5-HTP may increase feelings of fullness, causing you to eat less and lose weight.
In one study, 20 people with diabetes were randomly assigned to receive either 5-HTP or a placebo for two weeks. The results showed that those who received 5-HTP consumed approximately 435 fewer calories per day, compared to the placebo group (7).
What’s more, 5-HTP primarily inhibited the intake of calories from carbohydrates, which was associated with better blood sugar control (7).
SUMMARY5-HTP is likely effective at increasing feelings of fullness, which may help you eat less and lose weight.
The effects of 5-HTP on symptoms of depression have been well studied.
5-HTP supplements are thought to treat depression by increasing serotonin levels.
In fact, several small studies have found that 5-HTP reduced symptoms of depression. However, two of them did not use placebos for comparison, limiting the strength of their findings (16, 17, 18, 19).
Similarly, another analysis concluded that 5-HTP may help treat depression (20).
However, much of the research suggests that the potential antidepressive effects of 5-HTP are stronger when combined with other substances or antidepressant medications, compared to when they are used alone (17, 21, 22, 23).
SUMMARY5-HTP supplements increase serotonin levels in your body, which may improve symptoms of depression, especially when used in combination with other antidepressant substances or medications. Nonetheless, more research is needed.
Supplementing with 5-HTP may improve symptoms of fibromyalgia, a condition characterized by muscle and bone pain, as well as general weakness.
There is currently no known cause of fibromyalgia, but low serotonin levels have been associated with the condition (26).
This has led researchers to believe that increasing serotonin levels through 5-HTP supplements may benefit people with fibromyalgia (27).
In one study, people with fibromyalgia who were given 5-HTP in combination with a type of antidepressant medication called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) reported significantly reduced pain (31).
However, not enough research has been conducted to draw any clear conclusions about the effectiveness of 5-HTP at improving fibromyalgia symptoms.
SUMMARY5-HTP can boost serotonin levels in your body, which may help relieve some symptoms of fibromyalgia. Nonetheless, more research is needed.
5-HTP is said to help with migraines, which are throbbing headaches that are often accompanied by nausea or disturbed vision.
One study in 124 people compared the ability of 5-HTP and methysergide, a common migraine medication, to prevent migraines (34).
It found that supplementing with 5-HTP daily for six months prevented or significantly decreased the number of migraine attacks in 71% of participants (34).
In another study in 48 students, 5-HTP produced a 70% decrease in headache frequency, compared to an 11% decrease in the placebo group (35).
SUMMARY5-HTP may help you have fewer migraines by increasing your serotonin levels.
5-HTP produces serotonin, which can be converted into the hormone melatonin.
Melatonin plays an important role in regulating sleep. Its levels begin to rise in the evening to promote sleep and fall in the morning to help wake you up.
Therefore, supplementing with 5-HTP may promote sleep by increasing melatonin production in your body.
One human-based study showed that a combination of 5-HTP and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) significantly reduced the time it took to fall asleep, increased sleep duration and improved sleep quality (38).
GABA is a chemical messenger that promotes relaxation. Combining it with 5-HTP likely has a synergistic effect (38).
While these results are promising, the lack of human-based studies makes it difficult to recommend 5-HTP for improving sleep quality, especially when it is used in isolation.
SUMMARY5-HTP may promote sleep by increasing melatonin production, an important sleep-regulating hormone.