Tryptophan vs 5HTP – Which is Better?

If you took a close look at our little Turkey Sleep diagram here, you’d notice something interesting.

Turkey Sleep Tryptophan Metabolic Pathway
Turkey Sleep provides Tryptophan with Vitamins and Minerals that help the body go through the process of creating Serotonin and Melatonin.

Did you spot the 5-HTP that comes right after the Tryptophan molecule?

And then right after that you see the Serotonin and the rest of the molecular gang?

Well, that’s because while its technically true that 5-HTP is a precursor to Serotonin and Melatonin as advertised.

But, its also true that 5-HTP itself is a product of Tryptophan metabolism directly.

There are very few natural sources for just getting 5-HTP, instead of Tryptophan directly.

Tryptophan is the natural precursor to 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) in the body. Supplements that offer 5-HTP directly are usually derived from the seed of the Griffonia Simplicifolia plant which is native to West Africa.

The theory was that skipping the Tryptophan metabolism, which is the normal and natural step, and getting 5-HTP directly would improve sleep as 5-HTP then converts to Serotonin and Melatonin.

Unfortunately many research studies and anecdotal evidence are now pointing towards the negatives of this approach.

The natural tryptophan metabolic pathway has “pressure release” mechanisms built into it, which are designed to allow the body to deal with over production or over-stimulation, by redirecting excess elsewhere.

Because 5-HTP bypasses this system and does not provide any biochemical feedback, flooding the body with perhaps more than it needs, excessive 5-HTP is much more likely to cause negative effects, and in the worst case can lead to “serotonin syndrome.”

5-HTP is also known to often cause severe stomach cramps and nausea as it is often badly tolerated by many people.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Josette Loeblein

    Very impressed by your six posts and more so with the offer of leaving a reply instead of a sales pitch. I will do a little further research…. I am 76 years old of age and I kind of remember Tryptophan maybe in the 70, it was taken out from the market. YES, I do have a sleep disorder.


    1. Chief Sleeper

      Hi Josette!

      Thank you very much for taking the time to leave a comment, and we’re glad that some of our information is valuable to you regarding your research into Tryptophan.

      Yes, tryptophan was I believe quite popular until 1989, when the FDA banned it due to a contamination issue with a specific batch of the product produced in Japan.

      The ban was lifted in 2005, when it was then allowed to be sold as a supplement once again.

      Tryptophan is a natural amino acid found in food, so the ban ultimately didn’t make sense, but it did highlight the challenges in GMO foods, namely they can leave behind proteins that may cause unintended effects.

      Turkey Sleep is made from non-gmo sources, which is largely a fermentation process for tryptophan production.

      Its analyzed for contaminants for each batch in our facility in Southern California.

      Please let us know if you have any other questions, good luck in your sleep research!


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