Home » Reviews » Amino Acids » Jarrow Formulas 5-HTP Review

Jarrow Formulas 5-HTP Review – Is it Effective?

By Sasha de Beausset Aparicio, MSc

Reviewed by Rebecca Williams, MD, MA, MB, BChir

Last Updated:

Evidence Based | Summary | Ingredients | Health Benefits | Warnings | Bottom Line

5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is a popular, natural mood-enhancing supplement. Developed by Jarrow Formulas, the dietary supplement is marketed as an efficient way to deal with depression, anxiety, insomnia.

Jarrow Formulas, based in Los Angeles, California, is a formulator and supplier of superior nutritional supplements for more than 30 years and enjoys a solid reputation world-wide. Jarrow Formulas’ complete line of products include vitamins, minerals, probiotics, standardized herbal concentrates, amino acids, enzymes and enteral nutrition products.

For example, the line of Acetyl-L-Carnitine supplements is developed for cardiovascular health. Jarro-Dophilus capsules address gastrointestinal problems. For brain and memory support, the company has formulated a variety of supplements and vegetables capsules (Ginkgo Biloba, Krill Oil, Mellow Tonin and many other products).

They’re also the company behind the memory supplement PS 100 Phosphatidylserine.

According to Jarrow Formulas official website, the company’s staff is professionally trained, has wide experience in scientific research and nutrition, and is involved in clinical studies and in working with researches from universities, institutes and other academic environments around the world.

5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is an extract of Griffonia Simplicifolia seeds, a plant found on the coastal West Africa, and is marketed as a nutritional aid for depression and insomnia.

The company claims that the 5-HTP supplement “may be useful in promoting mental health, as a precursor to serotonin, and, as a melatonin precursor, may promote sleep.” Purity is assured by HPLC (high-performance liquid chromatography).


1) What is 5-HTP?

Product features5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is a natural extract from Griffonia Simplicifolia seeds. The extract is a direct precursor of serotonin and is important for the production of melatonin, a hormone secreted by the pineal gland that aids biorhythm regulation.

There are no reports of clinical tests on Jarrow Formulas’ website. The interested consumer can find a documented overview of 5-HTP on the website of University of Maryland Medical Center, Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guide. According to the article, “5-HTP may help treat a wide variety of conditions related to low serotonin levels, including depression, fibromyalgia, insomnia, migraines and other headaches, obesity … preliminary tests indicate that 5-HTP may work as well as certain antidepressant drugs to treat people with mild-to-moderate depression.”

In relation to insomnia, the same article makes the statement that, “In one study, people who took 5-HTP went to sleep quicker and slept more deeply than those who took a placebo.”
According to the same article, side effects of 5-HTP are generally mild and may include nausea, heartburn, gas.

Suggested usage from Jarrow Formulas’ website: 1 capsule per day on an empty stomach or as directed by a qualified health care professional.

If you have a medical condition, are pregnant, lactating, trying to conceive, under the age of 18, or taking medication (especially SSRIs, MAOs, or sedatives) consult with your health care provider before using this product.

Testimonials are mostly positive. Consumers prone to anxiety attacks claim that the product helps them overcome the attack, and those who suffered from depression consider the product helpful to boost the mood (“a good mellow type of relaxing” wrote one consumer). Positive effect has been mentioned in relation to insomnia. Side-effects are few (nausea was mentioned and an excess of serotonin if the dosage exceeded the recommended dose).


2) 5-HTP Ingredients

Ingredients of 5-HTP
Active ingredient: 5-Hydroxytryptophan extract.
Other ingredients: Cellulose, magnesium stearate (vegetable source) and silicon dioxide.
The product does not contain wheat, gluten, soybean, dairy, egg, fish/shellfish, peanuts/tree nuts.

Health Benefits

3) 5-HTP Health Benefits

  • Jarrow Formulas is a reputable supplier of nutritional supplements, for more than 30 years, that enlisted a panel of professionally trained researchers.
  • Jarrow Formulas claims that it closely monitors FDA and FTC regulations to ensure consumer safety and regulatory compliance of products.
  • The product has been tested on humans with relative success and clinical studies have been mentioned on the website of the University of Maryland Medical Center.
  • Positive testimonials.
  • Affordable price, discounts and promotions offered by retailers and free shipping for orders over $20.
  • Main active ingredient is a natural extract.

4) 5-HTP Product Warnings

  • Jarrow Formulas does not provide reports of clinical studies.
  • The company’s statements about the product have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
  • The consumer should be cautious before increasing the recommended dose.
  • The product cannot be purchased from the company’s website.
  • No trial samples.
  • There are no customer reviews on the company’s website.
  • Some retailers have shipping restrictions outside the USA. Consumers outside USA should check shipping availability before ordering
Bottom Line

5) The Bottom Line – “Does it Work?”

5-HTP aids consumers who suffer from mild-to-moderate depression, anxiety attacks and insomnia. Studies made on this product showed positive results compared with other anti-depressants on the market.

Positive testimonials are encouraging, however if you take other anti-depressants, you should consult a doctor to avoid possible interactions.

The product should not be given to children.

4.3/5 - (6 votes)
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments