As 5-HTP, a precursor of serotonin, increases serotonin levels, the benefits of 5-HTP are seen as the same as those for serotonin.
The benefits of 5-HTP supplements are marketed according to the benefits of raised serotonin levels.
5-HTP products are often marketed as being able to assist as
The antidepressant and sleep enhancing qualities are common reasons for people trying this supplement.
However, as an appetite suppressant, 5-HTP may be of benefit to those wishing to reduce their calorific intake for weight loss purposes.
Satiety is the stage at which a person feels they are full or satisfied from eating. Satiety may be achieved faster following 5-HTP supplementation.
There are relatively few valid studies of 5-HTP on the conditions it may help.
However, there is research which suggests 5-HTP may be of benefit to people with:
5-HTP is thought to improve sleep. For those experiencing sleep difficulties such as insomnia, 5-HTP may lead to a deeper state of sleep and for a longer duration.
Taking 5-HTP as a supplement is becoming increasingly popular with athletes, body builders and other people who exercise.
Following exercise, proper sleep is essential as it aids recovery. The body releases important hormones during sleep which influences the body's ability to recover, adapt and grow.
There are anecdotal reports of people taking 5-HTP to reduce withdrawal symptoms from the recreational drug, ecstasy (MDMA). Ecstasy use can cause a fall in serotonin levels a few days after use.
5-HTP supplements are usually sold in the form of capsules which contain either 50mg or 100mg of 5-HTP powder.
The dosage of 5-HTP may vary depending on the condition being treated, its severity and how sensitive a person is to any side effects. Also the recommended dosage may vary between different manufacturers of 5-HTP supplements.
As an anti-depressant, a dosage of 5-HTP can be up to 150mg and 300mg per day. For athletes, body builders and those looking to improve sleep a 50-100mg capsule is usually taken.
As 5-HTP may bring on undesirable side effects it may be prudent to start on a lower dosage of 50mg.
Some users divide their 5-HTP supplements and start even lower, taking 25mg at first and incrementing by 25mg every 4 days until beneficial effects are reached.
As some users can benefit from such low doses, it suggests that between individuals there are differences in sensitivity and responsiveness to 5-HTP.
Whilst 5-HTP can be taken at any time, the general guidance with 5-HTP supplements is to take them around 30 minutes before bed.
In addition to serotonin, 5-HTP can also lead to an increase in melatonin, a sleep inducing hormone. Before rest seems an appropriate time to take 5-HTP.
The notes which accompany 5-HTP supplements usually mention that drowsiness may be a side effect of 5-HTP.
Such instructions often advise against driving or operating machinery after taking 5-HTP.