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5-HTP is a type of amino acid that has become a popular ingredient in herbal supplements. This ingredient is claimed to help with several health conditions, such as depression, eating disorders, and premenstrual disorder. The body converts 5-HTP into serotonin, an important brain chemical. Although some studies suggest that it may work for depression and fibromyalgia, more research is necessary to determine if it is effective for other uses.

What Is 5-HTP?

5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is a naturally occurring amino acid that is closely related to serotonin, an important chemical found in the brain and other parts of the body. It has become a popular ingredient in herbal supplements and is often claimed to help with the following conditions:
 
5-HTP is also frequently used in weight loss supplements.
 
(Click 5-HTP Uses for more information.)
 

How Does It Work?

The body converts 5-HTP into serotonin, an important brain chemical. As a result, taking it 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.
 

Is 5-HTP Effective?

Some studies suggest that 5-HTP may work for depression and fibromyalgia. However, not enough research has been done to know if it is effective for other uses.
 
(Click Does 5-HTP Work? for more information. You can also click How to Lose Weight for helpful weight loss suggestions.)
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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