Do 5-HTP pills work?
5-HTP pills are a clinically proven way to boost serotonin. Increased serotonin levels are linked to a variety of health and wellbeing benefits.
Taking 5-HTP in tablet form is the most convenient and effective way to take the supplement. Serotonin has been shown to promote weight loss, alleviate the symptoms of fibromyalgia, help with depression and promote a restful night’s sleep.
It has also been linked to a number of other health conditions. 5-HTP (L-5 hydroxytryptophan) is a naturally occurring chemical in the body. The compound is a precursor to serotonin, meaning it helps produce the hormone that is associated with feelings of wellbeing.
It is also a precursor to melatonin, the hormone linked to the body’s natural sleep rhythms. Medicines are often prescribed that increase levels of serotonin, and 5-HTP is available without prescription in the UK.
Where does 5-HTP come from?
5-HTP is derived from the seeds of Griffonia simplicifolia, a medicinal plant found in Africa. The seeds of the shrub contain 5-HTP in a concentration of 14% to 20%.
The seed extract is compressed into tablet form to take as a supplement. Griffonia simplicifolia extract has long been used in traditional African medicine. Where the plant is found in tropical West Africa, locals use the leaves to make wine and other beverages.
They also chew it for tooth decay, to aid with inflamed eyes, and to alleviate digestive problems and treat wounds. To date, no effective way has been found to grow Griffonia simplicifolia out of its native environment. That means that 5-HTP pills contain the most efficacious form of the substance.
Efficacy and benefits of 5-HTP 5-HTP in pill form is ingested easily and is well-absorbed by the body without losing any of its efficacy. 70% of the dose of 5-HTP taken is introduced into the bloodstream after consuming it.
Because it crosses the blood-brain barrier with ease, 5HTP can be taken with or without food. 5-HTP has gained great attention in Western medicine in recent years for its potential health benefits.
Several studies have reported the positive effects that 5-HTP may have on our mental and physical wellbeing. Because 5-HTP is metabolised quickly by the body, its benefits can be felt not long after you begin taking it. 5-HTP for depression and anxiety 5-HTP is known for its anti-depressive effects.
It does this by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. In one study, a sample of 15 women with a diagnosis of depression linked to drug use reported lower depressive symptoms after taking 5-HTP. Further research analysing clinical trials of 5-HTP in people with depression reported on two separate studies in which the symptoms were reduced when taking it as a supplement.
Studies, including this one reviewing randomised trials, have also suggested that 5-HTP may be particularly effective when taken alongside other medications prescribed for depression. 5-HTP may also relieve symptoms of anxiety, which is linked to low levels of serotonin in the brain.
Further research into how 5-HTP helps with anxiety may be needed but one study of 79 patients noted a reduction in baseline anxiety compared with those given a placebo. 5-HTP to help with sleep disorders Serotonin and melatonin levels are linked to problems sleeping.
For this reason, 5-HTP shows promise for promoting a restful night’s sleep as a result of its dual-action in stimulating both hormones. Multiple small studies have reported that taking a supplement containing 5-HTP can help improve sleep in people who have difficulty dropping off.
There is also some evidence that 5-HTP may help with night terrors in children although research to date has been limited. 5-HTP for migraines and headaches In a study of 374 children with migraine symptoms, a supplement of 5-HTP derived from Griffonia simplicifolia was found to be effective in reducing the symptoms of headache.
It should be noted that this research combined 5-HTP with other supplements including Vitamin B6. A recent double-blind study of adults experiencing chronic tension-type headaches found 300 mg per day of 5-HTP reduced the number of headache days by 36%.
5-HTP for weight loss It has been noted that 5-HTP may help with weight loss by reducing appetite and increasing our natural levels of ‘fullness’. The authors of one study concluded that 5-HTP may be helpful in those who overeat and so gain weight. 5-HTP to help with fibromyalgia Fibromyalgia is a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body.
Research has suggested that 5-HTP may improve fibromyalgia pain. Because 5-HTP has also been found to help with levels of deep sleep, it may also have a double effect as sufferers often struggle to sleep.
How much 5-HTP should I take? Recommended doses of 5-HTP vary depending on the condition you’re seeking to treat and how the substance affects different people.
As a result, recommendations for the daily dose of 5-HTP range from 50 mg per day up to 500 mg a day. As with many medications and supplements, it’s often best to begin with a low dose at first to find out how it affects you before gradually increasing how much you take.
Are 5-HTP pills effective?
5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) in tablet form is the most effective way to take it. You may have read that certain foods include tryptophan (of which 5-HTP is a form) such as turkey. However, increasing how much food you eat which contains tryptophan is not generally effective as it isn’t contained in sufficient quantities to have as much impact as taking 5-HTP in a pill.
There are some commonly reported side effects of taking 5-HTP tablets including nausea, dizziness and diarrhoea. If you are taking a prescribed medication intended to increase your serotonin levels, you should consult a doctor before commencing with 5-HTP. This is because too much of the hormone can lead to a potentially serious condition known as serotonin syndrome.