5-HTP helps fibromyalgia


David Tomen
David Tomen
13 minute read
5-HTP is known for relieving depression and anxiety, fibromyalgia, insomnia, migraines, obesity, and symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease

5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan or oxitriptan) is an amino acid that is naturally produced in your body. 5-HTP is synthesized from the amino acid tryptophan which we get from food.

5-HTP is the immediate precursor of serotonin. And as a nootropic and dietary supplement, 5-HTP is popular with those who advocate its effectiveness in treating depression. Along with a number of other serotonin-related diseases.

But using 5-HTP for treating depression and anxiety is not supported by science. The research is contrary to how 5-HTP is viewed by many, including medical doctors.

When we dig into the research, we find that 5-HTP may be contraindicated for depression in those whom marketers advocate its use.[i]

We’re all for boosting neurotransmitter levels and optimizing cognitive performance here at Nootropics Expert®. But now and again I run into a nootropic or dietary supplement that may be popular. But also may be a particularly bad idea.

We’re going to get to the bottom of how 5-HTP works in your brain in this review. We’ll examine why it’s critical for brain health. And reasons why you may want to find another way to boost serotonin levels in your brain.

5-HTP helps:

  • Anxiety & Depression. 5-HTP is synthesized into serotonin in brain cells. Elevating levels of serotonin can help relieve the symptoms of anxiety and depression.
  • Neurotransmitters. 5-HTP is a necessary ingredient for serotonin synthesis which boosts mood and social behavior, improves memory, regulates appetite and digestion, sleep, sexual desire and function.
  • Brain Optimization. A critical balance of the primary neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine are needed for the highly optimized brain. When these neurotransmitters are not in balance it affects mood, memory, cognition, decision-making, sexual desire, and a host of other critical life functions.


5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan or oxitriptan) is an amino acid that’s synthesized from the essential amino acid tryptophan.


Tryptophan is hydroxylated by tryptophan hydroxylase to 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), then decarboxylated to serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine or 5-HT).[ii]

Tryptophan → 5-HTP → serotonin

80-90% of your body’s serotonin is made in your intestines. But serotonin cannot cross the blood-brain barrier. So all the serotonin that your brain needs has to be made within the brain. This is where 5-HTP comes in…

5-HTP crosses the blood-brain barrier more readily than tryptophan. And gets synthesized into serotonin at a faster rate than from tryptophan.[iii]

As a neurotransmitter, serotonin influences directly and indirectly, the majority of brain cells. So if you want to boost serotonin in your brain, some find that supplementing with 5-HTP is better than taking tryptophan.

Tryptophan, which your body uses to make 5-HTP, can be found in turkey, chicken, milk, potatoes, pumpkin, sunflower seeds, turnip and collard greens, and seaweed.

5-HTP as a nootropic supplement is a naturally occurring amino acid derived from seed pods of Griffonia simplicifolia, found in West and Central Africa. 5-HTP content in extracts of this plant vary from 2 – 20.83% (from seeds obtained in Ghana).[iv]

5-HTP nootropic for depression

How does 5-HTP work in the Brain?

5-HTP is a precursor to serotonin. The neurotransmitter serotonin plays a role in sleep, appetite, learning & memory, mood, and sexual function.

When tryptophan’s role in converting to 5-HTP for boosting serotonin doesn’t work efficiently, the result is often depression, chronic headache and insomnia.

An open-label trial was conducted in Italy to determine the efficacy of using 5-HTP in young subjects with high levels of “romantic stress”.

Serotonin has been linked to human romantic attachment. So researchers in this study set out to determine brain levels of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) and serotonin in relation to changes in romantic stress during the study.

15 healthy subjects (mean age 23.3 years) who had a “romantic breakup” took part in the study. Participants received 60 mg of Griffonia simplicifolia extract containing 12.8 mg 5-HTP daily for 6 weeks.

The subjects were evaluated for BDNF and serotonin levels at the beginning of the study, at 3 weeks and then again at the end of the 6-week trial.

The scientists observed significant improvements in romantic stress scores from weeks 0 through 3. So far, 5-HTP seems to be working. But no further improvement was seen from weeks 3 through 6. Even though the young people had significantly higher levels of BDNF and serotonin.[v]

More Involved in Depression and Stress than Serotonin

This “romantic breakup” study is a classic illustration of why using 5-HTP alone to treat depression and stress may not work. And if it does work, why it may not work for long.

5-HTP for romantic stress

Depression is often more than simple serotonin dysfunction. Depression can also be associated with catecholamine dysfunction, including dopamine and/or norepinephrine. Or a combination of serotonin and catecholamine dysfunction.

When you take 5-HTP alone, you are also depleting dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine. Synthesis of serotonin from 5-HTP, and dopamine from L-DOPA is catalyzed by the same enzyme, L-aromatic amino acid decarboxylase (AAAD).

Dopamine and serotonin precursor supplementation must be taken in proper balance. Because when you use only 5-HTP, it dominates dopamine at the AAAD enzyme synthesis level.

Blocking dopamine synthesis at the AAAD enzyme through competitive inhibition will lead to depletion of dopamine and the rest of the catecholamines.[vi]

Going back to our Italian study of young people dealing with “romantic stress”, the subjects stopped responding to 5-HTP in the 2nd half of the study. Likely because their catecholamines became depleted through continuous 5-HTP supplementation.

Studies have found that when dopamine is depleted enough, 5-HTP will no longer function.[vii]

Catecholamine Dysfunction Affects More Than Just Depression

When catecholamine neurotransmitter levels (dopamine and/or norepinephrine) influence depression, supplementing with 5-HTP alone is not the way to go. Because you may deplete dopamine and norepinephrine, worsening the disease and its underlying cause.

But this contraindication is not exclusive to depression. It extends to all other diseases where catecholamine dysfunction has been implicated. Including ADHD[viii], obesity, anxiety, seasonal affective disorder  (SAD), and Parkinson’s Disease.[ix]

How things go bad

5-HTP boosts serotonin levelsAmino acid precursors of serotonin (i.e. 5-HTP) and dopamine (i.e. L-Tyrosine) work together during synthesis, metabolism and transport to the point that they function as one system.

When serotonin and dopamine are properly balanced, functions that are regulated only by serotonin, can be regulated by manipulating dopamine levels. And functions regulated only by dopamine in this balanced state can be regulated by manipulating serotonin.[x]

When you mess with this balance and improperly supplement with serotonin or dopamine precursors, you don’t get the desired effect of using that nootropic. And you increase the possibility of side effects with too much serotonin.

If you supplement with only one precursor (i.e. 5-HTP to boost serotonin) that dominates the other system (i.e. dopamine synthesis), depletion of the dominated system will occur (i.e. depleted dopamine).

And if this effect is pronounced enough, you will not get the benefit you were aiming for when supplementing with the original precursor (i.e. 5-HTP).

A powerful example of this effect is in the management of Parkinson’s Disease where the effects of L-DOPA are no longer observed over time due to serotonin depletion.[xi]

Since serotonin and dopamine cannot cross the blood-brain barrier, the number of serotonin and dopamine molecules in the brain is a function of the amount of nutrients (amino acid precursors) that are available to be synthesized into new neurotransmitter molecules.

Optimizing brain function with minimal side effects is NOT a function of supplementing until you get sufficiently high amino acid levels. It’s a function of achieving the proper balance between serotonin and dopamine.

5-HTP improves mood

5-HTP benefits

5-HTP is absolutely critical for synthesis of serotonin in your brain. But supplementing with 5-HTP to boost serotonin does not work well.

Using 5-HTP to treat depression has had very little success over the last few decades of clinical trials and biohacking.

Integrating 5-HTP into your nootropic stack is much more complicated than simply adding some 5-HTP in order to boost serotonin.

5-HTP alone will not work for depression, or any other issue you’re dealing with involving the catecholamines (dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine) because of 5-HTP’s tendency to deplete those neurotransmitters.

5-HTP will boost serotonin in your brain.[xii] But 5-HTP must be carefully stacked with precursors for dopamine and norepinephrine or you risk making the situation worse.

You must avoid supplementing with only one of the serotonin or dopamine amino acid precursors. When amino acid precursors are not in balance, you end up with decreased effectiveness of that nootropic, increased side effects, and depletion of the non-dominant system.

How does 5-HTP feel?

Reactions to supplementing with 5-HTP vary considerably but the one consistent theme is initial feelings of well-being, better sleep, less need for sleep, improved mood, less social anxiety, lower appetite, improved tolerance for stress and improved cognitive function.5-HTP helps fibromyalgia

And after a couple of weeks of dosing 5-HTP  – side effects begin. Serotonin overload results in dopamine and norepinephrine depletion.

Side effects include feelings of lethargy, depression, brain fog, stomach pain, and possibly a chronic tension type of headache. Worst case scenario is nausea, vomiting and even blacking out.

Neurohackers who report consistent success supplementing with 5-HTP stack it with B-Vitamins, a dopamine precursor like L-Tyrosine, and only use 5-HTP as needed.

Those who have a bad experience with 5-HTP from the start often have no idea why they’ve reacted badly. But an educated guess is their depression was catecholamine (dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine)-related. And boosting serotonin made their dopamine-related issues worse. Very quickly.

One huge word of WARNING: Do NOT take 5-HTP with any antidepressant medication. You put yourself in the very real danger of Serotonin Syndrome which can ultimately kill you.

does 5-htp work for depression?

5-HTP Clinical Research

5-HTP supplements are heavily marketed as a natural remedy for depression. But the science does not support using 5-HTP for depression. We have decades of clinical trials available. And there is no evidence of the efficacy in using 5-HTP for depression.

5-HTP instead of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors

The Department of Public Health at the University of Queensland Medical School in Australia did a systematic review of literature dating from 1966 – 2000 for “5-HTP” and “depression”.

The researchers found 108 clinical studies of which only 2 studies, one with serotonin (5-HT) and one with L-Tryptophan for a total of 64 patients met sufficient quality criteria to be included. These studies suggest serotonin (5-HT) and L-Tryptophan are better than placebo at alleviating depression.

But the researchers noted “the small size of the studies, and the large number of inadmissible, poorly executed studies, cast doubt on the results from potential publication bias, and suggests that they are insufficiently evaluated to assess their effectiveness.”[xiii]

5-HTP for Fibromyalgia

A double blind controlled study in Italy studied the efficacy of using 5-HTP in treating fibromyalgia symptoms.

50 patients with primary fibromyalgia syndrome were selected for this study. This 1990 study did not publish the amount of 5-HTP used. But the researchers found a significant improvement in fibromyalgia symptoms with only mild and transient side effects.[xiv]

5-HTP for Treatment of Depression

Insufficient activity of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine is a central element of the model of depression most widely held by neurobiologists today.

In the late 1970’s and 1980’s, numerous studies were performed in which depressed patients were treated with the serotonin precursors L-Tryptophan and 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), and the dopamine and norepinephrine precursors Tyrosine and L-Phenylalanine.

A summary published in the Alternative Medicine Revue looked at the data from all these studies. The author noted that the nature of the studies makes it difficult to draw firm conclusions regarding the efficacy of neurotransmitter precursors for treating depression.

While there is evidence that precursor loading could work, particularly for serotonin precursor 5-HTP, more studies of suitable design and size “might lead to more conclusive results”.[xv]

Those studies have not materialized since that report was published 22 years ago.

5-HTP Recommended Dosage

Recommended dosage of 5-HTP if you’re going to try it is 50 mg 1 – 3 times per day.5-HTP nootropic dosage

Some studies have used higher doses than the recommended dose, but 5-HTP can be toxic for your central nervous system at high doses.

For anxiety or depression, 5-HTP is dosed at 150 – 300 mg per day total.

To relieve post MDMA (Ecstasy) depression, 5-HTP 100 mg on Day 3-7 after MDMA use.[xvi]

Successfully supplementing with 5-HTP requires stacking it with a dopamine precursor like L-Tyrosine or L-DOPA along with B-Vitamins (for synthesis), and one of the sulfur-containing amino acids (methionine, cysteine, homocysteine, or taurine).

And you must monitor the effects this stack is having on your body. If you start experiencing side effects of any kind, it’s a good indication that either serotonin or dopamine is out of balance.

DO NOT combine 5-HTP with any kind of antidepressant medication.

Combining SSRI’s, Tricyclics or MAOI’s with 5-HTP will cause Serotonin Syndrome. An extremely dangerous condition involving severe mental changes, hot flashes, rapidly fluctuating blood pressure and heart rate, and possibly coma leading to death.

Serotonin Syndrome can kill you. And I’m not kidding here.

5-HTP Side Effects

5-HTP supplementation can cause heartburn, heart palpitations, headache, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drowsiness, sexual problems and muscle issues.

5-HTP can also cause some pretty radical mood changes including agitation, aggressiveness, anxiety, euphoria, poor decision-making, irritability, psychosis, restlessness and insomnia.

5-HTP can make the symptoms of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and other mental disorders worse.

Serotonin Syndrome

And I can’t emphasize this enough so I’m going to repeat it here in case you missed it…

DO NOT combine 5-HTP with any kind of antidepressant medication. Or with carbidopa. 

Combining SSRI’s, Tricyclics or MAOI’s with 5-HTP will cause Serotonin Syndrome. An extremely dangerous condition involving severe mental changes, hot flashes, rapidly fluctuating blood pressure and heart rate, and possibly coma.

And combining 5-HTP with carbidopa also has the potential of causing Serotonin Syndrome.

Serotonin Syndrome can kill you. And I’m not kidding here.

Type of 5-HTP to Buy

5-HTP is made from tryptophan in your body.

5-HTP as a nootropic supplement is made from extracts of the African tree Griffonia simplicifolia. 5-HTP supplements are typically in tablet or capsule form.

You’ll often find 5-HTP in many ready-made vitamin and herbal formulas.

If you are going to stack low-dose 5-HTP with L-Tyrosine I suggest: Natrol 5-HTP Fast Dissolve Tablets. Cut the 100 mg tablet into quarters using a pill splitter and dissolve 25 mg 5-HTP under your tongue (sublingually).

Nootropics Expert Recommendation

5-HTP 50 mg up to 3-times per day

Nootropics Expert - Tested and Not ApprovedI DO NOT recommend using 5-HTP as a nootropic supplement.

Your body does synthesize 5-HTP on its own to make serotonin in your brain. And you can’t get 5-HTP from food. But you can get L-Tryptophan from food which is synthesized into 5-HTP in your body.

5-HTP may help you if you’re dealing with depression. But you must stack if with a dopamine amino acid precursor along with B-Vitamins and a sulfur-containing amino acid. See the “5-HTP Recommended Dosage” in this review above.

IF you are going to try 5-HTP, I suggest starting with a dose of more than 50 mg daily. You may want to take it in the evening because it could help sleep disorders.

Short-term dosing of 5-HTP of no more than 2 weeks seems to provide the most benefit if you’re going to benefit from this nootropic.

Or try using 5-HTP only on an “as needed” basis. For a mood boost, reduce social anxiety, and provide a short-term boost in cognition.

5-HTP supplementation on its own is NOT recommended. Nor is it recommended for long-term use.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post may also contain other affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

[i] Hinz M., Stein A., Uncini T. “5-HTP efficacy and contraindications.”Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. 2012;8:323-8. (source)

[ii] Turner E.H., Loftis J.M., Blackwell A.D. “Serotonin a la carte: supplementation with the serotonin precursor 5-hydroxytryptophan.”Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 2006 Mar;109(3):325-38. (source)

[iii] Birdsall T.C. “5-Hydroxytryptophan: a clinically-effective serotonin precursor.” Alternative Medicine Revue. 1998 Aug;3(4):271-80. (source)

[iv] Lemaire P.A., Adosraku R.K. “An HPLC method for the direct assay of the serotonin precursor, 5-hydroxytrophan, in seeds of Griffonia simplicifolia.” Phytochemical Analysis. 2002 Nov-Dec;13(6):333-7. (source)

[v] Emanuele E., Bertona M., Minoretti P., Geroldi D. “An open-label trial of L-5-hydroxytryptophan in subjects with romantic stress.” Neuro Endocrinology Letters. 2010;31(5):663-6. (source)

[vi] Hinz M., Stein A., Uncini T. “APRESS: apical regulatory super system, serotonin, and dopamine interaction.” Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. 2011;7:457-63. (source)

[vii] Hinz M., Stein A., Uncini T. “Relative nutritional deficiencies associated with centrally acting monoamines.” International Journal of General Medicine. 2012;5:413-30 (source)

[viii] van Praag H.M. “n search of the mode of action of antidepressants. 5-HTP/tyrosine mixtures in depressions.”Neuropharmacology. 1983 Mar;22(3 Spec No):433-40. (source)

[ix] Hinz M., Stein A., Uncini T. “5-HTP efficacy and contraindications”Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. 2012; 8: 323–328. (source)

[x] Hinz M., Stein A., Uncini T. “APRESS: apical regulatory super system, serotonin, and dopamine interaction.” Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment. 2011;7:457-63. (source)

[xi] Hinz M., Stein A., Uncini T. “Amino acid management of Parkinson’s disease: a case study” International Journal of General Medicine. 2011; 4: 165–174. (source)

[xii] Birdsall T.C. “5-Hydroxytryptophan: a clinically-effective serotonin precursor.” Alternative Medicine Revue. 1998 Aug;3(4):271-80. (source)

[xiii] Shaw K., Turner J., Del Mar C. “Are tryptophan and 5-hydroxytryptophan effective treatments for depression? A meta-analysis.” Australia and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. 2002 Aug;36(4):488-91. (source)

[xiv] Caruso I., Sarzi Puttini P., Cazzola M., Azzolini V. “Double-blind study of 5-hydroxytryptophan versus placebo in the treatment of primary fibromyalgia syndrome.” Journal of International Medical Research. 1990 May-Jun;18(3):201-9. (source)

[xv] Meyers S. “Use of neurotransmitter precursors for treatment of depression.” Alternative Medicine Revue. 2000 Feb;5(1):64-71. (source)

[xvi]Wang X., Baumann M.H., Dersch C.M., Rothman R.B. “Restoration of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine-induced 5-HT depletion by the administration of L-5-hydroxytryptophan.” Neuroscience. 2007 Aug 10;148(1):212-20. (source)

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Join The Discussion - 343 comments

Ben P
January 25, 2024


Why would you recommend supplementing with l-tyrosine over l-dopa? Wouldn’t l-dopa more effectively/efficiently convert to dopamine?

    David Tomen
    January 26, 2024

    Ben, L-DOPA is more difficult to dose because it is an extract from Mucuna Pruriens. And D-DOPA does not support thyroid health. L-Tyrosine is needed along with iodine to produce thyroid hormone. And it is safer to use and easier to dose compared to L-DOPA. I only recommend a specific couple of L-DOPA supplements to Parkinson’s patients if they want to replace prescription levodopa.

    BTW, as a reminder in the future please post a question like this under the relevant review. In this case it would either be my L-Tyrosine or Mucuna Pruriens review.

Mohamed Abotaleb
October 14, 2023

What is ideal ratio of 5htp and l tyrosine

    David Tomen
    October 14, 2023

    Mohamed, there is no “ideal ratio”. The idea is to keep serotonin and dopamine in balance. For some that means using 100 mg 5-HTP with 500 mg L-Tyrosine. And for others it could be 250 mg 5-HTP with 500 mg L-Tyrosine. You need to experiment to find the ideal and long-term use ratio for you.

August 30, 2023

TYPE: Saying starting with a dose of MORE THAN 50 mg when you must’ve meant “starting with a dose than NO more then 50g. Just FYI, but great info you have on the subject.

exerpt from above:
“IF you are going to try 5-HTP, I suggest starting with a dose of *no*(?)more than 50 mg daily. You may want to take it in the evening because it could help you sleep.”

    David Tomen
    August 30, 2023

    Robyn, I meant 50 mg. If you tried 50 grams of 5-HTP you are going to suppress dopamine to an all time low. That will backfire on you big time. And any hint of a prescription drug that affects serotonin would mean instant Serotonin Syndrome.

      October 13, 2023

      I think Robyn made a typo there, he meant 50mg, so he was asking whether in the article you meant to say “I suggest starting with a dose of NO more than 50 mg daily”.

Andrew Richardson
June 12, 2023

Hey David I brought some 5-HTP to deal with insomnia

now I am NOT on any SSRi or anything only vitamin C and DHA as my main and astaxanthin I get plenty of sunlight in the summer months and supplement with D in the winter

i’m not sure if my serotonin is higher in my brain or low I do not suffer any sort of natural depression rather however I do have insomnia due to visual snow syndrome and I have tried everything from GABA to this and that nothing works it seems to be very randomly selective in its nature too now I have 100MG here of 5-HTP do you think trying this for a short term like 2 weeks or maybe having a 5-HTP on a restless night might be okay? I was thinking of only trying 50MG I do not want to go higher than 100Mg that serotonin syndrome thing you mentioned freaked me out

what i find interesting is my neurological condition has been caused by people who take SSRi or have come off them

ill link you this below

“Visual snow and antidepressants”

do you think it would be safe taking it or trailing it out just at say 50MG just to see how I respond that amount wont do any harm will it!


    David Tomen
    June 12, 2023

    Andrew, I’ll let those who are interested Google “visual snow”. But Serotonin Syndrome is only a problem when combining 5-HTP, L-Tryptophan or St. John’s wort with an SSRI. 5-HTP on its own cannot cause Serotonin Syndrome.

    But it is possible to increase serotonin too much and depress dopamine production in your brain. That is very unlikely to happen with a low dose of 5-HTP.

      Andrew Richardson
      June 15, 2023

      isn’t L-Tryptophan in milk and dairy products I wouldn’t have any clue how much of this I get in my diet alone however I am not supplementing with any L-Tryptophan but i do drink a lot of milk

      But i guess my question is do you think 100MG or 50Mg would be safe over a short term

        David Tomen
        June 16, 2023

        The amount of Tryptophan in food would pale in comparison to what you would get in a capsule or tablet. 50 – 100 mg 5-HTP is a low dose and should not cause any problems short or long term.

May 15, 2023

Hi David and many thanks for checking this up for me, your deep dive regarding Phosphatidylserine & MOA’s is much appreciated.

Ok, so it may be schizofactors involved in the MOA-B thing with Phosphatidylserine. I feel better now 😉 I haven’t been myself lately. Just kidding.

Anyway, it is kind of interesting that the MOA-B’s was affected within that specific area. But I woulden’t mind a little subtile bump for non schizos too. Good to see that you didn’t found anything about the MOA-A’s.

I’m now onto the Tryptophan as well as the Phosphatidylserine. Yes, the DHA from the Omega-3 has been taken in high doses here since 25 years back or so. Choline from a couple of egg’s each day and some Citicholine added to it. The Phosphatidylserine was much to expensive earlier and while not that cheap today either, I’ve found a sunflower based version at a decent cost.

I’m happy so far with this little but well respected little stack. We can not afford a canabalization carnivale on any of those precious lipid layers at the age of 62, due to not getting enough of them. Do you think cholinesources like those mentioned above would be enough or do you see any benefit from adding also PC as supplement to the stack ?

A different question regarding your earlier suggestion for dopamin bump; NALT can be a migrean trigger (a wellknown fact). L-Tyrosin in the pure basic form, is that also known to have the same reputation for this or is it different?

Again, thanks.

    David Tomen
    May 16, 2023

    Mac, your neurotransmitters decline with age. Dopamine declines by 10% per decade starting in your early 20’s. By the time you are 62 you naturally have approx. 60% of the dopamine in your brain compare to when you were 21. If you do not supplement with 500 – 1000 mg L-Tyrosine twice per day you will continue to be low in dopamine. Google symptoms of low dopamine to see how that affects your quality of life.

    Same with acetylcholine. Yes, PS can contribute to the manufacture of acetylcholine. But the most efficient way to do this is with 300 mg CDP-Choline with 500 mg ALCAR twice per day along with a BioActive B-Complex and you will make more acetylcholine.

      May 24, 2023

      David, thanks again for your kind reply. The numbers you give me are telling a clear message for us getting older and try to care for the state of the brain during the time we have left.

      The levels are going down for the neuro chemistry and we do have a choice. We could fill ourselves up with everything avaible to compensate the loss. At a certain point, we want to try stripping it down to the important parts as a priostack. It’s difficult, everything hold hands with each other. Still, the wish for a more simplified approach is where I am. But I want to be able to finetune each part.

      ALCAR, as you mention, for the last 4 years here (just 500mg once a day), at the moment with a brake even though no cycling is needed. Phosphatidyl is the “new” kid on the block. CDP-choline has been with me 4-5 years but in smaller doses (even with Uridine for period). I’ll probably will up it a bit based on your numbers given for acetylcholine levels in an aging brain. Though, I’ve felt a nice effect from only 100 mg so far, especially in combo with L-theanin 100 mg. No idea why that adds a quick and snappy verbality, a special sharp end 3D vision reminding of ColuR or even more Noop as far as the vision. I’m not joking. It never fails to show up. I’m just greatful for it. So simple.

      My goal is to find a way for the dopamin, I understand the basic need to use L-Tyrosin for it. Since NALT triggers migrean, it’s a no go. Probably, L-Tyrosin too. Kind of frustrating.

      I’m now looking into trying the L-Phenylalanine as an alternative. If it would make a difference for the headache or not, who knows. Long shot. It still converts to Tyrosin. So would it actually make any difference to get it from a longer chain.. I’ll have to take the risk of going down a day or two.

      Also, did found your excellent page on Phenylanine and what it brings more on the train is impressive. I woulden’t mind what you describe on that page. But I can see that you do mentioned migraine on higher doses even with this. Perhaps it might work more gentle than NALT if lucky. A bit like Tryptophan does instead of using 5-HTP.

      Thanks for all info. Both on this site as well as your personal responses. Much appreciated.

May 1, 2023

Hi David,

regarding Tryptophan for bumping up serotonin instead of 5-HTP.

I’m using Phosphatidylserine which is said to function as a MAO inhibitor. The information I’ve found describes this as a specific MAO-B targeting when it comes to Phosphatidylserine. Keeping the dopamin levels up as a result.

Since it doesn’t seems to affect the MAO-A’s, do you still see any risk using L-tryptophan combined with the Phosphatidylserine?

Could it actually be a good combo?


    David Tomen
    May 2, 2023

    Mac, you need to show me a study re. PS and MAOIs because as far a I know so far, it’s not about acting like an MAOI but instead, health brain cell membranes due to adequate levels of PS and DHA promote dopamine signaling.

    A good combination is 500 mg L-Tyrosine twice per day with 300 mg PS in the morning. And 500 mg L-Tryptophan before bed because you need to keep dopamine and serotonin in balance.

      May 3, 2023

      Hi again,

      some links down here to what I stumbled up on about the Phosphatidylserine and MAO-B.

      My thinking out from that short info (and based on my own non deep knowledge), just pointed me at the option to have a delicate and smooth balancing between Serotonin and Dopamin from it in combo with Tryptophan.

      [edited for length]

        David Tomen
        May 5, 2023

        Mac, I haven’t the time to read an essay. Please ask your question in 3 or 4 sentences like the others commenting here.

        May 10, 2023

        Sorry for my bad judgement. I was carried away.

        If interested, have a look at the links at the bottom of the essay. You asked for a source for Phosphatidylserine affecting MAO-B. There you have it and it seems to bumping the MAO-B’s according to the links.

        My main concern is if it also would raise the MOA-A, as I pointed out in my first post. I’m asking you since you might have better sources to check that up from than I have.

        If MAO’A’s is affected it would be an extremely bad idea to combine it with Tryptophan as far as I understand the dangers with getting a to high level of serotonin.

        I do have experience from 5-htp’s bad sides. So, I’m careful but interested in Tryptophan.

        Thanks for listening.

        David Tomen
        May 11, 2023

        Mac, the title of that abstract is “Phosphatidylserine inhibition of monoamine oxidase in platelets of schizophrenics” I have a couple of problems with that. 1. it looks like it only applies to schizophrenics. And 2. they do not say what dose of PS they used.

        I took a deep dive into the research on Phosphatidylserine and the most dangerous thing I could find was getting it from a soy source of lecithin instead of a sunflower source.

        Your brain cell membranes “require” Phosphatidylserine, Phosphatidylcholine and DHA. Not enough of any of those 3 and brain cell signaling tanks. Along with short term and working memory, reaction time, and it gets worse from there if carried on long-term.

February 16, 2023

Does it make sense to take 5-htp when cortisol level is too high?
I have read that cortisol deplete serotonin.

    David Tomen
    February 17, 2023

    Claes, excess cortisol increases serotonin uptake (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12467107/). So, I suppose increasing its uptake could reduce serotonin levels. I suggest increasing serotonin with L-Tryptophan because it is easier to dose and safer to use long-term compare to 5-HTP.

      February 20, 2023

      Thank you. Interesting article.
      I will take Tryptophan, and i shall read your article about it, again. But does it need Tyrosine?, for balance in serotonin and dopamine.

        David Tomen
        February 21, 2023

        It depends on how much you are increasing serotonin. If all you’re doing is increasing it enough to sleep and improve your mood with 500 mg then you likely have nothing to worry about.

Eric Detjen
February 12, 2023

I see some sources saying that an egcg is essential for helping 5-htp enter the blood-brain barrier(https://www.reddit.com/r/Nootropics/comments/28489u/5htp_daily_for_an_extended_period_of_time_any/)

Do you agree?

    David Tomen
    February 13, 2023

    Eric, the key sentence in that discussion is “Taking 5-HTP is messing with your enzyme levels, and will eventually lead to a decrease in dopamine production, since they both use the same final rate-limiting enzyme (aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase).”

    5-HTP has no problem crossing the blood-brain barrier. It is long-term use and its effects on dopamine that is the problem.

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