Skip to main content

5HTP for Depression and Weight Loss

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

Rebecca loves sharing what she knows about alternative medicine, health, frugal living, fun, animals, and how to live a better life!


Depression stinks.

Depression stinks.

Other supplements to consider!

  • Garlic health benefits
    Many ailments can be healed with its use. Another one of nature’s little miracles, “Eat onions in March and garlic in May, Then the rest of the year, your doctor can play”
  • How to lose weight without dieting and working out
    Here are some tips on how to shed pounds without much effort. Some healthy, some not, try these at your own risk. You don't have to diet or work out to lose weight.

What is 5HTP?

Have you ever heard of 5HTP? Its fancy name is Hydroxytryptophan, and it is a naturally occurring amino acid within your body.

You can take 5HTP in supplement form, easily found at local retailers for as little as $5 USD. 5HTP is derived from the seed of the African Griffonia Simplicifolia plant, and its primarily used to treat depression, anxiety and help promote weight loss, by suppressing the appetite.

5HTP may or may not work for you, but it’s a good alternative before trying heavy prescription anti-depressants, and most people love the benefit of it helping shed some extra pounds.

Depression is no fun!

Everyone gets a case of the blues from time to time, but when the blues last 2 weeks or more, you’re depressed. Depression is not fun at all. Depending on how depressed you are, all sorts of things can happen to your mind and body. You can be anxious, depressed, over or under eat, suffer from headaches and other mysterious pains, and everything feels like a chore. Sometimes when depression is severe, it’s hard, or close to impossible to find the needed motivation to even get out of bed, take a shower among other things. We all get depressed at some point in life, and unless it is from grief or PTSD, 5HTP can usually help.

Are you depressed?

  • Mental Health Screen | Mental Health America
    How's Your Mood? Taking a screening test is one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition. The M3 screening test on this site is completely anonymous and confidential. The 3 Minut

What may be some red flags that you’re suffering from depression?

  • Constant tiredness, fatigue and decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Problems remembering things or focusing on tasks
  • Problems with decision making
  • Over eating
  • Under eating
  • Wanting to sleep all the time
  • Racing thoughts
  • Hopelessness
  • Feeling "empty"
  • Feeling sad and unhappy
  • Irritability or frustration
  • Loss of interest in things you used to love
  • Decreased sex drive, or none at all
  • Feeling anxious
  • Feeling guilty



How 5HTP can help

5HTP raises serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin regulates mood and simply put, the higher the levels, the happier you will feel. By taking 5HTP we are actually providing more resources for the brain to produce serotonin, in turn boosting serotonin levels, which can help alleviate depression, anxiety and suppress your appetite. Average weight loss when taking 5HTP is 2.5-10 lbs!

It’s been noted that 5-HTP can be as effective as St. John’s Wort and even prescribed anti-depressants such as Prozac and many others.

Depression and low moods can result in binge-eating or emotional eating (often a subconscious craving for carbs which make it easier for the brain to absorb Tryptophan – which it converts into 5HTP, boosting serotonin levels). By taking 5HTP supplements, you can stop the cravings and in turn help your body lose weight. It also acts as a natural appetite suppressant.

5HTP also helps alleviate headaches. The causes of headaches are not always known, we do know that neurotransmitters are involved. And serotonin plays an essential role in brain chemistry; low levels can cause an array of symptoms including chronic tension-type headaches and migraines. Taking 5-HTP to boost serotonin is therefore thought to give relief to a painful headache. Drink plenty of water and always try to be fully hydrated this also helps relieve headache pains and symptoms.

Fibromyalgia refers mainly to chronic widespread pain, though it is also associated with other symptoms and conditions including – fatigue, sleep disturbances, and depression. 5HTP helps alleviate all of these symptoms. 5-HTP can, therefore, be used to ease Fibromyalgia, because it alleviates pain and anxiety associated with it.

It also raises melatonin levels in the brain (the neurotransmitter that induces sleep), so it can effectively reset your natural sleep cycle and act as a sleep aid – helping you conquer insomnia and other sleep disturbances.

How should 5HTP be taken?

If you are just beginning to supplement with 5-HTP, start by taking 50 mg, three times a day for the first two weeks, in 8-hour intervals. Taking 5HTP on an empty stomach is no problem, although sometimes 5HTP can cause stomach upset and diarrhea. If you are taking 5HTP specifically for weight loss, take 50 mg 30 minutes before each meal, up to 3x a day.

Scroll to Continue

After taking 5HTP for two weeks, you should evaluate its effectiveness and perhaps increase the dose if it is not effective, by discussing the progress with a doctor. A common dose for depression is 150 mg doses taken three times a day in 50 mg doses, or 150 mg a day one time. It's not recommended to exceed 300 mg a day.

Although 5-HTP is considered safe, it can have adverse interactions with some medications. DO NOT take 5-HTP supplements while on prescription SSRI depression medications such as citalopram, escitalopram, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, fluoxetine or sertraline. This can create a condition called "serotonin syndrome" caused by too much serotonin in your brain and can become a VERY SERIOUS condition. This can lead to high blood pressure, hot flashes, psychological changes, and even coma. You should also not take 5-HTP and the painkiller Tramadol together because Tramadol exhibits some SSRI activity and combining the two can result in serotonin syndrome as well.

When to call a doctor

5HTP can improve your mental and physical well-being naturally.

If you try 5HTP without notable improvement within 2 weeks or have thoughts of suicide, talk to your doctor. Depression is a serious condition, but there is hope, and you can return to a happy mental state.

It’s also always advisable to talk to your primary healthcare provider before starting any supplements, especially to verify any drug interactions with other medications you may be taking and to confirm your current state of physical health.

© 2013 Rebecca


Sheila A Myers from Oregon on September 05, 2019:

Thank you for the information about 5htp! I'm going to try it for sure.

Rebecca (author) from USA on October 13, 2018:


Thanks for your comment. Look into B12 and B3 (you will need to do your own research, sadly most doctors don't know how important this is). Also Magnesium. I hope those may help you.

Sistien on October 12, 2018:

I have always been depressed since childhood. It never stops I've tried everything and5-http. Now what?

Rebecca (author) from USA on June 19, 2013:

I was diagnosed clinically depressed 15 years ago. It's a long road. I can't take 5htp anymore. Not strong enough. lol it does help people I know though, a lot. thanks for your comment :)

Dianna Mendez on June 19, 2013:

Interesting information on this aid for depression. I am happy I do not have this problem, but can pass it on to others for their use.

Related Articles