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5-HTP is a natural remedy for depression, insomnia and weight loss.

Michael Donelly
By: Michael Donelly on August 9, 2012
5-HTP is a natural remedy for depression, insomnia and weight loss.

Depression, weight gain, insomnia and – in extreme cases migraine and even debilitating fibromyalgia:

These five seemingly unrelated disorders, can be interlinked and are often associated with a deficiency of 5-HTP, an amino acid that occurs naturally in the body, and when taken in supplement form (derived from the seed of the African Griffonia Simplicifolia plant), it can help ease all the afore-mentioned complaints.

User experiences with 5-HTP are overwhelmingly supportive, and it is also recommended by doctors to support mood, health and wellness.  If you have more than one of these disorders it’s possible you are 5-htp deficient. We summarize what people are saying about 5-HTP:

happy cool girl

1. Lifts Depression!

5-HTP raises serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is key to regulating mood, and simply speaking, the higher the levels, the happier we feel. Boosting serotonin levels, also alleviates bouts of depression and anxiety.

Testimonials suggest that 5-HTP can be as effective as St John’s Wort and even prescribed anti-depressants such as Prozac and Sertraline. Read more about 5-HTP and depression.

2. Curbs Extra Kilos.

Depression and low moods can result in binge-eating (often a subconscious craving for carbs which make it easier for the brain to absorb Tryptophan – which it converts into 5-HTP, boosting serotonin levels). If you are 5-HTP deficient and you binge eat because of it, supplementing with 5-HTP is likely to solve the problem. Note though that if you are over weight for other reasons 5-HTP is unlikely to help. More details here.

3. Helps Ease HeadachesGirl in spa relaxing

Whilst the causes of headaches are not always known, we do know that neurotransmitters (such as serotonin) are involved. As serotonin plays an essential role in brain chemistry, low levels can trigger an array of symptoms that include chronic tension-type headaches and migraine. Taking 5-HTP to boost serotonin is therefore thought to provide relief from headaches.

4. Promotes Peaceful Slumber!

5-HTP also raises melatonin levels in the brain (the neurotransmitter that induces sleep), so it can constitute an effective sleep aid – helping you conquer insomnia. Many testimonials are supportive of this benefit. We go into a bit more depth here.

5. Fights Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia refers mainly to chronic widespread pain, though it is also associated with other symptoms and conditions including, notably – fatigue, sleep disturbance and depression. It’s extremely difficult to treat as the cause is unknown, but it’s been suggested that both thyroid hormone supplementation and 5-HTP may have significant benefits. If you have fibromyalgia and nothing else has helped, 5-HTP is worth a try. You have nothing to lose. Read more about 5-HTP and fibromyaglia.

Which 5-HTP?

One of the uses of 5-HTP is as a weight loss supplement which tends to attract low quality sellers, meaning it’s quite likely you’ll come across low quality imports which could contain pretty much anything. In the case of a product which has such serious applications it’s advisable to go with a US made brand. Bare Naturals 5-HTP is made in an FDA approved laboratory in the United States.

Bare Naturals™ stacks up to our buying standards:

Buying Tips

Bare Naturals™ 5-HTP

Look for pure 5-HTP without additives and other active ingredients.

Beware overpriced products. A top quality product made in the USA should cost no more than 30$ for a bottle of 60 doses

Beware Chinese imports which are of unregulated quality. Look for products made in an FDA approved lab in the USA.

Check the product you are buying properly lists its ingredients.


Buy it Here

We recommend an all natural US made product from Bare Naturals ™ containing 100% 5-HTP, and importantly, no fillers or chemical binding agents, meeting the quality requirements of TV doctor, Dr Mehmet Oz. Start out at a dose of 50 mg. It’s in stock now in our online shop.


Press Opinion of 5-HTP

(Click to Read Full Article)
(Click to Read Full Article)
“A Promising Remedy Against Depression”
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“Could 5-HTP, Pyruvate or Chitosan Help You Lose Weight?”
Read More

Medical Studies are Generally Positive

(Click to Read Full Article)
(Click to Read Full Article)
At the Milton S Hershey Medical Center, studies suggest that 5-HTP is effective as an anti-depressant, and perhaps even to the same levels as pharmaceuticals already on the market.
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The article contains the results of several studies, on the effectiveness of 5-HTP as treatment for migraines, depression, insomnia and fibromyalgia.
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(Click to Read Full Article)
(Click to Read Full Article)
Research undertaken by Blundell seemed to show that 5-HTP could act as an appetite suppressant.
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The article contains the results of several studies, on the effectiveness of 5-HTP as treatment for migraines, depression, insomnia and fibromyalgia.
Read More

User Experiences

I’m on a low-carb diet but I still miss carbs! The cravings can get intense sometimes. A single one of these capsules can put an almost immediate end to my carb cravings. It also lowers my appetite very dramatically. I used to have horrible night munchies but I rarely eat after 8pm these days. I take one of these around 5pm and it gets me through the night…

– Amazon User

Okay, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, as the vast majority of fleshy bodies on this lowly planet of ours still irritate me to no end, BUT I am able to tolerate their existence so much better.

– Amazon User

I LOVE this supplement!!! I had heard about it as something to help with migraine headaches due to the effect it has on seratonin, which is a main aspect of migraine headaches. To my extreme surprise and joy, I have not had to take ANY migraine medication since taking 5-htp!!! YAY!!!

– WebMD

…I have general anxiety/depression, and also pretty severe social anxiety that prevents me from doing every day things. When around strangers or even people I know most of the time: nervousness, shaky/restlessness, increased heart rate and blood pressure, trouble saying what I mean/think, difficulty maintaining eye contact and basically destroying my chances at a real relationship.

I have tried many different medicines, as well as some counseling(group and individual). I took Zoloft and Lexapro before, they didn’t do much for me. I also did Lamictal(Lamitrogine) 200mg for awhile and had some very positive results with little side effects. I plan on maybe going back on Lamictal.

5-HTP, from initial experiences, is a helpful supplement in general anxiety and social anxiety. I will have to recommend you really pay attention to it’s instructions though, otherwise you could feel adverse side effects like I’ve read.

  • Only take 50mg’s the first 3-5 days
  • Take the pill after/while eating a meal
  • You need to wait 3-5 days each time you want to increase your dose, and only increase 50mg at a time

If you follow these important methods in taking 5-HTP I believe you can have successful results from it. After a few days(still at 50mg) I have noticed many things:

  • Increased talking to family
  • Better overall mood
  • Fall asleep quicker and sleep heavier
  • Slightly less general anxiety overall

I would recommend that anyone try this. I really think it might be as effective with Serotonin as even SSRI’s(just my opinion of course). I wake up feeling better than usual since being on 5-HTP, which is a big lift for me as I have always struggled with mornings. I’ve also been less anxious overall, so I think it really helps GAD as well. Follow the directions on taking it and positive things can come out of it.

PS: In combination with L-Tyrosine(for dopamine/norepinephrine) I have had even better results. All natural too.


I am very happy with this product. It just work to lighten my mood up and calm my OCHD. This for me is a keeper. I sleep better at night and wake up feeling great. No side effect for me either. Its is suppose to have benefit with weight control but I can’t say I have notice anything in that area.

– Web MD

After 30 years of fibromyalgia I found 5-HTP I began with the cheaper product which helped a little. Recently I bought a more expensive one with very much better results, a big pain reduction, and a better quality of sleep. Also find a well qualified nutritionist . The best money I’ve spent

– Web MD

Side Effects

Whilst 5-htp does not have significant side effects (in very rare cases, the usual vomiting, diarrhea, stomach pains etc which are quoted along with almost any medication), in isolation it is a serotonin enhancer and it has this in common with many antidepressants. If you are currently taking antidepressants you should not take 5-htp. Speak to your doctor about switching instead. Start with a low dose and build up to minimize the chance of problems.


Modern science and many positive stories confirm the benefits of 5-HTP supplements. 5-HTP is produced by the human body and is far healthier to take than addictive anti-depressants which can lead to further depression and sleeplessness. We would certainly recommend trying this before any of the more “serious” medicines which need to be prescribed by a doctor.

Update: 12th June 2013

We posted this article a couple months ago and today we received this feedback from a user which was both gratifying and heartwarming.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I thought I might have to quit my job or go on stress leave. I came across your page yesterday and bought some 5htp and I have had four in two days and a and I feel like I used to feel. The trouble is, that it is tricky because I don’t remember when I started to feel bad, I remember (now) feeling good. So thank you for the information. I think it may have changed my life very much.

– Name Withheld

The Final Word:

5-HTP did all that medication did for me – without side effects!

I have always struggled with anxiety and depression. I was on medication for those things for a little over a year between pregnancies and the medication helped but it also had bad side effects and if I missed a dose I got very sick. 5htp did all that medication did for me plus gave me energy without any side effects or withdrawal if I miss a dose. I love this stuff.

25-34 Female on Treatment for 1 to 6 months (consumer)
I lost 20 lbs!

I got the 100 mg tablets. I took one per day for 3 weeks then 2 per day, one at 9 am and one at 9 pm. I lost 20 lbs and sleep terrific. This pill also got rid of my migraines that I have gotten for the last 15 years.

BeckyM646, 35-44 Female on Treatment for 1 to 6 months (consumer)
Helped me sleep well – and wake up refreshed, happy and alert!

If I felt the “voice of depression” coming back, I would take a couple of Holland and Barrett’s 50 mg 5HTP capsules in the evening before bed. I slept very well, and woke refreshed, feeling much better, happy and alert.

E2BD, 55-64 Male on Treatment for less than 1 month (consumer)
  1. I am on it now. It help me a lot with depression. I lost weight but its only because ypu cant eat 2 hours before and 2 hours after which means I don't eat in the evening and night.

  2. It would be helpful if readers could see what experts on WEBMD say about 5 HTP.

    PS. This is one of the best articles i’ve seen!

  3. Does 5 HTP help with keeping an erection for 3 hours?

    • Bones

      No, but it makes you happier so it’s unlikely you would be bothered about that :)

  4. I read the article on WebMD and I agree it is a great article!

  5. The WebMD article is misleading if you compare it to real, credible sources. We’re talking about a website that is geared toward self diagnosis that drives people into the arms of pharmaceuticals. See what University Studies and peer reviewed medical journals are saying about it. University of Maryland seems pretty convinced that the only medical syndromes caused by 5 HTP were the result of contaminated lots produced in 1989. The FDA pulled tryptophan based supplements as a result, but after investigation into the matter has allowed them back into the market. They do caution against using cheap supplements from vague sources, however.

    • Bones


      The noise about the contaminated product is over 20 years old now, and deserves to be consigned to history’s dustbin. 5-HTP is a wonderful product when used effectively and not abused. We only paste reviews from other sites to try to reflect public feedback.

  6. I totally agree on WebMD’s article. It was so helpful for the readers. It is like a guide to people who are interested on trying it. Read the article first before you decide on using it.

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