If you’ve been recently reading about nootropics, there is a high chance you heard about 5-HTP as well.
5-HTP seems to be growing in popularity due to the many positive benefits that it provides.
But before we talk about the benefits, let’s find out what 5-HTP is.
5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is an amino acid that is naturally produced in your body. This compound gets converted into serotonin in your brain. 
As you might know, serotonin is the primary neurotransmitter involved in treating depression and happiness.
While the science is not clear on how effective 5-HTP is for treating depression, let’s find out more about the benefits of 5-HTP, potential side effects, and other things you should know before supplementing it.
Before we talk about the main benefits of 5-HTP, let’s just mention the importance of 5-HTP in our body.
As you might know, serotonin cannot cross the blood-brain barrier, so it has to be made within the brain.
However, 5-HTP is known for its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier (even better than tryptophan).
Now let’s check the main 5-HTP benefits.
1. 5-HTP Can Suppress Your Appetite
5-HTP is mainly known for its effects on your appetite.
Multiple studies show that supplementing 5-HTP can decrease your appetite, which results in weight-loss.
The appetite is suppressed by the increased feelings of fullness, which 5-HTP triggers.
There is a study of 20 people with diabetes who were randomly assigned to receive either 5-HTP or a placebo for two weeks. The results showed that those who received 5-HTP consumed around 435 fewer calories per day, compared to the placebo group. 
Another double-blind study on 25 subjected showed that a 2-week supplementation of 5-HTP (750 mg/day) to obese women and men was associated with less food intake and a significant weight-loss. 
To conclude, studies show pretty strong evidence that supplementing 5-HTP can suppress your appetite and help with weight-loss.
2. 5-HTP Can Help With Depression
Another very big benefit of supplementing with 5-HTP is its power to help with depression by increasing the serotonin levels.
Those effects of 5-HTP on symptoms of depression have been well studied, especially how the 5-HTP increases serotonin level, which directly influences depression. [4, 5]
However, current research shows that while 5-HTP can be useful as an individual compound, combining it with other proven supplements is more effective for treating depression.
If you do have symptoms of depression, I do recommend consulting your doctor.
3. 5-HTP May Improve Your Sleep
As we already mentioned several times, 5-HTP produces serotonin, which can also be converted into melatonin.
Melatonin, however, is one of the crucial hormones that influence your sleep. It is increased in the evening to promote sleep, and it decreases in the morning to help you wake up.
There is a study which showed that a combination of 5-HTP and GABA significantly reduced the time it took to fall asleep, increased sleep duration, and improved sleep quality. 
Another study showed that supplementing 5-HTP may also decrease sleep terrors in kids. 
While more studies have to be done to know the recommended daily dosages, first studies show lots of potentials.
4. 5-HTP May Help Reduce Migraines
I’m not sure if you knew, but a lot of researches believe that low serotonin levels can trigger migraines. 
Since 5-HTP increases serotonin, it could help to reduce the frequency of your migraines.
Actually, a study done on 124 people found that supplementing 5-HTP for six months significantly decreased the number of migraine attacks. 
Again, if you have issues with migraines, I’d recommend talking to your doctor first, but keep in mind that 5-HTP might help you out.
5. 5-HTP Might Improve Symptoms Of Fibromyalgia
Last but not least, supplementing 5-HTP might improve your symptoms of fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory, and mood issues. 
While we don’t know the exact cause of fibromyalgia, it is believed it’s related to low serotonin levels.
Early evidence shows that supplementing 5-HTP may improve typical symptoms of fibromyalgia. 
More research has to be done to prove the initial evidence, but it looks promising.
All right, we just covered five surprising benefits of supplementing 5-HTP.
But are there any side effects that you can expect by supplementing?
Let’s find out.
5-HTP Side Effects
It quite often happens that compounds with lots of positive benefits can also provide some adverse side effects.
And 5-HTP is not any different.
Let’s have a look at the potential side effects of supplementing 5-HTP.
The main side-effects you have to be aware of are:
My research shows that those effects are more or less dose-dependent, which means you should really follow the recommended daily dosage (more about it below).
Besides that, combining 5-HTP with antidepressants can cause serotonin syndrome, which is a very severe sickness that could ultimately kill you.
So be careful!
Also, it’s vital to get high-quality 5-HTP supplements if you will decide on taking them.
However, I do recommend consulting your doctor before you do that.
5-HTP Dosage & Suggested Use
If you want to supplement 5-HTP, you should be aware that it comes from the seeds of an African shrub known as Griffonia simplicifolia.
Now, 5-HTP is not present in the foods of any kind, so it has to be taken as a supplement if you wish to increase it.
The recommended dose for 5-HTP depends on what do you want to achieve with it, but here are some guidelines that could help you:
Weight-loss: 250 – 500 mg/day, taken with a meal
Mood improvement: 50 mg, 3 times per day
Other reasons: Consult your doctor
Again, it’s necessary to consult your doctor before taking 5-HTP as a supplement.
Greg Gostincar is the founder of Your Inception. He has been researching, testing and experimenting with nootropics since 2015. Greg is one of the most recognized researchers in the field of nootropics.