5-HTP is one step in the chemical sequence that creates the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin. Increasing 5-HTP appears to increase serotonin.
Dr. Timothy Birdsall, ND’s review of 5-HTP research details many relevant studies including:
- several studies in the 1980s and ’90s that found 5-HTP to be as good as pharmaceutical medications for reducing depression, and
- a placebo-controlled study of fifty fibromyalgia patients showing that those given 5-HTP had significantly better improvements in all parameters examined, including pain, sleep, and anxiety.
CAUTION: 5-HTP is contraindicated with some medications.
5-HTP supplements may create an unhealthy doubling-down if combined with antidepressant, pain, or migraine pharmaceutical medications (especially SSRI or MAOI antidepressants like Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Nardil, or Parnate). Creating too much serotonin by combining 5-HTP with these medications/supplements is theorized to possibly cause Serotonin Syndrome with symptoms of agitation, confusion, rapid heart rate, and blood pressure fluctuations. Drugs.com has a more complete description of these potential interactions.
5-HTP Supplements Dosage
The Prescription for Natural Cures says to take 50 to 100 mg three times per day for fibromyalgia. (page 301)
Nutrition Essentials for Mental Health says 50 to 100 mg once per day for depression.
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.
Here's a couple of examples (both talk about it helping with sleep :
Here are links for the book (click on the image to go to the Amazon page) and blog posts about happy lights.Best Light Therapy Happy Lamps Reviews