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5 HTP Feedback and Side Effects

I've taken 5-HTP for three nights now, 100mg, mostly for insomnia & mild depression. Each night, with increasing intensity, I have been "wired" and unable to sleep, tachycardia (which lasted until after breakfast on day 3) and diarrhea for 3 days.I am not taking it with any other medication.

Posted by: at November 18, 2004 4:12 PM

I take 50 mgs of 5htp a day. It helps me but I am worried because I seem to have stopped my period and that leads me to bloating. Can anyone give me a clue as to what is going on?

Posted by: Carol at December 30, 2004 11:31 PM

I had been taking St. John's Wort (300mg 3xday) for about 2 months with no apparent lifting of my depression or other side effects. I began taking 5-htp along with the SJW about 2 weeks ago at a dosage of 150 mg. a day (2 in the am, and 1 before bed). I am a 130lb. female. This dosage and combo was recommended by a popular physician and author named Michael Murray, who appears to have studied natural health a great deal. I felt a definite shift within just a few days...5-htp is considered a more "fast-acting" supplement.

I have been suffering from pretty intense depression (situational) for several months. I have felt despair, fatigued, dark, and heavy. A quite frightening experience in some ways...there is the fear that it won't lift. There is a much needed time to go within and honor the seasons of one's heart; however, I was beginning to feel that I needed a little boost to get me through the process.

The shift from the 5-htp felt like a lifting, and a lightness coming through. For one of the first times in months, I found myself smiling, laughing, and feeling better. It felt really nice. I have noticed an over-stimulated feeling though...a little too much "vroom" - sort of anxietal and a little "edgey". There have been a couple of nights where I was a little too wired to sleep.

I was feeling dedicated to staying at the original dosage for at least a few weeks; however, I have cut back to just 100mg. in the am. along with the SJW. I am not sure if the revved-up feeling will subside a bit with use, it may; though I want to be careful and not over medicate. SJW apparently acts as a mild SSRI; whereas from what I have read, 5-htp is not an SSRI, but supposedly facilitates the creation of more serotonin.

So, I will continue to experiment with it for now. I am considering cutting back or stopping the SJW to see what effect that may have. It can be a risky business, whether prescription meds or supplements...I am just going to continue doing research, try to make informed, responsible choices, and listen to my body.

Also, it is recommended that B-6 is taken with 5-htp for absorbtion.

Best wishes to anyone who reads this...don't give up.

Posted by: Jennifer at February 17, 2005 2:07 PM

5-Htp is great. I have been using it for about four months now, three of which I have been unemployed and unable to find a job in my chosen field (television production). In the dark of winter. I should be deeply, darkly depressed.
I'm not. I've directed a commercial and am working on a documentary on one of my favorite bands; both projects were self-initiated. Last time I was unemployed, I couldn't even motivate myself out of bed!
The only thing we have to watch out for is FDA regulation. I suggest we keep 5HTP out of the lime light; if drug companies find out that it is a cheaper, safer alternative to SSRIs, they will probably outlaw it.

Posted by: Michael at March 25, 2005 10:07 PM

Worked great for the first week or so. Much calmer and eat significantly less. Then the problems started: intestinal upset and diarrhea, compulsive shaving, large red spot on my penis. These days even 50mg taken once triggers all the negative symptoms with none of the positive ones.

Posted by: Rob at April 14, 2005 12:23 PM

5-HTP has worked great for me. I take 50mg in the morning and I can feel a difference in my mood as well as my appetite. I took it to control appetite and feel that it prevents me from getting that extreme hunger (the kind that forces you to invade the fridge). Plus- my energy level doesn't drop to a lithargic level. I would recommend it as an alternative to all the diet pills out there, ephedra, etc. and to all the anti-depressants too. It's natural and worth a try. I have read it is best to stay under a 100mg dose to avoid any side effects.

Posted by: Lynn at April 18, 2005 5:36 PM

I started on 5-htp for anxiety/panic attacks 2 days ago. I am experiencing all the negative side effects I experienced when I tried zoloft, dry mouth, diarrhea, heart palpitations, insomnia. I'm going to stop the 5-htp and see if these problems ease back to where they were before commencement of 5-htp. (p.s. zoloft is evil - felt like I was going to die)

Posted by: the_dude at May 4, 2005 6:03 PM

i tried taking 5htp was feeling a little depressed and boy i felt worse on this then off i had a fuzzy head all the time and gave me severe insomnia which i still have from this pill. went off after 2 weeks.

Posted by: tracey at June 14, 2005 9:53 AM

5 HTP works great for me to treat depression. However, maybe not for you. Please check with your Doc before suspending Rx med's if you are taking them presently for depression or bipolar symtoms.

I strongly recommend 5 HTP for symptoms of depression.

Posted by: lhiggins at June 30, 2005 6:49 PM

I started taking a teaspoon of 5HTP & tryptophan for a few days & wound up having an adverse reaction. My heart was racing, my adrenaline was rushing into my bloodstream which made me feel very flushed & my mind was foggy. Stopping it today. Should go away quickly, per my doctor...

Posted by: Debra Shultz at August 1, 2005 1:11 PM

I've used 5HTP for several weeks. At first it seemed to help my anxiety and insomnia, but after the first two or three days my anxiety got much worse. Even lunesta couldn't keep me alseep for more than 2.5 hours. I quit taking the 5HTP and noticed a decrease in the anxiety although still there.

Posted by: Trisha at August 11, 2005 9:13 AM

I have taken 5 HTP off and on for months. I have severe bouts of depression, so I was taking the "clinical" dosage. The mood change for me was phenomenal..I felt great while I was taking it. Any more, however, when I start trying to take it again, I get sick. I took some three hours ago and am vomiting and feel really out of it. I wonder if there is some sort of cumulative side effect..?

Posted by: Janet at September 27, 2005 12:33 PM

For those wondering what a large dose is, some of the newest studies have shown that as little as 10 – 25 mg per day or a couple of times a day, is enough.
In Canada we can easily purchase 5-HTP standardized to contain 5% which is a 25mg pill. We can also purchase it standardized to 10% equalling a 50 mg pill.
What I have gathered from reading suggestions of starting off with 25mg a day, it says you may need to crack a pill in half – so I am assuming it is harder to find 25 mg pills or low dose pills in some places.
I have also read that the most recent studies have found there is a very narrow window of how much drug one needs in their system to work efficiently within each individual and it substantially varies among each person. Awe, the loveliness of being an individual.
The only way to find out how much YOU should be taking is by starting off with the low dose of 25mg in the morning and again at night. Take this for four days and then increase to 50. Again four days later, increase to 75.
You may find that before you even reach the 75mg mark, you have found what works. Many, many people are taking too much.
If you are incurring upset stomach, nausea, or other side effects, (after the first few days) then you are probably over dosing yourself. Cut the amount back even if it means braking a pill in half. If after some time, you feel the dose is not working well enough, you can always increase it again by another 25mg.
I can’t even imagine taking 300mg at one time, let along several times a day. Just the thought of it makes my stomach go queasy.
They have also read that research is showing there is no difference in taking high doses 1,200mg a day or taking (what they THEN called low doses) 300mg a day in the effectiveness of the supplement. The difference that was noted was side effects – NOT effectiveness. So if you are feeling bad, try cutting back. Take some time to investigate this. Don’t just take my word for it.

Posted by: C... at September 28, 2005 3:46 PM

does any one know how long to stay on 5htp. I am on 300 mg daily and have been for over 6 months. I often have diareha. any advice?

Posted by: mana at October 4, 2005 12:51 AM

I love 5 HTP. About 6 yeas ago I had a nervous breakdown, and had been on Celexa,Wellbutrin and then Effexor. I had so many side effects- Celexa= weight gain, Wellbutrin=suicidal thoughts, and effexor=high blood pressure, and terrible withdrawls. I also was using various prescription sleep aids.

I went on 5 HTP about a year ago, and it has balanced my moods,calmed my anxiety attacks, and helped me sleep. I Use no prescription meds at all. For the summer I was taking 100 mgs at night, but now with winter and SAD coming on, I have upped it to 200 mgs before bed.

At first I purchased it from the local health food co_op at $25 per bottle, but now I get it at Walmart for $8 per same bottle. Believe me, I have begun to stockpile it!!

Posted by: Elizabeth R. at October 4, 2005 3:28 AM

I take Paxil for depression yet is only about 50% effective. I am wondering whether adding 5 HTP will provide more serotonin for the Paxil to keep in my system. I am also wondering if it would be safe to do this.

Posted by: carlo at October 28, 2005 4:45 PM

My son has Tourette's Syndrome with accompanied anxiety. I have given him 50 mg of 5-HTP once a day. It started to work within a few days. He was calmer and his tics were barely noticable. After consistently being on it for a month I could notice a difference in him if I stopped it for a day or two. He would begin to tic again. It worked great for us.

Posted by: at November 6, 2005 2:10 PM

I lost my job. I have no women in my life right now. Im 27 years old. I have no income, and may have to move in with my parents again. At least i have internets for the time being.

oh, and i just took a lunesta to help me sleep since i cant sleep more than 2 hrs at a time while on tylenol pm's or any other over the counter medicine. this lunesta really makes my mouth taste like a box of metal. Anyone experience that side effect?

Im crashing hard this week since i've been addicted to vicodin for the past 3 years, and have not been taking this week, and have just lost my job. So, there's my story.

I'll get thru it, things will turn out fine, but where do i start??

Posted by: Jeffery at November 7, 2005 11:25 PM

I have suffered from very minor depression and Anxiety. I went to a doctor for the first time a few months ago and tried Zoloft. The first few days were great, but the side affect were too great.

A relative who is an internal medicine MD say 90% of the patients he treats for depression that say they want to try natural alternatives, return to him after about 90 days. As people who try it find they do not work.

About a month ago I began using L- Glutamine and 5-HTP and quite frankly I don't feel any side affects and have not suffered Anxiety as I had two years prior. My sleep is definately much better. Although I have heard many good stories here, the jury is still out for me. I'm not sure.

The problem I have is that because I only recently identified the problem, it maybe possible that I am no able to better recognize and channel m energies in a positive direction.

If people have used anti-depressants/Anxiety medication and have sucessfully switch to 5 HTP for more severe cases, I would like to know.

I have also been told St John's wort was shown in a double blind study January of this year was shown to be actually worse than a placebo. And, as each of the natural alternatives fail, another one takes its place.

I take 5 HTP in the morning or afternoon with a meal. I cannot sleep if I take it before I go to bed. I do know it helps my sleep. And getting sleep is one of the key for me in staying on an even keel. I will return in a few months and let you know if I have changed my mind.

Posted by: Ron at November 27, 2005 11:03 AM

I have been taking 50 mg of 5HTP at bedtime every day and my periods have increased to every two weeks. Does anyone know why? I have stopped the medicine.

Posted by: at December 27, 2005 11:17 AM

I have been taking 5 htp for a few days now and have not noticed any difference. I went off celexa 11/05 because of difficulty staying awake and sexual side effects. I was on zoloft for 2 months and noticed visual changes as well as sexual side effects. I tried Sam e for 2 weeks and noticed a "numbing sensation". I was showing more aggressive behavior and felt like I was on the inside looking out. 3 days after dc'ing sam e, I went into a chemical withdrawl and severe depression. I don't know if it was the Zoloft or the sam e. Then I took 5 htp. I'm concerned about the usual ssri side effects as well as the long term affect of using this supplement. Anyone have any stories? Thanks Rose

Posted by: rose at January 18, 2006 6:12 PM

5 HTP works for me! Despite a few pimples, it keeps me feeling calm and happy. I've been sleeping like a log and I've stopped overeating. Way better effect than SSRI's

Posted by: Vicki L. Davis at February 18, 2006 7:37 PM

I have been depressed on and off for over 15 years - there is family history of depression. Also birth of my daughter two years ago brought on a bout of depression and every winter I go downhill with SAD. I hate SSRIs, they all make me feel anxious and terrible and withdawal symptoms are not worth the small benefit I get from taking them.

I started 5-HTP a week ago and find if I take it while up and about I get very wired, but if I take it just before bed with a pint of water I get to sleep much more quickly than normal (within half hour as opposed to normal of 3 hours tossing and turning). I feel a lot more zesty through the day, but I feel like this when I am not depressed, so am hoping it's a sign of 5-HTP working as an anti-depressant and not just a side effect. Time will tell. I think my dosage may be too high having read some responses here - I take 2 50mg at bedtime. I'm going to drop to 1 capsule tonight and see how it goes on that. I'm having a bit of diarrhoea today (5 doses) and my appetite is really quite suppressed which is fab as normally I pig out constantly when depressed!

Posted by: Rhona at March 22, 2006 10:09 AM

I was on antidepressants with terrible effect. 5htp and st johns wort I also tried and they produced less side effects. I now take no such remedies and feel really good and it is thanks to 5htp and what I found out by reading about 5htp.

I found that 5htp can actually be produced naturally in the body (should be)and that 5htp is what the body makes serotonin with (the happy chemical in the brain) ...anyway in order for the body to produce 5htp it needs to intake the essentail amino acid, found in protein called tryptophan.

I found out that it is no wonder I had been depressed and had so many problems the last 10 years since I became a vegetarian and cut meat out my diet and didnt proeprly take care of my new diet. I was getting no tryptophan hardly so i had no chance of producing serotonin or 5htp in my body.

So anyone who is reading this who is depressed, please check your diet out and see if you are getting enough trytophan and carbohydrates (carbs transport the trytophan to the brain for it the 5htp and serotonin to be made) . Make sure ou are getting it...less red meat, turkey is good if you eat meat, for me as a veggie i have found seeds and nuts, hemp seeds especially and you can get a hemp protein powder to add to a drink that contains loads of trytophan.

Otherwise dairy products, 3 glasses of milk a day (organic if poss) 3.5mg of trytophan is the rda needed to make 5htp in your body.

Its in bananas too, mash with milk, very nice.

But take some moths to totally make your diet match the rdas of everything so that your body can itself produce these chemicals like 5htp , for me who was a lost cause believe me, it has worked wonders and i hope that helps someone else too.

Posted by: Clare at April 1, 2006 4:10 PM

I wanted to add to what i posted just now, that in order for any of these supplements like 5htp to be effective there are so many interactions and thinsg between different chemicals going on, you only have to be deficient in 1 nutrient (and loads of people are whatever their size) and it messes up the entire balance and the body cant work correctly to produce such things as 5htp or even if you add it in a supplement it cant work proeprly because of some deficiency elsewhere.

So if nothing else take a multi vit daily, magnesium is necessary for all metabolising, loads of people are deficient unknowingly. No dr ever asked me about my diet , no nutrient test ever done on my blood over years of mental health issues and now my diet is fixed..so am i.

Posted by: Clare at April 1, 2006 4:19 PM

nb: TYPO for moths read months...
"But take some moths to totally make your diet match the rdas of everything"

I would hate to think of anyone eating moths because of my typo :s

Posted by: Clare at April 1, 2006 4:22 PM

5-HTP is terrific. It works quickly, and there are no side effects. I would recommend this as the first thing you try, before pharmaceuticals. I also have tried St. John's Wort but noticed nothing. There is a terrific book on the amino acids, "Depression Free for Life," by Gabriel Cousens. The hope the aminos and his book inspire are truly exhilarating.

Posted by: at April 16, 2006 12:23 AM


Posted by: BARB at May 3, 2006 1:05 PM


Posted by: BARB at May 3, 2006 1:09 PM

I have taken 5HTP in the past and had very good results. I had originally started by taking 100mg at bedtime, which I would not recommend if one wants to sleep. As this would often cause me to not be able to sleep, I started taking it in the morning with much better results. I would definitely feel better by the time I got to work, there was a big difference just 15 minutes after taking it. I am not currently taking it regularly and when I do I don't notice much of an improvement in my mood anymore. Has anyone else had this happen where after a relatively long period of having good results, for me several years, then it no longer seems to work well?

Posted by: jim at May 5, 2006 11:43 AM

I took 5htp yesterday morning and then took a
melatonin before bed. I've taken melatonin 3 other occasions and had no side effects. But last night I could not sleep and kept waking in panic and could not get over the feeling of being
completely freaked out. Today I can still feel the panic, feels kind of like I lost that comfort feeling. I pray that this goes away, but
I would like to know if anyone else has experienced these side effects?

Posted by: Christina at May 11, 2006 11:20 PM

I started taking 5htp a few days ago. I started with 50 mg the first night. I slept okay that night. I am also taking St. Johns Wort (about 100 mg) with it.

The second night I decided to take 100 mg before bed (because I wasn't feeling any effects from 50 mg). I woke up in the middle of the night in a small panic but managed to talk myself back to sleep. But was having odd dreams all night.

I skipped the next night because of the bad dreams previously and the waking up. I thought it might need time to even out in my system.

Last night I took only 50 mg again and had the worst night. I woke up in a terrible panic and had to get up and lay on the couch and watch tv for awhile in order to calm myself enough to sleep again. :(

I'm going to skip again tonight and then only take 25 mg tomorrow. Prior to starting this I was not having panic attacks at all. I was only feeling like I was slipping into depression again and needed something to stop it.

Posted by: Bunni at May 30, 2006 11:51 AM

Been on 5-htp for two weeks now. I take 50gms each night. Notice that I fall asleep quickly and have deep sleep, although I have had a couple episodes of waking up in a panic. I'm thinking that a lower dose may be better.

I am also experiencing a rash on my leg. Not sure if it's the 5-htp or something else that I'm reacting to.

Posted by: sharon at June 12, 2006 8:59 AM


[moderator comment: I am not a doctor, but if you have excessive energy at the end of the night that may indicate that you may have too much serotonin when you go to sleep.

Tryptophan or 5HTP are both precursors to serotonin. In this instance you might be better off looking to improve your serotonin production via physical exercise, social relationships, and / or better diet. That way you should be more tired at night and should not have those anxiety issues associated with too much serotonin at night.]

Posted by: VERA at June 19, 2006 8:10 PM

If i take 10 milligrams of prozac in the am
can I take 3 mg of melatonin in the night before

Posted by: Susan E at June 29, 2006 8:18 PM

Just discovered i am bi-polar...what a bummer, but it explains a lot. Just started Lamectal and also 5-htp. Tried 100 mg to see if i tolerate the substance and the trial was positive. I take the clinical dosage of 100 mg. three times per day( but several hours before bed). I have experienced some of the best days with energy and emotional lift that I have had in over two years. Truly amazing!!The 5-htp has dramatically changed my mood, the amount of restorative sleep I get and my energy throughout the day.
I am aware though that I will need to journal to make sure that I cut back if I experience a high degree of anxiety or heart racing but for now I have no side effects and am truly thankful for several days of normality which i have not had in several years.

Posted by: Paul at June 30, 2006 4:17 AM

For the past two months I am taking 5-HTP 150 mg per day due to severe anxiety (underlying problem: depression) and nerve pain (caused by the anxiety). My progress is monitored by a naturopath. As my anxiety has increased during the past two weeks, the naturopath decreased my
5-HTP dosage to 100 mg per day.

Posted by: Jasmin at July 7, 2006 7:25 PM

I just started taking 5-HTP for severe depression with anxiety, and am almost 6 months pregnant. I am trying to be hopeful that it will work, but I am skeptical because I have tried so many antidepressants with no relief. They actually make me sicker, and increase my anxiety and feeling like I want to do something irrational like hurt myself. I broke 100mg tablet in half, so am taking about 50 at lunchtime. The first time I took it was before bed last night, and it made me unable to sleep through the night. So, I decided to try it during the day. Does anyone know how long it might take to work?

Posted by: Michelle at July 11, 2006 7:42 PM

Hi there,just after a bit of advise really. I've read through the posting above and I'm still not sure if the 5HTP is going to work for me. Basically, I'm a 28 yr old female with a history of depression. I've taken prescriptive medication - Fluoxetine for a couple of years - however, I've been off medication since March 2006 (a great acheivement). Unfortunately, I've piled on lots of weight!! (which the medical profession don't tell you about when taking these drug!!) I've gone from a healthy 8 stone to over 10 stone and it is making me absolutely miserable. I suffer with mood swings and have done for a months (especially since coming off the tablets).

I've tried all sorts of things to loose weight and improve my balance. I've got a reasonable diet, I got to the gym, I have a supportive family, I've had anti-obseity drugs and I've had hypnotherapy... nothing!

I don't want to become hooked on anything and I don't want the pain of the come down from anti-depressant remedies.

So I suppose the question should I give it a good and if so, for how long? Or, is there something else I should look at?
Many thanks

Posted by: Michelle at July 31, 2006 6:46 AM

i was gonna start on 50mg. of 5htp tonight before bed tonight as recomended, but with the amount of anxiety i already have im afraid to after everything i just read.im also depressed. this was like my last hope. is there any hope for me?

Posted by: erika at August 2, 2006 10:56 PM

Just started taking 1/2 of a 50 mg capsule of htp - my head feels numb and my tongue feels "tasteless" I feel very calm but dont like the head feeling - similar to starting prozac.

Posted by: kris at August 3, 2006 12:43 PM

Hi there,
Can 5-HTP cause numbness? I hear that it helps numbness. The reason I am asking is because, first I was taking Trazadone, and I became numb. Then I went off it and started taking 5-HTP, I am still numb. I had three MRI'S and everything seems fine. Maybe the increased seratonin is causing my numbness. Please advise, I am desperate. Thanks for your time, Cathy Resnick

Posted by: Cathy at August 8, 2006 3:05 AM

I have been taking 5htp on and off for two or three weeks. So far it has worked very well. I sleep like a baby and rarely feel negative, worried, and my self esteem is very high. I have never taken any anti-depressants, but needed something. I found an article on NewsTarget.com:

Achieve optimum mental health by supplementing deficient brain chemicals instead of resorting to dangerous antidepressant drugs

I am certainly a type one. As of today the only side effect I have encountered is constipation. I eat a lot of fiber and I am used to going many times a day. Right now my frequency is off. Perhaps my body is just getting used to it. In addition, my vision may or may not be getting blurry. I plan on trying it a little longer and advising my doctor of my use asap. Hope this helps.

Posted by: hitechh8 at August 30, 2006 7:56 PM

I am on 50mg of Amitriptylne, could I increase it to 100mg

Posted by: Anna King at September 1, 2006 12:10 AM

I have experimented with 5htp for depression and had great results at a low dose of 50mg per day. Through research, I found this and a healthy diet really works!

I do realize that many people are on anti-depressant medication without knowing the real reason they are so sad in the first place. While medication can help increase levels of seretonin, there are often many adverse side effects. There often lies a deeper reason for depression that most do not examine. A pill is not always the answer.

In my experience, I had to deeply examine my own life to see what was bringing me down. I found journalling and talking to a close friend to be tremendously helpful in revealing my blocks. There is so much pressure in society to have career success, a family and wealth, all by the time you are 25-30, and if you do not fit into this group, then you may feel "out of the loop." We are all individuals on a path and shouldn't feel the need to conform, or to have "things" to make us happy.

I learned that health and happiness is a choice that I have to make every morning. I try to eat whole foods, limiting processed food and anything artifical. (I even discovered that Spenda was a major cause of my depression) I also try to exercise everyday, even if it's just a walk around the neighborhood. Since adding 5-htp, I feel better and sleep well too.

Doctors are still learning about depression and new medications are coming out all the time. The best way to feel better can be to start getting healthy in every way possible first before looking to a pill to fix it. Drug companies have a strong agenda to follow and this sometimes means these anti depressant drugs have not been extensively tested.

Try a low dose of a natural supplement like 5htp or St John's Wart, in addition to examining personal issues.

Posted by: Denise at September 4, 2006 9:01 PM

I have experimented with 5htp for depression and had great results at a low dose of 50mg per day. Through research, I found this and a healthy diet really works!

I do realize that many people are on anti-depressant medication without knowing the real reason they are so sad in the first place. While medication can help increase levels of seretonin, there are often many adverse side effects. There often lies a deeper reason for depression that most do not examine. A pill is not always the answer.

In my experience, I had to deeply examine my own life to see what was bringing me down. I found journalling and talking to a close friend to be tremendously helpful in revealing my blocks. There is so much pressure in society to have career success, a family and wealth, all by the time you are 25-30, and if you do not fit into this group, then you may feel "out of the loop." We are all individuals on a path and shouldn't feel the need to conform, or to have "things" to make us happy.

I learned that health and happiness is a choice that I have to make every morning. I try to eat whole foods, limiting processed food and anything artifical. (I even discovered that Spenda was a major cause of my depression) I also try to exercise everyday, even if it's just a walk around the neighborhood. Since adding 5-htp, I feel better and sleep well too.

Doctors are still learning about depression and new medications are coming out all the time. The best way to feel better can be to start getting healthy in every way possible first before looking to a pill to fix it. Drug companies have a strong agenda to follow and this sometimes means these anti depressant drugs have not been extensively tested.

Try a low dose of a natural supplement like 5htp or St John's Wart, in addition to examining personal issues.

Posted by: Denise at September 4, 2006 9:01 PM

I have experimented with 5htp for depression and had great results at a low dose of 50mg per day. Through research, I found this and a healthy diet really works!

I do realize that many people are on anti-depressant medication without knowing the real reason they are so sad in the first place. While medication can help increase levels of seretonin, there are often many adverse side effects. There often lies a deeper reason for depression that most do not examine. A pill is not always the answer.

In my experience, I had to deeply examine my own life to see what was bringing me down. I found journalling and talking to a close friend to be tremendously helpful in revealing my blocks. There is so much pressure in society to have career success, a family and wealth, all by the time you are 25-30, and if you do not fit into this group, then you may feel "out of the loop." We are all individuals on a path and shouldn't feel the need to conform, or to have "things" to make us happy.

I learned that health and happiness is a choice that I have to make every morning. I try to eat whole foods, limiting processed food and anything artifical. (I even discovered that Spenda was a major cause of my depression) I also try to exercise everyday, even if it's just a walk around the neighborhood. Since adding 5-htp, I feel better and sleep well too.

Doctors are still learning about depression and new medications are coming out all the time. The best way to feel better can be to start getting healthy in every way possible first before looking to a pill to fix it. Drug companies have a strong agenda to follow and this sometimes means these anti depressant drugs have not been extensively tested.

Try a low dose of a natural supplement like 5htp or St John's Wart, in addition to examining personal issues.

Posted by: Denise at September 4, 2006 9:01 PM

1200 mgs. of 5htp each day...and feeling totally anxious! too much...can it cause such anxiety?

Posted by: Holly at September 10, 2006 7:56 PM

I am a 47 year old female. In the early 90's I saw a psychologist and was diagnosed with mild Adjustment Disorder. CBT was wonderful. A few years subsequent I had our son. Then about a year later, I started having pre-menopausal symptoms. Complicating that, I had some very rocky things happen in my life with finances, and experienced a near-miss on a passenger jet. I have had intense mood swings, anxiety and depression, extreme high and then extreme low libido; 2 panic attacks.

My physician recently prescribed Lexapro for me. My mother has been on anti-depressant meds for almost 40 years without therapy, and all it's done for her is stabilized her reactions to things - not made her thought process better. I don't like the idea of leaning on meds for a quick fix to make things go away (they don't). Normally, I'm a big fan of CBT - but because of my finances I can't afford to see a psycholgist at $175 for 45 minutes (going rate here) every week right now, so I've had to turn to other means until I can afford it again.

After reading up on Lexapro - I've decided not to take it even for a short duration. I don't like what I see. It seems for every one good review there are at least 5 bad ones (some pretty scary too). So I decided to look into natural remedies. After reading about 5-HTP, I decided to try it.

Since this past weekend, I've taken 25mg (capsule broken in half) twice a day with a combination multi-vitamin/mineral/herbal designed for menopausal women. So far after 4 days I can tell you there's been a remarkable difference in how I feel. My financial situation hasn't gone away; but I can tell you that I face the day much better, and feel "lifted", and have more positive energy. I can still feel sad, but, it doesn't take me into the adreneline crash that it did for the past few years whenever I faced the issues of the day. I am also sleeping better, and haven't woken up in an adreneline rush/panic as I used to almost every night. I am also beginning to add 1 day of Yoga and will exercise at least 3 other days a week (which I used to do).

So far I like the 5-HTP. It may be working in combination with the strong B vitamin content in the multi-meopausal I take every day. If it is, it's a good combination.

I have seen that L-Tryptophan has a possible issue with liver functioning. 5-HTP, if taken in smaller doses is apparently OK. They suggest you do 50mg per day for a month with one week off to avoid any liver issues. So this is what I'll try to do.

If you try 5-HTP, do it in the smaller doses first - like 25mg twice a day. I think it's working for me.

I will write back in a couple of weeks to see if there's any change for better or worse.

Good luck in your decisions.

Posted by: nextstep at September 13, 2006 10:08 AM

i've only been taking 50mg 5htp for about a week or so. the first night i was a little edgy, but since then pretty good. i have been somewhat depressed for about a year and then surgery and a bad break-up put me into the pit of despair. my dr. said to up the dosage if i felt like i needed to, i don't think i will. one thing that really has helped is a book called "Feeling Good - the New Mood Therapy" by Dr. David Burns...that helped alot. I highly recommend it to all of you. Good luck.

Posted by: annette at September 14, 2006 8:05 PM

last week athief stole us amoney and some gold to our house and iam amedical student and have agastritis and the last 2 months iwas obsesiveness about adisease so please ieat afood wich causes me to vomit and now iam feeling depresed

Posted by: hasam at September 21, 2006 3:45 AM

I wrote the post on September 13.

The 5-HTP is working. It's not a cure, but it is really helping. I still wake up at night - but can get back to sleep much better and faster. I will also say that I'm going through a particularly tough financial time again - but I'm not getting nearly the amount of sickening and incapacitating adreneline hits to my stomach that kept coming over me in waves for so long. I still cry easily, but I'm better able to control it and don't cry as long.

Again I'm on 25 mg 2x per day. I think the combination of that plus my B-enriched vitamin is definitely helping. My biggest issue right now is that I'm not particularly motivated to clean the house ;)

I still want to get back into therapy, but, for now, this is a very acceptable alternative keeping my depression and anxiety in check.

Posted by: nextstep at September 21, 2006 9:53 AM

Hello there everybody....Great to read everyones comments...Wondered if someone could help me out!...I stopped taking Prozac 3 weeks ago now, when will I be able to start taking the 5HTP supplement?...Thankyou so much...Cheers...Jimmy

Posted by: Jimmy at September 26, 2006 12:12 PM

I wrote the posts on 9/13 & 9/21

I've taken 5-HTP for almost a month now. It has helped. Again - it hasn't cured me by any means - but I would tell you that I am sleeping much better, and, I no longer get the anxiety pangs of adreneline that I used to.

For me, this seems to have been a "drug" that has addressed anxiety more than depression, and it has addressed the anxiety well. I still feel like it hasn't addressed mood swings as much as I would want.

I'm due for a blood test, and if my liver functioning is good - I may experiment with upping the dosage.

Posted by: nextstep at October 4, 2006 9:50 AM

Jimmy - I don't see why you couldn't start 5-HTP after stopping Prozac in early September ... but ... you might want to do some reasearch to make sure that's enough time; I'm not an expert by any means, so, it would be a good thing to check out further.

Posted by: at October 4, 2006 9:52 AM

I take 20 mg of 5-htp before bedtime. It has helped very much with my work anxiety and depression. The only side effects are it makes me a little nauseous in the morning, I wake up thirsty, and my dreams are more vivid (which is a positive side effect, I like it).

Posted by: at October 26, 2006 5:44 PM

I've been taking 5-htp for about 3 months and I love it. My depression is gone within 3 days of starting it.

However, I am NOT able to take it at night; it keeps me awake, and if I take it first thing in the morning I am drowsy all day. After experimenting I take 50 mg once a day at noon. I am pleasantly tired by 10pm, sleep great all the way through the night, and feel energized the next morning.

My advise is to start with a small dose and work your way up if its not effective. But do give your body/brain time to adapt before upping the dose immediately. It takes my body about 3 days to fully metabolize it.

Also, play with the times you take it. If it energizes you before bed, well, then take it in the morning when you probably need the energy! Then see how you feel in the evening. Use your common sense, start with smaller doses, allow your body/mind time to adapt, and stop looking for immediate gratification. Treat your mind/body like a scientist and heed the results.

Posted by: at October 29, 2006 8:43 AM

Borat creator Sacha Baron Cohen reportedly signs a $42.5m (£22m) film deal starring his character Bruno...

Posted by: Wade Pantoja at November 12, 2006 7:50 PM

how long does it take for 5-htp to start working
I take a stresstabs,and one a day energy tablet
can i still take the 5-htp,and what are some drugs
you can't take while on 5-htp,

Posted by: arlene at November 16, 2006 12:33 AM

Negative 5-htp vibes? I left all drugs behind 2 years ago and i'm new to 5-htp. It's been 2 weeks, and i'm way happy. i surf everyday now.

I dont want to sound harsh, but I'm honest..

The people on this form that try htp are already on the drugs I was on over 2 years ago? They are making harsh statements about the seeds that saved mylife. This is not a chemical people! I'm confused about the people on this site, and I feel very positive for the first time in years! surfmike_88@yahoo.com I left my email because I dont like this negative site...peace

Posted by: michael at November 20, 2006 6:31 AM

Some of the problems are related to placebo effect. You know you are taking a new substance, you read up the side-effects and if you're that way inclined you'll take on the negative ones/positive ones. Expectation effects! Right now, try taking a low dose and forgetting about it ( almost impossible as you are wanting a result and are seriously self-monitoring yourself to the extent you can cause the sympoms you describe/expect/anticipate). Try not to put EVERYTHING that happens to you in this week to the drug - both positive and bad.
Remember, being on a substance does not make you immune to the real world. I get diarrhoea, sickness, malaise, nausea etc just by being alive and on NO medication!
Start low and STOP self-analysing, waiting for a result. Normal people take an analgesic for pain and sure enough the pain usually goes BUT if you ask them afterwards WHEN did the pain go they can't tell you. They expect it to work, it does, slowly and gently and only if you then ask them how their headache is do they say ' oh, it's gone now'.
If it works then when someone asks you ( or tells you you're happier) you'll know the answer - yes or no.

Posted by: steve at February 11, 2007 7:10 PM

My psychiatriast had me on HTP and various other meds for over 7 years for depression (secondary to chronic pain, benign tumor on thoracic spine - causing spinal compression, and chronic fatigue syndrome). I was always anxious, in constant daily pain, and of course, sleepless. I encountered so many side effects - unbelievable. I got a 2nd opinion; after taking anti-depressants and then 5 HTP, my psychiatrist "prescribed" 20 -25 mg of melatonin 20 minutes before bedtime (which I buy from a natural health food store) - No other meds for depression or insomnia. For over 18 months now, I sleep - even when in great pain - over 7 hours each night. The melatonin I take also has Vitamin B6 - 40mg dosage every night. What a difference! Just thought I would share this as I am able to work on the PC again, and my brain is not as fuzzy - I am not getting panic attacks and anxiousness like I was before - I still live in pain, but water therapy is helping with that as well. Good luck to all of you, Lorri

Posted by: Lorri at March 2, 2007 5:21 AM

I began taking 5 htp about three months ago(50mg 2 times a day). At first, I noticed a change for the better-decreased anxiety,positive outlook, and overall calm demeanor; After the first month, I seemed to reach a plataeu and began to wonder if the positive effects weren't all in my mind. I stopped taking it for about three weeks and definitely noticed the difference! I began feeling horribly depressed again-as if everything were the end of the world. I have since started back up again and the positive effects seemed to have returned.

Posted by: Becca at March 2, 2007 3:06 PM

Has anyone here tried SAMe for treating depression? I wonder how it compares with 5-HTP in terms of effectiveness. Studies have been very promising with SAMe, especially when used in combination with conventional anti-depressant medication. Thank you.

Posted by: Donato at March 10, 2007 1:24 PM

My doctor recently put me on 5-HTP. I weaned myself off Paxil while taking the 5-htp. I felt awesome while on both and a definite drop when completely off Paxil.

On my follow up visit we decided to switch to L-Tryptophan to see if that will help. Also, the 5-HTP gives me a lot of nausea and dizziness. Sometimes I think it is actually the remains of Paxil (I have only been completely off for a couple of weeks).

What do people to when feeling nausea from 5-HTP? I don't think mine is enteric coated so I know that would be an option to look for in the L-Tryptophan. What other steps would anyone recommend?

Posted by: Chigpot at November 16, 2007 8:38 PM

I have read through many of the comments and it seems that much of the problems experienced are due to high doses. I started with 50mg and was impatient because I was still overeating and still feeling down. After taking 100mg and going to bed I woke up not feeling very well, I cut back to 50 and I am starting to feel my appetite subdue and mood pick up. So dont give up too soon and dont over do it too soon.

Posted by: lynn at January 2, 2008 10:46 PM

I justed ordered 5HTP. Is there anything else that I should order with it? I have taken sseveral antidepressents and nothing works.

I just want to feel good about getting up in the morning and working and going through my daily acticities, and not down and not want to do anything. I like to be of help to orders and when I am depressed, I don't want to do anything but stya home.

I just wondered if I need to order anything else with the 5HTP and how long it takes to work.

Posted by: Beth May at January 16, 2008 7:07 PM

im coming off caffeine induced anxiety panic attacks and high blood pressure.....im on mettoprol 50 mg and Xanax 3mgs for now...by taking supplements/amino acide...good diet/exercise Im down to 2 mgs of Xanax in less than a month sometimes even 1.5

i would not recommend taking past 6 pm...the first few hours usually cause an excited state..i can not prove it but it seems to work for me...i take about 100 mg in the morning, 100 at noon and 100 around 4 pm..then take gaba plus which is a great product along with L theanine to sleep...

i have noticed that any amount over 300-350 cause overexcitedness and nausea/diarrhea sometimes...

best thing for mood promotion Ive found is toe at milk, bananas, beets, wholegrains in the morning but before that exercise for 20-30 min. excercise increases serotonin FAST. Then take your supplements.

Posted by: eric gajewski at January 26, 2008 10:48 PM

5-htp is 5 - Hydroxy Tryptophan, misuse can cause a serotonin storm in your brain which could cause irreversible damage. tryptophan is a precursor to serotonin! Lose bowels are a sign of this!!

Posted by: richard at February 20, 2008 7:59 PM

I face a lot of anxiety and some depression so I went to a psychologist and he recommended that I go on Adderall. I was on Adderall for several months and while Adderall was good at treating some anxiety I would check in with family and friends and to see if they could tell if I was acting different. The anxiety was down however most people said that I was acting like a "tweeker" getting things done and then going into a catatonic state. The anxiety was down and had less depression however it felt to me that it was an numbing high.

The psychologist was expensive so I wanted to see if there was more natural things out there and tried 5htp for 2 weeks now. I tried the 300mg right away as I am big person and I thought that would help. The anxiety was down, I didn't have the numbing high however the side effects are terrible. I felt nausous and felt like heart burn. I never had trouble sleeping and I would wake with panic attacks. So I am cutting down the dosage to 100mg a day and see if that helps. One week at the 100 mg level in the morning is better, I have a little nausea, eat a lot less, and less anxious than I used to be. So far so good.

Posted by: jared at February 21, 2008 7:03 PM

My son is 14 yrs old. He takes 50mg three times per day for depression. At least thats what they try to call it. I believe that he is chemically lacking in seratonin and seemed to be so since 2 months of age when he had a vaccine reaction. He has never slept or napped as a young child. What they called "night terrors" kept him up for years. We have tried several medicications although I am pretty anti pharmaceuticals. While taking an Abnormal Psych college course a year ago I studied about 5HTP and what it is and what it does. We tried it and its like NIGHT AND DAY for him. Im saying its like a Jekyl and Hyde thing when he takes it. I wish it was time released. Im looking for info on how long he should expect to take it or if its indefinite. The problem is sometimes he won't take it because its worn off and he is so nasty and uncooperative. Whats it going to be like for him as an adult? 5HTP has been a wonderful thing for him. He has had no side effects other than a smile on his face and a much nicer demeanor.

Posted by: Faye at April 16, 2008 7:34 PM

I have been taking 5-htp for about 6 weeks now and it has been a life saver. I have treatment resistant depression. Conventional meds either don't work or make me crazy. I just have one concern. I have alot of bloating but can't figure out if its caused by the 5htp or the other supplement I take... sam-e. I also, wonder how much 5htp to take. any input would be appreciated.

Posted by: stacey at May 8, 2008 5:24 PM


I have been suffering from depression for number of years, extreme tiredness and fatigue. I needed a daily sleep.

Since I was prescribed Celexa but wanted an alternative, I tried 5HTP.

My life is completely different, I am happy go lucky person, I do not need daily sleeps and have loads of energy. Wish I had tried it years ago.

Added to that I have lost about 101bs as I had gained weight through overeating and lethargy.

Would recommend it to anyone who is trying to loose weight or fighting depression. 100 mg a day is what I take.

Posted by: maggie robinson at July 20, 2008 3:37 PM

5-HTP is fantastic for me. I have a tiny dose. I break open a 100mg powder capsule and just have a quater or so every couple of days. I am amazed at the large doses some people take. My 2cents would be to start with a very low dose, and not to increase it too quickly. Give it a few days to work! Remember, more is not always better.

Posted by: mark at July 24, 2008 10:16 PM

I am thinking about starting 5-HTP, and it seems there are a lot of conflicting reactions out there. For the people who HAVE found it helpful (for depression, weight loss, sleep) what time of day do you take it? Some people seem to say its great at bedtime, others say this keeps them awake. Ay suggestions?

Posted by: beck at August 8, 2008 5:18 PM

I just finished reading this thread. It inspired me to go and actually get the 5-htp. The last 4 days have been probably the worst of my life, and sometimes I really brokedown so hard that it scared me. Crying so hard that it scared me. My anxiety is an abomination that has crippled my life. I'm 24 and I have nothing. Those of you reading this that identify with what im feeling, I want you to know I wrote this comment for you.

First of all, alot of you are taking WAY too much. In fact ONLY ONE POSTER has mentioned serotonin syndrome. I mean from what very little... I know you have to take a crapload for that, but with the dosage some of you are maintaining maybe you are ..."stuck in the storm" if you get my meaning.

100mg sounds a bit high to me, and after my initial reaction of 25mg thereabouts, I would probably never take more then 30mg of this a day. Psychiatrists give other people SSRI dosages that would put me into a "serotonin storm" I dont know about you but playing with brain chemicals seems pretty serious.

After I told my psych (a psych I got for free from the state for my problems) I told this guy pretty much everything about my anxiety and I told him how I drank a little vodka to sleep every now and then because my anxiety was literally TEARING me apart. He upped my zoloft dose to 100mg, and I proceeded to make that monthly dosage last about 3-5months.
I've never taken them ssri's daily like they say. I've had episodes where my body felt as if it were literally buzzing with useless energy. The only way I can describe it, is something like a constant shock, zap feeling that isnt intermittent it just stays. So anyway I wanted to say DONT take so much of this stuff! 3 100mg doses a day? Hello? anybody home?

It may be helpful to add that I believe smoking herb has got to have some kind of clinical link to anxiety and depression, Ive been doing it for 10 years and just recently stopped 3 days ago. It will be interesting to see what the next few days reveal. Hopefully my life and yours can return to some kind of natural order. I'll be back. nobuofan@inbox.com

Posted by: justinsane at September 10, 2008 7:13 PM

trying to find some feedback on how 5htp has worked for people with depresssion.

Posted by: carol at September 21, 2008 3:01 PM


I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia in 1990 at the age of 23. Insomnia was the main problem, Amitriptyline (generic for elavil) gave me back my life. I only took 10-25 mg. at bedtime, only side effect was slight unpleasant taste in my mouth. I was never groggy, or foggy or depressed. However, after I had a hysterectomy two months ago, it no longer has an effect even at a much higher dose. I am now trying 5htp, I get nauseas but I still only sleep 5 hrs. or less a night and I also take Restoril 30 mg. Dr. says my hormones are fine except my body has to readjust and it's been pretty tough. I am optimistic and have faith in God so no matter how zombielike I get, I know it will pass and things will get better. Be encouraged and if you have never tried Amitriptyline before, it may be the answer for you. God bless....

Posted by: Kara at January 13, 2009 2:30 AM

I am taking 40 mg of citalopram and have been on it going on 4 years now. I really want to get off of this medication. I thought about weaning off of celexa and using 5htp. I just don't know if its safe. any advice?

Posted by: dirtydeeds at February 19, 2009 2:28 PM

Numerous clinical trials have studied the efficacy of 5-HTP for treating depression. One compared 5-HTP to the antidepressant drug fluvoxamine and found 5-HTP to be equally effective. Researchers used the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and a self-assessment scale to gauge the effectiveness of the two medications. Both scales revealed a gradual reduction in depressive symptoms through time with both medications. Perhaps the most convincing evidence, however, comes from scientists who examined research from around the world on the use of 5-HTP in treating depression. One such researcher, writing in Neuropsychobiology, sums up the findings this way: "Of the 17 reviewed studies, 13 confirm that 5-HTP has true antidepressant properties."

The effective dose of 5-HTP appears to be between 50 and 500 mg daily. Used in combination with other antidepressant substances, however, the effective dose may be even lower. Research shows that some people respond better to lower doses, so I recommend beginning at the low end of the dose range and increasing as necessary. Side effects associated with therapeutic doses of 5-HTP are rare. When they do occur, they are usually limited to mild gastrointestinal complaints. Compare this to the litany of possible side effects from antidepressant drugs: sedation, fatigue, blurry vision, urine retention, constipation, palpitations, EKG changes, insomnia, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and mild to severe agitation.

It appears that 5-HTP may be one of the most helpful natural substances to be discovered in recent years. As with most treatments, the following words of caution apply: 5-HTP may not be appropriate for all types of depression and may not be compatible with all types of medication. Consultation with a health care practitioner is strongly advised.

Posted by: Canundrum at February 22, 2009 2:43 AM

Hi I started on Mirtazapine (Remeron?) 15mg at night for depression and some insomnia and didn't really get any relief, so stopped taking prescription meds and went for 5-HTP and St John's Wort. I take twice the recomended dose of SJW (40 drops of the tincture) and about 500-600mg of 5-htp daily, I feel a lot happier, no side effects and I sleep much better. I might start to cut down on the 5-HTP see if I still get the same relief.
Anybody tried Clarocet?

Love and Peace


Posted by: Graham at July 24, 2009 11:56 AM

how long does it takefor 5HTP to show an efeect. What is the best dsage to start?

Posted by: marilyn ebeling at August 16, 2009 8:42 PM

I would like some of you to try golden flax seed grind them in a coffee grinder it really helps me alot I belive it will you two 2 tbs per morring and night start out 1 tbs per day hight in fiber hope this helps i really thank it will let ne know it helps most hormones serotonin is a hormones I tell you it really helps me God I pray it help you as much as it helped me

Posted by: vickie at October 17, 2009 9:10 PM

I have just started taking 5-HTP. Two 50mg tablets, one mid morning, the other before i go to bed. The results are instant and fantastic. I have always suffered from mild depression and a low self esteem, I have had counciling but not taken prescription drugs.

Apparently the correct dose of5-HTP depends on the individual and you should try different things. Also some people do report better results at lower concentrations.It is also important that a dose of VitB6 is taken at the same time as this helps catalyse the conversion into serotonin. (usually this vitamin is also part of the tablet)

Posted by: Jim at November 4, 2009 3:48 AM

I was diagnosed with clinical depression at the age of 18 (31 years ago) and since then have taken just about every antidepressant known to man. I started off taking prothiaden (dothepian) which caused a huge weight increase then in 2007 I suffered my 4th depressive breakdown. I was admitted into a private clinic and was there for 6 weeks. My new (now old)psych put me on Effexor and I will hate him for it for the rest of my life! I suffered serotonin syndrome twice last year and was so ill I wanted to die. I was so physically ill and the mental side effects from going off it were absolutely horrendous. I was then put on another anti-d which caused serotonin syndrome again so I went through it all again!
I am now back on prothiaden after trying a few others but finding that I am living a roller coaster life with no grey at all and to be honest not much white really just the dreaded black pit!
I have taken my 1st 5-htp this evening and after reading this blog am very optimistic about how it will make me feel. Reading the words 'happy, uplifted, light, calm, high self esteem' has been wonderful and leave me feeling that maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel and it isn't a bloody train! ;o) I'd love to hear from anyone who is still taking 5-htp and can tell me how they are going and how they found taking it.
Greeting from Western Australia! teeny_bopper@live.com

Posted by: Tae at January 10, 2010 1:20 PM

Hi guys.

I used to be on Serlife and am considering going on 5htp now.

Im just concerned about some of the people on this post. Some of you are taking 1200mg a day. That's insane people. 50mg a day should be enough if it doesnt work increase it to 100mg after a week or two. It even says on the box that the reccomended dosage is 100mg anything above you should consult your doctor.

Please guys read the instructions they are there for a reason if you don't feel 5htp doesnt help don't just take a handfull go to the doc and ask him/her what will be effective for you.

It's like eating hot coals and complaining that the inside of your stomach is burning. Really

Posted by: DIm at April 4, 2010 4:37 AM

5-HTP 100 mg from a popular brand. I am a 36 yr old female.

I must be one of the very few people who have a bad reaction. One capsule gave me strong heart palpitations, nausea & maybe slight dizziness. I wasn't too far away from home when the reaction set in, so thankfully I managed to struggle home and laid down for a while. I took the capsule on an fairly empty stomach. From my reading, I suspect I had a mild serotonin reaction to 5-HTP.

I made a number of attempts at taking this, at different dosages (1/4-1/2 dosage). 25 mg seemed to be relatively safe as along as I remember to take food along with it. 50 mg may bring on the reaction described. Finally I gave up on it because if the dosage was slightly too high, I pretty much had to lay down until it goes away. Too inconvenient.

Posted by: bel at August 18, 2010 5:01 PM

I have been on 5-HTP off/on for 2 years now. I find it an incredible help with my depression battle. I react very badly to SSRIs (foggy mind, weight gain, suicidal thoughts etc.) so I sought an alternative. This stuff is incredible. I normally start feeling the positive effects within 48-72 hours, and it continues to increase for 7-10 days when it balances out and I'm at the ultimate level.

I am taking 300mg per day (100 in the morning, 100 early afternoon, and 100 before bed) and find that ideal and it is as listed on the bottle. I was experiencing some of the side effects noted on this blog with the first batch I bought which was in capsule form. I then found an enteric coated version, which dissolves in the small intestine versus the stomach, and have not had any further problems. For anyone else in Canada: The Life Brand enteric coated tablets from Shoppers Drug Mart are by far the best I have found. For those outside of Canada: look for an enteric coated version, and I all but guarantee you'll get all the benefits without the stomach upset etc.

A side tip: 5-HTP metabolises more efficiently with a normal to high level of B vitamins in your system. If you are finding that you're not getting the effects you need or expect, try taking a B-50 or B-100 complex as well, and it will give a boost to your results that is noticable (a multi-vitamin is fine too, so long as it has a decent about of B-vitamins).

Posted by: Joe at December 12, 2010 2:44 PM

I have been taking 300mg of 5-HTP for a few weeks now and love it. I take 200mg first thing in the morning, on an empty stomach, and another 100mg between 4 and 6pm. It does wonders. If you're feeling like you can't sleep, take it first thing in the morning and you'll see a marked benefit in your day, and in your sleeping.

Posted by: grimmer at February 21, 2011 5:41 PM

I have one thing to say: I love 5-HTP!

LOL. I started a site 5htpfordepression.com to document my experiences, write articles about it, and help people with a report I wrote about it. :D

I suspect some side effects may be because you have either discontinued other antidepressants within the past few months, or they have severely impacted your ability to cope with anything that raises your serotonin. The former is more likely, but if the latter seems to be true, perhaps you need to try a very low dose like 25mg every night, or just wait a few months or even years before trying it.

In my extensive research of the publications, it seems to be pretty unusual for 5-HTP to cause severe symptoms like some described below.

Posted by: Abby at April 30, 2011 3:35 PM

One more thing... I just read more of these comments, and I'm highly alarmed!

1200mg a day WILL probably cause anxiety, and possibly serotonin syndrome, a condition that can be fatal!

Natural remedies are not like store remedies. If it doesn't seem to work, you need to try lowering the dosage! Try something more like 100mg to 200mg MAX per day.

And this is why we need to educate our doctors about natural alternatives way better... so people can go to their doctor and say, "I'm taking 5-HTP, what's the standard dosage?" and get a reliable answer.

Posted by: Abby at April 30, 2011 3:37 PM

Here's a blog you might enjoy checking out. The author writes a lot about 5htp, and how it has helped him with mood, insomnia, etc.
Thanks. --Trevor

Posted by: Trevor at May 11, 2011 5:25 AM

Hi Just started 5htp and am feeling nauseated. Doctor said to take 600mg. at night. i took the 300 mg capsule and emptied some out although it probably is still too much. i am going to order a enteric capsule and see if that helps.

Posted by: aura at July 31, 2011 4:45 PM

Please try Phosphatidylserine. You can get it at health food stores or Amazon. It works great when I get chemical imbalanced depressions.

Posted by: SkippyHibbleton at October 4, 2011 4:39 AM

i had gastric bypass 2.5 years ago. i had a baby about a year ago and cant seem to loose the weight, which has thrown me into a deep depression. A friend of mine to me to try 100% HEMP. I also sever suffer from sever anxiety and insomnia. Are these capsules 100% HEMP?
My number is 765-376-8599 and email is above Please havw some one answer me on this. Thank you.

Kelly Browning

Posted by: Kelly Brownin at March 20, 2012 8:35 PM

I have started taking 5htp recently and although my angst has calmed down, I have a teary spell every afternoon. Could this be from a back-log of unhappiness which I am now releasing?

Posted by: Alison at May 25, 2012 3:58 AM

Gave me dizzy shaky vision for over two weeks with no change until after a tuesday when i saw a doctor who shone a bright light in my eyes, then it gradulaly wore off a day later, My eyes wouldnt focus smoothly on moving objects, took 4-5 weeks to fully recover, do not take htp5 these herbal medicenes are not regulated properly , i got a head rush the first time i took it never again.

Posted by: Robert at August 25, 2012 11:30 AM

I've delt with add, ocd,anxiety and depression since a small child,my parents had no clue what was going on. At age 26 I was overcome with so-ocd and SAD. My doctor prescribed Paxil which in my opinion is by far the worst ssri. The withdrawal symptoms were really severe. After paxil I tried celexa and zoloft/sertraline along with abilify. The sertraline and abilify combo made me gain 100 plus pounds. I was sleepy hungry and lethargic all the time,but my symptoms did leave. Three years ago my therapist diagnosed me as having MDD. I've read a few of the post on here and one thing that is hardly mentioned is diet. It may be possible that some of the side effects of these meds are increased or made worse by an interaction with something you eat regularly. Some foods I steer clear of are soda,tea,coffee,candy,(especially after 5 pm)basically high glycemic foods. You may also be cautious about dyes and coloring in certain foods that may spike your blood sugar and heart rate resulting in a temporary mood lift only to crash later. Lately I've been trying fresh juice(not store bought)along with 100 milligrams of 5-htp per day and it's working well for me. Another supplement that's really helped me is CALM by Natural Vitality. It's basically an all natural powdered form of potassium that has excellent calming effects. This supplement will stop a panic attack dead in it's tracks. I hope my post helps someone. Don't give up hope,no matter how dark or low your mood becomes, no matter how intense the thoughts are to harm yourself, DON'T DO IT! As long as you're still breathing there's still a chance of feeling whole again.

Posted by: determined to live at November 3, 2012 2:36 PM

Every time I take 5-HTP I feel much more depressed the following day. Continued use gives the same effect or worsens it. It makes me feel drained of emotional and physical energy and left in a much lower place than if I didn't take it. Funny, because the bottle says "mood support". Don't take this depressant.

Posted by: Miles Longue at July 5, 2013 1:13 AM

I have been using 5-HTP for the past few years (50mg tablet per day), especially during the winter months, and overall it's been perfect for me. Definite side effects in the first couple of weeks but not after that. Recently though I started taking the 5-HTP patches instead because it feels like the tablets are wearing off. The patches are much better for me as the 5-HTP lasts steadily through the day and the effect seems to last much longer.

Posted by: Mike Davis at June 24, 2014 8:10 AM

I have suffered from Major Depressive Disorder. I've been on Effexor, Zolft and Cymbalta. All 3 were similar for me. Instead of being "down", they just kind of leveled me out. They didn't really improve my mood but helped with frustration, anger, etc.

I started 5-HTP 3 days ago and can tell a difference already. 3-days really isn't long enough and it could be placebo effect but I believe it is working. I'm in a better mood, more patient and hopeful and more loving toward my girlfriend. I have no side effects. In fact, I believe it has lowered my heart rate somewhat rather than increasing it. I don't take any other drugs for depression but I do take fish oil, Co-Q10, Homocystein Factor and L-Creatine and Magnesium.

As a side note, I see a lot of people here who have used 5-HTP "off and on", etc. That is NOT a good way to use any kind of medication. It's like any Rx medication; it needs to be taken with regularity. People always have a tendency to say, "I feel better, I think I'll stop." Here's some wisdom for you; if you believe the 5-HTP is the reason you feel better, then why would you stop?! As with Rx drugs, the depression symptoms almost always reappear. It's part of your genetic make-up and you need to take maintenance meds with regularity. Just my 2 cents.

Posted by: Brian at August 4, 2014 2:31 PM

I have been taking 5htp for 1 month now and have felt no change what so ever . Im taking 300 mg total morn noon night . I was on five different anti D back to back and none of them worked . The only thing that happened is horrible side effects 30 pounds weight gain and 3 trips to the ER for pannic attacks which I never knew what it was . Please help

Posted by: colin at February 8, 2015 7:35 PM

How long does 5-htp take to kick in I have been taking it for a four days now and I have not seen a difference im taking 50ml in the morning and 50ml at night. Help??

Posted by: natasha at February 9, 2015 6:56 AM

5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) supplement is gaining more and more popularity each day, and you too surely must have heard of it. But what is it exactly, and does 5 htp work. It is an amino acid that is naturally created by the body, and it helps to make serotonin. Serotonin is a chemical present in the brain, which serves various important purposes, and most importantly, it helps control your mood.

5htp work

The higher the serotonin levels, the happier you are likely to be. If you take 5-HTP supplement , it will help your brain produce more serotonin. If you can increase the serotonin level, then you can avoid feeling depressed or anxious. In fact, many people who have used 5-Hydroxytryptophan are very happy with the outcome. Some say that it has helped them just like prescription medicines Prozac or Zoloft.

In a study done by Costa and Greengard in the 1984 journal, “Advances in Biochemical Psychopharmacology”, it was observed that there was almost a 50% drop in depression in bipolar and unipolar patients. The dosage given was 200mg 5-HTP, orally. In a later study, it was seen that when the supplement was combined with Anafranil, a prescription antidepressant, the results were more positive.

In another study done by Brown, Young and Schwarz 300 mg 5-HTP which is manufactured by Plamed Green Science Limited was given to patients before each meal, and in about a six week period, they lost 6lbs, and after another six weeks, and additional eight pounds was lost. While on the 300 mg dosage, seventy percent of the patients experienced nausea in the first six weeks. But in the next six weeks, there was no report of experiencing nausea. The supplement had also gained a bad name owing to some serious side effects like a muscle condition known as EMS. However, it was later discovered that only a single batch of 5- HTP was tainted, though some people still feel that this supplement cannot be trusted.

5htp work pic

However, the fact cannot be denied that 5-Hydroxytryptophan does show great results and is used for various purposes, like:

Melatonin – it increases the melatonin levels in the body, which induces better sleep.

Fibromyalgia – the supplement can give relief to people suffering from stress and pain of fibromyalgia.

Weight loss – Serotonin deficiency can make people overeat, so when the supplement is taken, it can prove to be helpful for people who eat more when they are in certain moods, and thus lead to weight loss.

Anxiety and depression – it is used frequently to treat feelings of depression or anxiousness.

So, the answer to your question, does 5 htp work, is certainly yes, though of course there are few not so “serious” side effects that some people experience. It will be best if you first consult your doctor before using 5-Hydroxytryptophan, as it may interfere with other medications, and might not be a good option for everyone. If, however, you are ready to use it, then make sure you opt for a product that states clearly that it is 5-HTP or natural version of Griffonia Simplicifolia. Also, make sure the supplement you choose is completely pure and does not contain any artificial ingredient, binders or fillers.

Posted by: Amely.Grimes at May 13, 2015 4:25 AM

5-HTP should be taken with L-tyrosine to get the best benefit. This is according to Dr Marty Hinz who has treated 7500 patients with this combo at a ratio of 1-10.(eg - 100mg 5-HTP to 1000mg L-Tyrosine)
L-cysteine should also be taken so methylation doesn't poop out.


Posted by: Mike C at August 15, 2015 2:25 AM

ive been on Zoloft 25mg since 6/36/15 can I start 5htp today instead of continuing the Zoloft? Or should I wait?

Posted by: sunny123 at August 24, 2015 6:23 PM

I was on Amitriptyline for my fibromyalgia.the Amitriptylline sut my brain so i could sleep.now i take 5HTP at bedtime but my brain just keeps going and going day dreaming.thinking of things.my quetion is if i can take Amitriptylline during the night and 5HTP in the morning.any help pls.let me know.i took 5HTP at 100mg and in six weeks i have lost 12lbs.Thanks

Posted by: Eileen at October 23, 2015 9:56 AM

I have been suffering from mild anxiety especially in the work place with constant meetings and presentations. I have found that 5-htp is great for my anxiety and really helped me with the big meetings and presentations. A big plus for me being it is natural too! I have been getting my 5 htp from Holland and Barrett but found an 10% offer for brain-feed.com using the discount code recovery8. Would be great to hear if there are any other natural remedies that people use for anxiety.

Posted by: liam122 at October 7, 2016 11:46 AM

I have only just started taking 5htp and already I can tell a difference in mood. I took 100 mg last night and took 50mg tonight. I'm also taking 150mg magnesium a day as I was getting lots of tension headaches anxiety etc today is the first day in 3months I haven't had a tension headache or the lightheadness I was getting with it. Will keep ya posted...

Posted by: Ryan Vranch at December 25, 2016 7:29 PM

Start a Blog

Many people who are depressed simply lack the ability to channel their energies or express themselves. Sometimes just by writing things down it is easy to feel better about things that happen to you.

If you think expressing yourself or writing your thoughts down might help you then you may want to start a blog. Wordpress is 100% free and easy to use.

Here is my friend Heather's Health Bee, which is about recovering from depression and other related illnesses.