5-htp capsules


Support for Multiple Functions

What is 5-HTP?

5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is a chemical that is essential to our body’s production of serotonin, a separate chemical that helps the brain’s nerve cells process messages among one another. Low levels of serotonin can be responsible for several of our neurological responses including appetite, anxiety, mood, pain, and sleep.

The body makes 5-HTP from tryptophan. 5-HTP is not found in our natural diet, but we do receive tryptophan from foods like turkey, milk, and certain greens. Unfortunately, tryptophan ingested from foods has little effect on the amount of 5-HTP that our bodies can produce. The more effective 5-HTP comes from supplements generated from the seeds of the African plant Griffonia simplicifolia.

How is 5-HTP Helpful?

Low serotonin levels are associated with several neurological conditions. By increasing 5-HTP levels, many of the symptoms associated with low serotonin may be improved. These issues include:

  • Depression – Studies have shown that by increasing serotonin in the brain, 5-HTP may produce similar positive results as some antidepressant prescriptions, providing benefits without the side effects of those drugs.
  • Fibromyalgia – Many patients who suffer from fibromyalgia also have low serotonin levels. Accordingly, 5-HTP can increase serotonin and decrease the associated symptoms of anxiety, fatigue, pain, and stiffness.
  • Migraines – Certain studies have shown that 5-HTP may be able to help people suffering from migraines and other forms of headaches.
  • Insomnia – because the serotonin produced by 5-HTP is converted by the body into melatonin, 5-HTP dosing has been shown to speed the onset of sleep and improve the depth of sleep. However, it may require six to 12 weeks to realize these effects.
  • Obesity – Some patients report feeling more satiated after eating while taking 5-HTP. This sensation can result in appetite suppression and weight loss.

How Can I Increase My 5-HTP Intake?

Although 5-HTP cannot be found in the foods we eat, our bodies produce some 5-HTP from the amino acid tryptophan, which is found in foods like turkey, chicken, potatoes, milk, and some green vegetables. Unfortunately, this process does not produce very much 5-HTP. 

For a more positive result, 5-HTP supplements may be added to our diet to gain the benefits listed above. There are numerous 5-HTP supplements available on the market that will provide the recommended dosing amount of up to 400 mg daily.  However, before beginning any supplement, we need to exercise caution. 

Is 5-HTP Dangerous?

As with any supplement or drug, it is important to understand how 5-HTP interacts with the body and any potential interactions that you may experience. These possibilities are best explored along with your doctor or other healthcare professional. Generally speaking, the side effects of 5-HTP are relatively mild. They include heartburn, gastrointestinal discomfort, and nausea, as well as the above-mentioned feeling of fullness. Some of those people taking 5-HTP have developed a serious condition called eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome, but whether this comes directly from 5-HTP or from contaminants in the supplement is not known at this time.

Despite the many benefits of added 5-HTP above, this nutrient can be toxic when taken at higher doses. Children, pregnant or nursing women, and people dealing with liver disease should not take 5-HTP. Also, 5-HTP may produce negative interactions with other drugs like certain antidepressants, meperidine, tramadol, and dextromethorphan. Appropriately, it is important to consult your healthcare provider when adding 5-HTP to your diet.

Is 5-HTP Right for Me?

As we note above, 5-HTP can be very effective for the right person in the right circumstances. However, because of the potential concerns listed, it is vital that you work with a professional to determine the appropriateness of adding 5-HTP to your regimen of supplements.

We at Bridgepoint Clinics can easily help you with that assessment as well as explore other means of improving your physical and mental health. Simply contact our office and schedule an initial screening. Our professional staff will determine the appropriate methods to screen and test your concerns and then provide a comprehensive plan to address any and all needs. 

Our team cares about your health, and we want to expedite your path toward health and healing. Don’t delay the process – call today and take the first step toward a healthier you.


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