5-HTP for Drug-Free Happiness

Boosting serotonin without drug therapy

Sometimes depression is marked by serotonin deficiency. Drugs as Prozac became famous for depression and were serotonin-reuptake inhibitors that allowed more of the feel-good neurotransmitter in the brain. But for people who don’t want to be drugged, 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is the intermediate metabolite of the essential amino acid L-tryptophan (LT) in the biosynthesis of serotonin.

Supplements of 5-HTP can accomplish what drugs do for some forms of serotonin deficiency.5-HTP is well absorbed from an oral dose, with about 70% ending up in the bloodstream. It easily crosses the blood-brain barrier and effectively increases central nervous system (CNS) synthesis of serotonin. In the CNS, serotonin levels have been implicated in the regulation of sleep, depression, anxiety, aggression, appetite, temperature, sexual behavior and pain sensation. Therapeutic administration of 5-HTP has been shown to be effective in treating a wide variety of conditions, including depression, fibromyalgia, binge eating associated with obesity, chronic headaches and insomnia.


Intestinal absorption of 5-HTP does not require the presence of a transport molecule and is not affected by the presence of other amino acids; therefore it may be taken with meals without reducing its effectiveness.

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