Natural Alternatives: 5-HTP for Treating ADHD Symptoms

Parents of ADHD children and adults with ADHD share stories of how 5-HTP works to help their children's or their ADHD symptoms.

5-Hydroxytryptophan or 5-HTP is a naturally-occurring amino acid, a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin and an intermediate in tryptophan metabolism. It is marketed in the United States and other countries as a dietary supplement for use as an antidepressant, appetite suppressant, and sleep aid.


Ty wrote to us saying......

"Hi Simon! I just recently found your Web page, and thought I'd give you a write...

I was diagnosed with ADHD about 3 years ago. I'm 33 years old. I noticed your remarks about evening primrose oil. I take that along with many other items. For me, primrose didn't do too much until I combined it with fish oil. The two together did quite a lot toward "clearing" my mind. However, I will say that I don't believe I have a "severe" case of ADHD. In combination with homeopathic remedies, I also take Ritalin 10mg., three times a day.

I was very surprised, however, to not see 5-HTP (tryptophan) or DL-Phenylalanine on the list. These are two of the, what I call, catalysts of my natural remedy pills I take every day. I know within a day or two any time I don't take those two. 5-HTP, especially, has been fantastic! I take about 100mg. every night before bed. It helps me sleep very well, and I wake up very refreshed.

Anyway, fantastic site! I'm going to spend some time browsing it! Hope you don't mind me sending an occasional email. I went through all the standard drugs for ADHD before I went natural. For me, it was a combination of natural and drugs that did it....

Have a good one!


Stacey wrote:

One of the main presentations of my ADHD is paranoia. I am fully convinced that no-one likes me and that if there is a debate, I will accept that everyone will think I am wrong. This can make me very defensive and I sometimes appear more agressive than I intend to. It was an amazing feeling after taking 100mg 5-HTP the first time! that I literally felt this feeling disolving in my head! I know I sound barking mad but that is exactly how it felt. I have a problem at the moment about not being involved in a project which had taken on huge proportions. Suddenly, this was no big deal! I have definitely slept better as well. I have stopped craving carbohydrates and the world just seems a calmer place. As I have only been taking it for about a week, I would hesitate about telling everyone to rush out and buy it but I will keep you posted on how it is going. You are not supposed to take it with antidepressants of any kind, so if anyone is taking these they would need to talk to their G.P.

Myrna wrote:

Interesting site,

But someone needs to tell Ty that while 5htp is good, Phenylalanine is NOT! Phenylalanine is the same as Aspartame which turns into Formaldehyde in the body. It attacks the Immune System and the Central Nervous System! I got OCD and a Thyroid Tumor from Aspartame.

For more information see:

Another bad additive is MSG.

Another good site is

Aspartame and MSG are both EXCITOTOXINS. They excite the cells in the brain to DEATH. Michael J. Fox was a Diet Pepsi spokesman. He is said to still be drinking Diet sodas.

The Methanol in Aspartame depletes the brain of important chemicals like Seratonin and Dopamine.

I'm sure this is the reason he got Parkinson's Disease at age 30.


Catherine wrote:

"I've done a great deal of research on natural remedies. My son is a gifted kid with ADHD, 9 years old.

5-HTP: There is a great low-dose supplement (10mg) called 5-HTP at I credit this supplement with creating a normal boy out of someone who was always different (in that ADD kind of way that you know). From 1st through 3rd grade, he would cry whenever he got into trouble, things weren't fair, and was easily frustrated. He would cry through entire soccer practices. Once I put him on this (10mg at breakfast and bedtime), he was a totally different person--a normal kid. He can handle the every day frustrations, kids teasing him, problems at school or elsewhere. Better yet, he had a positive outlook, seemed to enjoy things more, had a much better sense of humor, and continues to improve on social skills that were completely lacking in past years. He used to spend recess by himself or reading, and sat by himself in the lunch room. Now he hangs with the other boys. Sleeps much better too."

EDITOR'S NOTE: We have recently been advised of some concerns regarding 5-HTP and adverse effects and contamination. We have taken some extracts about this from

"Experts are concerned that DHEA may raise testosterone levels, which may increase the risk of prostate cancer. Ephedra has been linked to about three dozen deaths and more than a thousand adverse reactions. And a half dozen samples of 5-HTP tested by the FDA contained a contaminant like the one that caused eosinophilia myalgia-a painful and sometimes disabling muscle disorder-in people who took tainted tryptophan supplements in the late 1980s."

Ed. Note: Please remember, we do not endorse any treatments and strongly advise you to check with your doctor before using, stopping or changing any treatment.



APA Reference
Staff, H. (2008, December 24). Natural Alternatives: 5-HTP for Treating ADHD Symptoms, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 15 from

Last Updated: May 7, 2019

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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