Are you looking for a natural way to boost serotonin levels to help improve your sleep?
5-HTP, short for 5-hydroxytryptophan, has gained recognition for its ability to boost serotonin levels, which can improve mental health and promote restful sleep. However, a lot of these claims are based on small, isolated studies and anecdotal evidence. So is 5-HTP worth the hype? In this article, we cover whether a 5-HTP supplement is worth it and the best 5-HTP supplements on the market.
Before we go into what 5-HTP is, let’s talk about the neurotransmitter serotonin.
Serotonin is a brain chemical that plays a major role in mood regulation. Low serotonin levels have been linked to mood disorders like depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and more.
5-HTP, or 5-hydroxytryptophan, is a brain chemical and precursor to serotonin. It works alongside l-tryptophan to increase serotonin levels in the body. Due to this, researchers believe that taking a 5-HTP supplement can be an effective way to naturally boost serotonin levels.
5-HTP supplements can be made from the seeds of an African plant called Griffonia simplicifolia. Recent studies have found evidence that 5-HTP supplementation may improve sleep and mood.
There are promising benefits of 5-HTP, from increasing levels of serotonin to serving as a sleep aid.
A 2012 study found that taking a 5-HTP supplement for eight weeks reduced symptoms of depression in participants experiencing a depressive episode. Based on these results, the researchers determined that 5-HTP has similar effects as an antidepressant.
A 2010 study found that taking a supplement containing 5-HTP and the amino acid GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) improved sleep quality and duration in people who reported having trouble sleeping. Participants not only fell asleep faster, but they also woke up less throughout the night. In sum, the study found that 5-HTP supplements may help you sleep better for longer.
A 2011 study distributed 5-HTP supplements to plus-size females. After four weeks, women who received the 5-HTP supplement reported reduced cravings and a lower BMI than the placebo group. This suggests that 5-HTP supplements may be beneficial for weight loss. However, more research is needed to further support this claim.
Lastly, some older studies suggest that taking a 5-HTP supplement may help reduce symptoms of fibromyalgia. However, updated research is needed to confirm this claim.
Note: 5-HTP is NOT a treatment for any disease or condition. DO NOT replace a supplement for your actual medication. Rather, we bring up this research to point to the potential power of 5-HTP and not as medical advice of any kind. Be save on the internet, kiddos, and talk to your healthcare provider.
*Note: We do have affiliate links throughout this article, which means we receive a commission if you purchase from any of our links. This supports our mission to bring complicated health and fitness info in an entertaining package. And it keeps us from putting up annoying things like banner ads. Those suck.
Every product on our list is third-party tested and follows cGMP (good manufacturing practices) guidelines.
For a simple, quality product at a great price, look no further than Double Wood’s 5-HTP drops. Every bottle contains 50 servings of 5-HTP with 50mg in every serving.
Because it comes as a drop, you can change the dose based on your needs, which you obviously can’t do with a capsule option.
Double Wood manufactures their prodcuts in the USA and displays the test results of their products on their site.
This product is non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan, and soy-free.
Price: From $12.28
Jarrow Formulas 5-HTP takes our number 1 spot for its overall value. It contains just 50 mg of griffonia simplicifolia seed extract in every serving, making it a great option for HTP newbies. Or, more experienced HTP users can double up for an increased dose.
It’s third-party tested for purity and comes in vegetarian-friendly cellulose capsules. Each bottle includes 90 servings.
Price: From $13.60
California Gold Nutrition 5-HTP is another product that offers both quality and quantity. Its 5-HTP extract is sustainably sourced from Switzerland and manufactured in the USA. It’s also third-party tested at an GMP-compliant facility for purity.
California Gold Nutrition 5-HTP comes in a vegetarian capsule and is soy-free and gluten-free. Each bottle includes 90 100 mg servings.
Price: From $15.94
NOW Foods 5-HTP, made by a US-based, family-owned company, checks off all the boxes of an ideal 5-HTP supplement. These non-gmo vegan capsules are made in a GMP-certified facility and third-party tested for purity. They’re also free of soy, gluten, nuts, and dairy. Each bottle contains 120 100 mg servings.
Price: From $34.00
While one of the more expensive options on our list, Thorne Research 5-Hydroxytryptophan is a high-quality product designed for optimal absorption. Its slow release capsules contain no additives and are free of gluten and soy. Plus, it includes vitamin B6, which can aid the absorption of 5-HTP into the bloodstream. Each bottle contains 45 100 mg servings.
Price: From $15.94
Natrol’s 5-HTP is great for people looking for a high-dose supplement. It contains 200 mg of 5-HTP and 55 mg of calcium in every vegetarian capsule. It’s also free of dairy, egg, wheat, preservatives, and artificial colors and flavors. It contains 30 to 45 servings depending on which bottle you choose.
Price: From $14.85
Doctor’s Best 5-HTP is a nice option if you’re looking for a 5-HTP supplement with added benefits. In addition to 100 mg of 5-HTP, each vegetarian capsule contains 200 mg of vitamin C and 15 mg of vitamin B6 to support overall well-being. It is also non-gmo, gluten-free, and vegan. Each bottle includes 120 servings, making it a great value overall.
Price: From $16.09
Source Naturals 5-HTP is another option that offers quality and quantity. Its high-quality ingredients are third-party tested and free of gluten, soy, wheat, sugar, artificial colors, and artificial flavors. Plus, its dosing makes it a great option for people who are new to taking 5-HTP. Each bottle contains 120 50 mg tablets.
Price: From $18.72
Last but not least on our list is Nature’s Bounty 5-HTP. Each capsule contains 100 mg of 5-HTP in addition to 58 mg of calcium, which can support overall well-being. It is made in the USA and third-party tested for purity. It’s also soy-free and gluten-free with no artificial colors or flavors. Each bottle contains 60 servings.
Although we ranked these supplements, we want you to decide on the best product for you. We took the following into consideration when ranking these products.
The supplement industry isn’t FDA-regulated, which can make finding a reputable supplement difficult.
That’s why we only select companies that adhere to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) regulations and have their products third-party tested.
The recommended dose of 5-HTP varies from 50 to 300 milligrams, so we looked for products that had dosages within that range. We also looked for products that included additional beneficial ingredients, like vitamins C and B6 to support serotonin production and calcium to aid in stress relief.
Living our healthiest lives can get expensive. Because of this, we selected high-quality products that won’t hurt your wallet.
5-HTP generally does not cause side effects. In large doses, people reported mild side effects such as bloating, heartburn, nausea, and vomiting. Following your recommended dosage can prevent this from occurring. In addition, you should consult your doctor before taking this supplement, especially if you are taking other medications.
Yes, most people can safely take 5-HTP everyday. However, you should consult with a health professional before adding this supplement to your everyday routine. This is especially true if you take other medications or are planning to take 5-HTP long-term.
Serotonin plays a role in melatonin production, but the influence of 5-HTP supplements on melatonin production has not yet been explored. As of now, no harmful interactions between melatonin and 5-HTP have been reported.
If you are looking for a natural way to improve your mood and sleep cycle, then a 5-HTP supplement is worth the try.
Disclaimer: We are not doctors, and we don’t pretend to be on the internet. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking any supplement, including 5-HTP. None of these statements have been evaluated by the FDA.