Wouldn’t it be nice if there was just serotonin pills we could take and feel better?
Especially if it was natural?
And didn’t cause dependency?
If you’ve been depressed for a while, chances are you’ve heard the news about serotonin.
Depression, anxiety, insomnia, and low self-esteem are symptoms of low serotonin.
In other words – not having enough serotonin makes life miserable.
Serotonin is made by converting L-Tryptophan into 5-HTP (hydroxytryptophan) and then into 5-HT (serotonin).
Most people are able to get enough tryptophan and B vitamins in their diets to produce sufficient serotonin.
However, if you are depressed, you can jump start that process to get your brain back quicker.
Read on to learn about the uses of 5-HTP and the best brand to take.
Does 5 HTP Work
5htp is made from griffonia simplicifolia. Seeds from this african plant are harvested in order to producue 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). In fact, many vendors sell griffonia seed extract for the same effects of taking a 5 htp supplement.
5-HTP is well known for its quick effects when taken on an empty stomach. According to Julia Ross and her clinic, 5-HTP can raise your serotonin levels by 540%. That is compared to Prozac’s 150%-250%.
By taking a 5-htp supplement you are stepping in halfway in the process of making serotonin. 5-HTP works for around 80% of people who try it for depression. Others, like myself, tend to respond to L-Tryptophan better.
5 htp uses range from using it to combat depression and anxiety, help you sleep better at night, fix irritability, or some people get a 5 htp high by taking large amounts of it. There is also a big community of people who get high off MDMA (ecstasy) and use 5-HTP to lessen their withdrawal symptoms.
5 htp Benefits
5 htp Weight Loss
I would be surprised if you haven’t heard of 5-htp before. The biggest marketing pitch for 5-htp is for weight loss.
One research study took two groups of overweight women. One group had 5 htp 200mg before each meal. The other group took a placebo before each meal. The women who took the actual 5-htp ate 1,084 fewer calories per day and felt less hungry.
Another research study found that women who took a 5-HTP supplement lost 10.3 pounds in 3 months. The placebo group only lost 2.2 pounds.
Why does this happen? You crave food when you have low serotonin. You especially crave carbs when you have low serotonin. If you are suffering from depression and find that you tend to binge on carb rich foods like candy, bread, starches, and treats then 5-HTP might be something to look into.
5 htp Insomnia
Many people use 5 htp for sleep. Your body produces melatonin from the extra serotonin left over at the end of the day. That is why, if you are like me, you find it so frustrating that when you are depressed and need sleep, you don’t sleep!
People find it bizarre that when I become sleep deprived and depressed I tend to have a harder time sleeping.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, people who took 5-htp went to sleep quicker and slept more deeply than those that were given a placebo.
5 htp Anxiety
Using 5 htp for anxiety is recommended for those people that are suffering from both depression and anxiety. Many people that suffer from social anxiety have found relief by taking 50 mg of 5-htp everyday for 3-4 days.
One user on a social anxiety forum said that he found that he increasingly talked to his family members, reconnected with old friends, and slept better after taking 5 htp for a few days.
5 htp Depression
If you are reading this site chances are you’ve been waiting to hear all about using 5 htp for depression. 5 htp effects have been described as calming, uplifting, soothing, and has an anti-depressive effect.
Like you saw earlier, there have been studies that have shown that 5-htp effectively raises serotonin more than popular antidepressants do. Not only that, but the dreaded side effects of traditional antidepressants aren’t seen with 5-htp.
Antidepressants have around a 50%-70% chance of giving someone sexual side effects and dysfunction. 5-HTP has never produced sexual dysfunction in people who have taken it.
Here’s the kicker. Antidepressants only make existing serotonin more available. They do not produce more serotonin. They also don’t increase 5HIAA which is essential for your mood.
This means that this serotonin can’t move on to perform other functions. Serotonin is used to make melatonin or 5HIAA. Many people on antidepressants have messed up sleep patterns. Not sleeping defeats the whole purpose of taking an antidepressant.
5HIAA might be just as essential to your mood and well-being as serotonin itself. There have been several court cases involving violence where the criminal was shown to have lower levels of 5HIAA. Not allowing serotonin to move on and produce 5HIAA can have bad effects long-term on your mental well-being.
The good news about using a supplement like 5-HTP is that you are producing more serotonin. Not just reusing the existing serotonin in your brain.
5 htp Dosage
The best way to find out what 5 htp dose you need is to always start with a low dose. 5htp dosage can vary from person to person. You should always start out with the smallest amount you can find (typically 50mg) and move up from there.
The 5 htp dosage for depression I would recommend is start out with 1 capsule of 50 milligrams for a few days. Take the capsule on an empty stomach.
If you don’t feel any weird effects at that dose, try raising it all the way up to 200mg a day. Take 2 capsules of 50 mg each once in the afternoon meals and another 2 capsules before you go to bed.
Do this for a week, and see how it affects your mood.
After a while of taking 5htp and having it help you feel better, always try at the end of each bottle to see if you can stop taking it. A lot of the time you will have restored your serotonin naturally. You can stop taking 5htp and still feel good.
If you ever start to feel bad again, you can use 5htp to get yourself back quickly. 5 htp half life is short and acts very quickly, so you should begin to feel results almost immediately.
If you want to learn more about taking amino acids, which schedules to follow, printable guides, videos and instruction on how to tackle boosting your serotonin back up make sure to check out my course here.
5 htp Side Effects
Side effects of 5 htp include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. These typically occur only at very high amounts. As I mentioned before, start with the lowest dose possible for a few days to see hot it affects you. Then, and only then, move on to taking larger amounts to avoid these side effects.
5 htp Safety
If you are taking St. John’s Wort, antidepressants, or other medications, make sure to speak to a doctor before trying out 5-htp. Combining it with other herbs and drugs, or a 5 htp overdose, can possibly cause a problem called serotonin syndrome.
Serotonin syndrome can produce suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety, and basically resemble not having enough serotonin.
5 htp Drug Interactions
The biggest drugs to be careful combining with 5htp is other antidepressants. Because of the effects both 5htp and antidepressants have on serotonin, you have to start out very small and work closely with your doctor. Many psychiatrists are now combining 5htp with antidepressant drugs safely.
5 htp Alcohol
You should be careful combining 5 htp and alcohol. Many people have reported strong reactions such as seizures, blacking out, being really drowsy, or having a bad experience.
You should allow at least 6 or so hours after taking 5 htp to drink alcohol.
However, if you want to help ease your alchohol withdrawal, 5 htp can help. A study done in 2006 showed that 5-HTP helped reduce alcohol withdrawal in rats.
5 htp and Melatonin
People who are taking melatonin might find they like taking 5 htp better. There aren’t any real harmful interactions between taking them both at the same time that we know of.
Many people that take melatonin and suffer from depression find that melatonin can make them feel worse (this is what happens to me). Also, melatonin shouldn’t be taken more than 1 or 2 weeks straight.
5-HTP raises melatonin levels by making serotonin. This extra serotonin can be used to produce more melatonin.
You can enjoy the same benefits of melatonin by taking 5HTP. You will also be getting the other benefits from increased serotonin levels that you don’t get by taking melatonin alone.
Try experimenting with one or the other to see which one affects you the best.
Best 5 htp Brand
5 htp reviews are confusing to navigate. Searching “5htp reviews” in Google brings up nothing but random generic websites.
The biggest and most popular are NOW 5-HTP and Natrol 5-HTP.
However, in my research on supplement brands and personal experience, Jarrow Formulas 5-HTP should be your first choice.
Jarrow Formulas 5-htp Dietary Supplement
Jarrow products are known for their high quality. The only problem is that their products are usually a little more expensive. I typically take Jarrow Formulas when that is the only brand that I have used that I have felt any effects.
I take other brands if they work due to their lower cost. Jarrow B Right is an excellent product for people who need B Vitamins that absorb easier on the stomach, for example.
Jarrow Formulas reviews are typically very high. You can learn more about Jarrow vitamins at Jarrow.com.
I have tried other 5 htp pills and never really felt anything. I thought that 5-HTP simply didn’t work for me but decided to keep searching to find the best 5 htp. When I tried out Jarrow Formulas 5 htp 50 mg I felt the effects of 5htp for the first time.
Jarrow Formulas 5-htp Ingredients
The only ingredient in Jarrow Formulas 5-HTP is 5-Hydroxytryptophan.
Jarrow Formulas 5 htp Reviews
This is the one warning I have with Jarrow Formulas 5-HTP: There are a few reviews on there that say one bottle for them worked while another bottle didn’t.
As far as everything I have tried, Jarrow Formulas products always work. I haven’t had the 5-HTP I bought from Jarrow not work for me, but I have only bought 2 bottles of the stuff.
People who have subscribed to a monthly delivery of it have said that sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. However, the vast majority of reviews appear to be positive.
The positive reviews range from “I’m finally sleeping!” to “This changed my life.”
With Jarrow Formulas 5-HTP, if you get a good bottle (which is most likely) it will work really well. There might be a small chance that you get a bad bottle, however.
A bottle of Jarrow Formulas 5-HTP 50mg 90 capsules goes for around $12.29 a bottle.
Jarrow Formulas 5-HTP Reviews vs 5 htp Natrol
This is the 5-HTP you will see at Costco. It is one of the most popular brands that is often marketed for weight loss. It has more reviews than Jarrow Formulas 5-HTP and has sold much more.
Price comparison wise, you can get a bottle with 150 tablets of 100mg Natrol 5-HTP for $22.89. It is cheaper than Jarrow Formulas.
The Jarrow Formulas 5-HTP comes in capsules, which offers better absorption. I also prefer the 50mg version of Jarrow Formulas as mentioned in the side effects and warnings of taking too much 5-HTP above.
A few reviewers say that this brand is a little on the weak side and only slightly sedative. That is with a higher dose of 100mg (there is a Jarrow Formulas 5 htp 100 mg version, but again, I’d recommend sticking with 50mg first).
However, if these work for you, they might be a better option because of the price difference. You could simply cut the tablet in half to test it at the low dose of 50mg. I have just personally taken these and not felt much.
Jarrow Formulas 5-HTP Reviews vs NOW 5-htp
NOW Foods is one of my favorite supplement companies. However, for some reason, NOW Foods version of 5-HTP didn’t click with me. I might have gotten a bad bottle from them and need to try it again, but I just didn’t feel much.
NOW Foods 5-HTP is cheaper than Jarrow Formulas. You can get the NOW Foods 5-HTP 50mg 90 capsules version for $9.50 on Amazon.com.
NOW Foods 5-HTP also has more negative reviews than the other brands. It seemed to have a lot of mixed results with people finding it a lifesaver, having it only “kind of” work, and other people saying it didn’t work at all or it made their situation worse.
Basically with NOW Foods 5-HTP, your mileage may vary.
Where to Buy 5 htp
The best place to buy 5-htp is Amazon.com or iHerb.com. If you use iHerb.com, the Rewards Code GVH528 will give you $10 off. Sometimes the price on Amazon.com can be cheaper than iHerb.com and vice versa.
- Jarrow Formulas 5-HTP
- Natrol 5-HTP Mood Enhancer,100mg 150 Tablets
- NOW Foods 5-HTP
- Click here to open up iHerb with all the supplements in one place. Delete the ones you don’t want.
If you want to learn more about serotonin supplements and supplements that work for depression, make sure to check out my master page of which supplements have been proven to work.