5-HTP Review | Fat Burner Supplement Ingredient

What Is 5-HTP?

file_000-15-HTP is an amino acid that your body naturally produces. You can’t get it from food, but it is created from another amino acid which IS found in several foods. Confused yet? Relax, it is really pretty simple.

5-HTP is a precursor to the amino acid, Tryptophan. Tryptophan is found in meat, seafood, dairy, eggs and chicken. Known also scientifically as 5-Hydroxytryptophan, 5-HTP is used by people seeking relief from insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Many people also use 5-HTP for migraine headaches. It is billed by manufacturers as a “natural solution” for those ailments. Therefore, it is widely popular. As we all know, pharmaceutical solutions for insomnia, anxiety or depression often require Doctor visits and prescription medications, which can amount to breaking your bank. In some circles, 5-HTP is known as the “natural Prozac.” Did we just say take 5-HTP without consulting your Doctor? No, we didn’t. Go ahead and give your Doctor a call with questions, that’s always a great idea.

5-HTP is available online or over-the-counter at most supplement stores. I’ve even seen it in the vitamin sections of grocery stores. The supplements are typically created from Griffonia simplicifolia, a woody African shrub. Those particular plant seeds naturally possess small amounts of 5-HTP.

How Does 5-HTP Work?

5-HTP works by increasing serotonin and melatonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter that is directly connected with our happiness levels, which in turn can affect our sleep routine. Serotonin also has direct relationships to obesity, appetite, and sexual desire (libido). If we are obese, eat too much and don’t want to have sex, we might not be very happy. Solving those issues are, well, key to becoming a bit more satisfied in life.

If someone has low serotonin levels, they likely feel depressed or anxious. And those unhealthy feelings typically cause poor sleep and less sexual desires. 5-HTP increases serotonin in the brain, allegedly fixing this issue. Does 5-HTP fix a flat tire or an angry husband or wife? No, but maybe a little more serotonin could help you deal with the situation a little more sanely?

When it comes to fat burner ingredients, 5-HTP is used by some manufacturers because of its appetite suppression capabilities. Many users of 5-HTP report a lowered appetite. Clearly, when it comes to thermogenesis, eating less is a hugely deciding factor for fat burning. 5-HTP isn’t typically the driving ingredient; it is more an additional aspect in some supplements. That said, how much it does or does not work should not make or break the supplement you are deciding upon.

What Are 5-HTP Benefits?

People who use 5-HTP commonly report being in a better mood, less anxiety, and deeper sleep. Serotonin is highly connected to improved mood and lower anxiety, therefore, increasing it would seem relevant in the pursuit of a healthier mind. Additionally, the more serotonin produced in the body, the more the body can produce melatonin, which helps people sleep. Often, insomnia is simply the result of low melatonin. Good, quality sleep is without question, an influencer when it comes to weight loss.

Here is Jim Carrey discussing the use of 5-HTP as a solution for his depression.

What Are 5-HTP Side-Effects?

5-HTP isn’t without the possibility of side-effects. Some users have reported developing a condition known as eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome (EMS). This is an extremely serious condition which leads to severe muscle tenderness. The evidence for EMS being caused by 5-HTP is anecdotal at best, as there have been no true scientific studies showing 5-HTP to be the cause. However, anyone who takes 5-HTP should without question, be aware of such possibility. Again, discuss this with your Doctor before taking.

Other users have reported heartburn, nausea, and vomiting.

What Good Might It Do?

  • Helps Ease Insomnia
  • Promotes Improved Mood
  • Decreases Anxiety
  • Headache Relief

What Bad Might It Do?

  • Possibly Linked To EMS
  • Heartburn, Nausea, Vomiting Reported
  • May Feel No Affect At All

Conclusion (opinion)

I’ve used 5-HTP before and do believe it is a legitimate solution for anyone suffering from depression or insomnia (I never used it for headaches). I felt a definite uptick in mood and felt it improved my sleep. Though, I will say, it gave me absurdly strange dreams. Additionally, I took 5-HTP in the mornings, not before bed and it still seemed to help with sleep. I also ate on an improved diet during use.

The downside: I found after a week’s use the results tempered greatly. I also felt like it caused minor headaches. It seems to work great in short periods but doesn’t seem to be something built for long-term use (at least for me). The thing with fat burner supplements is many are for long-term use, so this is a consideration to make when deciding which supplement’s ingredients are right for you.

I definitely noticed a lower appetite and a healthier appetite. Essentially, I was hungry but hungry for healthier foods. I seemed less tempted to overeat. When it comes to weight loss or weight management, these are all wonderful things.

On another note, there are several makers of 5-HTP. I put up a picture of one version I used and it worked as stated. But many users complain that versions do vary, so that’s another thing to consider before buying it. I’d make sure to read as many 5-HTP reviews as possible.

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Joe Costello
Nutrition & Wellness Consultant
Joe Costello is a Nutrition & Wellness Consultant, certified by the American Fitness Professionals & Associates (AFPA), author, and internet blogger. Joe has more than 9 years of experience in the sports nutrition industry and over 3 years of experience as a supplement and nutrition blogger. As a certified NWC who specializes in dietary supplements, Joe strives to deliver accurate, comprehensive, and research-backed information to his readers. You can find more of Joe’s work including his E-Books about fitness and nutrition at his official website joecostellonwc.com, or connect with him on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Vimeo, or YouTube. Joe Costello is one of the founders of TheSupplementReviews.org and years after the creation of the site, partnered with TEK Naturals, a nutritional supplement company.