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Can 5-htp and serotonin boost your fitness regimen?


When you exercise, your brain releases a flood of chemicals that help improve your physical and mental health. Serotonin, a chemical messenger in the brain, is intimately involved in supporting your fitness goals and maximising the benefits you get out of exercise. Exercise increases serotonin production and makes it available for brain use. Serotonin in the brain is produced from 5-htp, a nutrient that can be extracted from a plant called Griffonia simplicifolia. 5-htp’s only known use in the brain is serotonin production.

Can 5-htp improve fitness by making you happier?

Feeling low can affect your desire and ability to meet your fitness goals. A study among athletes found that depressed athletes underperform and are less motivated to train when they feel low [1] Serotonin is referred to as the feel-good chemical due to its vital role in improving mood. Maintaining normal serotonin levels is essential for uplifting your mood, making you look forward to your next workout.

Can 5-htp increase willpower to meet fitness goals?

Increasing 5-htp intake will improve serotonin levels in the brain which has shown to increase will power. Research has found that people put in more effort when serotonin levels are high, which may make the daunting thought of cycling for 30 mins or completing a difficult hike a little easier, because your brain is cheering you along. Higher serotonin levels also increased the perceived value of the end reward which means the benefits of going to the gym regularly will seem highly convincing [2].

Can 5-htp help you control your eating habits?

If your fitness goal is weight loss, 5-htp can contribute by limiting excess caloric intake. To control eating habits, appetite control is vital. Research among obese individuals found that 5-htp supplementation helped them consume 500 kcals lesser due to increased feeling of fullness [3]. Stress eating is a common trait that can impact fitness goals. An animal study discovered that 5-htp can help limit excess food intake even under stressful situations [4] which means increasing 5-htp intake can make you less likely to reach for cookies when studying for a difficult test.

Can 5-htp affect sleep’s impact on fitness?

Lack of adequate sleep has shown to promote obesity and disrupt appetite, which affects fitness [5]. Muscle strength and muscle repair post exercise is decreased in those getting less sleep [6][7]. Consistent sub-optimal sleep decreases muscle building hormones and increases muscle breakdown hormones which can lead to muscle loss [8]. Your body repairs itself when you sleep and refills its fuel of glucose so enough energy is available for exercise.  Melatonin is the brain chemical responsible for restful sleep and it is produced from serotonin. Low serotonin levels directly affect melatonin production, impacting sleep and subsequently fitness.

How can you maintain adequate serotonin levels?

Since serotonin in the brain is made from 5-htp, the efficient way to increase levels is supplementing with 5-htp. Brain feed’s 100mg 5-htp is extracted and isolated from Ghanian Griffonia Simplicifolia seeds. 98% of the tablet is comprised of 5-htp making it the smallest, nutrient-dense tablet available and no unnecessary bulking agents. You can read more about it here.


  1. Lebrun, F., et al. (2018). Learning From Elite Athletes’ Experience of Depression. Frontiers in Psychology, 9. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02062.
  2. Klempin, F., et al. (2013). Serotonin Is Required for Exercise-Induced Adult Hippocampal Neurogenesis. Journal of Neuroscience, 33(19), pp.8270–8275. doi:10.1523/jneurosci.5855-12.2013.
  3. Ceci, F., et al. (1989). The effects of oral 5-hydroxytryptophan administration on feeding behavior in obese adult female subjects. Journal of Neural Transmission, 76(2), pp.109–117. doi:10.1007/bf01578751.
  4. Amer, A., et al. (2004). 5-Hydroxy-L-tryptophan suppresses food intake in food-deprived and stressed rats. Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior, [online] 77(1), pp.137–143. doi:10.1016/j.pbb.2003.10.011
  5. Kim, T.W., et al. (2015). The Impact of Sleep and Circadian Disturbance on Hormones and Metabolism. International Journal of Endocrinology, [online] 2015, pp.1–9. doi:10.1155/2015/591729.
  6. Knowles, O.E., et al. (2018). Inadequate sleep and muscle strength: Implications for resistance training. Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport, [online] 21(9), pp.959–968. doi:10.1016/j.jsams.2018.01.012.
  7. Chennaoui, M., et al. (2015). Sleep and exercise: A reciprocal issue? Sleep Medicine Reviews, 20, pp.59–72. doi:10.1016/j.smrv.2014.06.008.
  8. Dattilo, M., et al. (2011). Sleep and muscle recovery: Endocrinological and molecular basis for a new and promising hypothesis. Medical Hypotheses, [online] 77(2), pp.220–222. doi:10.1016/j.mehy.2011.04.017.



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