What 5-HTP is Used For

An amino acid, 5-HTP or 5-Hydroxytryptophan, helps create serotonin, a chemical in the brain. Low serotonin levels in humans can cause many common problems such as obesity, depression, headaches, and muscular aches and pains. Many health problems can be helped and possibly eliminated if serotonin levels in the brain are raised. 5-HTP can help raise the serotonin levels. The effects and benefits of 5-HTP have been studied intensely for the past 30 years, and it has been used as medicine in European countries since the 1970s.

Dosage and How Long It Takes to Work

The dosage and length of time 5-HTP takes to work depends on why a person is taking the amino acid. If someone suffers from headaches, depression, or weight problems, then it is recommended to take 50 mg of 5-HTP three times a day. In 1 to 2 weeks, the person should feel a difference in his body and see some results. If nothing seems to be changing, then the dose can be increased to 100 mg. It is recommended to take 5-HTP as capsules or tablets to avoid nausea. If a person is taking the tablets because he is having trouble sleeping, he should take 100 to 300 mg of 5-HTP approximately 30 to 45 minutes before bedtime, and it should take about 3 days to begin to work. 5-HTP is a nutritional supplement and no prescription is needed. If a person is planning to take 5-HTP continuously, he should be aware of some problems that have been found in taking more than 300 mg of this supplement a day for long periods of time. He should get a blood test every 3 months.

The Supplement in the Body

A human’s body naturally creates 5-HTP. It creates it from tryptophan, an amino acid. In the body, 5-HTP is used to produce serotonin. Supplements, such as 5-HTP, can be bought at health food stores to help with the problems if the body does not have enough 5-HTP or serotonin on its own.

Lack of serotonin is often associated with carbohydrate cravings. This is because when a person eats carbohydrates, he increases his level of serotonin in the brain for a short time. Eating too many carbohydrates may cause weight problems. The body uses the 5-HTP supplement to increase serotonin in the body’s cells and stop the cravings before they ever happen.