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5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan): 5-HTP could be considered as either an amino acid or herbal supplement.It comes from Griffonia simplicifolia, an African woody shrub. But we’ve put it in the amino acid category since it’s so closely associated with tryptophan. S., Canada, and the United Kingdom, 5-HTP is sold as an over-the-counter supplement for ADHD, anxiety, depression, fibromyalgia, migraines, sleep disorders, and weight loss (7).

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Within a few months, this inevitably causes a cascade of negative side effects (10). Datis Kharrazian, author of , lists these co-factors as needed for the synthesis of either tryptophan or 5-HTP to serotonin — vitamins B3, B6, and B12, folic acid, and magnesium.

Look either for serotonin boosting supplements that contain these along with the main active ingredients or add them separately with a high-quality multivitamin mineral supplement.

A review of 108 studies on 5-HTP revealed there is still no definitive evidence that it helps depression (9). An Ongoing Debate: There’s an ongoing discussion in the natural health community whether it’s better to take tryptophan or 5-HTP to increase serotonin levels.

Tryptophan more readily enters the brain, but 5-HTP requires one less step to convert into serotonin.

It’s believed that low serotonin is the underlying cause of depression.