If you’re looking for the best 5-HTP supplements to buy this year, then you’ve come to the right place.
You can also get more info by jumping to our 5-HTP Supplements Guide.
Top 10 5-HTP Supplements
|#1||NOW Foods 5-HTP||More Info|
|#2||Thorne Research 5-Hydroxytryptophan||More Info|
|#3||Nutrigold 5-HTP Gold||More Info|
|#4||Doctor’s Best 5-HTP Enhanced||More Info|
|#5||Solaray 5-HTP||More Info|
|#6||Pure Encapsulations 5-HTP||More Info|
|#7||Integrative Therapeutics 5-HTP||More Info|
|#8||Douglas Labs 5-HTP||More Info|
|#9||Designs For Health 5-HTP Synergy||More Info|
|#10||Just Potent 5-HTP||More Info|
5-HTP is a popular supplement that is promoted as a completely natural remedy for depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders. There’ve been concerns about the safety of 5-HTP and doubts that it actually works as well as everyone has been led to believe. This is a quick dive into everything 5-HTP, and hopefully, some answers to the questions and doubts that people have been having will be found.
What is 5-HTP?
5-HTPs full chemical name is 5-hydroxytryptophan, and it is an amino acid that the body naturally makes. This chemical is not found in any foods but is created by another amino acid by the name of tryptophan. Tryptophan is in high-protein animal foods like poultry, meat, seafood, eggs, and dairy. Most notably, it is found in turkey and has been blamed for the sleepiness after Thanksgiving dinner.
A woody African shrub has seeds that naturally contain 20% 5-HTP and is where most of the 5-HTP supplements that are sold come from.
5-HTP is sold over-the-counter in the United States as a supplement for helping conditions like depression, anxiety, sleep disorders, ADHD, migraines, and fibromyalgia. Some use it as a weight loss aid as well since it seems to reduce appetite.
The chemical’s potential for being helpful for so many disorders is that after it is taken, it’s converted into serotonin nad melatonin. Serotonin is known for being that neurotransmitter that supports a positive mood. It also regulates memory, learning, appetite, and sleep. People who have little of this brain chemical suffer from anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, insomnia, thoughts that are negative, obsessive-compulsive disorder, as well as seasonal affective disorder.
When there is enough serotonin available, it gets changed into melatonin, your body’s own natural sleep hormone. Melatonin has control over your circadian rhythm signaling to your body that it is time to start getting ready for sleep.
Melatonin is also a potent antioxidant, immune system booster, and anti-inflammatory. It is especially protective of the brain. This study on melatonin-based therapies states that it also works well as a natural anti-depressant and is shown to work as well as Prozac and Zoloft to treat depression.
What is Serotonin?
Serotonin is a popular neurotransmitter found in your nervous system. It has the responsibility of making transmissions between nerves. It is known to cause happiness and good mental health. Since this neurotransmitter is unable to cross the blood brain barrier, it is limited in it’s ability to produce a chemical inside of the brain employing a neuro-signal transmission.
It is believed that serotonin may play a role in other psychological and body functions. This chemical influences cells of the brain directly and indirectly. It also influences symptoms like nausea, fluctuations in mood, and clotting of the blood.
The only way to increase serotonin levels in your brain and the central nervous systems is to eat the proper foods and take supplements. This supplements should include amino acid, magnesium, zinc, and folic acid. Natural supplements for improving serotonin levels are L-tryptophan and 5-HTP. Let’s take a closer look at what benefits you can expect from taking 5-HTP supplements.
Benefits of 5-HTP
There are a lot of statements made that 5-HTP helps with depression, anxiety, and insomnia, but many of these claims are lacking the scientific evidence needed to support them. Many websites vaguely mention the studies they are getting these facts from but never link to any scientific studies. Here is what research actually shows concerning 5-HTP’s use for anxiety and insomnia.
5-HTP for Anxiety
There are not many studies that support 5-HTPs use for anxiety. It was found to protect against panic attacks that are induced by carbon dioxide. This other 5-HTP study found that the chemical was found be a little bit effective in reducing symptoms of anxiety.
5-HTP for Sleep
These supplements did a little better when it came to treating insomnia. This study about 5-HTP showed that it decreased the amount of time that was required to fall asleep and decreased how many times people woke up. When taken along with GABA, a neurotransmitter affecting relaxation, the time it took to get to sleep was reduced, and the duration and quality of sleep was improved.
5-HTP has been promoted at a supplement that is effective for treating anxiety, depression, insomnia and many other things. Studies that report the validity of these promotions are lacking. 5-HTP does increase serotonin levels and melatonin levels, but it does this at the expense of depleting other important neurotransmitters. It has many side effects and a great deal of interactions that you should be aware of if you are going to take it.
Are There Any Side-Effects?
5-HTP is natural but that doesn’t mean that it’s completely safe to take. This WebMD informational site reports side-effects including heartburn, headaches, stomach pains, heart palpitations, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, diarrhea, muscle problems, and sexual problems. It can also be causing mood changes that include agitation, anxiety, aggressiveness, euphoria, irritability, impaired decision making, mania, insomnia, and restlessness.
How To Take 5-HTP
It’s important not to take 5-HTP with antidepressants, MAOIs, SSRIs, or tricyclics because your levels of serotonin can become too high. This can be the cause of heart problems, anxiety, and shivering.
It can even end up causing serotonin syndrome which is presented with high blood pressure, hyperthermia, twitching, flushing, dizziness, and disorientation. If it’s not fixed, it may lead to a coma and be fatal.
It should also not be mixed with any anti-anxiety medications or over-the-counter cough medications containing DXM. Avoid mixing 5-HTP with natural relaxants or supplements that increase serotonin levels.
This Drugs.com informational website has a list of more than 250 medications and over-the-counter remedies that you should avoid while taking 5-HTP.
If you are not taking any medication that might have an adverse reaction to 5-HTP, it is usually recommended that you swallow one to three capsules a day and you should take them before meals. The dose of those capsules can be from 100mg to 300mg. It is of the utmost importance that you keep in mind and that you follow the directions on the bottle carefully. By taking more than is recommended you can become emotionally unstable. It could also last for a good bit of time.
5-HTP is not supposed to be used as a long-term solution. When taking this chemical for a few months, it will lose its effectiveness. This is caused by serotonin being boosted and other brain chemicals being depleted as a result. Dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine are affected by a long-term boost in serotonin. Continued use will cause you to trade one chemical imbalance in your brain for another.
Things to Look for in a Good 5-HTP Supplement
When you are taking a look at the ingredients of a 5-HTP supplement, the best available will have no fillers or other chemicals present. A good brand of 5-HTP supplements will come in doses as large as 150mg or 200mg. Checking reviews on different websites might give you an idea of whether or not the pills are safe. Avoid ones that users talk about getting sick after taking them.
If you have taken 5-HTP pills, and have a strong feeling of nausea, you should immediately stop taking it. The dosage is different for each product available so make sure that you read what it says on the label. Supplements have less strict regulations than medications so do a little research before deciding on a brand.
5-HTP is a chemical that is related to an important neurotransmitter and has been marketed as an all natural remedy for many different ailments. The studies are not there to back up the statements though, and it is simply a drug that has many interactions and side-effects. If you are interested in taking 5-HTP, talk to your doctor first to find out if it’s safe for you to take.