5- HTP: Benefits, Uses & Side Effects


5- HTP Benefits Uses & Side Effects

Legend says, when you can’t sleep at night, it is because you are awake in someone else’s dream. Sounds romantic, isn’t? But it doesn’t feel too romantic when it becomes a daily condition. Lack of sleep can make you grumpy and can lead to serious health problems and mental disorders.

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There are a ton of supplements and herbal remedies that claim to help you fall asleep more quickly and sleep more soundly. 5 Hydroxytryptophane or 5-HTP is one such thing!

What is 5-Hydroxytryptophane (5-HTP)?

Melatonin is stored in the pineal gland inside the brain. It is a chemical that the body makes from tryptophan, an essential amino acid that you get from food. 5-HTP is sold over the counter in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom as a dietary supplement for use as an antidepressant, appetite suppressant, and sleep aid. It is a little hard to get in India, but not impossible. Continuous intake of 5-HTP can cause heartburn, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, sexual problems, and muscle problems.


To start with, I would recommend starting with 50mg of 5- HTP. Most people take 50-300 mg of 5 HTP about a half an hour before bedtime. You might need more, you might need less.

You should not take 5 HTP for treating insomnia unless under the direct supervision of a medical professional. Your doctor will decide the dose of the supplement you need and you should never think about experimenting with dosages. Remember that these supplements unless 100% natural might have severe side effects.

Main benefits:

  • Taking 5-HTP can help people deal with sleeping problems. It would make them fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
  • Research shows that taking 5-HTP by mouth might improve symptoms of depression. It is a conventional antidepressant therapy and doses of 50-3000 mg daily for 2-4 weeks can improve symptoms of depression.
  • It cures sudden headaches due to stress and tension.
  • Research shows that taking 5-HTP might help reduce appetite, caloric intake and weight in obese people.

Side effects:

  • One of the main side effects of high doses of 5 HTP is vivid, possibly disturbing dreams or nightmares.
  • 5-HTP is not exactly safe when pregnant or breast-feeding, specially if taken by mouth.


  • People with Down syndrome receiving long-term 5-HTP treatment might experience occasional seizures.
  • Doctors say, Taking 5-HTP before surgery might cause too much serotonin in the brain and can result in serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety. Patients should stop taking 5-HTP at least 2 weeks before any surgery.
  • A serious condition involving extreme muscle tenderness (myalgia) and blood abnormalities (eosinophilia) can also be found in people receiving long term 5- HTP treatment.
  • Continuous intake of 5-HTP can cause heartburn, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, drowsiness, sexual problems, and muscle problems.

So these are the uses, side effects and usage of 5- HTP. But I am repeatedly saying (read warning) you not to take 5- HTP or any other supplements without doctor’s recommendations. You should always consult a doctor or healthcare professional for medical advice.

Have you tried 5-HTP supplement before?

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