It’s a compound that the body needs in order to make serotonin, which is our main “happiness hormone.” Per Dr. Oz, 5-HTP floods the brain with serotonin and helps minimize stress, sadness, anger, and anxiety. “5-HTP targets specific emotions that drive us to overeat,” Dr. Bhatia explains. And as she already mentioned, 5-HTP also reduces physical hunger pangs and emotional cravings. Ideally, the body makes its own 5-HTP from the amino acid tryptophan, found in foods like turkey and bananas. (Why not just eat more turkey or take a tryptophan supplement? If you struggle with mood or weight, it can be a sign that your body has trouble converting tryptophan to 5-HTP.) Besides making it yourself, the only other way to get 5-HTP is from a supplement. One we like is the BRI 5-HTP Supplement ($16 for 120 capules, Amazon).

Tβ4 is a multifunctional regenerative small peptide containing 43-amino acids, and it is the major G-actin-sequestering molecule in eukaryotic cells.21 Tβ4 has pro-survival and pro-angiogenic properties, protects tissue against damage, and promotes tissue regeneration.22,23 It also plays a key role in corneal, epidermal and cardiac wound healing.21 Tβ4 participates in axonal path-finding, neurite formation, cell proliferation, and neuronal survival.24-26 Our previous studies show that Tβ4 reduces inflammation and stimulates remyelination and improves functional recovery in animal models of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) and stroke.25,27 In summary, these pleiotropic properties make Tβ4 an ideal candidate for treatment of TBI.
5-HTP is very reliable in increasing serotonin levels. 5-HTP is actually used as a clinical test to judge the potency of drugs that affect serotonin levels (by pairing an experimental drug with 5-HTP to induce 'serotonin syndrome', or serotonin toxicity, one can see how much that drug exacerbates serotonin biosynthesis or bioavailability by seeing how much of a 5-HTP dose is required to induce the syndrome; the lower dose indicative of higher drug potency). This test is known as the 5-HTP induced syndrome test.[8]
Doctors have noticed cancer patients have a higher amount of Thymosin in the affected tissues than other people. So in the early stages of research, doctors assumed that this meant Thymosin may cause cancer. After more research was conducted, it was discovered that the main action of Thymosin Beta 4 was to produce new white blood cells – so its presence in the body in the areas affected by cancer was likely not a cause of the cancer, but instead, a matter of “showing up” in the body where cancer lived to help the body mount an immune system response.
Combined treatments of 5-HTP and SSRI seem to have strong synergistic effects on serotonin levels in rats and humans so that some clinicians recommend the use of slow-released 5-HTP in combination with SSRIs (R, R2, R3). However, additional clinical trials are required to demonstrate the safety and effectiveness of this approach, and combinations of 5-HTP and medications should only be used under medical supervision.
A: 5-HTP or 5-hydroxytryptophan is sold as a dietary supplement for "anxiety, depression, insomnia, headaches and other conditions." Because dietary supplements (e.g., 5-HTP) have not been thoroughly studied in the clinical setting, possible side effects and interactions with other drugs are not well known. However, 5-HTP does interact with prescription antidepressants, taking them together can lead to serotonin syndrome which is a rare but potentially fatal condition. Also, because herbs and supplements are not strictly regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, these products are not required to be tested for effectiveness, purity, or safety. 5-HTP has not been proven safe or effective for the treatment of depression or bipolar disorder. There are many prescription medications that have been proven safe and effective for these conditions. In general, dietary supplements should only be taken under the supervision of your health care provider. Laura Cable, Pharm.D., BCPS
The product can be of unknown quality and subject to contamination and stability concerns with use of multi-dose vials. There is no experience with the product other than through unregulated channels. There are health risks from the substance itself and its route of administration – documented in medical literature, case reports as well as reports from NSW PIC.
Research shows that co-administration with carbidopa greatly increases plasma 5-HTP levels.[46] However, several studies have reported that 5-HTP is effective even without a peripheral decarboxylase inhibitor (e.g. carbidopa).[47][unreliable medical source?] Other studies have indicated the risk of a scleroderma-like condition resulting from the combination of 5-HTP and carbidopa.[48]