night terrors). Night terrors refer to the phenomenon that the affected persons repeatedly startle out of sleep at night, sometimes very anxious or even panic-stricken. Children are particularly affected by this. The cause of the phenomenon is still unclear, but scientists suspect that the startling is the result of problems in the transition from deep sleep to dream sleep. In this case, 5-HTP may be able to help: In a recent study at the University of Rome, over 93% of participating children responded positively to treatment with 5-HTP, and after 6 months, over 80% of these children were symptom-free [21].

Important: The sleep-inducing effects of 5-HTP are not always desirable. In particular, caution should be used in combination with prescription sedatives, as it can induce severe drowsiness and impair the ability to drive or operate machinery.

Regardless, there is a possibility that 5-HTP may interact with other agents / medications and cause negative interactions. Also, there is a risk that combining medications that each stimulate serotonin production can result in dangerously high serotonin levels that can be potentially life-threatening. Therefore, if you take medications on a regular basis, you should always consult with your doctor before using 5-HTP.

Other potential applications

There are initial indications from studies that 5-HTP may have a positive effect on nicotine dependence and alleviate withdrawal symptoms after abrupt nicotine cessation [22]. However, these are currently still animal studies, and corresponding studies with humans are still pending.

In addition, there are some reports from people suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) who report a significant improvement in their symptoms due to 5-HTP. Initial studies on this provide promising results [23].

For some time, 5-HTP has also been used in the treatment of Parkinson's disease patients. In a recent randomized double-blind study, 25 Parkinson's patients received placebo and 5-HTP daily for a period of 4 weeks. It was shown that during treatment with 5-HTP, the patients' depressive symptoms improved significantly compared to placebo [24]. Further research is needed to derive a real clinical benefit from this.

When 5-HTP is taken orally, the body can absorb it very well. About 70% of the ingested dose enters the blood. The peak of effectiveness in the body is reached after 2 hours. After that, the body begins to break down the substance. The half-life of 5-HTP is between 4-8 hours [25]. This means that after 4-8 hours, half of the substance in the body has been broken down.

Therefore, it is recommended not to take the daily dose of 5-HTP in one dose, but to spread it throughout the day. When is the best time to take it depends on the purpose of its use: If 5-HTP is to support weight loss, it makes sense to take it about half an hour before a meal. If, on the other hand, 5-HTP is intended to improve sleep quality, it should be taken about half to three quarters of an hour before bedtime. Those with a sensitive stomach should take 5-HTP preferably with meals and not on an empty stomach.

According to the numerous testimonials that exist from 5-HTP users, most of them notice significant improvements after about 3-14 days. It is difficult to predict how long it will take for 5-HTP to take effect in individual cases, as many individual factors such as metabolism, type of complaints and dosage play a role here. If there is no effect, it may be that the dosage was too low and must be increased. In view of the individually very different onset of action, you should wait 14 days.

5-HTP Dosage - How to take the right dose!

You can safely take 5-HTP with meals, other amino acids do not affect the effectiveness [26]. However, the correct dosage is important. If you take (too) high doses, you may experience unwanted side effects such as stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. Therefore, it is important to start with a small dose (for example, 50-100 mg 2-3x daily) and increase it to the desired dose over a period of about 2 weeks, if needed. Sensitive people might experience nausea at the beginning of taking even smaller doses, in which case the initial dose should be even smaller.

How high the dose of 5-HTP should be depends on the purpose for which it is taken. The following guideline values, which are largely based on findings from scientific studies, can serve as a rough guide [27]:

  • for mood enhancement: over a period of at least 1 week, 3 times daily 50-100 mg with meals [5].
  • to support weight loss: 250-300 mg about 30 minutes before a meal [3]
  • for symptom relief in fibromyalgia: for a period of at least 2 weeks, 3-4 times daily 100 mg with meals [10/]
  • for the relief of migraine: 2-3 x daily 100-200 mg with meals for at least 2-3 weeks [14]
  • to improve sleep: 100-300 mg about 30-45 minutes before bedtime [18]

Some experts point out that the dosage should always be made dependent on the individual case and that, in the best case, a blood sample should be taken for this purpose [28].

Can 5-HTP exert positive effects on depression?

Serotonin is often referred to as the happiness hormone, but this is only partially true. This is because the substance is not a hormone at all, but a neurotransmitter that exchanges important information with the brain as a messenger substance. However, it is said to have a positive effect on mood, to promote well-being and memory, and to have a calming and sleep-promoting effect. Conversely, a serotonin deficiency can manifest itself in symptoms such as low mood, irritability, anxiety, poor concentration and impaired performance, which can extend to depression.

If serotonin levels could be increased, it should be possible to reduce these symptoms - this was the serotonin hypothesis in depression research. And via 5-HTP, this could be possible. In fact, 5-HTP was already available as a treatment for depression in the 1970s and 1980s - but at that time as a prescription drug. After it was taken off the market in 1992 [29], the amino acid has been experiencing a renaissance for some time as an over-the-counter dietary supplement that is used to improve mood, among other things.

Numerous studies have been conducted on this in the past, some of which were able to show that 5-HTP can alleviate depressive symptoms better than a placebo [5], however, the quality of many studies on this is in need of improvement, so that research is still required for a definitive answer.

While there are many established antidepressants on the market, they remain ineffective in some patients. Here, 5-HTP seems to offer an effective alternative, as promising results of studies show: In a U.S. study, 15 women who suffered from depression and were unsuccessfully treated with antidepressants received 5-HTP and creatine monohydrate [6]. They took 5-HTP twice daily for a period of 8 weeks. After this period, the scientists recorded a 60% decrease in depressive symptoms, which were assessed using a depression scale.

The exact mechanism of action is not yet clear, but apparently there is a positive interaction of 5-HTP with other substances. Thus, it has been observed that the antidepressant effect of 5-HTP in combination with other drugs is stronger than when it is taken alone [6]. However, it remains unclear which substance accounts for which portion of the effect. There is a further limitation in this (and other studies) that do not include a placebo control group: it is not possible to say with certainty whether the effects are actually due to the active substances or whether this is just a placebo effect. In any case, there is still a need for further research here.

Regardless of the promising results on the effect of 5-HTP on depression, it must be taken into account that depression is a very complex disease that can have many different or even multiple causes. Usually, it is not only a serotonin deficiency that causes the problems. Rather, other factors are often possible causes or triggers.

Does 5-HTP support weight loss?

There are many testimonials that describe a positive effect of 5-HTP on weight loss. There is also some evidence from science that seems to confirm these experiences.

For example, as early as 1998, a US study showed that subjects taking 5-HTP ate more than 400 kcal less per day than the control group, which received a placebo instead of 5-HTP [3]. The 5-HTP group mainly avoided carbohydrates but also fatty foods, which had a positive effect on weight loss.

Similar results were reported in another study from the University of Rome [30]. Here, overweight women had taken either 5-HTP or a placebo over a longer period of time and should. During the first six weeks, the participants were not required to follow any special dietary regimen; during the second six weeks, they were required to follow a special diet. It was found that the 5-HTP group ate fewer calories and had greater weight loss than the placebo control group during both periods.

A recent double-blind study from Italy examined 20 overweight women who took either 5-HTP or a placebo over a 4-week period in conjunction with an individually tailored calorie-restricted diet. The women in the 5-HTP group reported less appetite overall and achieved a lower BMI [31]. There were also differences in physical changes such as arm or hip circumference.

The working principle of the effect is not yet completely clear. It is known from animal studies that there are rats in which serotonin production is genetically slowed or inhibited. As a result, the animals do not experience a feeling of satiety, eat larger amounts of food and subsequently gain weight. The administration of 5-HTP changed the pattern of food intake: on the one hand, the number of eating bouts decreased and, on the other hand, the eating rate slowed down. The size of meals also decreased [32]. It is possible that a similar phenomenon exists in humans, by which serotonin levels are very low for genetic reasons and the feeling of hunger is maintained. By taking 5-HTP, this could be compensated and a feeling of satiety could be produced.

How long can 5-HTP be taken?

This varies greatly from individual to individual and depends above all on the purpose for which 5-HTP is taken and in what dose. Several studies conducted on different issues related to 5-HTP show that taking small to medium doses for several weeks is well tolerated. As a rule of thumb, a daily dose of 400 to 900 mg can be taken for up to 10 months. Higher dosages should only be used for a few days, or for a maximum period of 3 weeks.

However, a permanent intake of 5-hydroxytryptophan is not recommended - even at low dosages. Even if you take less than 400 mg of 5-HTP, the recommended duration of use is at most one year. Reason: If the body receives a certain amount of 5-HTP over a very long period of time, there is a risk of serotonin levels becoming too high, which can trigger symptoms such as headaches, high blood pressure, nausea and vomiting, fever and chills, and in the worst case can even have life-threatening consequences. Therefore, you should always discuss long-term use with your doctor and follow his advice regarding duration of use and dosage. This is especially true for anyone who suffers from pre-existing conditions or regularly takes medication.

Buy 5-HTP

The 5-HTP in serotalin® comes 100% from the African black bean, the Griffonia seeds. serotalin is not a pure 5-HTP preparation, but the combination of different ingredients, makes the effectiveness - and also the better tolerance - of serotalin®.

Beside 5-HTP from Griffonia seeds serotalin® consists of two further luck building materials L-Tyrosin, L-Phenylalanin. In combination with vitamins and minerals as co-factors and caffeine as an accelerator, these building materials provide a serotonin boost in the brain and the associated effects. Buy Serotalin in the store now.