The neurotransmitter, 5-hydroxy-tryptophan (5-HTP)is a compound created in the body which is used to regulate serotonin levels in brain and central nervous system. 5-HTP is a metabolite of tryptophan and precursor of serotonin and melatonin. Tryptophan5-HTP—>Serotonin—>Melatonin. 5-HTP plays a role in mood, sleep, anxiety, and pain sensation

Conditions associated with low serotonin levels helped by 5-HTP

  • Depression
  • Obesity
  • Carbohydrate craving
  • Bulimia
  • Insomnia
  • Narcolepsy
  • Sleep apnea
  • Migraine headaches
  • Tension headaches
  • Chronic daily headaches
  • Premenstrual syndrome
  • Fibromyalgia


Some small studies indicate that 5-HTP may work as well as certain antidepressant drugs to treat people with mild-to-moderate depression. Like the class of antidepressants known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which includes fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline (Zoloft), 5-HTP increases the levels of serotonin in the brain. One study compared the effects of 5-HTP to fluvoxamine (Luvox) in 63 people and found that those who were given 5-HTP did just as well as those who received Luvox. They also had fewer side effects than the Luvox group. However, these studies were too small to say for sure if 5-HTP works. More and larger studies are needed.

Fibromyalgia and Pain

Three studies have suggested that 5-HTP can improve symptoms of fibromyalgia, including pain, anxiety, morning stiffness, and fatigue. Many people with fibromyalgia have low levels of serotonin, and doctors often prescribe antidepressants. Since 5-HTP, like antidepressants, raises levels of serotonin in the brain, it may work too. However, it does not work for all people with fibromyalgia, and more studies are needed to understand its effect.


In one study, people who took 5-HTP went to sleep quicker and slept more deeply than those who took placebo. These researchers recommend 200 - 400 mg at night to stimulate serotonin, but it may take 6 - 12 weeks to be fully effective.

Migraines and Headaches

Antidepressants are sometimes prescribed for migraine headaches. Some studies suggest that high doses of 5-HTP may help people with various types of headaches, including migraines.

Appetite and Weight-Loss

A few small studies have looked at whether 5-HTP can help people lose weight. In one study, those who took 5-HTP ate fewer calories, although they were not trying to diet, compared to those who took placebo. Researchers believe 5-HTP led people to feel more full (satiety) after eating, so they ate less. Most people notice a decrease in appetite. This nutrient could be used temporarily for appetite suppression while other lifestyle and dietary changes are being incorporated regarding a lifelong plan for keeping weight off. A study in rodents indicates that this serotonin precursor may be useful in controlling the excessive food intake sometimes generated by stress. Long term human studies are not available to determine whether 5-HTP for weight loss is a good option. 5-HTP can be used as a night time, non stimulant appetite suppressant.

How Supplied:

5HTP is available in both 50mg and 100mg capsules with different sized bottles as low as $22.00.

Manufactured by:

Metabolic Maintenance. Our medical team can also customize a 5-HTP formula at one of our compounding pharmacies.

Suggestion Dosage:

50mg-100mg before bed. Your physician may suggest a different dose dispensing on your symptoms.

**** DO Not Take 5-HTP if you are currently taking an SSRI or Anti-Depressant. Consult a Defy physician if you are unsure. ****


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  6. Source: 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) | University of Maryland Medical Center
    University of Maryland Medical Center