Which 5-HTP supplement is best?

Depression and anxiety are two common conditions associated with low serotonin levels. Medication is often prescribed for these conditions. In many cases, it’s necessary, but a supplement such as 5-hydroxytryptophan can help boost serotonin levels naturally. 5-HTP can improve mood, help curb appetite and result in better-quality sleep.  

Dosage can vary between brands, and some products contain additional ingredients that can enhance specific benefits, but the best is Dr. Emil Nutrition 200 Milligram 5-HTP Plus Formula.

What to know before you buy a 5-HTP supplement

Benefits of 5-HTP supplements 

5-HTP might not be as well-known or as widely used as protein powder or vitamins, but it can be as effective for some people because it can boost serotonin levels, resulting in improved mood and better sleep. This can make it a good alternative to other sleep supplements. 5-HTP has been shown to curb appetite by making you feel full, contributing to weight loss in some. 

Dosage and pill count

5-HTP often comes in bottles of 50-, 100- or 200-milligram pills, with the pill count per bottle varying between 30 and 180. When you take 5-HTP and how much you take depends on the intended benefit. Generally, it’s recommended to take 100-300 milligrams for sleep, 250-300 for appetite control, and 50-100 for improved mood. 

What to look for in a 5-HTP supplement

Additional ingredients

Given the various benefits of 5-HTP, some brands add other ingredients to enhance those benefits, such as vitamins C and B6, to help 5-HTP be converted to serotonin and calcium to promote healthier sleep and overall calmness. Gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, is sometimes added to help promote sleep. 

It’s important to consider that some 5-HTP supplements contain wheat, gluten and soy, which can be problematic for those with certain sensitivities. 

Slow release 

Some capsules have a slow-release nature, which can help ease digestive issues in sensitive stomachs. The downside is that it might take longer to feel the effects, an issue if you’re taking them to promote sleep and a sense of calm. 

How much you can expect to spend on a 5-HTP supplement

You always want to check the pill count and serving size per bottle, but 5-HTP can vary between 14 cents a serving on the low end to about 86 cents a serving on the high end. That means the price of a bottle can vary between $14 and $130, but you can still find quality products for around $20 per bottle. 

5-HTP supplement FAQ

Should I take 5-HTP with food? 

A. You can take it with or without food. Some people prefer to take it on an empty stomach before bed to help improve sleep. However, always follow the directions. Some supplements may contain other ingredients best absorbed with food. 

Does 5-HTP have any side effects?

A. Not always, but large doses have been linked to heartburn, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, which is why it’s important to always follow the recommended dosage. If you’re taking it for the first time, start with low doses. And always consult your doctor if you plan to take this supplement long-term, or while taking other medication. 

When is the best time of day to take 5-HTP?

A. It depends on your main reason for taking the supplement. Taking 5-HTP at bedtime has been known to help improve sleep and decrease anxiety the following day. If you’re taking it for weight management, it can be effective if taken 30 minutes before a meal. 

What’s the best 5-HTP supplement to buy?

Top 5-HTP supplement 

Dr. Emil Nutrition 200 Milligram 5-HTP Plus Formula

Dr. Emil Nutrition 200 Milligram 5-HTP Plus Formula 

What you need to know: In addition to 200 milligrams of 5-HTP, this supplement also contains S-Adenosyl methionine and tryptophan to help improve mood, reduce stress, and promote healthier sleep. 

What you’ll love: These vegan capsules are GMO- and hormone-free. Vitamin B6 is included to help improve 5-HTP conversion. 

What you should consider: Some customers preferred the old formula. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top 5-HTP supplement for the money

Now 5-HTP 100 Milligram

Now 5-HTP 100 milligrams

What you need to know: Support mood and relaxation with a popular quality product that costs less than other brands. 

What you’ll love: By supporting the production of serotonin in the brain and central nervous system, 5-HTP can also help sleep and appetite. These non-GMO vegan capsules are nut-, soy-, gluten-, dairy- and egg-free. They’re made in the United States by a company that has been family owned and operated since 1968.

What you should consider: This supplement made a few customers feel nauseous. 

Where to buy: Sold by iHerb

Worth checking out

Thorne Research 5-HTP

Thorne Research 5-HTP

What you need to know: Support stress relief, promote healthy sleep and even decrease sugar cravings with this 5-HTP supplement from a trusted and respected brand. 

What you’ll love: This is absorbed well in the body and can be taken with food without decreasing its effectiveness. It contains no artificial flavors and is dairy-, gluten- and soy-free. Thorne collaborates with the Mayo Clinic and is a partner of 11 U.S. Olympic teams. 

What you should consider: Some customers complained about the metallic taste of the pills. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Ryan Dempsey writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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