5HTP for anxiety benefit, mood, stress, depression, insomnia, review of side effects and medical uses
Benefit for stress, Mood enhancement, and Insomnia – what is the right dosage?
50 mg or higher dosages of 100 mg or 300 mg? What are the risks and dangers of overdosing?
Where to buy and how much to take and when
January 2 2017

Many people use natural 5HTP pills for natural anxiety reduction, mood improvement, or appetite control. Others take this natural pill to treat insomnia or to help with sleep problems. This natural supplement has many benefits since it converts in the brain into serotonin, an important brain chemical involved in mood, behavior, stress, appetite, and sleep. 

5HTP supplement 50 mg, where to buy



Buy 5HTP supplement pills, Diet Rx appetite suppression product or Mind Power Rx for better mood and focus

How much to take and when
Dosage: For insomnia, one 50 mg capsule half hour before dinner.
For anxiety relief: One capsule on empty stomach before any meal. May be combined with GABA.

Purchase 5HTP supplement formulated by medical doctor Ray Sahelian, M.D.

50 mg 5-Hydroxytryptophan from griffonia simplicifolia seeds.

5HTP side effects, risks, safety, toxicity, potential harm
5HTP has been sold in the USA since the mid 1990s and tens of thousands of consumers have used it, many successfully. Take breaks from the use of this nutrient to avoid potential adverse reactions. As of 2017 we are not aware of any serious reports in the medical literature of anyone who has encountered life threatening or other serious adverse reactions. Common side effects with 5HTP include nausea, stomach upset, cramping, loose stools or constipation, and headache. Very high doses could induce vomiting.

Hair growth or loss
We have no reports of 5-htp supplements influencing hair growth or hair loss.

Overdosing, taking too much
Q. I am currently taking Solaray 5 HTP in the 100mg capsules. It seems like I get a hangover type headache effect once it has worn off. I am wondering if a lower dosage capsule will give the same effect. I hate to quit taking it because I am getting such relief from my depression / anxiety symptoms.
A. Sometimes a lower dosage can be quite effective with fewer bad symptoms. Some people may do fine even with half of a 50 mg capsule.

Danger or caution
I have suffered from depression and anxiety most of my life. My mother died when I was 17 and maybe that is it. I don’t know but I am tired of being overwhelmed and worried 24/7. I have been on Gaba, and fluoxamine and trazadone to sleep. I developed high blood pressure and when off all medications and no longer have high blood pressure. I don’t want to be on medications due to their risks for other problems. I was given 5htp by my acupuncturist, and since have been worried sick about all the dangers constantly on the web about this pill. Please help with some kind of advice, I’m tired of not sleeping and being scared to start a new day. Always afraid of what waits ahead, I never live in the present and am constantly unable to relax.
A. We have not found any danger in using this 5htp pill 3 weeks on, one week off.

Testimonial, report, personal experience by user
I tried 50mg of 5HTP for mild anxiety / depression / insomnia and have not had the best experience. Here’s what happened to me I took a pill in the morning, later that day (noon) I took my normal vitamins that I’ve been taking for a little over a year. The vitamins contain herbs including a potential MAO inhibitor (Rhodiola Rosea). I didn’t know the vitamins contained such a herb until recently. I’m not sure if this combination is an issue. Monday was the last day I took the 5-htp pills due to feeling dizzy, spacey, brain fog and no appetite. Tuesday I continued taking my vitamins (with the herbs) and felt a little better. Wednesday morning I felt worst, dizzy, brain fog, spacey tunnel vision… so I went to my doctor. The doctor said I could have a mild case of serotonin syndome. He didn’t seem too sure…but said that it should go away in a couple of days. He instructed me to drink lots of fluids and stop taking all supplements. (I’m not on any meds neither). It’s now Saturday and I have improved (my body has gotten it’s appetite back), but I’m still filling a little spacey and have emotional mood swings (going back and forth between calm and high anxiety). The dizziness has gotten less severe.. but still slightly there.

Insomnia treatment naturally testimonial
I have had chronic insomnia, PTSD and dysthymia for years now. I have tried antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication but nothing worked or they made me feel worse. So, I started taking 5-htp and now SAM-e. 5-htp has significantly improved my insomnia, although I’m still not sleeping perfectly, I am worlds better than I was before. I began taking magnesium at night with 100 mg of 5-htp, and it’s helped so much. In the morning, I take l-tyrosine to support the 5-htp. However, 5-htp did not help my depression, and it’s only mildly improved my anxiety. so, I started taking SAM-e in the morning and B vitamins during the day along with everything else. I noticed a difference right away, the 200 mg of SAM-e I was taking drastically improved my mood, my relationship, my work, everything. I felt amazing, actually happy. But it’s been about two months now, and I notice that I’m starting to slip back to where I was. I’m in a bout of depression I haven’t experienced for awhile. I tried upping my dosage to 400 mgs, but then I can’t sleep, I have racing thoughts. I’m not sure what to do. I eat an extremely healthy diet and I exercise. I can’t afford therapy right now so I’m relying on these supplements for the most part.

Nightmare and vivid dreams
I am a 24 yr old female who has been suffering with back pain, lack of sleep, lack of libido, stomach problems, and depression for a few years now, and since conventional medicine is yet to figure out what is causing these problems, I was reading information about 5htp. My doctor told me that it will increase the quality of my sleep and help to regulate my dreams, since I frequently have nightmares. In fact, nightmares are the only dreams I remember because I wake up totally panic stricken. If someone who already has nightmares, and GI problems, is this a concern?
One option is to take the 5HTP several hours before bed in a dosage less than 50 mg, to reduce the nightmare side effect as opposed to taking it an hour so before bed.

Sexual side effects, loss of libido
High doses over time can lead to impotence or difficulty with erectile function which is reversed when the 5htp is stopped. A common sexual 5HTP side effect in high doses is reduced libido or sexual urge. If you do experience reduce sexual drive, you may consider taking a break until libido is restored or using tongkat ali which improves sexual vitality.

I took 100 mg of 5HTP for two weeks and not have noticed erectile dysfunction.

I seem to be suffering from the ever common depression accompanied with aggression (depending on my cycle). I am very interested in 5HTP as a natural solution to this problem. However I don’t want to lose my sex drive as I experienced with taking Zoloft.

Q. Is it okay to take sexual enhancing herbs along with 5HTP?
A. One person may do fine with the combination of 5HTP and sex herbs such as Passion Rx while another may not. We certainly don’t recommend taking these products the same day because their effects would counteract each other, but they can be taken on separate days.

I want to be able to lower my sex drive to match that of my wife’s.
A. You may consider taking a look at 5HTP since it increases serotonin levels. It is effective in those who have overactive sex drive since it dampens libido.

I read that melatonin may affect the sex glands, and if 5htp is converted into melatonin, then would u say that it may affect sex glands also?
A. Whether 5htp use has a long term effect on sex glands is not clear.

I do much experimenting and 3 weeks ago I decided to take 50 mg a day for one full week. By mid week I could see I was getting more impatient and depressed. Obviously I have no libido left whatsoever, so I went off the 5htp cold turkey. After I stopped, I thought my libido would revert to what it was before, but it never did. I also have less sensation in my penis — well, you know those contractions you can feel when you jerk off or have sex? Well, I don’t have them anymore, and this came on from the 5htp, no doubt in my mind. Now, I’ve tried tyrosine standalone to attempt to counteract 5htp ill effect, but it doesn’t seem to work. How can this be resolved ?
A. 5HTP converts into serotonin which inhibits libido and sensation of genital organs. You may consider reading the page on libido that offers ways to reverse the sexual dysfunction.

I would like to take 5htp to benefit fibromyalgia and tension headaches. I have read that it is contradicted in people with allergies. What does this mean? Are they talking about food allergies or hay fever? How does 5htp affect allergies?
We have not come across any studies regarding the interaction of 5htp and allergies.

Dosage and timing
If I take 5HTP in late evening, I awaken at 3 AM and cannot go back to sleep. Is this the opposite effect? I am taking it in the morning instead and hope to see a mood benefit.
You could also try taking it at different times in the afternoon or early evening and try a smaller dose.

I have no sleep issues at all i’m looking for a jolt in those happy feelings and appetite control. So I took one 100 mg first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, couldn’t stay awake and passed out at 4pm for a few hours with very vivid dreams and was groggy rest of the night. I want to try the half dose, but was wondering if taking it at night will I still have the lasting results the next day for feeling happier and eating less. And if I’m still really sleepy at the half capsule dose, should I try even less and still take it in the mornings for the results I’m looking for, or the night time dosage will affect the days as well.

The effects can last for half a day or longer, so it is best to try to use the least amount that works and it is possible that evening use could still provide benefits the next day.

Long term use
I have been using 5HTP for four years now. I initially started using it to wean myself off paroxetine. There have never been any significant 5HTP side effects although over the last 18 months I have been experiencing occasional stomach cramps. I don’t want to be dependent on it forever although I can’t think of a natural alternative. I use it to control anxiety related sickness and to help with my concentration which seems to be affected when I try to reduce the dosage. I have been using 200 mg a day and am now trying 150 mg a day. Just wondering if you have any info on long-term use?
Unfortunately there has been little research with long term use. We often suggest to use a little 5HTP as possible and to take breaks.

Benefit for anxiety
Since serotonin is involved in relaxation and mood balance, some people who take 5HTP for anxiety notice a benefit. It is difficult to say which supplements would benefit anxiety for any particular person. Other people may find kava to be helpful and still others will benefit from passionflower, tryptophan, valerian or hops. 5HTP is a good option for anxiety.

I would like to take 5HTP for anxiety but don’t know what time of day to take the supplement.
It depends on several factors including whether you have a desk job or have a physically active job, what time of day your anxiety occurs, and whether you have other medical conditions or taking other supplements or medications. As a general rule, you can try half of a 5HTP 50 mg capsule twice a day morning and midday and then base further dosage increases or frequency depending on how you feel. 5HTP works well for anxiety in some people, but not everyone.

Can 5HTP for anxiety be combined with Xanax or other benzodiazepines?
It is difficult to predict the interactions of medications and supplements, much depends on the person who is taking them and the dosage of the medications and the dosage of the supplements and the time of day they are taken. No simple answers can be given.

Bipolar disease
My son has been diagnosed bipolar and struggles with depression. When given even low doses of antidepressants (Prozac, Celexa) he has gone totally hypomanic within a few days and then full manic with psychosis,. ended up in a hospital each time. He is on lithium, Lamectal (for depression), Buspar (for anxiety). He is struggling with social phobia too. I am giving him supplements such as GABA, L theanine, multivitamin, B Complex, magnesium, D vitamin and 5htp at 50mg for months, read that it was good for depression so I increased to 100mg, seems to be doing a little better, After a few weeks I increased to 150mg at night after he eats. He seems to be doing better but the last few days he started showing signs of irritability, frustration, short fuse, grouchy and reactive. I have lowered the dosage to 100mg. I see those symptoms as partly hypomania and I want to make sure I will not trigger a hypomanic or manic episode with it. The two antidepressants we tried were SSRI both switched him.

Blood pressure, hypertension
5HTP does not have a major influence on blood pressure.

Breast feeding
Can you tell me whether I can take the pills whilst breast feeding?
The safety of 5htp pills during pregnancy or breast feeding has not been tested so we can’t say. Our guess is that it is safe to use every other day while breastfeeding but it is ultimately up to you and your doctor to make the final decision.

Diabetes and blood sugar influence
I read that supplementing with 5htp causes a release of insulin as well cortisol in the body. If someone has hyperinsulinism, hypoglycemia and elevated cortisol, wouldn’t 5htp supplement be counterproductive for them, as it could lead to even lowered blood sugar, carbohydrate cravings and weight gain through excess insulin and cortisol?
A. Here are studies we found in rodents:

Further studies on the effects of 5-hydroxytryptophan on plasma glucose and insulin in the mouse.

Diabetologia. 1980. The effects of 5htp on plasma concentrations of glucose and insulin were examined in conscious mice. Large doses produced a dose-dependent hypoglycemic response in fasted mice. This response was preceded by a significant elevation in the plasma insulin concentration. It is concluded that the hypoglycaemic response to 5HTP in normal mice is mediated at least partly through an elevation in the plasma insulin concentration, although it is likely that additional mechanisms are involved.

The dosage given to mice is extremely high, 200 mg per kilo whereas in humans it is about 1 mg per kilo. We have not seen any studies regarding the influence of low dosages of 5htp, such as 50 mg or 100 mg a day on cortisol or insulin release in humans. Here is one human study with 5htp and diabetes patients.

For natural options on how to deal with low mood, see depression.

Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2016. Adjunctive 5-Hydroxytryptophan Slow-Release for Treatment-Resistant Depression: Clinical and Preclinical Rationale. Serotonin transporter (SERT) inhibitors treat depression by elevating brain extracellular 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HTExt). Treatment-resistant depression (TRD) is a major unmet need. Interestingly, elevating 5-HTExt beyond what is achieved by a SERT inhibitor appears to treat TRD. Adjunctive administration of 5-hydroxytryptophan 5HTP safely elevates 5-HTExt beyond the SERT inhibitor effect in humans; however, 5-HTP cannot be a clinically viable drug because of its poor pharmacokinetics. A slow-release (SR) delivery mode would be predicted to overcome the pharmacokinetic limitations of 5HTP, substantially enhancing the pharmacological action and transforming 5HTP into a clinically viable drug. Animal studies bear out this prediction. Thus, adjunct 5HTP SR could be an important new treatment for TRD. Here, we review the clinical and preclinical evidence for this treatment.

I ordered 5htp a year or two ago and took it periodically for mild depression. I stopped taking it about 12 months ago as the symptoms subsided. I am starting to experience the mild depression coming around again due to life changes going on. In July of 2013 I found out that I have food intolerances and allergies to shell fish, peanuts and tree nuts. I still have some 5htp that doesn’t expire until 2015. Do you know if 5htp would have any adverse reactions due to my allergies?
A. Not that we are aware of.

Irritable bowel syndrome
Was wondering if any conclusive information exists on the effects on IBS or IBD? I am desperate to find some type of treatment. I have been prescribed Lotronex which is supposed to act similarly but is dangerous.
We are not aware of proven studies regarding the use of this nutrient as a treatment for IBS or IBD, irritable bowel syndrome.

Insomnia, sleep
As to sleep, the benefits are often be noticed within an hour if taken on an empty stomach in the evening. Another option is to take it before dinner. It may work better in combination with GABA.

Behav Brain Res. 2016. Sleep-promoting effects of the GABA / 5-HTP mixture in vertebrate models. The aim of this study was to investigate the sleep-promoting effect of combined γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) on sleep quality and quantity in vertebrate models. The GABA/5-HTP mixture significantly regulated the sleep latency, duration, and also increased the sleep quality than single administration of the amino acids.

Menopause and HRT
I suffer from depression, anxiety, and insomnia. My pharmacist who fills my bio-identical hormone replacement therapy Rx recommended 5htp. When I take it, I start having major menopause symptoms, especially hot flashes, so I have to discontinue. I’ve tried several times, then tried tryptophan instead, was OK for a few days, then the hot flashes started again. They both seem to interfere with my estrogen somehow. This is very frustrating to me, I absolutely do not want to start SSRIs. Any explanation?
Perhaps you are sensitive to the 5HTP dosage and half the amount you take may work better. Or perhaps it is not the right medicine for you or somehow it is interfering with the hormone replacement therapy.

I am in the beginning stages of menopause, I take 300 mg per day when necessary during my cycle (sometimes I have a cycle twice a month) along with B-vitamins, I call this my Happy Pill. 5HTP has helped me through several rough times in my life, such as my father’s death which is when it was first recommended, now with the perimenopause, The only side effect I have is upset stomach if I take on an empty stomach.

Obsessive compulsive disorder
If a person has OCD, it is worthwhile to try 5HTP since it may be helpful in some people.

Premature ejaculation
5-HTP is worth a try, some people do find a benefit for treating premature ejaculation.

Sleep terrors in children
L -5-Hydroxytryptophan treatment of sleep terrors in children.
Eur J Pediatrics. 2004.
Participants in the trial were 45 children (age range 3-10 years). After the first visit, 5HTP was administered (2 mg/kg per day) at bedtime for a single period of 20 consecutive days. After 1 month of treatment, 93% of patients showed a positive response. In the comparison group without drug therapy, after 1 month, the episodes disappeared only in 28% while 71% showed the persistence of episodes with the same frequency as before. After 6 months, 83% of children treated with 5HTP were sleep terror-free, while in five children 16% sleep terror episodes persisted. These results confirm our initial hypothesis and represent evidence that treatment with L -5-hydroxytryptophan is able to modulate the arousal level in children and to induce a long-term improvement of sleep terrors.

Teenagers and adolescents
I’m considering giving 5htp to my 16 years old daughter. She has symptoms of depression and anxiety that has make her eat more and gain weight. The  nutritionist have recommended the product. Can a teenager take it? What happen once a person stops taking it? Symptoms of depression and hunger come back?
If her doctor approves this product can be taken by a teenager with frequent holidays. We cannot make suggestions on dosage and length since that is different for each person. Once the product is stopped, symptoms could return if the underlying problem causing anxiety or depression is not solved.

Weight loss and appetite suppression
5HTP may be helpful for weight loss in some users, but a combination of hoodia, ginger, green tea extract and several other herbs, as found in Diet Rx, is even more effective. This nutrient can, in some people, lead to appetite suppression and weight loss.

Capsules, pills, tablets, different brands sold online and in health food stores
I have problems taking pills capsules etc. I also am taste sensitive, can I open a capsule and place the contents in my food or mix it in my oatmeal, does it change chemically if it is heated is what I think I am asking?
5HTP should be taken on an empty stomach. You could open a capsule and mix it with juice or water and drink it. Cooking it could potentially change the structure.

Is Natrol 5HTP reliable?
We have no reason to believe that Natrol 5HTP brand is not reliable. We suspect it is of good quality.

Use with SAM-e antidepressant
I understand that 5-htp needs to be cycled. would it be the same thing for SAM-e supplement? I am tapering off a low dose of Wellbutrin, it helped a little with depression and energy but i just don’t feel good (malaise, jittery, ocd, insomnia, anxiety)  I’m tired of prescription antidepressants and i really want to try natural remedies. does SAM-e target norepinephrine and dopamine receptors?
SAM-e supplements are best taken in as low a dosage as possible and breaks are helpful although each case is unique. This nutrient does address dopamine and norephinephrine. One can consider taking a 5htp supplement one day and SAM-e the next day, and alternate.

Use with St. John’s wort
I have been taking St. John wort off and on for several months and although I feel better when I take it regularly depression continue. I just read from a site that 5HTP sometimes work in a few hours and some of its benefits and side affects interest me. Should I consider switching from St. John wort to 5HTP or could they both be taken together, every other day of course? If changing is encouraged, should I start taking 5HTP the very next day or should I be off St. John wort for a few days before taking the serotonin precursor?
It is often best to learn how each supplement works by itself before combining. When combined, both the St. John’s wort dosage and the 5HTP dosage should be kept low in order to avoid potential side effects. There are no absolute guidelines since each person may have a different response. It may take trial and error to find out but one option is to try them every other day once you have learned how each one works separately for a few days.

5HTP versus tryptophan
I was just wondering about the difference in the rate of side effects between 5htp and tryptophan. I know from Dr. Sahelian’s website and personal experience that 5htp can have a debilitating effect on libido and sexual performance. I was wondering if there were similar reports from users of tryptophan? Is one less likely to have sexual side effects from the amino acid rather than 5htp? Thanks, and I appreciate the help when there is so much confusing information on supplements out there.
We are not sure, but we suspect the libido reducing effect may be stronger than tryptophan but we can’t be sure. This is, of course, comparing a 50 mg 5HTP dosage to a 500 mg tryptophan dosage.

SSRI antidepressant drugs interactions
I have depression accompanied with aggression (depending on my cycle). I am very interested in 5HTP as a natural solution to this problem. Fluoxetine is a medication used to treat depression that I used to take. However- I don’t want to lose my sex drive (as I experienced with taking Zoloft and Prozac). Citalopram is a pharmaceutical medicine also known as Celexa that I am considering.
5HTP converts into serotonin which inhibits sexual urge. Please see suggestions on depression for additional options to treat low mood that do not blunt sexuality.

Can 5HTP and Prozac be taken together?
Prozac, along with its cousin Zoloft, Paxil, and the other SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) help lessen depression by making more serotonin available in the brain. Even though the mechanism of action of the SSRIs is different that 5HTP, the end result is that there is more serotonin available in brain tissue, resulting in better mood balance. There is a condition known as serotonin syndrome which results from too much serotonin. Some of the symptoms include confusion, sweating, elevated blood pressure, and rapid heart beat. Serotonin syndrome sometimes occurs when the dosage of the SSRIs are too high, or when they are combined with other medicines that increase serotonin or brain chemical levels. Hence, tryptophan and 5HTP, if taken if very high doses along with Prozac, could potentially lead to serotonin syndrome. Having said this, it is possible that the combination of 5HTP and Prozac could be helpful in some people if the dosage of the Prozac is reduced (let’s say by half) and the initial amount of 5HTP is started very conservatively at half of a 50 mg capsule and symptoms are monitored closely. The dosage can be gradually increased if needed.

Would it be safe so consume 5htp at around 50mg during the day and Trazodone at 50mg at night.
Trazodone (Desyrel, Oleptro, Beneficat, Deprax, Desirel, Molipaxin, Thombran, Trazorel, Trialodine, Mesyrel) is an antidepressant of the serotonin antagonist and reuptake inhibitor (SARI) class. Each person responds differently so it is not easy to predict any one person’s response.

Vitamin B6 combination
I used to take sertraline with prescription due to anxiety / social phobia. I am now feeling anxiety again and wake up early in the morning so I thought of using 5-HTP instead of going back to SSRIs since I’m not in such a desperate condition like before. I bought some supplements which contain 50mg, 10 mg vitamin B6. However, I read a few articles which claim that B6 may be potentially dangerous to use in a 5-HTP supplement due to aiding early conversion into serotonin into the bloodstream before it enters the brain causing potential heart valve problems etc.
At the present time we do not see the need to take additional B6 with this product, but there is not enough research yet to know the right answer for certain.

Interactions with over the counter medications
Phenylephrine can cause heart rate to go faster. We don’t see the need to use phenylephrine and 5htp together.

I have the following benefits from 5htp that I didn’t have with l-tryptophan. Positive uplifted mood, speech and thinking improvements (sharper mind), better reaction, better focus and concentrating, in love with everyone and everything. All this  just form 50 mg before bed time but the problem I have is bad almost crash withdrawal (starts usually late afternoon) which include melancholic mood, speech and thinking worsen, slower reaction, worsen focus and concentrating, feelings of not motivating, shallow breathing (almost suffocating like oxygen deficiency), tiredness and sleepiness, nervousness and irritability.