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, as well as its primary benefit of increasing serotonin 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.