How to Safely Take 5-HTP to Avoid Digestive Problems

The health supplement 5 HTP sometimes causes stomach problems.

The amino acid derivative 5-Hydroxytryptophan is far more well known by the abbreviated term 5-HTP. It is sold worldwide as a commercial dietary supplement, mainly because of its potent anti-depressant and relaxant properties. It's sometimes badly tolerated by certain users though, and as such, it's important to be fully informed of how to secure optimum benefit before beginning to use it. Simply swallowing a pill aimlessly can often lead to stomach health becoming impaired, especially if a history of digestive problems exists. Therefore, 5 HTP supplements must be taken expertly in order for comfortable absorption to occur.


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Step 1

Use in moderate doses only. This is because 5-HTP is strongly linked to the presence of tryptophan, which is an essential amino acid. As such, excessive ingestion of a substance which is manufactured directly alongside a purely acidic compound is very unwise. The University of California, San Diego Health Library section states, "5-HTP is not present in significant amounts in a typical diet. The human body manufactures 5-HTP from L-tryptophan, a natural amino acid found in most dietary proteins. However, eating food that contains L-tryptophan does not significantly increase 5-HTP levels."


Step 2

Select capsules instead of tablets. As the contents of the capsule will already be broken down into a fine powder, this makes ingestion a lot less demanding on your digestive system. In comparison, far more stomach acids need to be stimulated to assimilate a hard tablet into an equivalent state.


Step 3

Take with food. Sometimes the directions for use printed on the product label are vague regarding this often important issue. If you are experiencing digestive problems and feel that 5 HTP is not entering your system as safely as it could be, this alone may well rectify the situation. Eat a main meal straight after having your supplement—the more substantial it is, the better.


Step 4

Drink plenty of water. Have a full glass at the same time as swallowing your capsule, instead of just a minimal amount. This will help to mobilize the supplement through your stomach more comfortably.

Step 5

Allocate relaxation time. Some health problems—digestion-related or otherwise—are in actual fact due to a persistently negative state of mind. Although you must always take adequate provisions on the physical level when using 5 HTP supplements, don't negate the importance of an upbeat perception of things. According to Dr. Raymond Cross of The University of Maryland Medical Center, "Don't overdo it. Stress can have a major impact on digestive diseases. For example, increased stress can trigger a flare in Crohn's disease, colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome. Try to minimize stress as much as possible. Don't take on more things than you can handle. Get sufficient sleep."