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What Are the Benefits of 5-HTP?

The Added Benefits of Using 5-HTP Aside from Weight Loss

The recent trend in weight loss regimens is leaning more towards natural therapies as opposed to surgical methods. Weight loss supplements are in demand nowadays because they bring many health benefits alongside the expected weight-reducing effects they were designed for. In fact, one of these supplements, 5-HTP, has become popular for those who struggle not only with their weight but also with health anomalies like insomnia, stress, and depression.

Weight Loss

5-HTP is not a wonder drug that can make you slim overnight. It doesn't actually help you lose weight; rather the supplement helps to stop you craving those foods that tend to put weight on, such as carbohydrates and fats. So, for those of you who constantly crave cakes, biscuits and bread this could work for you. Remember 5-HTP acts only as a cravings suppressant so you will only lose weight if you cut down on the amount of food you eat.

Our cravings tend to be for foods which scientists seem to think help raise the levels of Serotonin, the brain's 'Happy Drug'. So, it's only natural that if you are feeling low to look for foods that tend to cheer us up, such as chocolate. There are not many foods that contain natural Serotonin in high amounts but carbohydrates in various forms seem to do the trick. However, 5-HTP naturally increases our levels of Serotonin and so naturally reduces our cravings for carbohydrates and therefore we are able to cut down the amount we eat aiding weight loss.


More and more people seem to be suffering with depression in today's busy society, and what's more, they seem unable to cope. Depression comes on various forms, including loss of interest in activities, an overwhelming feel of fear and sadness, and disturbed sleep patterns. These are just a few of the more common symptoms that someone is suffering from depression, but there are many more than these.

If you visit your doctor, the most common drug that he will prescribe will be from a group of drugs known as SSRI's or Selective Serotonin Re-uptake Inhibitors. These drugs can become very addictive and have more than their fair share of side effects. 5-HTP has been likened to Prozac, a popular SSRI, but is not addictive and it does not have anywhere near the same number of side effects. 5-HTP main function is to increase the natural levels of Serotonin in the brain, which aids well-being and tends to make you feel a lot more at ease with yourself, unlike SSRI's which actually change the brains normal metabolic processes. Research has found that it's best to start with a dose of 50mg of 5-HTP, and raise this to 100mg if you feel the need. However, you are encouraged to be patient, as the effects of the supplement will take around 2-3 weeks before you notice any difference in your mood and outlook.


Many people suffer from insomnia, which is the inability to 'switch off' the brain and relax. The inability to relax often leads to a restless night's sleep and sometimes you can feel even more tired when you get up than you did before you went to bed. Melatonin is a chemical made in the brain that aids restful sleep. If your levels of Melatonin are low as well as lower than normal levels of Serotonin, then you will struggle to sleep. 5-HTP not only raises the levels of Serotonin in your brain, but also increases your levels of Melatonin, helping you get a restful night's sleep. The one potentially significant side-effect of taking this supplement is that your dreams may become more vivid than usual. If you are taking 5-HTP to help with your insomnia, it is recommended that you start by using a low dosage of 25mg and see how you progress over a 3-4 week period before you consider increasing your dosage.


Anxiety manifests in many ways, shortness of breath, dizziness, shaking, nausea, heart palpitations are just a few. Low Serotonin levels can cause these conditions so by taking a consistent level of 5-HTP supplements your levels of Serotonin can be raised to a point where these conditions do not affect you anymore.

In summary, while 5-HTP is no wonder drug, it has been proven over an extended period of time that it is a helpful and natural alternative to the synthetic drugs often prescribed by our doctors to help with a wide-range of common issues people experience. So, if you are experiencing issues with weight-loss, depression, anxiety or insomnia, then perhaps 5-HTP could be the help you've been looking for.