Home » Reviews » Amino Acids » Natrol 5-HTP Review

Natrol 5-HTP Review – Is it Effective?

By Sasha de Beausset Aparicio, MSc

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

Last Updated:

Evidence Based | Ingredients | Cautions | Cost | Directions | Verdict

5-HTP Capsule is a dietary supplement which can potentially be used as an antidepressant, appetite suppressant, and sleep aid. It’s distributed by Natrol, a company from Chatsworth, California. Natrol says they “have consistently achieved the highest ” A’ rating from the Natural Products Association, an independent industry association responsible for certifying vitamins and supplements.” Their most popular products are Melatonin, 5-HTP, and Biotin. They were founded in 1980 and became a subsidiary of Aurobindo Pharma USA Inc in 2014.


1) Details on 5-HTP Ingredients and Uses

5-HTP Capsule contains the following ingredients: 5-Hydroxytryptophan (from Griffonia simplicifolia) (seeds) (50 mg).

2) What Does 5-HTP Do?

Each capsule contains 50 mg or 100 mg of 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan), depending on which size bottle you purchase. 5-HTP is a naturally occurring amino acid (it’s sometimes called oxitriptan) and a direct precursor to serotonin. It also helps with melatonin from tryptophan. Sometimes it provides stress relief, minor weight loss, and increased levels of cortisol. One study suggests that 5-HTP can reduce sleep terrors. It doesn’t specifically cause weight loss itself. It increases the likelihood of feeling full after a meal, meaning you want less food throughout the day. For this reason, most doctors recommend taking 5-HTP with food for most people. A typical dose is 300 to 500 mg a day, divided up into smaller doses. Some people can effectively use less than 300 mg a day. It varies from person to person, as everyone’s brain is different. Potential side effects of 5-HTP include heartburn, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, and various other problems. Because it hasn’t been thoroughly studied through clinical trials, interactions with other drugs are not well known. Always consult your doctor if you aren’t sure about a supplement’s effects or if you need it.

3) 5-HTP Benefits & Results


  • A drug free solution for people who aren’t interested in pharmaceuticals.
  • A one ingredient dietary supplement with a low dose. You know what’s in each capsule and can choose how much (or how little) to take. Freedom of choice and understanding is important in nootropics.


4) What You Need to Know Before Taking 5-HTP

  • Capsules use cellulose and gelatin instead of just one. Without any gelatin, these capsules would probably be vegan-friendly.
  • Not clear if 5-HTP can effectively treat depression, but it does impact serotonin production.

If you need a quality sleep supplement that’s also vegan, try sleep supplements like Luna Natural Sleep Aid.


5) 5-HTP Cost

The label recommends taking one capsule with food, up to four times a day. One bottle either gives you 60 capsules of 50 mg or 30 capsules of 100 mg. There isn’t much difference in getting one over the other. Most people will prefer the 50 mg capsules because it’s best to start with low doses of 5-HTP. Either way, the price is firmly in the average range, IF you only take two capsules a day. Sometimes you can get it for a below average price, and with free shipping to boot. It depends on where you can find 5-HTP Capsule. Because it’s sold by a larger company, it’s available through multiple outlets.


6) 5-HTP Directions

5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is an amino acid which participates in the body’s synthesis of serotonin, a substance sometimes thought to be responsible for levels of happiness. This product uses Griffonia simplicifolia seed as their source for 5-HTP. It comes from a woody shrub native to western and central Africa. The seeds are used in some herbal supplements precisely because they contain 5-HTP. It is used by the human body as a building block; a precursor forming the neurotransmitter serotonin. It may also reduce anxiety, improve mood, and help control appetite. How much Griffonia simplicifolia someone needs depends on weight, although the optimal dose is still unknown. A child (30 to 100 lbs) will usually need 55 to 185 mg Griffonia (or 11 to 37 mg 5-HTP). This supplement contains 50 mg of 5-HTP, which is relatively standard in nootropics. There aren’t any other ingredients which might work well with the 5-HTP to provide a well rounded result, which is a potential downside. Griffonia has also been used in African folk medicine for diarrhea, stomachache, vomiting, and more. Since this product only uses 5-HTP, and not the Griffonia plant itself, it’s unlikely to provide those types of benefits. Some people might want more from their supplement, other ingredients to boost the main ingredient and provide a greater benefit overall. Still, amino acids are well absorbed by the body. They are almost always useful in some regard or another, much like B vitamins.


7) Our Final Take On 5-HTP

Most of the reviews are good. A few people have reported dizziness or nausea, but it can go away as your body slowly begins to get used to 5-HTP. Most people should take it slow because this supplement affects your brain chemistry. That’s a sort of thing which always carries some level of risk. In general, 5-HTP appears to have varied results on people. Most are happy and would recommend this product, but a lot of people have caveats or an important point to make. This is not a “one size fits all” solution, but it may work for you.

5/5 - (1 vote)
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments