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5-HTP: A Beginner's Guide

5-HTP: A Beginner's Guide

Natural supplements and alternative holistic approaches are becoming increasingly popular for their potential benefits on overall health and wellbeing. A lesser known supplement that falls within this category is 5-HTP. Some people choose to combine 5-HTP with CBD, while others opt for one or the other. This article the important points to know about 5-HTP, including what it is, its potential benefits, the possible effects of combining it with CBD, and the key factors to consider before adding 5-HTP into your daily routine. 


What is 5-HTP?

5-HTP, or 5 Hydroxytryptophan, is a natural precursor to serotonin, the neurotransmitter that’s known as the ‘happiness hormone’. This naturally occurring compound is derived from the amino acid tryptophan, which we get from food. In supplement form, 5-HTP is often sourced from the seeds of the African Griffonia simplicifolia plant, as it cannot be found in food.

5-HTP is popular due to its potential to boost mood, improve sleep, and cause calming effects. This is thought to be thanks to its influence on the production of serotonin, which helps regulate mood, as well as other functions like sleep and appetite. Due to this, many people like to use 5-HTP to support their health and wellbeing. 


What are the potential benefits of 5-HTP?

5-HTP has various potential benefits which may positively impact both mental and physical health, thanks to its ability to increase serotonin levels. However, studies are relatively limited, so more research is necessary to understand its full range of benefits. 


Sleep regulation

Many people use 5-HTP to help them achieve and maintain a healthier sleep routine. 5-HTP becomes serotonin, which can then be converted into melatonin, the ‘sleep hormone’ to serotonin’s ‘happiness hormone’. Melatonin plays a huge role in proper sleep, with its levels rising at night and lowering in the morning to create a healthy cycle. 


Appetite control and weight management

Another potential benefit of this unique supplement is related to its impact on appetite. Research suggests that 5-HTP may be able to counteract hunger-causing hormones and increase feelings of fullness. This reduces excessive eating and allows for the creation of healthier habits. This may be especially useful for those on a weight loss journey, as it could help make the processes simpler and more sustainable.


Mental wellness and mood support

The causes of many common mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, are not known. However, the most popular theory for these issues is that there’s a chemical imbalance in the brain, particularly involving low levels of serotonin. Some studies have mixed findings on this idea, but many treatments for these conditions are based on boosting serotonin levels, such as SSRI drugs. So, taking a supplement that increases serotonin may help encourage mood improvements and alleviate mental health related symptoms.


What are the potential effects of combining 5-HTP and CBD?

As they’re both natural substances that we don’t naturally ingest in our diet, you may wonder if it’s okay to combine CBD and 5-HTP. First, it’s important to understand what CBD is and how it works. It’s also key to know the best way to approach this combination, as well as the potential benefits and other factors to keep in mind.


What is CBD?

CBD, short for cannabidiol, is one of over 100 cannabinoids that naturally occurs in the hemp plant. It’s classified as a novel food, and has become a popular product category since its legalisation in the UK back in 2018. It comes in various forms, with more product types continuing to appear on the market as popularity continues to grow.

Some examples include oils, teas, water-soluble drops, patches, softgels/capsules, balms, gummies, nasal sprays, candles, salves, and vape liquids. It’s thought to work by interacting with and supporting the endocannabinoid system, a bodily system which aims to maintain homeostasis. This is why people use CBD for its potential to offer natural benefits and improve overall wellbeing. 


Synergistic effects and factors to consider

Some of the benefits of 5-HTP and CBD are similar, meaning they may be able to work synergistically to improve overall results. For example, both CBD and 5-HTP are lauded for their potential to improve sleep, from quality to duration. Therefore, using both together may have a more positive effect than one of the options alone. This is also the case for many other areas aside from sleep, as customers report that each of these product types offer various wellness benefits. 

However, the research on the combination of these products is extremely limited, so it’s important to approach this combination slowly and with caution. Make sure to start with low doses and incorporate the combination into your routine gradually. If you have any concerns, make sure to reach out to a healthcare professional who can give you tailored advice based on your body, medications, and overall health. 



Factors to consider when adding 5-HTP to your routine

When adding any supplement to your routine, it’s important to consider various factors to ensure you’re doing it as safely as possible. This applies to 5-HTP, especially as it’s a lesser known supplement. Here are some key factors to consider:


Interactions with other medications or supplements

Arguably the most important factor to consider is whether 5-HTP is likely to interact with your current medications. This is especially true of certain medications related to mental health conditions, such as SSRIs and tricyclic antidepressants, among others. If you’re taking any type of antidepressant or medication that influences your serotonin levels, it’s vital that you consult your doctor or pharmacist before using 5-HTP. They will be able to advise whether it’s a safe option for you based on your current medication regimen, dose, and medical history. 

This is important because boosting serotonin too much can cause a condition called serotonin syndrome. While it is rare, it is very serious and steps should always be taken to prevent it if there is any risk of it occurring. Therefore, following the advice of healthcare professionals when looking to add 5-HTP to a routine that already involves medications is key to ensuring your safety. 


Recommended dosage

As is the case with CBD, the ideal dose of 5-HTP is unique to each individual. We generally recommend following the advice of YrHealth, our sister brand and the creator of the 5-HTP supplement available on our site. This is to take one 400mg capsule once per day with food and water. As with CBD, another factor to consider is which dose works best for you. For example, certain conditions and ailments may warrant higher or lower doses than others.

However, above all of this, make sure that you prioritise following the recommendations of your doctor and/or pharmacist. If they decide that your dose should be higher or lower, it’s important to follow their advice over a generic dose recommendation. This is because they are able to take your specific situation, including your health, medications, conditions, and medical history into account when making their recommendations. If there are no medications or other factors that may interact with 5-HTP, it’s unlikely they will disagree with YrHealth’s dosing recommendations, but checking in with them is always recommended anyway. 


Timeframe for noticing effects

Another similarity that 5-HTP has with CBD is that its effects rarely occur instantly. For most people, it can take anywhere from one to 12 weeks to see noticeable benefits from the supplement. In this time period, it’s important to stay consistent, follow the advice of medical professionals, and refrain from increasing your dose to speed up the benefits unless advised otherwise.


Why does YrHealth’s 5-HTP supplement contain L-tryptophan, chamomile, and lemon balm?

YrHealth always aims to make their supplements as beneficial as possible by including a range of synergistic ingredients. In their 5-HTP supplement, they also include L-tryptophan, chamomile, and lemon balm. L-tryptophan is an amino acid that also contributes to the creation of serotonin. Chamomile and lemon balm are both natural ingredients that are widely beloved for their calming and soothing effects. The addition of these extra ingredients helps make the supplement more holistic and well rounded. 


Key takeaways

Here are the key points to remember about 5-HTP:

  • 5-HTP is a natural supplement derived from the seeds of an African plant.
  • It is the natural precursor to serotonin, which is involved in the regulation of mood, sleep, appetite, and more.
  • 5-HTP is an increasingly popular natural supplement thanks to its potential benefits, including better sleep quality and duration, appetite control and weight management, and even mood improvements.
  • Some people choose to combine CBD and 5-HTP to achieve synergistic effects.
  • Combining CBD with 5-HTP should be approached gradually and with caution to avoid overloading your system.
  • 5-HTP may interact with some medications, particularly those used to treat depression. 
  • Speaking to a healthcare professional about medication interactions, ideal dose, and other important considerations is recommended before adding 5-HTP into your routine.
  • At YrHealth, the inclusion of additional ingredients, like L-tryptophan, chamomile, and lemon balm, make this supplement more well rounded and soothing than other 5-HTP products.