Should I take 5-HTP?
What is 5-HTP?
5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), also known as oxitriptan, is a naturally occurring amino acid and chemical precursor as well as a metabolic intermediate in the biosynthesis of the neurotransmitter serotonin. When it enters our brain cells, an enzyme strips the “P” in 5-HTP, leaving behind a 5-HT molecule, which is the chemical name for serotonin.
Why do people take 5-HTP?
Since MDMA use depletes a person’s natural serotonin levels, it is believed that taking 5-HTP after consuming MDMA could speed up serotonin production. This seems reasonable enough, and indeed, there has been one rodent study from 2007 that showed MDMA-induced depletion of serotonin was restored in rats through 5-HTP supplementation. DanceSafe, a site we are not associated with (but which contains good information regarding MDMA), seems to support this general theory behind taking 5-HTP. But they also add a note of warning – which we will discuss below.
Why shouldn't I take 5-HTP after MDMA?
There are numerous reasons to avoid 5-HTP, despite the anecdotal and mechanistic reasons (and singular MDMA rodent study).
— One rodent study is not sufficient evidence, in our opinion, especially given the other reasons not to take it listed below.
— Rollsafe, a site we endorse (and which endorses us) recommends against taking 5-HTP within 24 hours of MDMA consumption based on their conversations with a drug researcher. They list some caveats for frequent users, and if that’s you, you may want to consider taking it with EGCG. But if you are following Rollsafe’s advice of waiting at least 5 weeks (ideally longer) between taking MDMA, then this shouldn’t apply to you.
— We are especially worried that if we include 5-HTP in a roll kit, someone may mistakenly take the 5-HTP before, during, or immediately after rolling. We worry that this could cause serotonin syndrome since too much serotonin will be produced in a short amount of time.
— Dancesafe warns “If you find yourself taking 5-HTP in order to enjoy MDMA more often, consider slowing down. Remember, more frequent use of MDMA increases your chances of depression regardless of how healthy your brain is.”
— We (the owners of rollkit) choose to not take 5-HTP because of these concerns, so we wouldn’t want to sell you something we don’t believe in and which is potentially harmful. We also think you are going to feel fine. Be responsible, dose accordingly, and take a roll kit!
I still want 5-HTP… how should I use it?
If you decide you still want to supplement 5-HTP, be sure to wait at least 24 hours after taking MDMA, and consider taking with with EGCG. And if you don’t feel you need it at that time, it’s probably better to avoid it.