In supplement form, 5-HTP is a plant extract that is made using seeds produced by a shrub that is found in Africa, named Griffonia simplicifolia.
As a weight loss aid, 5-HTP may have the ability to suppress an individual’s appetite. In this scientific study, 5-HTP was shown to reduce carbohydrate and fat intake, ultimately decreasing overall body weight. There are a number of scientific studies, including this study, in which overweight and obese individuals who began taking 5-HTP demonstrated increased feelings of fullness and weight loss.
In regard to enhancing an individual’s mood in order to help decrease symptoms of depression, many studies have been completed in order to better understand if 5-HTP can be used to treat depression. Because the precise cause of depression is yet to be determined, it is difficult to say if or how, exactly, 5-HTP helps individuals who are suffering from depression. However, research has led some scientists to believe that an insufficient amount or imbalance in serotonin levels may be the cause of depression, and some believe that 5-HTP may ease symptoms of depression by increasing serotonin levels. The results of scientific studies surrounding the use of 5-HTP to treat depression have shown antidepressant effects to be stronger when combined with other antidepressant medications.
Migraine headaches are also associated with low levels of serotonin. Because 5-HTP is believed to increase serotonin levels, researchers have studied the use of 5-HTP to treat migraines. And in several studies, a larger than average number of participants had fewer migraine headaches while taking 5-HTP.
Suffering from a sleep disorder can lead to a plethora of health conditions and disorders. Serotonin, which is thought to be produced by 5-HTP, can be converted into the sleep-promoting hormone, melatonin. Accordingly, several studies, including this study, have investigated 5-HTP for sleep duration and quality.