5-HTP uses include treating several health conditions, such as depression, fibromyalgia, eating disorders, and premenstrual disorder. Some people may also use 5-HTP for weight loss because there is some speculation that 5-HTP decreases food cravings (because it increases serotonin levels). Because many antidepressants work by increasing the level of serotonin in the body, it seems reasonable to assume that 5-HTP may have similar actions as antidepressants.
What Is 5-HTP Used For?5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is frequently used in weight loss pills and other types of supplements. In addition to taking it for weight loss, people take 5-HTP for the following conditions:
- Premenstrual disorder (PMS) and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
- Eating disorders
- Compulsive disorders, such as obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
How Does 5-HTP Work?The body converts 5-HTP into serotonin, a very important brain chemical. As a result, taking 5-HTP can increase serotonin levels, which theoretically may help with a variety of conditions, especially mood disorders (such as depression). In addition to affecting mood, serotonin has several other actions in the body, which may be how 5-HTP works for other conditions. There is some speculation that increased levels of serotonin in the brain may decrease food cravings, which may be why people use 5-HTP for weight loss.
Many prescription antidepressants work by increasing the level of serotonin in the body, so it seems reasonable to predict that 5-HTP may have actions similar to antidepressants. Prescription antidepressants are often effective for all of the conditions listed above, which is probably why people try 5-HTP for these conditions.