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How to Take 5-HTP Properly

Updated July 19, 2017

The dietary supplement 5-Hydroxytryptophan, or 5-HTP, is a metabolic precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin and a chemical the body creates from the amino acid tryptophan. The University of Maryland Medical Center states that 5-HTP dietary supplements help raise serotonin levels within the brain. Serotonin helps regulate mood and behaviour, improves sleep, lessens anxiety, improves symptoms of pain from disease such as fibromyalgia and may even help people lose weight. It is important to take 5-HTP properly since too much of this chemical can cause adverse effects.

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  1. Determine the amount of 5-HTP that is proper for you. Each individual's response to 5-HTP varies. It is highly recommended that you contact your doctor to determine your appropriate dosage and to avoid any possible interactions with medications or health conditions that you may have.

  2. Obtain a 5-HTP supplement in either 50-milligram or 100-milligram doses, depending on your individual needs. The safe dietary supplement intake can range from 50 to 400 milligrams per day. Read the directions and recommendations on the supplement before use.

  3. Ingest orally one to two capsules of 50-milligram 5-HTP pills one to four times daily depending on your needs. Use capsules of 100-milligram 5-HTP if you require higher doses. This size dose should be taken one to three times a day at evenly spaced intervals.

  4. Tip

    5-HTP is created from the seeds of Griffonia simplicifolia, a plant native to Africa.


    Consult your physician to determine if you if you can safely take 5-HTP. This is especially important for people who are diabetic, have high blood pressure, have liver disease and/or are pregnant. Also, 5-HTP can also dangerously interact with various prescription medications. 5-HTP is not to be given to children. Be aware of overdose symptoms. Symptoms include confusion, agitation, rapid heartbeat, excessive sweating, flushing, and tremors.

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Things You'll Need

  • 5-HTP

About the Author

Jay Jay Waltz has been writing professionally since 2009, focusing on health, wellness and nutrition. He has written for various online publications. Waltz is a National Academy of Sports Medicine-certified personal trainer while undergoing corrective rehabilitation training. Waltz also holds a Bachelor of Science in public health environmentalism from the Southern Connecticut State University.

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