Women Home > What Is 5-Hydroxytryptophan Used For?

5-hydroxytryptophan is used for several health conditions, including depression, weight loss, and fibromyalgia. This supplement is converted into serotonin (an important brain chemical) in the body. As a result, 5-hydroxytryptophan can increase serotonin levels, which theoretically may help with a variety of health conditions (especially mood disorders). Because of this, 5-hydroxytryptophan uses may also include treating anxiety, PMS, eating disorders, compulsive disorders, and headaches.

What Is 5-Hydroxytryptophan Used For?

5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is frequently used in weight loss pills and other types of supplements. In addition to taking it for weight loss, people take 5-hydroxytryptophan for the following conditions:

How Does 5-Hydroxytryptophan Work?

The body converts 5-hydroxytryptophan into serotonin, a very important brain chemical. As a result, taking 5-hydroxytryptophan 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-hydroxytryptophan 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-hydroxytryptophan for weight loss.
Many prescription antidepressants work by increasing the level of serotonin in the body, so it seems reasonable to predict that 5-hydroxytryptophan 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-hydroxytryptophan for these conditions.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD;
Last updated/reviewed:
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