For BEAUTY, 5-HTP supports deeply replenishing rest, reducing dark under-eye circles, and helping tissue repair overnight. It has a mood uplifting effect, which can lessen facial worry lines. 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is a building block for serotonin which can alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety. It promotes deep, restorative beauty sleep, which enhances a natural glow. 5-HTP also has a key role in attaining and ideal weight and thus shapely body contours.

Sleep is essential for radiant beauty, inside and out. It allows replenishing time for tissue repair, protein synthesis, and healing blemishes. Ample sleep improves skin tone and healthy color and complexion. We all know how insomnia can cause dull, sagging skin, puffy eyes surrounded by dark circles, facial lines, and dry brittle hair. Sleep disruption also depletes energy reserves, lowers productivity, and reduces exercise capacity. This in turn can lead to weight gain, and flabby body shape with loss of muscle strength and tone. Poor sleep can raise cortisol, the body’s reaction to cope with the stress of tiredness. Too much cortisol raises blood sugar, impedes skin healing, and can cause a chubby abdomen and weaker muscles.


“5-HTP supports natural beauty in a number of ways. It facilitates adequate sleep for tissue repair, and for cortisol and blood sugar balance. 5-HTP can alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety and insomnia, and reduce worry wrinkles. It also has a key role in achieving an optimal weight and a toned, slender physique.”

Dr. Rachelle Herdman, Custom Health Guide

Clinically we see it being very helpful for all of these concerns, and scientific literature continues to support its many uses. A systematic review of 5-HTP confirmed available evidence indicating that it is an effective treatment for depression, as good as or better than placebo.1

5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is naturally produced in small amounts in the body from the essential amino acid L-tryptophan. An amino acid is “essential” when it cannot be made in in our own tissues and must come from food or supplementation.

Tryptophan is a large amino acid and competes with all of the body’s other amino acids to enter the brain through a strict gatekeeper known as the blood-brain barrier. Carbohydrates trigger the release of insulin, which removes most amino acids from the blood, but not tryptophan. This clears the pathway for tryptophan to enter the brain and form serotonin and ultimately, melatonin.

Once in the brain, tryptophan is converted to the neurotransmitter serotonin. This plays a major role in mood, creating a feeling of well-being and relaxation. Serotonin also significantly affects appetite, giving a feeling of satisfaction with smaller portions of food, helping with achieving optimal weight.

Melatonin is produced from serotonin. Melatonin is a hormone that, when increased, regulates sleep-wake cycles and tells the body when it is time to sleep. 5-HTP is therefore a crucial precursor or building block for the central nervous system to produce serotonin.

5-HTP is obtained from the seeds of Grifonia simplicifolia, a tropical shrub native to West Africa. Tryptophan is also used by the body to make niacin, a B-vitamin that is important for glucose balance, and for digestion, skin, and nerves. Disturbance of any of those areas can cause low mood or insomnia and loss of restorative beauty sleep. Niacin is also involved in the healthy uptake of protein, essential fats, and vegetable minerals, which all factor into beautiful skin, hair and nails, and energy, coordination, and poise.

A deficiency in tryptophan may reduce sleep, and affect appetite, temperature, sexual behavior, pain sensation, and worsen depression or anxiety. Earlier studies since 2002 confirmed that insomnia sufferers have tryptophan depletion. The results indicate that tryptophan deficiency impedes sleep continuity, while taking 5-HTP benefits measures of REM sleep.2

In our clinic, 5-HTP regularly improves the duration and depth of sleep. Patients notice greater natural radiance, and healthier skin and hair. They find it easier to maintain an optimal weight and attractive body contours. Increased rest allows greater stamina for more regular exercise; this in turn leads to more efficient waste clearance, better toned muscles, and physical good looks. A calmer mood encourages a cheerful, relaxed manner which adds to a person’s overall beauty.

Recommendation: 5-HTP 200 to 600mg usually taken at bedtime, as it is also a sleep aid, with or without a snack or just water or herbal tea; or as directed by your healthcare provider.


  1. Shaw K, Turner J, Del Mar C. Tryptophan and 5-hydroxytryptophan for depression. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2002;(1):CD003198.
  2. Riemann, Dieter, Bernd Feige, Magdolna Hornyak, Stephanie Koch, Fritz Hohagen, and Ulrich Voderholzer. “The tryptophan depletion test: impact on sleep in primary insomnia—a pilot study.” Psychiatry Research 109, no. 2 (2002): 129-135.
  3. Baker FC, Driver HS. Circadian rhythms, sleep and the menstrual cycle. Sleep Med. 2007 Sep;8(6):613-22. Epub 2007 Mar 26.
  4. Birdsall TC. 5-Hydroxytryptophan: A Clinically-Effective Serotonin Precursor. Altern Med Rev 1998;3:271-80.