They call stress a silent killer, and when you examine the long list of things that chronic stress can affect, it's easy to understand why. Being in a constant state of stress can lead to hormone imbalances that disrupt sleep, cause weight gain and increase your risk of depression and anxiety. Stress has also been linked with heart disease, stroke, autoimmune diseases and even some forms of cancer.
In recent years, doctors have begun to recommend 5-HTP supplements for people for stress management. This substance is made naturally in the human body out of the amino acid tryptophan and can then be converted to the feel good brain chemical serotonin. Read on to learn more about this anti-stress supplement and to discover the 5 best 5-HTP supplements.
Benefits of 5-HTP
Studies done with the high quality 5-HTP supplements indicate that the substance may be beneficial for:
- Stress Relief: By raising serotonin levels in the brain, 5-HTP supplements may help to promote feelings of calm and counteract some of the physical and emotional effects of chronic stress.
- Depression: There is some evidence to suggest that taking 5-HTP supplements can promote a better brain chemical balance to ease symptoms of clinical depression. The best 5-HTP supplements may even be as effective as some anti-depressants.
- Insomnia: As serotonin is involved in the sleep-wake cycle, some researchers believe that 5-HTP supplements may help address insomnia and other sleep problems.
- Anxiety: The calming effects that 5-HTP supplements seem to have on the body and mind have made them an alternative remedy for generalized anxiety disorder.
- Fibromyalgia: Fibromyalgia pain often worsens due to stress. As a result, doctors may recommend 5-HTP supplements for patients with the condition, especially during periods of emotional turmoil or stress at work.
- Migraines: Migraine headaches that are alleviated by antidepressant medications may also be able to be addressed with the use of 5-HTP supplements.
- Obesity: Some very small studies indicate that 5-HTP supplements may assist with weight management by helping to control appetite.
5-HTP Dosage Guidelines
If you are considering taking 5-HTP supplements, you should talk to your doctor about how much is right for your specific needs. Generally, adults are told to take 50 milligrams of 5-HTP one to three times per day for stress relief. Doses of 150 to 300 milligrams per day are often used for anxiety, depression and migraines, as studies show more 5-HTP is needed to address these conditions.
The good thing about 5-HTP is that since it's natural, you don't need a prescription. So you can buy any of the products below on Amazon.com!
General Safety Advice
Before taking 5-HTP supplements, it is important to consider these safety tips:
- High doses of 5-HTP could be toxic. You should never take more than the manufacturer recommends or your doctor advises.
- Even the best 5-HTP supplements can cause some side effects, including nausea, gas, loss of appetite and heartburn. These symptoms often go away once the body adjusts to the supplement.
- 5-HTP supplements may not be safe for people with hypertension or diabetes.
- Because antidepressants also elevate serotonin levels, it is not safe to take 5-HTP supplements along with these medications.
- As with all supplements, people who are pregnant, breastfeeding or suffering from liver or kidney disease may not be able to safely take 5-HTP supplements.
- Never take any supplement without first consulting your health care practitioner.
What Does GMP Certified Mean?
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not approve dietary supplements, but they have established manufacturing guidelines to help ensure that supplements are as pure and safe as possible. Known as the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) guidelines, the best practices are not required. Manufacturers can choose to follow them or not follow them, but the best 5-HTP supplements are generally those that are made in accordance with GMP standards.
The Top 5 Best 5-HTP Supplements
Based on my research, here are my picks for the best 5-HTP supplements in no particular order.
- Vitamin B6 Included: In your body, vitamin B6 is needed to convert 5-HTP to serotonin, and studies have found that many people do not get enough of this vitamin in their diets. NatureWise 5-HTP Supplement has 5 milligrams of vitamin B6 in each capsule to help ensure that your body has the vitamin B6 required to use 5-HTP to the fullest. It is one of the few 5-HTP supplements on the market to have this extra ingredient.
- Vegetarian Capsules: The NatureWise 5-HTP Supplement capsules are made without gelatin, so they are suitable for vegetarian diets.
- GMP Certified: NatureWise 5-HTP supplement is manufactured at a facility that has been certified as being fully GMP compliant, so you can be certain of its quality.
- Third-Party Tested: Bottles of NatureWise 5-HTP Supplement are independently tested by a third-party laboratory to ensure that they are pure and potent. When you choose this supplement, you can be sure that what's written on the package is what's inside the capsules.
This has been a great product to use in combination with the green coffee bean extract. I really like how it gives me extra energy and makes me feel energetic and motivated to be active throughout the day. By taking this, my gym sessions have been more productive, my weight loss and muscle growth has been enhanced, and my overall daily mood has been better.
Drawbacks of NatureWise 5-HTP Supplement:
The main drawback of the NatureWise 5-HTP 100 mg Supplement is also its strongest selling point--the vitamin B6. Some people may not be able to safely take vitamin B6 even if they are able to take 5-HTP and others may simply prefer not to have the extra vitamin in their diets. For most people, though, the added vitamin B6 is a good thing and makes for an overall more well-balanced diet.
I would strongly recommend NatureWise 5-HTP 100 mg Supplement for anyone who wants to take Vitamin B6 and 5-HTP together. The addition of the vitamin and the high quality of the product makes it worthy of a spot on any list of the best 5-htp supplements.
- Time Release Formula: Natrol 5-HTP Time Release Tablets have a time-release formula, meaning that the pills break down gradually in your digestive system and are absorbed more slowly over time. Some studies have found that time release supplements are less likely to cause side effects and may be more effective because they supply the body with nutrients continuously over a longer period.
- Easy to swallow: Natrol 5-HTP Time Release Tablets come in tablet form, so you can cut the pills in smaller pieces to adjust your dose or make them easier to swallow.
- High Dose: Individuals who are told to take more than 100 milligrams of 5-HTP at one time will not need to take as many pills with this supplement due to its higher dosage.
I wish I had found this sooner. I've been taking St. Johns wort for years, and it helps. But this actually goes beyond helping me feel 'fine' or 'okay'. I actually feel good; happy. My husband has commented that he has his happy, giggly wife back. You don't realize how long it's been since you've felt like laughing until you start again. This is a life changer.
Drawbacks of Natrol 5-HTP Time Release Tablets:
The main drawback to Natrol 5-HTP Time Release Tablets is the price of the supplement. You receive 30 tablets per bottle, which works out to about $.38 per pill depending on Amazon's current price, more than double the price per pill of the next most expensive supplement on this list of the 5 best 5-HTP supplements. Still, the bottle costs less than $15, so it is still affordable.
I would definitely recommend Natrol 5-HTP Time Release Tablets for anyone who needs a higher dose of 5-HTP to follow their doctor's advice. It has the highest dose of any of the products on this list of the best 5-HTP supplements and is the only time release option.
- Vegetarian Capsules: BRI Nutrition 5-HTP features gelatin-free capsules that are ideal for vegan diets.
- GMP Certified and Third-Party Tested: Like the NatureWise supplement, BRI Nutrition 5-HTP 120 Count 100mg 5 HTP Veggie Capsules are made at a facility that is fully GMP certified and has been third-party laboratory tested to ensure purity and safety.
- Satisfaction Guarantee: BRI Nutrition is one of the few manufacturers of high quality 5-HTP supplements that offers a 30-day money-back guarantee on their supplement. If you are dissatisfied for any reason, you can return the open bottle for a refund.
- Price: Although BRI Nutrition 5-HTP - 120 Count 100mg 5 HTP Veggie Capsules is a high quality supplement, it is affordably priced at just $.12 per capsule.
I just began taking these as part of my daily regimen. I have heard a lot of good things about 5-HTP related to mood and sleep (or lack thereof), both of which easily go hand-in-hand. As it has only been a few days it's hard to comment on their efficacy as of yet but I can say I do feel less anxiety in the time that I have been trying this particular brand. I can also comment on the overall size and taste of this pill, both of which are perfect...
Drawbacks of BRI Nutrition 5-HTP Veggie Capsules:
There really aren't any major drawbacks to BRI Nutrition 5-HTP - 120 Count 100mg 5 HTP Veggie Capsules. There are some reports in reviews of people finding the capsules difficult to swallow; however, they did not seem any bigger than most of the other capsules that I examined to create this list of the best 5-HTP supplements.
Overall, BRI Nutrition 5-HTP Veggie Capsules offer real value for the money, and I strongly recommend them. They are the least expensive option in terms of price per pill but come with a satisfaction guarantee that the other products do not offer.
- Vegetarian: Vegetarians can take the NOW Foods 5-HTP VCaps without worry because they are gelatin free.
- Great for Restrictive Diets: Individuals who are on restrictive diets can use NOW Foods 5-HTP supplements with confidence, as they are free of salt, sugar, yeast, wheat, gluten, corn, soy, milk and eggs. Other supplements may also be free of these ingredients, but it is not specified on the package.
- Easy to Swallow: The NOW Foods 5-HTP VCaps are very easy to swallow. While they are similar in size to most other capsules, their rice flour and cellulose capsule coating seems to be easier to get down.
Puts my husband in such a good mood he actually sings! I highly recommend this. I give him this along with Holy Basil and Rhodiola. Saved my marriage after my husband quit drinking. Changed him from mean and angry to happy and loving. Seriously.
Drawbacks of NOW Foods 5-HTP VCaps:
The biggest problem that I found with the NOW Foods 5-HTP supplement is that it is isn't clear if the supplement is actually made in a GMP certified facility. The label just says GMP quality assured, which usually means that the company is saying GMP guidelines are followed for manufacturing but that no third party has actually evaluated the facility to verify this. NOW Foods does have a great reputation, so I trust the quality of the product, but it would be nice if the label was clearer.
I would recommend NOW Foods 5-HTP 100mg 120 VCaps for people who need to eat gluten free, low sodium or have another type of dietary concern and want to be 100 percent certain that the supplement they are using fits their diets.
- Small Capsule Size: At one-third the size of other capsules, the EverPure 5-HTP supplement is very easy to take. Even people who have difficulty swallowing pills can likely use this supplement without worry. Although they are smaller, the capsules still provide 100 milligrams of 5-HTP like three of the other four supplements on the list of the best 5-HTP supplements.
- Vegetarian: The EverPure 5-HTP Capsules are gelatin free to suit vegetarian diets.
- GMP Certified: EverPure manufactures their supplements in a facility that is fully GMP certified.
EVERPURE 5HTP is the best 5HTP I have ever taken and I have tried many brands. The capsules are easy to swallow. The bottle is opaque which is great since light can affect some supplements. I don't know if 5HTP degrades in light but with an opaque bottle I don't have your worry about it. Better safe than sorry. It doesn't cause me an upset stomach, bloating or gas. It doesn't have any taste. HERE IS THE BEST PART...EVERPURE works!
Drawbacks of EverPure Premium 5-HTP Supplement:
After the Natrol product, the EverPure 5-HTP supplements are the next most expensive at $.16 per pill or $19.47 per bottle. This should still fit into most people's budgets and the added price is due to the fact that it requires specialty equipment to make the capsules so small.
Overall, I would say that EverPure 5-HTP Capsules are likely to be among the best 5-HTP supplements for people who may struggle to take larger pills. For those individuals, the added price is well worth the money.
The Best of The Best 5-HTP Supplements
While we do recommend all of the products on this list of the best 5-HTP supplements, the BRI Nutrition 5-HTP Supplement stands out the most. Not only does it give you a vegetarian capsule that is GMP-certified, but it's also the least expensive per capsule and comes with the assurance of a satisfaction guarantee.
These features set it apart from the competitors and make a great option for 5-HTP supplementation. You can save an extra 5-15% by using Amazon's Subscribe & Save option!