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5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is best classified as a “nootropic” or brain-boosting compound. Its benefits can be useful for numerous goals, including enhancing sleep, increasing mood, and lowering one’s appetite.

What it does

5-HTP is an incredibly well-studied compound that has shown it is extremely effective in humans. Numerous studies have found it capable of reducing ones appetite and lowering body weight[1][2][3], as well as its primary benefit of increasing serotonin[4] which has been shown to increase mood, as well as reduce symptoms of insomnia and depression.

How it works

5-HTP exerts its benefits through increasing the neurotransmitter known as serotonin. This downstream metabolite of the essential amino acid l-tryptophan is capable of bypassing the blood-brain barrier and increasing production of serotonin extremely effectively. Use of 5-HTP for serotonin production is more beneficial than simply taking tryptophan due to 5-HTP bypassing the tryptophan hydroxylase enzyme which is the rate-limiting factor in serotonin production. Simply put, dosing 5-HTP cuts out the middleman and allows your brain to maximize serotonin production.


5-HTP dosing can vary widely depending on specific uses. For mood enhancement, depression relief, and appetite reduction, a dose of 150-300mg/day split into 2-3 doses per day is suggested. For the relief of insomnia, a higher dose of 300-500mg taken 30-60 minutes before bed will yield optimal results.