Does Taking 5-HTP for Anxiety Really Work?

You've might have heard about this from a friend. 5-HTP might help with anxiety symptoms.

Is it really true? Now you are really curious.

And more importantly, should I give it a try? Oh, by the way, what is 5-HTP anyway?

These are question questions. Let's answer the last question first.

5-HTP is a naturally occurring amino acid that the body uses to build protein. In addition, the body can and does convert 5-HTP to serotonin when it is called for.

From research studies, it has been known for some time that low serotonin levels in the brain is linked to depression, generalized anxiety disorders, panic attack disorder, insomnia and increased appetite.

Research studies have shown the ability for 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) supplement to boost serotonin levels in the brain. And this is believed how it might just work to help manage anxiety and perhaps even panic attack symptoms.

Let's look at just two scientific research papers that document the ability of 5-HTP for treating anxiety symptoms and perhaps even panic attacks...

Research Study on the Benefits of 5-HTP for Anxiety for Mental Health

Research Study #1

In this first study, 48 volunteers were subjected to high concentration of carbon dioxide gas. Why? This was the experimental model use to simulate an anxiety attack.

Half of these volunteers suffered did develop panic attacks and the other half did not.

By giving the volunteers 200 mg of 5-HTP prior to the exposure to the carbon dioxide gas, it significantly reduced the severity of the panic attacks in those with an existing history of panic attack disorder.

Note that it made no difference to those who don't have a history of panic disorders.

Indeed, this simple study gave evidence that 5-HTP could be of significant benefit to those who have an existing panic attack disorder.

Here's the reference to this research paper.

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Citation

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Research Study #2

Let's look at a second study.

In this small but well-designed clinical study involving 45 volunteers, the researchers showed that taking 5-hydroxytryptophan is effective for reducing anxiety and panic attacks.

As could be expected in most cases, it is not quite as effective as the prescription medication clomipramine.

They concluded that a low level of the neurotransmitter serotonin is partly responsible for the cause of anxiety disorders, especially panic attacks and agoraphobia (fear of open spaces such as a fear of being caught alone in some public place).

Here's the reference to this research paper.

5-htp reference image 2


Citation

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Suggested Dose to Use for Anxiety Symptoms

Experts suggest using 50 to 100 mg up to three times daily.

Start with a lower dose and increase gradually to avoid side effects such as nausea.

How often should you increase the dose? Increase it by 50 to 100 mg weekly. For example, start with 50 mg twice daily and increase weekly by 50 mg to 100 mg until you reach the upper dose of 100 mg three times daily.

Clinical trials have used 5-HTP for depression with dosages ranging from 150 mg to 300 mg daily (in divided doses).

If you are currently on prescription antidepressant medications or other medications, consult with your health care professional first before starting 5-HTP. He or she will verify that it is compatible and help you identify what side effects to watch out for should there be any interactions.

Bottom Line

Considering taking 5-HTP for your anxiety symptoms?

Perhaps.

There is a small body of scientific evidence that suggested that taking 5-HTP for anxiety disorder and panic attacks could potentially reduce the symptoms.

It does so, in part, by boosting serotonin levels in the brain, a known effect of this natural supplement.

The two clinical studies discussed below seem to support using 5-HTP supplement for controlling anxiety and panic disorders. This is reassuring if you are planning to try it.

However, more studies will need to be done to confirm these preliminary findings.

But did you also know that there are many other all natural supplements that also work, many perhaps better than 5-HTP?

Check out our very comprehensive review presented in an easy-to-read and understand table. You might be surprised to find out others that you might want to try as well.

Complete List of Natural Remedies for Anxiety

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Related to 5-HTP for Anxiety Management

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References to 5-HTP for Anxiety

Revised: 22.07.2015

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