April 09, 2022 5 min read

5-HTP, short for 5-hydroxytryptophan, works in the brain and nervous system to help regulate crucial bodily processes like sleep, appetite, pain signaling, and more. Some sources suggest that it is a precursor to serotonin, meaning it may be beneficial for managing conditions linked to low serotonin levels. Modern research has found that supplementing with 5-HTP may help manage low-serotonin depression, aid in weight loss, reduce the frequency of migraines, and even improve sleep

If you’re considering adding 5-HTP to your wellness routine to reap these benefits and more, you’re probably asking how much 5-HTP should I take each day?

The truth is, 5-HTP dosage varies for every person, but we do have some anecdotal evidence and limited research to point us in the right direction. Here’s what we know:

Table of Contents
How Much 5-HTPShould I Take?
What’s the Best Way to Take 5-HTP?
When Should I Take 5-HTP?
Who Shouldn’t Take 5-HTP?
5-HTP Dosage FAQs
Resources

Key Takeaways

  • Consumers often take around 300-600 mg of 5-HTP daily, usually divided into two or more daily doses.
  • The exact dosage you need also depends on your health condition, weight, age, and other biological factors. You may need to start with small doses and increase as needed.
  • Some people should not take Ashwagandha, like those with thyroid problems or who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Talk to your doctor before adding Ashwagandha to your wellness routine.

How Much 5-HTP Should You Take Daily?

Before you decide on a 5-HTP dosage, you should consider all of the factors that impact how much you may need. For instance, your 5-HTP dosage may change depending on your weight, age, health conditions, and other unique biological and lifestyle factors. Keep in mind that 5-HTP is sold as a supplement in the U.S., which means that the dosage size is not standardized. You should pay close attention to the dosage of any product you choose.

To answer the question–how much 5-HTP should I take–we want to take a look at current research available to get an idea of the doses used for various different health conditions. In general, you should still plan to start at the low end of the dosing threshold and increase your dose slowly as needed. The ultimate goal is to take the minimum amount necessary to reap optimal benefits.

People take between 150-800 mg of 5-HTP daily, sometimes divided into two or three daily doses. The average dose is around 100-200 mg up to three times daily.

If you are taking a multi-functional blend that combines 5-HTP with other supplements, make sure that you pay close attention to the amount of other supplements you are taking when adjusting your 5-HTP dosage. When using a combination supplement, it may be best to simply follow the dosing recommendations on the label.

5-HTP Dosage for Depression

Some small studies have compared 5-HTP to popular antidepressants with positive results. A clinical trial used 100 mg of 5-HTP given three times daily and found the supplements to be as effective as fluvoxamine, a common antidepressant, with fewer side effects. .

5-HTP Dosage for Migraines

Migraines are sometimes linked to low serotonin levels, which is why some researchers believe that 5-HTP may help. One study using doses of 600 mg of 5-HTP per day found the supplement to be as effective as methysergide, a medication used to treat migraines.

Read "5-HTP Benefits" to learn about other reasons why you may want to incorporate 5-HTP into your daily wellness routine. 

What's the Best Way to Take 5-HTP?

If you’re looking to add 5-HTP to your daily wellness regimen, you have two primary options for dosing. 5-HTP is most commonly found in capsule form, although you may find it in powder form, especially when it is used as part of a multifaceted wellness blend. Let’s discuss both dosing methods:

A person holding a single 5-HTP capsule, taken as one portion of their daily dosage.

Capsules

Capsules are the most common form of 5-HTP, and they are often chosen because they are convenient. Capsules offer pre-measured doses that are great for daily dosing at any time of day. You won’t need to measure the dosage each time, and many people love this flavorless 5-HTP dosing option.

Powder

5-HTP powder is not as common, but it is the method used for making multi-functional blends that include 5-HTP. You may find supplement blends that combine 5-HTP with other nootropic and adaptogenic herbs designed to boost cognition, stabilize mood, or regulate sleep cycles. Powder is convenient for measuring precise doses or customizing your dosing routine. It’s usually designed to be mixed into your favorite drinks or foods for optimal absorption.

When Should I Take 5-HTP?

5-HTP is often taken in one daily dose, usually first thing in the morning. It can be taken with or without food. If you find that you feel nauseous after taking 5-HTP on an empty stomach, you may want to take it with a small meal or snack.

Alternatively, some people take 5-HTP before bed to help improve sleep. In general, the most important factor is that you take 5-HTP around the same time each day. It may take several weeks of consistent dosing to feel the full effects of your 5-HTP dosage routine.

Who Should Not Take 5-HTP?

In general, 5-HTPis thought to be safe when used in moderate amounts, though extremely large doses (in excess of 3,000 mg per day) could cause severe side effects. Some people may need to avoid taking 5-HTP, however, including those who:

  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Take antidepressants
  • Have liver disease
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have diabetes
  • Have thyroid issues

In some cases, you may still be able to take 5-HTP if you fall into one of the above categories, but you should talk to your doctor before adding 5-HTP to your daily wellness routine. You should also discuss your 5-HTP dosage with your doctor if you take other medications as it may interact with certain pharmaceuticals.

Read "5-HTP Side Effects" to learn more. 

5-HTP Dosage FAQ's

What's the best 5-HTP dosage?

On average, people take around 300 mg of 5-HTP daily, often split into two or three daily doses.

Is it OK to take 5-HTP everyday?

Yes, 5-HTP is most effective when taken daily. Most sources suggest that 5-HTP is safe when taken daily for up to one year. Talk to your doctor about using 5-HTP for extended periods of time.

What should you not take with 5-HTP?

Some medications may interact with 5-HTP. Some examples include popular antidepressants like Citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram (Lexapro), fluvoxamine (Luvox), paroxetine (Paxil), fluoxetine (Prozac), and sertraline (Zoloft).

Does 5-HTP make you feel happy?

Some anecdotal reports and limited studies suggest that 5-HTP supplementation can help boost mood.

Resources

  1. “A pilot study of the predictive value of the probenecid test in application of 5-hydroxytryptophan as antidepressant” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/4556909/
  2. “Serotonin reciprocally regulates melanocortin neurons to modulate food intake” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16846858/
  3. “5-Hydroxytryptophan versus methysergide in the prophylaxis of migraine. Randomized clinical trial” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3536521/
  4. “A randomized, placebo-controlled trial of an amino acid preparation on timing and quality of sleep” https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19417589/
  5. “A Functional-Dimensional Approach to Depression: Serotonin Deficiency as a Target Syndrome in a Comparison of 5-Hydroxytryptophan and Fluvoxamine” https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/284698
  6. “5-Hydroxytryptophan versus Methysergide in the Prophylaxis of Migraine” https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/116030

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