5-HTP is a supplement that you can normally find at your local CVS, Walmart, or Target. It’s advertised to help with mood, and through my trials, it actually helps! It sometimes can be a hit or miss, but when it hits, my brain fog is gone, I’m in a bubbly mood, and I share the joy with all of my co-workers.

What is 5-HTP?

What is 5-HTP Infographic

5-Hydroxytryptophan (5HTP) is a naturally occurring amino acid and precursor to serotonin. Serotonin is commonly referred to as your happiness, or well-being neurotransmitter, though the actual function is very complex but includes thing such as learning, memory, reward, cognition, and several other physiological processes. 

What are the benefits of taking 5-HTP?

Helps Relieve Depression

This is a no brainer. The effects of 5-HTP on depression have been well studied with positive results. It’s believed that because it is the precursor to serotonin that it helps boost your mood when you take it. It must be noted that depression is not fully understood, but believed to be caused by low amounts of serotonin in the brain. There was a small study done that showed 5-HTP treated depression better than placebo.

Helps Relieve Anxiety

Several people report a decrease in anxiety, most likely because of the reduced depression or sadness throughout the day. Though not enough scientific evidence has been made to support this.

Promotes weight loss

Did you know that carbohydrates actually increase serotonin levels? Maybe that’s why when you imagine sad people, or see them in movies, they are probably eating a whole container of ice cream in their bed.

Taking 5-HTP can relieve carb craving and curve your appetite, ultimately promoting weight loss. There was a study done with 19 obese females supplementing with 5-HTP, and it was reported that they had no significant mood changes, but a decreased food intake.

Is there any side effects?

Yes, but most of them are not dangerous.
Common side effects:
Diarrhea, Nausea, or Vomiting
Heartburn, Gas, or Bloating,
Stomach discomfort / Pain
Rare side effects:
Eosinophilia Myalgia Syndrome (EMS) 
This syndrome causes sudden and severe muscle pain, cramping, breathing problems, and swelling in the body. which may take several months to appear. It can be fatal and there is no cure for this, so treatment is focused on relieving symptoms. 
Asymptomatic Eosinophilia
This is a disorder in which higher than normal levels of special white blood cells called eosinophils are present in the blood. It can typically only be detected by a laboratory analysis because there is rarely any noticeable symptoms.

Should you take 5-HTP?

It depends really, there’s to many factors in your life for me to come up with a yes or no answer for you.

If you sometimes feel like your life just doesn’t matter anymore and maybe you should just end it all, then you need a doctor! (I’ve been there, please get help.)

But if you sometimes feel down, under a dark cloud, always being negative, or just generally sad for no reason, then maybe you should give this a trial run and see what it does for you. 

Where Can I Buy 5-HTP?

5-HTP is very common in most grocery stores and 24/7 pharmacies like Walmart, Walgreens, or CVS. If you don’t feel like going to the store then you can always buy them on amazon, here.

Do I Take 5-HTP?

I was diagnosed clinically depressed not so many years ago, so I know how being really depressed is. I’m not on anything for depression right now as I don’t think I need it, but I do take the occasional 5-HTP when my mood has been down and out.

I take it right before bed because it makes me sleepy and as stupid as it may sound, I typically log my mood at the end of the next day in my journal.

Most of my days logged after taking 5-HTP were actually really happy and positive days, but granted there has been a few days where I felt worse after taking 5-HTP and I feel it didn’t help at all, but there’s so many factors that go into my mood, its hard to say the 5-HTP was at fault.

I work in sales and deal with copious amounts of stress throughout the day. The stars have to align and the gods have to sing for me to have a perfect day at work.


If your feeling down and out and looking for a boost in happiness, then 5-HTP might be your thing to try next.

Boosting your happiness will in turn make you a more enjoyable person, and it will even increase your productivity.

Though, you can’t stay up late, drink a lot and eat junk food and expect 5-htp to work wonders. Live a good lifestyle.

Moody Man Approved!


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