Benefit of 5-HTP supplement, adverse effects, danger with overdose, insomnia
Benefit for anxiety, depression, ADD or ADHD
November 22 2016
5-HTP 50 mg – 60 Capsules
Where to buy or purchase this product
Buy 5-HTP 50 mg from a trustworthy online website such as Advance Physician Formulas
You may wish to read about natural ways to sleep deeper and to find high quality sedative herbs and supplements, including 5-HTP products.
Benefits and medical uses of this natural product
The benefit of 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan or 5-hydroxy-l-tryptophan) is that it converts in the brain into serotonin. Serotonin is an important brain chemical that has a benefit in mood, behavior, appetite, and sleep. Serotonin is known as 5-HT, or 5-hydroxytryptamine, and is found in many places in the body particularly the brain, gastrointestinal system, and blood cells.
5-HTP was introduced to the over the counter market in 1994. Our understanding of 5-HTP’s clinical role and its safety is still fuzzy. We know little about the effects of chronic 5-HTP use. Therefore, until we learn more, the idea is to take 5-HTP in the minimum effective dosage and to avoid its prolonged use. In order to maximize the benefit of 5-HTP, take frequent breaks and take the least amount that works. During these breaks, other forms of therapy could be substituted. As of now, I am not aware of any reports in the medical literature of anyone who has encountered life threatening side effects from the use of 5-HTP.
5-HTP Benefits, how it can help you
Some people who take 5-HTP benefit with improved mood, decrease in appetite, reduced anxiety, and better sleep. Some find that a benefit of 5-HTP in curbing appetite leading to weight loss. This nutrient could be used temporarily for appetite suppression while other lifestyle and dietary changes are being incorporated regarding a life long plan for keeping weight off. Not everyone notices the appetite suppressing effect from 5-HTP. 5-HTP may also be helpful in some individuals with migraine headaches and fibromyalgia.
5-HTP Dosage, amount to take, what time to take
We consider any 5-HTP dose above 50 mg a high dose. Most 5-HTP products on the market are sold in 50 and 100 mg capsules. Some people do well with 20 to 50 mg. I’m not aware of 5-HTP products on the market that are less than 50 mg. Those who do well with small doses can open a capsule and take a portion mixed with water. 5-HTP is best absorbed on an empty stomach. Medical supervision is recommended if high doses of 5HTP are required to treat a particular condition.
Danger of 5 HTP misuse, side effects, toxicity
5 HTP when taken in high dosages can pause a danger. Side effects could include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, lightheadedness, and diarrhea.
5-HTP Short term side effects, negative reactions
Side effects from high doses of 5-HTP (which could be 100 mg and greater) include nausea and vomiting, stomach cramps, nightmares, and decreased sex drive. Serotonin has an inhibitory effect on sexual behavior. Tiredness and sleepiness can occur after several days or weeks of use which may indicate that a break should be taken from 5-HTP use. For those who experience nightmares or other side effects such as nausea or decreased libido, you may consider taking a lower dose.
Serotonin syndrome, Prozac
Q. I have been trying to wean myself off of Prozac using 5-HTP, Theanine, GABA and NAC. Unfortunately I was taking too much 5-HTP and I think I started to develop Serotonin Syndrome – racing heart, insomnia and anxiety. I stopped taking the 5-HTP immediately when I realized what causing this. Every time I try to go back to the 5-HTP the serotonin symptoms return with one dose – opening capsule and taking even a fraction – maybe 20 mg. I am very concerned because the 5-HTP was instrumental in my reducing my Prozac. I am now only at 10 mg Prozac but I have a long history of being hyper-sensitive to medications. I really need the help that the 5-HTP first gave me.
A. Perhaps even 5 or 10 mg may be effective in some people. Some people respond to as little as 5 mg.
Testimonial, benefit for depression, anxiety and ADD
I was looking for info on benefit of 5-HTP, as I have been on 50mgs before bed each night for almost a week now with pretty good results for my depression, anxiety, and ADD. However, I have been experiencing some of the 5-HTP side effects noted on your web page. Headaches, bizarre dreams, and stomach problems, which is the worst of the effects. The last two days I have been experiencing heavy fatigue and sleepiness early in the day. It has definitely helped my mood problems and I have had literally no anxiety, which is a great thing. However, the 5-HTP side effects are too much and I have thought about trying Sam-e again.
I took 5-htp for several months with no side effects. Then only took 5-HTP occasionally at night (it took me months though to connect the two events). I started having this terrible problem of being awakened in the middle of the night with almost projectile emesis which would then result in horrible esophageal spasms and then diarrhea. I really didn’t realize there was connection except thought maybe taking 5-HTP pills late, they would stick in my throat and cause some reaction. Then one day I took a 5htp at 11:00 AM and had the same reaction. I threw away the rest of the bottle.
A couple months ago I began using 5HTP as a sleep aid at night. I believe I was using about 100 to 150 mg. a night. I also used some Tyrosine during the day. After about a month or so after use I began experiencing hallucinatory-like effects. They weren’t true hallucinations at all, but very vivid and nightmarish images. As soon as I stopped the 5-HTP the images ceased completely. The whole ordeal was quite disturbing.
Long term side effects of 5-HTP, long term concerns
Long term side effects with 5-HTP are not fully known. When hundreds of thousands of people start taking a supplement that has not had adequate long-term testing, there may be some individuals who have a biochemical abnormality in metabolizing that nutrient that was previously not known. We don’t known the consequences on the immune system, skin, and other tissues of long-term 5-HTP therapy. Regular long term use is not recommended at this time.
At this point of our knowledge with 5-HTP, it would be best not to use it while trying to become pregnant or during pregnancy. The safety of 5-HTP during lactation and breast feeding is not known.
Q. I’ve been taking 5-HTP for 6 months now and have found it such a great help with my sleep – after being a chronic insomniac for 11 years. I’ve recently been told that it is an antihistamine – which I have not read or been told about anywhere before. I am now wondering if it really is as I am having two of the side effects I got from taking too much Nytol tablets, that of extremely itchy skin on arms knee and around the mouth, like eczema; also a slightly dry mouth. I am now taking a break from it, and will then go back onto a lower doseage of it. (I was taking 100mg a night).
A. We have not heard of this side effect before, but it is possible that in some people excess 5-HTP and serotonin could cause unusual adverse events. It seems to be a good idea to take a break.
5-HTP Interactions with prescription medications
The use of 5-HTP in combination with SSRIs such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, and others has not been formally evaluated. Anecdotal reports indicate that many people tolerate small amount of 5-HTP, 50 mg or less, with small amounts of SSRIs when used under the guidance of a medical professional. The effects of taking 5-HTP along with a pharmaceutical antidepressant are sometimes difficult to predict. Since the SSRIs, like Prozac, block serotonin reuptake, and 5-HTP converts into serotonin, it is possible that dangerously high levels of serotonin could occur, a condition called serotonin syndrome.
It is difficult to predict the interaction of 5-HTP with lithium, MAO inhibitors, anti-anxiety agents, beta blockers, birth conrtrol pills, and other pharmaceutical medicines.
Some physicians are using a combination of two or more natural antidepressants such as 5-HTP, St. John’s wort, SAM-e, and others. However the interactions are not fully known and caution is advised. Any such combination should be done under medical supervision.
Q. Does 5-HTP pose a danger if combined with SSRI drugs like Zoloft or Paxil?
A. It is possible that the danger of serotonin syndrome could occur if 5-HTP is combined in high dosages with SSRI drugs such as Paxil, Zoloft, or Prozac.
Timing and Dosage of 5-HTP
It’s difficult to say what the best time to take 5-HTP since it varies among individuals. It depends whether 5-HTP is being used for sleep, in that case it is taken in the evening; for anxiety or low mood, 5-HTP can be taken any time of day; or weight loss, in which case it is taken on an empty stomach an hour or two before a meal.
If you do take 5-HTP during the day, it’s best to take no more than 25 mg since it could cause sleepiness. 5-HTP is absorbed better taken on an empty stomach.
There is has not been enough research done with 5-HTP to know the ideal dosages and timing. Also, there is significant individual variability to the response to 5-HTP. Hence, each person may need to find out for themselves the lowest dose that works well, and the ideal timing, whether early in the day, midday or evening.
A small amount of alcohol usually does not interfere with 5-HTP, but larger amounts may.
Depression and low mood
5-HTP may benefit depression and conditions that normally require prescription antidepressants, anti-anxiety agents, sleeping pills, and weight loss drugs.
5htp depression treatment testimonial
After being severely depressed for twenty years, I took Lexapro, and then, when I realized that prescription was only helping me to a point, I tried Prozac for a year and a half (and of course gained an unwelcome amount of weight with both). Usually, the medication worked well, but for an instant – every time I walked past a mirror and saw this fat woman standing where I should have been – my depression returned. Of course, I needed an anti-depressant but certainly not one that would cause me to be depressed whenever I happened on my reflection. I thought 5-HTP was just a catchy name of a product that wasn’t going to help me in the least. But I was desperate to find something that wouldn’t spring a side-effect on me that was almost as uncomfortable as the condition I originally set out to cure…and my God, 5-HTP still hasn’t surprised me with any adverse reaction that ALSO has to be treated by medication. I take 5-HTP 100 milligrams in the morning and 100 just before dinner. My panic attacks and rollercoaster emotions are at bay, I’m beginning to see myself in a more positive manner, appreciate and not be suspicious of others, have the sensitivity and patience to be a good owner of a pet, have more physical and mental energy, and (good-bye Ambien), my, my, my…I quickly go to a restive sleep (that hasn’t happened in years!). A couple of weeks ago, my claustrophobia and vertigo (friends of mine for most of my life) vanished! And to top it all off, I’m starting to lose weight. So far, I believe I’ve lost about five pounds but – and I’m not worrying – I like what I see in the mirror: an overweight woman who happens to be very happy and very pretty.
Panic attacks, benefit of 5-HTP study
5-HTP Prevents Panic Attacks — A panic attack involves the sudden appearance of several symptoms including shortness of breath, sweating or shaking, palpitations, and the fear of dying or losing control. . Women are more likely than men to have this condition. Doctors often prescribe anti-anxiety medicines such as Xanax or Valium. However, a nutrient known as 5-HTP may play an important role. 5-HTP stands for 5-Hydroxytryptophan, a supplement available over the counter that, when ingested, goes to the brain and converts into the brain chemical serotonin. Serotonin is known to induce relaxation and balance mood. Researchers at the Department of Neuropsychology at Maastricht University in The Netherlands were able to induce a panic attack in volunteers who suffer from panic disorder by having them breathe a high concentration of carbon dioxide. They repeated the study, this time giving half of the volunteers 200-mg of 5-HTP while the others received a placebo. Those who took 5-HTP had a significantly diminished panic response compared to those on placebo.
Comments: 5-HTP is available in health food stores in a dosage of 50 mg. The results of this study are quite interesting and indicate that those with panic attacks may not have adequate levels of serotonin. If you suffer from frequent panic attacks, it would be worthwhile to discuss the findings of this 5-HTP benefit with your physician.
The aim of the current study was to assess the relation between pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of 5-HTP. Twelve healthy male volunteers were included in a placebo-controlled, randomized, four-way crossover, double-blind, single-dose investigation of oral 5-HTP with or without coadministration of carbidopa. The four dose regimens were placebo, 5-HTP 100 mg, 5-HTP 200 mg, and 5-HTP 100 mg with coadministration of carbidopa 100 mg and 50 mg at 3 hours before and 3 hours after the administration of 5-HTP, respectively. The last regimen resulted in a doubling of the elimination half-life, an apparent clearance at least 14 times smaller, and a 15.4 times greater area under the curve compared with 5-HTP 100 mg without carbidopa. Furthermore, it was the only regimen to induce a significant change in cortisol and prolactin. It did not induce any change in subjective psychologic symptoms or cardiovascular parameters, but it was the only regimen to induce some nausea in three participants. The authors conclude that this regimen of 5-HTP 100 mg plus carbidopa is a relatively simple, effective, and tolerable challenge of the presynaptic serotonergic system.
Use for insomnia, sleep problems
Also consider Theanine Sleep information.
Sleep improvement testimonial
I have been taking 50 – 300mg of 5-HTP for about 2 months at bedtime to benefit my sleep and depression. It definitely improved my mood but I still felt tired and achy so I added 5 mg of NADH first thing in the morning to my regime for one week so far. I’ve had a few serious bouts of depression after adding the NADH but a lot more energy. I find it’s better if I alternate between the two. Also, I’ve become very constipated after taking the 5-HTP. Reading your website, and from experience of reducing the amount and consistency of 5-HTP, the grogginess is less. I found that taking 5-HTP actually increased my libido but that I’ve already become tolerant to that benefit. I find 5-HTP relaxes me and reduces my negative thinking greatly. Reading your website, I’m pretty amazed at some of the horrific negative affects it has had on some people.
5-htp and children
Q. I would like to know if my 9 year old child can take 5 HTP pills because of the benefits of the supplement?
A. We are not aware of studies regarding the use of 5-HTP by children. Perhaps your child’s doctor can read the information on this page to determine if a 5-HTP supplement is appropriate for your child.
Different brands and products online and in stores
Numerous manufacturers sell 5-HTP including:
NOW 5-HTP 50 mg NOW 5-HTP 100 mg
Natrol 5-HTP 50 mg Natrol 5-HTP 100 mg
Physician Formulas 5-HTP
Q. I have 5-HTP from Natrol brand. Is Natrol 5-HTP better than NOW 5-HTP?
A. We have no reason to believe that Natrol 5-HTP brand is of any concern, nor do we have reason to believe NOW 5-HTP is of concern. They should both be good quality.
Emails from 5-HTP users
I started taking 5-htp about 3 weeks ago now -1 75mg tab a day. At first I took it in the morning (recently I’ve taken it in the afternoon). I think it took a week at least to show any effects. The first time I really noticed something it was an “ecstasy” like effect extremely elevated mood and palms of hands feeling soft. That night I felt very wired , couldnt sleep because i felt like laughing! Now in my 4th week of 75mg 5-htp a day, I don’t feel happy, just sluggish during the day, and I dont know if its related but ive got a bad ecezma case around my mouth. What should I do? I think I’ll just quit. How on earth could anyone take 5-htp 300 mg doses like the guy whose written the book on it suggests? Sleeping is good ill say that much-but you cant operate feeling this tired all day. God i feel so let down by it.
I have suffered with Chronic Insomnia for 13 years and have been taking Ambien to gain “regular” sleep. I HATE taking prescriptions, but when you are tired and miserable for 13 years, you will do anything to get a good night’s rest! I recently tried 5-HTP for 4 days and though I did not see instant results, after the third night I found that I was obtaining better sleep. I still woke up several times throughout the evening, but I was able to fall back to sleep without much trouble. That, in and of itself, is a miracle. I did, however; find that I was getting rather bad headaches, and stomach cramps. I would love to continue taking the 5-HTP because of the positive changes I felt in my sleep, mood, alertness, and overall sense of well being…but not if my stomach is going to feel like it’s about to explode! I only took 50mg. per evening and thought perhaps taking a smaller dose could be a better way to go. I looked and have not been able to find it in smaller doses. Thank you for the information you have provided on 5-HTP. It has been very valuable to me. I appreciate your un-biased articles and the information you provided from others who have tried 5-HTP.
My health care professional only knows about drugs. I am using 5-HTP for anxiety/depression. My psychologist wanted me to take Paxil, but I was referred to 5 htp by a clerk at our local health food store. After taking 100 mg before bed for several days, I felt normal. I could laugh again and have hope. I’ve been depressed since February. I felt so good that I thought I was “cured” and stopped taking 5-HTP when the bottle ran out. The anxiety and depression came back within a week and seemed worse than before. So, I started taking 50 mg at each meal and one at bedtime. The only side effect I have is loose bowels and some stomach cramps in the middle of the night. After one week of that regime, I was back to normal and cut 5-HTP down to one 50 mg in the morning and one at night. I sleep real well and have peace of mind which is wonderful.
I am currently trying to get off Paxil (with my psychiatrist’s recommendation) of which I was taking 20 mg a day for stress related insomnia. It has been absolutely awful–I have felt infinitely worse than when I went on it. I have been experiencing extreme anxiety, rage and depression–and all this from going down to 10mg over about 3 months. I hear that this is not uncommon; my doctor has had all of his patients trying to get off paxil–except me–go back on it because they were not able to bear the withdrawal. (He agrees that these are genuine withdrawal symptoms and not relapses into depression.) Since I have been so desperate, I began taking 5-HTP (100mg a day) without knowing much about it, which I now realize is not a good idea. The problem is, it helps with the withdrawal tremendously. I’m sleeping far better and am much happier and calmer. At first I thought that perhaps the withdrawal symptoms were simply subsiding, but when I stopped taking the supplement, about a week later they came back. On your 5-HTP web site, and on a paxil withdrawal web site, it is recommended not to take both together, but it is very difficult for me to even consider going back to the place I was. I don’t really want to talk to my psychiatrist about it as he reacts extremely negatively to any “alternative” therapy.
I have taken about 175mg of 5-htp daily for over 2 years. At first I felt much better, but then fell into a depressive like state. I stopped taking it and thought I was better but then fell into a lower state. I believe you mentioned stopping taking it at intervals. Perhaps my 5-HTP dosage was too high or too often for me.
From what I understand and witnessed, for many people when they get depressed, they become overweight and have an increased appetite. In others, perhaps more in cases of higher levels of anxiety, they develop mild to severe anorexia. I believe that 5-HTP or a SSRI may help to balance out this depression and anxiety, so for some people it may lower weight, and for others who are depressed and somewhat anorexic, there may actually be a potential to gain weight. While I’m only now discovering 5-HTP and have mostly recovered from my generalized anxiety and anorexia that I had before (I’ve gained about 45 lbs since the point I was reasonably anorexic), I still find that even now 5-HTP helps to stimulate and maintain a healthy appetite. I wouldn’t want to see the potential disinformation spreading around that 5-HTP will always cause people to lose their appetite, or to insinuate that a depressed person with anorexic symptoms will lose more weight by taking 5-HTP. I think much more research needs to be done in this area, and in 5-HTP in general.
I have been giving my 8 years old son 5-HTP for the past year. For me 5-HTP was preferable to the PROZAC that the physician wanted to prescribe. For the first 6 months I gave him 50 mg of 5-HTP daily with his evening meal. There was a noticeable improvement in his behavior within 2 weeks. For the past 6 months I have given him 25 mg of 5-HTP combined with several other natural stress relieving herbs (i.e. Kava Kava, St. John’s Wort) with his morning meal. My son’s mood improved again and he is happier and more content than he has every been.
My son has reacted very positively to the 5-HTP. He was severely depressed, had low self-esteem and was extremely aggressive. He was hitting his school mates daily and had no friends. After 1 month on the 5HTP he has not hit a kid since. One year later he now has a couple of friends, he is generally happy all the time and we are able to reason with him.
I’ve been taking 5- HTP since August of this year (50 mg) every other day at bedtime for 2 months. then I stopped taking 5-HTP for 1 month as directed on your website. It’s the only thing that I’ve found that works for me for my bi-polar. I went on ginkgo for the month that I was off the 5- HTP towards the end of the month I was starting to get down again, so I immediately went back to the 5- HTP, and now I feel good again. I was taking antidepressants from my psychiatrist without any luck. He wanted me to go on lithium, but I heard too many bad things about it, so I never took it. I also have been exercising and trying to have a positive outlook on life, whereas before, I didn’t. I believe that it’s due to the 5- HTP. Thank you so much for the info on it.
When I came across the book 5-HTP Nature’s Serotonin Solution, it’s as if I found a gold mine. I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and I was weaned myself off Zoloft which I have been taking for the past 3 years. The very first day that I took 5-HTP, I managed to get out of bed and function normally after being in bed for almost 10 days. I have also been suffering from anxiety disorder. I’m only 32 years old and I’ve had my share of different types of antidepressants. Since I started 5-HTP my severe migraines have disappeared and I only started taking it 10 days ago. I can’t believe I finally found something that will help my symptoms. Keep up your great work and God bless you and may He grant you health and strength to continue helping people.
I am 24 year-old, 240 lb. male. I had been taking 50 mg of 5-HTP, before bedtime during the week, with weekends off for 3 weeks. I woke up far more readily (I have always had a problem oversleeping) feeling refreshed, which was terrific. However, in the evening on the weekends I would get headaches about the time I would normally have taken the 5-HTP. Three or four days after I stopped using the 5-HTP entirely, the headaches went away.
I suffer form Panic/ anxiety and depression. I have been off of SSRI’s for a year now and in my search for something less dangerous, you have educated me on 5-htp. Last night I took my first 5-HTP dose of 50mg at about 10:30pm, I did not fall asleep until about 3am – and had vivid harmful ‘scary’ thoughts & I felt quite alert. Needless to say i have the feeling wired- jitters today.
I took 100 mg of 5HTP for a month to help me sleep. Then, I had what appeared to be gall bladder attacks. A scan the week I was sickest showed that my gall bladder was functioning at only 4%. I stopped taking the 5-HTP and haven’t had an attack for two weeks.
I started taking 100mg of 5HTP at night, 10 days ago, for depression. For the first 5 days or so I felt fine. But now, about an hour after drinking 12ozs of coffee in the morning, I get moderately dizzy & remain so for half the day. Making it very hard to do anything.
Q. I’m 55 years old. My thyroid was removed due to papillary Cancer and I’m taking synthroid alternating dose of 125 and 150ml. I developed insomnia and anxiety, probably as a side effects of this hormone. I’m taking 5-HTP 50mg, the formula sold by Physician Formulas twice daily and this eliminates my anxiety, but sleep is still deprived. Could you
suggest something for me.
A. There are many factors that influence sleep, and high doses of thyroid hormones are a possible cause.
Q. Where can I find 5-HTP bulk powder?
A. We don’t know of a source of 5-HTP bulk powder at this time but a google search should help.
Q. I started on 5 HTP 50 mg per day for anxiety and mild depression and after 2 weeks started to have worse anxiety symptoms and muscle trembles, i reduced the 5-HTP dose to 50mg every other day after being inspired by some of the good reports on the forum here and after a further 3 weeks i have experienced further very bad anxiety symptoms and dreams and not much in the way of good feelings at all during the whole period apart from maybe a few days here and there, so even on a low 5-HTP dose it has a bad effect, can i ask? should i continue with an even lower dose after a break or just leave them off completely and try a prescription drug from my doctor? and why is the 5-HTP having this terrible effect on me at such a low dose after the total period of 5 weeks?
A. Each person is different in their response to supplements. It is impossible for us to say whether a lower 5-HTP dosage would help you. You may consider reading information on anxiety at the web page anxiety and discuss with your doctor the best option.
Q. I have left the 5 HTP off for a few days and feel much better, in fact much better than i did before taking them, could they have increased the serotonin level during my 6 weeks taking them? or were they just bad for me personally and leaving them off reduced the bad anxiety they were causing? would it be worth taking maybe 10mg a few times a week?
A. Some people may be very sensitive to 5-HTP or other supplements, and lower dosages could help more than higher amounts. It is impossible for us to predict a response to 5-HTP in any individual case since there is a wide range of response among users. The best way to find out is by trial and error, and erring on the side of using less rather than more. Keep us updated.
Q. I found 5-HTP works great to clear up my acne, and makes my hair thicker too. The problem is the nausea and fatigue keeps me from using it more than a few days. The majority of supplements and acne synthetic drugs makes me feel this way too. I was wondering why 5-HTP clears up my skin from it’s acne? St. John’s wort and primrose oil do the same thing, but I cannot stay on any of these because of the painful side effects that interfere with my life. Eating dairy and citrus makes me break out, but I can eat these while on the 5 HTP, if I go off 5 HTP while eating these my skin goes cystic. I wish there was another way to get the benefit from 5-HTP without it having to be in my stomach. I used accutane almost 10 years ago and I marvel at how there still is not a really saving solution for my acne. I can live with it, its not so bad.
A. Using smaller amounts of 5-HTP, such as a quarter of a capsule may work with fewer side effects. The side effects of 5-HTP are dose dependent, and perhaps with trial and error you can find an amount that works well for you with minimal side effects.
Q. On your 5-HTP page, in regards to vitamin B6, I do not take 5-HTP and vitamin B6 together, however I do take a multivitamin which contains vitamin B6 and would like to know how much time you recommend spacing them apart.
Hi, the multivitamin can be taken in the morning and the 5-HTP in the afternoon or evening.
A. The multivitamin can be taken in the morning and the 5-HTP in the afternoon or evening.
Q. Just curious to know if you’ve come across anyone who has taken 5-HTP and become seriously depressed. I’d been taking 50mg a day, along with a Stresstab and a B-complex vitamin. About a month later, I was hit very hard with a bout of depression like I’ve never experienced in my life. I eventually went to my doctor, thinking it might be a thyroid thing as it runs in my family (all my mother’s 13 siblings, their children, my brother and sister, and my father and his sister). Blood tests showed that I had no thyroid problem, just elevated glucose. I was referred to a psychiatrist who diagnosed my ADHD (it was something I knew before then but never considered it a problem). I’m stable now (on Wellbutrin and Concerta) and stopped all the vitamins but was considering trying amino acids as an alternative. I never mentioned to my doctors what I had been taking previously as it never occurred to me that there could be a connection. It was only as I began looking into natural remedies, and then went to my medicine cabinet and checked out what I’d been taking, that this crossed my mind. I had no other side-effects (stomach upset, nightmares or even vivid dreams). I thought I would ask you first as I think you probably have more experience with this.
A. We have not had anyone report to us before of 5-HTP making them more depressed. We don’t know whether the combination with B vitamins and Stresstab had an influence or not on your depression symptoms.
Q. I’m contacting you from Australia. My chiropractor / naturopath practitioner prescribed 5-htp 200mg and pregaba 200mg each day for what he suspected was IBS. He did not warn me about the effects of mixing this with alcohol. I rarely drink but a month after taking it i went to a friends for dinner and we hadn’t seen them in ages- chatted for 12hours and i consumed 8 drinks. I noticed i was high as a kite the whole night. Buzzing around, it was weird!
I then woke up with a panic attack the next morning, took a quarter of a sleeping tablet to calm me down and on re-waking i had a migraine, it lasted for a week in which i went off his prescription, my doc and practitioner said it had nothing to do with the 5-htp and sick of the migraine i took one tablet, i completely flipped out- my poor boyfriend and mum! and had complete derealization, anxiety, chest pain, sometimes headaches and couldn’t sleep, i have now suffered for two weeks with steady, heavy depression or headache / anxiety. I feel like the last month of my life has been a complete nightmare and i just want to have my old self back!
How is 5-HTP available?
You can buy 5-HTP in health food stores or on the internet. It usually comes in two dosages, 50 mg and 100 mg. I do not suggest buying the 100 mg capsule since the side effects are quite common on this dosage. One bottle of 60 capsules of 50 mg of 5-HTP is usually sold for less than 10 dollars. Some people do well with 20 to 50 mg a day, while others may temporarily require 100 mg or more. 5-HTP is best absorbed on an empty stomach.
Q. I am using an energy-boosting product called Cheia Vida, distributed by Alive World Wide, which has a blend of Acai, yerbe mate, cha de bugre and green tea extract-EGCG- (all from Brazil), 5HTP – from griffonia extract, stevia, cinnamon twig extract and galangal root extract (800mgm of all of these), plus apple juice conc., grape skin extract. There is 45 mgm of “caffeine” (from the mate} and 15 mgm of 5HTP per 1oz serving – Recommended amount on the bottle is 1oz, but when you talk to the company and CEO, he recommends 1-3 oz.- and some people take more than this. 3oz would put an individual at almost a low (generally) 50mgm therapeutic dose. The reason for the 5HTP is to take the edge off of any potential extra “buzz” type energy. My problem is the fact that the company only lists Acai, yerba mate, green tea extract (EGCG) and cha de bugre on their website – they say nothing about the 5HTP. The purchaser does not know until he gets the bottle that it has 5HTP in it – and then may not really read the label or know what this is. There is also no “caution” on the label. So people who are gung-ho, could conceivably take large amounts of the product, and for months or years, all the while ingesting 5-HTP. There are a couple coffee houses in my area that would like to add the product to their beverages. I have reservations re: them selling it to some of their clients (teens with hormones raging and fluctuating, people on SSRI’s or other meds, etc). Most people like the product – nice, sustained, even energy with good mental clarity and focus, better mood. – and they sleep better. But they do not have a clue what 5-HTP is. What is your perspective on this, in selling it to the general public, without their knowledge of this ingredient? Some health food stores tout 5-HTP as a benign, next-best-thing supplement.
A. The ingredients in a dietary supplement product need to be listed so the consumer is aware of them. The dosages are not required if it is a proprietary blend.
Q. I was reading your website information on 5-HTP and I want to say thank you for all the good information about this, just have one simple question for you. Can we take 5-HTP 200mg with Centrum (multiple vitamins) or with a Super B-COMPLEX ?
A. There are many factors that influence the benefit of various combinations of supplements and each person may react differently so it is not possible for us to say whether this combination is good for you or not. In general, we fell a daily dose of more than 50 to 100 mg of 5-HTP is excessive for most people but some people need that amount if treating a particular condition.
Q. I would like to try 5-htp for depression and sleep. I’m presently taking 25 mg. of nortriptyline daily. Can I take 50 mg. of 5-htp one night and then alternate with 25 mg. of nortriptyline?
A. Alternating 5-HTP one night and nortriptyline another night is an interesting option and if your doctor approves it is worth a try.
Q. Im currently taking 50 mg of 5-HTP, but I would like to try Diet Rx. Can you tell me the amount of 5- HTP found in diet Rx product and if it is safe to take it with Caffeine Free Hydroxycut? I know about the proprietary blend, but I only want to know about the 5 HTP, not the whole blend and if I dont know the amount I cant discuss the information with my doctor as she doesnt know your product.
A. Diet Rx is effective by itself and it is not necessary to take it the same day as 5-HTP. Only Dr. Ray Sahelian knows the amount of the ingredients in this product and it is a proprietary blend. We suggest not taking Diet Rx the same day as caffeine free Hydroxycut. It is best to learn how each supplement or formula works by itself rather than combining them without knowing how they each effect you individually.
Q. I just had a question on 5-HTP if you could help me with any advice that would be good. I am on my second day on the stuff mainly for Carb Cravings and to improve my mood. I have bought the Doctors Best Brand 100mg Vegie Caps and on the bottle it says to take one 5-htp capsule 3 times a day with or without food. So that is 300mg a day. Is this a high amount for a healthy 26 year old male?
A. We cannot comment on what an appropriate dose is for any individual, but we suggest reading the cautions on this 5-HTP page and 5-HTP side effects and to use the least dosage that works.
Q. I had read the info about 5 htp on your website, while researching alternative ways of dealing with depression and anxiety. I decided to try the product and I believe I was getting some good results, after 5 days, taking 50 mg twice a day. The problem was 5 htp side effects. I had a moderately severe allergic reaction to it, welts, asthma, etc, so I discontinued it, (reluctantly) and the symptoms disappeared. Is there any way I could retry the 5 htp, at a lower dose, or something I haven’t thought of? I would really like to give the product a chance. I take quercetin for allergic reactions and I have moderate allergies and seasonal asthma.
A. If your doctor approves you can try one capsule daily or even half a capsule, or try a different brand of 5 htp. Allergic reactions are not common to 5 htp supplement use, but many 5 htp side effects are dosage dependent. There are other supplements that are used for depression.
Q. I’ve tried 5-htp recently to help me cope with my anxiety. I was taking 50mg 2 times a day. after a few weeks I felt slightly more
relaxed (maybe 25%) and also I found it easier to rationalize negative thoughts. However my libido seems to have gone down
substantially. I can still perform but I’m not really ”into it”. is there anything I can do to help? is the 5-htp causing this?
A. 5-HTP converts into serotonin which is known to decrease libido and sexual interest. You may wish to discuss with your doctor other options in the treatment of anxiety that do not reduce sexual desire. There are certain herbs that improve libido.
Q. I wanted to inquire if there is an contradictions between 5HTP and Neurontin. Any info on Neurontin and 5-HTP would be helpful. Neurontin is the product name for gabapentin.
A. We have not seen any studies regarding the combination of 5-HTP and Neurontin (gabapentin). As a general rule it is best to learn how each supplement or medication works for you alone in different dosages, and to have medical doctor approval when combining. Interactions between medications and supplements often depends on the dosages used. When combining 5-HTP and Neurontin the first time, it may be wise to use a portion of a capsule or tablet.
Q. It looks as though Dr. Sahelian’s book on 5-HTP: Nature’s Serotonin Solution is no longer in print. Have people considered making it available via .pdf? Would be great to be able to download it, especially as it may be the only way to get it.
A. The book 5-HTP: Nature’s Serotonin Solution was written in the mid 1990s, Dr. Sahelian’s website on 5-HTP has latest updates for free.
Q. I would like to understand a principle of 5-htp action in organism. I understand that it is something like instant temporary (this is the important thing i don’t know – does serotonin gained from 5-htp vanish after some time or does serotonin stay in brain and there is still more and more of it by every next dose?) supply of amino acid which is converted into serotonin in the brain. Why then various users report different time needed to start feeling positive effects of 5-htp? I read some topics where users say about immediate onset. However, some of them report improvement in two weeks. Why does it take so long? I read about the mechanism of 5-htp, but did not find answer for this. Today, I started to use 25 mg twice daily. How long in average should one wait before increasing dose, if the improvement still won’t be noticed? I was on Seroxat for three months because of depression, but it didn’t work well for me. I experienced some kind of repeating sinusoid – one week feeling bad and two days feeling absolutely cured. However, it showed me that it’s just problems with neurotransmiters and I have realized many things during this treatment. Nowadays I’m not depressed and don’t have these problems with confidence, feeling hopeless and some other stuff conected with depression, but I am still low on serotonin, I am in no mood, I have problem to do any little things, and feel not like living, but surviving. Do taking of 5-htp dose also before bedtime make relevance in this case? Does that night dose have long-term effect or is it just temporary for good sleeping and effects wear off after few hours? You will help me a lot giving me answers, because my psychiatrist did not even hear about 5-htp and I am on my own in this nasty situation.
A. How long the 5-HTP effects last is a matter of dosage and individual reaction. For some the effects of 5-HTP can come very quickly, within an hour, for others it takes several hours and for others it may take a few days to start working. Each person is different but the effects do seem to accumulate over time so if 50 mg one day does not seem to help, taking the 50 mg the second and third day can start having an effect. It also can change depending on whether it is taken with food or empty stomach. 5-HTP seems to work better when taken on an empty stomach. Some people even try it under the tongue but a lesser dosage.
Q. I am curious as to whether your 5 HTP product is Enteric Coated for better access to the brain?
A. 5-HTP need not be enteric coated, it is quite well absorbed and is transported and goes across the blood brain barrier very well.
Q. I was reading on your website the different 5-htp dosages. I understand that everyone is different. I also understand that time off is needed. I saw where you advise that taking 2 days off a week AND a week off a month for 5-htp is suggested. But I also saw where people have used it every other day. My question is this, if I take it every other day do I still need to take a week off a month? And, if I decide to take it everyday with two days off a week, do I still need to take a week off a month. My problem is with GAD and depression associated with the anxious thoughts that I have. My husband got me a CBT program. I am greatfull. My problem is I have not been motivated to use it on a regular basis and I know that some people need to be on medication for the short term to help them with therapy. I have thought about this, but I really don’t want to get on drugs for fear I’ll become dependant. What I want, is to be calm, relaxed, motivated and able to control my thoughts so that I can use the CBT that my husband got me so that I can get the therapy learned. I have been on CBT before and it did work, for a little while. The one I have now is a different one. Part of my problem, due to my anxious thoughts, is the fear it won’t work. I would like my self confidance back. The CBT has this information in it but I just can’t get motivated. From what I have read, 5-htp may be what I’ve been looking for. Thank you for any and all information you put on your website and to me.
A. If a person takes 5-HTP supplements every other day, they do not need to take breaks as often.
Q. I was wondering what would happen long term if one was to use 5-htp at say 100mg 2x a day for an extended period? I’ve read of tachycardia, low eosinophil counts and other stuff. I’m sure this stuff is safer than Prozac and Zoloft but wanted to get your take on this.
A. Long term studies for several years have not been done with 5-HTP supplements and therefore it is difficult to predict the long term benefits and risks on organs and tissues. It is a good idea to take breaks from use.
Q. I take 5-htp for sleep and mood. I used to be able to take it at night, but for the last few months, I wake up in the middle of the night with a peculiar energy. Would taking it in the day help with sleep at night?
A. It’s possible. Some people prefer to take a lower dosage in early evening which seems to help with sleep better than a higher one before bed. 5-HTP supplements are absorbed better on an empty stomach.
Q. Is there a benefit of 5-HTP or safety issues with Paxil, or any study regarding benefits of 5-HTP or danger with this SSRI drug?
A. Use the combination of 5-HTP and Paxil cautiously since adverse effects could occur. They both increase serotonin levels in the brain.
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