5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP)

5-HTP is a precursor for both serotonin and melatonin in the brain. During the day, it has a mood-stabilizing effect, and during the night, it can promote improved sleep. Increased serotonin is associated with decreased perception of pain. 5-HTP is also metabolized as a normal substance in the body, and therefore there is no risk of dependence and tolerance.

Suggested Dosage: 100 mg two to three times daily. 100-300 mg at bedtime if used primarily for sleep.

Side effects: Not common, but some patients report nightmares or muscle aches when using it regularly. Use of 5-HTP should be avoided with SSRI drugs and St. John’s wort because of the risk of serotonin syndrome, associated with excessive serotonin in the body.