What does fact checked mean?
At Healthfully, we strive to deliver objective content that is accurate and up-to-date. Our team periodically reviews articles in order to ensure content quality. The sources cited below consist of evidence from peer-reviewed journals, prominent medical organizations, academic associations, and government data.
The information contained on this site is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a substitute for the advice of a professional health care provider. Please check with the appropriate physician regarding health questions and concerns. Although we strive to deliver accurate and up-to-date information, no guarantee to that effect is made.
Depression is a disorder that affects your moods, and the way you feel about yourself and your surroundings. It affects the way you interact with other people, leading to feelings of sadness, anger, loss and frustration with life. The exact cause of depression is unknown, but appears to be associated with heredity, environment and abnormal levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. 5-hydroxytryptophan, or 5-HTP, is a dietary supplement sometimes used for symptoms of depression 2. Ask your doctor about its use and safety.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
5-HTP can be made by your body from its precursor, the amino acid tryptophan. You obtain tryptophan through your diet. University of Maryland Medical Center notes foods containing tryptophan include:
- collard greens
- turnip greens
- sunflower seeds
Following its conversion from tryptophan, 5-HTP is converted into the neurotransmitter serotonin, a brain chemical responsible for mood. Supplements of 5-HTP increase serotonin levels in the brain and improve mood. However, the balance of chemicals in your brain is a very delicate matter, so you should only take 5-HTP under the supervision of your health care provider.
- 5-HTP can be made by your body from its precursor, the amino acid tryptophan.
5-HTP Dosage for Depression
Can L-Tyrosine Be Used With Prozac?
The 5-HTP dietary supplement is derived from the seeds of Griffonia simplicifolia, a plant native to parts of Africa. The most beneficial dosage of 5-HTP depends on a number of factors, including overall health and age. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that a dose of 50 mg, one to three times daily, with a full glass of water is generally safe. However, high doses of 5-HTP can be toxic, so you should always follow your doctor's recommendations for taking this supplement.
- The 5-HTP dietary supplement is derived from the seeds of Griffonia simplicifolia, a plant native to parts of Africa.
- However, high doses of 5-HTP can be toxic, so you should always follow your doctor's recommendations for taking this supplement.
As with all medications and supplements, Drugs.com states there is also the possibility of developing an allergy to 5-HTP. Allergy symptoms include itching, flushed skin, rash, facial swelling and wheezing. Call your doctor immediately if you develop allergy symptoms. Other side effects include:
- upset stomach
- decreased appetite
- As with all medications and supplements, Drugs.com states there is also the possibility of developing an allergy to 5-HTP.
What Herbs Interact With Paxil?
Originally, tryptophan supplements were available for use in treating depression. However, an outbreak of an extremely serious side effect called eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome, or EMS, occurred. This rare disorder affects numerous body systems including the organs, muscles, blood and skin. EMS can be fatal, and the U.C. Berkeley Wellness Letter states in 1989 all tryptophan supplements were pulled from the market following the outbreak. Although EMS was traced to a contaminant, it's also possible for 5-HTP to cause EMS. You shouldn't take 5-HTP if you are pregnant, nursing, have liver disease or are taking antidepressant medications. You shouldn't use 5-HTP with certain medications, including some for blood pressure, Parkinson's disease, migraines and pain. MedlinePlus states other dietary supplements to avoid while taking 5-HTP include St. John's wort, Hawaiian baby woodrose and SAMe 3.
- Originally, tryptophan supplements were available for use in treating depression.
- You shouldn't use 5-HTP with certain medications, including some for blood pressure, Parkinson's disease, migraines and pain.
Can L-Tyrosine Be Used With Prozac?
What Herbs Interact With Paxil?
Can I Take 5-HTP With Effexor?
Side Effects of Serotonin Supplements
5-HTP & Lexapro
How Does Lamictal Work on Depression?
Griffonia Seed Side Effects
Rhodiola Rosea and MAOI Side Effects
How to Take 5-HTP Along With Venlafaxine
5-HTP & Cortisol
- University of Maryland Medical Center: 5-hydroxytryptophan; Steven D. Ehrlich, N.M.D.; March 2009
- Drugs.com: 5-hydroxytryptophan; 2010
- MedlinePlus: 5-HTP; November 2010
- Hinz M, Stein A, Uncini T. 5-HTP efficacy and contraindications. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2012;8:323-328. doi:10.2147/NDT.S33259
- Pöldinger W, Calanchini B, Schwarz W. A functional-dimensional approach to depression: serotonin deficiency as a target syndrome in a comparison of 5-hydroxytryptophan and fluvoxamine. Psychopathology. 1991;24(2):53-81. doi:10.1159/000284698
- Shaw K, Turner J, Del Mar C. Tryptophan and 5-hydroxytryptophan for depression. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002;(1):CD003198. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD003198
- Titus F, Davalos A, Alom J, Codina A. 5-Hydroxytryptophan versus Methysergide in the prophylaxis of migraine. Eur Neurol. 1986;25(5):327-329. doi:10.1159/000116030
- Maissen CP, Ludin HP. Comparison of the effect of 5-hydroxytryptophan and propranolol in the interval treatment of migraine. Schweiz Med Wochenschr. 1991;121(43):1585-1590.
- Caruso I, Sarzi Puttini P, Cazzola M, Azzolini V. Double-blind study of 5-hydroxytryptophan versus placebo in the treatment of primary fibromyalgia syndrome. J Int Med Res. 1990;18(3):201-209. doi:10.1177/030006059001800304
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Analysis of L-Tryptophan for the Etiology of Eosinophilia-Myalgia Syndrome. Updated May 2, 2001.
- Jacobsen JPR, Krystal AD, Krishnan KRR, Caron MG. Adjunctive 5-Hydroxytryptophan Slow-Release for Treatment-Resistant Depression: Clinical and Preclinical Rationale. Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2016;37(11):933-944. doi:10.1016/j.tips.2016.09.001
Kathryn Meininger began writing and publishing poetry in 1967. She was co-founder and editor of the professional magazine "Footsteps" and began writing articles online in 2010. She earned a Doctor of Podiatric Medicine from Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine and a Bachelor of Arts in biology from William Paterson University.