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5-HTP is an amino acid derivative from tryptophan acting as the direct precursor for the neurotransmitter serotonin (5-HT) and hence of melatonin in mammals.
It is found in different foods in insignificant amount but in some particular foods in a significant amount for extraction, as in Griffonia simplicifolia.
It is available as a dietary supplement.

Is there a convention about how it is best for humans to take 5-HTP?

For example, at what time of day, drug interactions to avoid, etc, to increase serotonin levels in an otherwise healthy person, in cases of indication (perhaps emotional eating or recovering from some form of depression).

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5-HTP is used by physicians a broad usage but recent clinical trials doesn't come up with appropriate general guidelines for its dosage, so, no, as of February 2020, there isn't a convention.

Usage Examples:

  • 600 mg of 5-HTP was given to the patients and there was significant increase in the sleep quality with increase in REM sleep. While patients using smaller doses of 200mg showed lesser degree of improvement in sleep quality. For insomnia, the dosage should be between 100-300 mg before the bedtime. It can cause nausea in some patients, so treatment with 5-HTP, should be started with 50 mg doses. (Via: http://www.altmedrev.com/archive/publications/3/4/271.pdf )

  • Treatment of children with 5- HTP regulates the sleep cycle and this shows improvement in long-term sleep terrors (Via: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs00431-004-1444-7).

  • 5-HTP is absorbed well when taken orally, approximately 70% enters the bloodstream. Therapeutic administration of 5-HTP is used in treatment of depression, fibromyalgia and insomnia. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9727088).

  • The 5-HTP toxicity is reported at higher concentrations of serotonin in the central nervous system. Various cases are reported of heart valve damage when taken with serotonin reuptake inhibitors or monoamine oxidase inhibitors ( https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/pharmacology-toxicology-and-pharmaceutical-science/5-hydroxytryptophan).

  • Taking more than required amount of 5-HTP is harmful for body. As 5-HTP bypass the feedback loop of serotonin pathway and leads to its accumulation.

Further reading

This link contains user reviews & ratings opinions about the effectiveness of 5-HTP usage in various health issues.

| improve this answer | |
  • Some of the sources in this answer are...sketchy at best. – Bryan Krause Nov 12 '19 at 22:44
  • Hello Twinkle Sheen ; I suggest to change the answer a bit to reflect the notion of a "convention" between "physicians" (can be also clinical dietitians or chiropractics or medical psychologists allowed to prescribe medicine or whatever) about 5-htp ; if the notion is relfect I could upvote and accept the answer ; if you edit the answer, please let me know in the comments that you had done so. – user8225 Feb 12 at 8:13
  • Yes..it is used by physicians for treating insomnia and anxiety. But till now there is no standard dosage for treating depression. Check out these links: pennstatehershey.adam.com/… webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/5-htp-hydroxytryptophan – Twinkle Sheen Feb 12 at 21:43
  • @TwinkleSheen I know it is used for insomnia and anxiety ; I don't deny it for a moment ; I also know about an off label from 5-HT insufficiency related obesity usage ; but my question is convention-focused hence I personally, humbly, except any answerer to start an answer by saying something like Yes, this major health organization recommends ... or by No, as of February 2020 there is isn't any convention by any organization and give a source. – user8225 Feb 14 at 7:24
  • If you follow this comment, which I hope was humble and helpful I can promise you from my 7 years experience in SE that the answer will be better accepted by the community and I will likely "mark it as accepted" myself. In appreciation, – user8225 Feb 14 at 7:25

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