Depression and 5-HTP

Janet Nagel

5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is an amino acid extracted from the Griffonia seed, as well a natural occurring substance in the human body.  It is the step between the conversion of tryptophan to serotonin, an important brain chemical. Serotonin is also known as the “feel good hormone” and is responsible for good mood and preventing excessive appetite. 5-HTP is non-addictive. When 5-HTP is combined with vitamin B6, brain serotonin levels are raised 60% more effectively than alone.

The lifestyle and eating habits of people living in this stress packed age often result in lowered levels of serotonin. As a result, many people experience bouts of depression, are overweight, crave sugar and carbohydrates, get frequent headaches, sleep badly and have muscle aches and pain. Most of these illnesses are alleviated by raising brain serotonin levels. In addition to this, Serotonin is also converted into melatonin in the pineal gland, an important hormone needed for sleep, as well as other important functions. Low serotonin levels can by measure by pathology, and are associated with the following conditions



Sleep apnoea


Carbohydrate cravings
Migraine headaches
Tension or chronic headaches
Premenstrual syndrome

5-HTP has been available in several European countries as a medicine since the 1970s and has been intensely researched for the past three decades.


5-HTP cannot be used with prescription anti-depressantsor given to individuals receiving monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).

5-HTP should not be used in people with eosinophilia myalgia syndrome (EMS) or scleroderma. 5-HTP has been reported to cause seizures in some people with Down syndrome.

Safety in children, pregnancy and breastfeeding mothers has not been established.  


Adults and children over 12 years of age: Take 1 50-100mg capsule twice daily, with or without meals.

Not for use in children under 12 years of age, unless on the advice of a medical practitioner. 

Linked products:

Willow 5HTP

Willow 5HTP and Rhodiola

Absolut Probiotic

Readers should not use this information for self-diagnoses or self treatment, but should always consult a medical professional regarding any medical problems and before undertaking any major dietary changes. This information is not meant to be substituted for medical advice.