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L-5-Hydroxytryptophan (L-5-HTP)

Natural Support for Depression, Migraines, Overweight and Anti-Aging

L-5-HTP is an intermediate metabolite of the amino acid L-tryptophan. In supplemental form, L-5HTP is derived from the herb Griffonia simplicifolia. L-5HTP, an amino acid intermediate, participates in the body’s production of serotonin. It also stimulates increased endorphin, melatonin, nor-epinephrine and dopamine production. Over 70% of an oral dose of L-5-HTP is converted into serotonin. These brain chemicals (neurotransmitters) help increase energy, improve mood and sleep, and decrease appetite. Useful for insomnia, anxiety, depression and weight loss programs. Numerous double-blind studies have shown L-5-HTP to be equally as effective as serotonin reuptake inhibitor drugs (Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft) but with far less negative side-effects. L-5-HTP taken orally is well absorbed (much better than tryptophan) and enhances the body's own manufacturer of the above-listed  hormones.

L-5-HTP is one of the most well-studied natural antidepressant substances.  It has been tested in comparison to fluvoxamine (an SSRI drug in the class of Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft) and found to work faster and better for anxiety and depression, better for physical symptoms, and better for insomnia.  Unlike the SSRI drugs, the side-effects from L-5-HTP are rare and mild (occasional GI complaints).  Also unlike these antidepressant drugs, L-5-HTP does not artificially block the serotonin reuptake pathway. Instead, it provides the precursors (direct raw material) for the body's own production of these important neurotransmitters.

L-5-HTP has been studied and found to be more effective than drug therapy for migraine prevention, with a much better safety profile.

L-5-HTP is useful for:

  • anxiety
  • depression (age related and non-age related)
  • fibromyalgia
  • insomnia
  • migraine headache
  • pain
  • obesity / overweight

Please see full reference list at the bottom of this page.

Because L-5HTP enhances the production of neurotransmitters, and because neurotransmitter production tends to decline with age, L-5-HTP should also be considered as part of any longevity program. 

Suggested dose: 1-2, 100 mg capsules of L-5-HTP 3 times per day. (Target dose: 200-600mg L-5-HTP daily).

Each capsule contains:
L-5-HTP (from 102  mg 98% Griffonia Simplicifolia extract) 100 mg
Vitamin B6 25 mg
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) 250 mg

Product #152 (60 Caps) $34.50

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1.) Kahn RS, et al. L-5-hydroxytryptophan in the Treatment of Anxiety Disorders. J Affect Disord. Mar1985;8(2):197-200.


2.) Byerley, W.F. et. al. 5-Hydroxytryptophan: A review of its antidepressant efficacy and adverse effects. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology 1987;7(3):127-37.

3.) Kaneko M, Kumashiro H, Takahashi Y, Hoshino Y. L-5HTP treatment and serum 5-HT level after L-5-HTP loading on depressed patients.Neuropsychobiology. 1979;5(4):232-40.

4.) Pöldinger, W., Calanchini, B., Schwarz, W. A functional-dimensional approach to depression: Serotonin deficiency as a target syndrome in a comparison of 5-hydroxytryptophan and fluvoxamine. Psychopathology 1991;24:53-81.

5.) Takahashi S, Takahashi R, Masumura I, Miike A. Measurement of 5-hydroxyindole compounds during L-5-HTP treatment in depressed patients. Folia Psychiatr Neurol Jpn. 1976;30(4):461-73.

6.) van Hiele JJ: L-5-hydroxytryptophan in depression: The first substitution therapy in psychiatry? Neuropsychobiology 6:230-40, 1980.

7.) van Praag HM.Management of depression with serotonin precursors. Biol Psychiatry. 1981 Mar;16(3):291-310.

8.) van Pragg, H.M. Korf, J. 5-hydroxytryptophan as an antidepressant. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease 1974;158(5):331-37

9.) van Praag HM, de Haan S. Chemoprophylaxis of depressions. An attempt to compare lithium with 5-hydroxytryptophan. Acta Psychiatr Scand Suppl. 1981;290:191-201

10.) van Praag H, et al. Depression Vulnerability and 5-hydroxytryptophan prophylaxis. Psychiatry Res.Sep1980;3(1):75-83.


11.) Nicolodi M and Sicuteri F: Fibromyalgia and migraine, two faces of the same mechanism. Serotonin as the common clue for pathogenesis and therapy. Adv Exp Med Biol 398:373-9, 1996

12.) Puttini PS and Caruso I: Primary fibromyalgia syndrome and 5-hydroxy-L-tryptophan: a 90-day open study. J Int Med Res 20:182-9, 1992

13.) Caruso I, Sarzi Puttini P, Cazzola M, Azzolini V. Double-blind study of 5-hydroxytryptophan versus placebo in the treatment of primary fibromyalgia syndrome. J Int Med Res 1990;18:201–9.


14.) Zarcone, V.P. Hoddes, E., Smythe, H. Oral 5-hydroxytryptophan effects on sleep. in Serotonin and Behavior, edited by Barchas, J., Usidin, E., NY: Academic Press; 1973:499-505.

15.) Wyatt, R.J., et. al. Effects of 5-hydroxytryptophan on the sleep of normal human subjects. Electroencephalography and Clinical Neurophysiology 1971;30:505-09.

16.)Soulairac A, et al. Effect of 5-hydroxytryptophan, a Serotonin Precursor, on Sleep Disorders. Ann Med Psychol. Paris. 1977;1(5):792-98.

17.) Bruni O, Ferri R, Miano S, Verrillo E. l -5-Hydroxytryptophan treatment of sleep terrors in children. Eur J Pediatr. Jul2004;163(7):402-7.

18.)Wyatt RJ: The serotonin-catecholamine-dream bicycle: a clinical study. Biol Psychiatry 5:33-64, 1972.

19.) Guilleminault C, Cathala HP and Castaigne P: Effects of 5-HTP on sleep of a patient with brain stem lesion. Electroencephalog Clin Neurophysiol 34:177-84, 1973

20.) Autret A, et al.: Human sleep and 5-HTP. Effects of repeated high doses and of association with benserazide. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 41:408-13, 1976

21.) Soulairac A and Lambinet H: Clinical studies of the effect of the serotonin precursor, L-5-hydroxytryptophan, on sleep disorders. Schweiz Rundsch Med Prax 77:19-23, 1988


22.) Nicolodi M, Sicuteri F. L-5-hydroxytryptophan can prevent nociceptive disorders in man. Adv Exp Med Biol. 1999;467:177-82.

23.) Titus F, et al. 5-Hydroxytryptophan versus Methysergide in the Prophylaxis of Migraine. Randomized Clinical Trial. Eur Neurol. 1986;25(5):327-29.


24.) Ceci F, Cangiano C, Cairella M, Cascino A, Del Ben M, Muscaritoli M, Sibilia L, Rossi Fanelli F. The effects of oral 5-hydroxytryptophan administration on feeding behavior in obese adult female subjects. J Neural Transm. 1989;76(2):109-17.

25.) Cangiano C, Laviano A, Del Ben M, Preziosa I, Angelico F, Cascino A, Rossi-Fanelli F. Effects of oral 5-hydroxy-tryptophan on energy intake and macronutrient selection in non-insulin dependent diabetic patients.Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1998 Jul;22(7):648-54.

26.) Cangiano C, Ceci F, Cascino A, Del Ben M, Laviano A, Muscaritoli M, Antonucci F, Rossi-Fanelli F.Eating behavior and adherence to dietary prescriptions in obese adult subjects treated with 5-hydroxytryptophan. Am J Clin Nutr. 1992 Nov;56(5):863-7.

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