What is 5-HTP?
5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is a precursor to serotonin â€“ the neurotransmitter responsible for happiness. In supplement form, 5-HTP is extracted from the seeds of Griffonia Simplicifolia plant. 5-HTP cannot be consumed through food so supplementation is necessary.
L-Tryptophan vs 5-HTP
Both of these supplements increase serotonin levels; however, tryptophan is sometimes converted into niacin. Since 5-HTP is only converted to serotonin, this makes it a superior supplement when it comes to improving mood and reducing stress.
What does 5-HTP Do?
5-HTP is commonly used as a sleep aid or calming supplement, but has many other unique benefits.
When experiencing negative moods most individuals reach for comfort foods. These comfort foods typically consist of high amounts of sugar and unhealthy fats. Taking a 5-hydroxytryptophan can curb these emotional based food cravings. This is due to 5-HTPs ability to increase serotonin levels.  5-HTP is a popular ingredient in most diet aids because it acts as an appetite suppressant even in those who are not experiencing mood deficits. [2,3]
Mood and Relaxation
Due to the increased serotonin levels, those supplementing with 5-HTP will experience improved mood and sense of well-being.  5-HTP is just as effective as some SSRIs. One study showed 5-HTP provided similar benefits to those taking a popular SSRI with less negative side effects. 
5-hydroxytryptophan is also an effective sleep aid. One study shows that combining 5-HTP with a GABA supplement decreases sleep latency, improves sleep quality, and prolongs sleep. 
5 HTP Dose
The recommended dosage is one 100mg capsules once daily.
5 HTP Side Effects
Side effects including upset stomach, agitation, dizziness, drowsiness, and fatigue have been reported from those taking 5-HTP