A new weight loss supplement is gaining tremendous interest. In fact, Dr Oz just featured it on his show. It’s called 5HTP (5 Hydroxytryptophan) and it might just be what you need to finally lose weight. In fact, it’s considered one of the very best natural appetite suppressants.
Besides weight loss, 5htp has long been used and studied for a variety of reasons. It has proved to be useful in alleviating a broad range of health problems including:
- Anxiety disorders and panic attacks
- Eating disorders such as bulimia
- Obsessive-compulsive disorders
- Uncontrollable violent impulses.
All of these conditions have been successfully treated with 5–HTP. There are indications that these conditions may, in certain instances, be caused by underlying brain dysfunction that might be improved by 5HTP.
A significant body of evidence supporting these claims has been acquired over the past 35 years in human clinical trials and animal experiments. 5HTP itself does not directly perform any specific function in the body. 5HTP’s only known role is to serve as the precursor, or raw material that some cells use to create the neurotransmitter serotonin.
How Does 5HTP Help You Lose Weight?
Like we said, your body actually produces this chemical. It’s then converted into serotonin. The serotonin is then used to curb your appetite and improve your mood… and you lose weight. To get the most benefit from it, doctors are recommending an actual 5HTP supplement.
Why? Serotonin can’t cross the blood/brain barrier to get from your bloodstream to your brain – but 5HTP can and there it causes an increase in serotonin in the brain.
When you have higher levels of serotonin in your brain, your hunger dissipates and you actually feel fuller. There’s a study that showed women reducing the amount of carbs they ate naturally. They didn’t even realize it, as they weren’t purposely trying to do so.
How Safe is 5HTP?
Doctors agree that it’s perfectly safe for most people to use for limited time periods (12 weeks being the maximum). It occurs naturally in your body, so it isn’t like you’re introducing foreign substances. There is an exception, though.
- They say that if you have gastrointestinal problems, you should talk to your doctor first. That’s because some people have reported gastrointestinal side effects like abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
- You should also avoid it if you’re on antidepressants like MAOI or if you’re suffering from bipolor disorder/severe depression. 5HTP could in some cases increase suicidal thoughts and depression.
- You shouldn’t use it if you’re pregnant, think you might be pregnant or if you’re breastfeeding.
Before buying 5HTP, make sure you aren’t already taking something that could be negatively increasing your serotonin levels. If you’re on any kind of medication, ask your doctor about it.
History of 5htp for weight loss
As far back as 1975, researchers demonstrated that administering 5HTP to rats that were bred to overeat and be obese resulted in significant reduction in food intake (6). It turns out that these rats have decreased activity of the enzyme that converts tryptophan to 5HTP and subsequently to serotonin. In other words, these rats are fat as a result of a genetically determined low level of activity of the enzyme that starts the manufacture of serotonin from tryptophan. As a result, these rats never get the message to stop eating until they have consumed far greater amounts of food than normal rats.
There is much circumstantial evidence that many humans are genetically predisposed to obesity. This predisposition may involve the same mechanism as that observed in rats genetically predisposed to obesity. In other words, many people may be predisposed to being overweight because they have a decreased conversion of tryptophan to 5HTP and, as a result, decreased serotonin levels. By providing preformed 5HTP, this genetic defect is bypassed and more serotonin is manufactured. 5HTP literally turns off hunger (7).
This isn’t something that we’ve just recently discovered, although it may just now start receiving a lot of attention. It’s actually been studied for more than 30 years. There have been clinical trials that prove just how effective it is at reducing the amount of calories that you eat.
Lost Over 10 Pounds in 12 Weeks
One study took overweight women and gave some of them 200mg of 5HTP to take just before eating. The other women were given a placebo instead. The participants that were taking the real 5HTP managed to lose over ten pounds in merely 12 weeks. Those who were taking a placebo? They lost just over two pounds. After further study, weight loss experts say that this is a supplement that usually works best if you’re they type who constantly craves food (carbs in particular).
The early animal studies that used 5HTP as a weight loss aid have been followed by a series of three human clinical studies of overweight women, conducted at the University of Rome (8-10). The first study showed that 5HTP was able to reduce caloric intake and promote weight loss despite the fact that the women made no conscious effort to lose weight (8). The average amount of weight loss during the five-week period of 5HTP supplementation was a little more than 3 pounds.
Completely Satisfied Despite Low Calorie Diet
The second study sought to determine whether 5HTP helped overweight individuals adhere to dietary recommendations (9). The twelve-week study was divided into two six-week periods. For the first six weeks, there were no dietary recommendations; for the second six weeks the women were placed on a 1,200-calorie diet. As shown in Table 1, the women who took the placebo lost 2.28 pounds, while the women who took the 5HTP lost 10.34 pounds. As in the previous study, 5HTP appeared to promote weight loss by promoting satiety-the feeling of satisfaction-leading to fewer calories being consumed at meals. Every woman who took the 5HTP reported early satiety.
Impressive Weight Loss Even With No Dieting
In the third study involving 5HTP, for the first six weeks there were no dietary restrictions, and for the second six weeks the women were placed on a 1,200-calorie-per-day diet (10). The results from this study were even more impressive than the previous studies for several reasons. The group that received the 5HTP had lost an average of 4.39 pounds at six weeks and an average of 11.63 pounds at 12 weeks (They lost even without dieting in the first half of the study!). In comparison, the placebo group had lost an average of only 0.62 pounds at six weeks and 1.87 pounds at twelve weeks. The lack of weight loss during the second six-week period in the placebo group obviously reflects the fact that the women had difficulty adhering to the diet.
Feel Fuller – Faster!
Early satiety was reported by 100 percent of the subjects during the first six-week period. During the second six-week period, even with severe caloric restriction, ninety percent of the women taking 5HTP reported early satiety. Many of the women who received the 5HTP (300 mg three times per day) reported mild nausea during the first six weeks of therapy. However, the symptom was never severe enough for any of the women to drop out of the study. No other side effects were reported.
No known health risks from taking 5htp
In September 1997, the popular weight loss drug Redux and its chemical cousin fenfluramine, part of the “fen-phen” combination, were taken off the market based on a study showing that these drugs may have caused permanent damage to heart valves in as many as one-third of the people who took them. There is no evidence that 5HTP produces these effects. Unlike Redux, 5HTP does not raise blood serotonin levels to a significant degree nor does it block reuptake of serotonin. The point here is that 5HTP does not disrupt the normal process of serotonin release, reabsorbtion, and elimination from the body. 5HTP is not a synthetic drug; it is an amino acid produced naturally by your body’s metabolism.
Warning About Low Quality 5HTP
Don’t simply buy the cheapest one you find. This goes for any supplement, but especially 5HTP.
A few years back there was a problem where some low-quality 5HTP supplements were contaminated with EMS (eosinophilia myalgia syndrome). It originated in impurities in the L-tryptophan. So you need to make sure you’re getting a quality product.
Also, there are many fly by night websites that sell products that don’t even have any of the active ingredients they claim. This is most common of websites that pay for traffic (the sites listed at the right side of Google and Bing search results). Nearly all of the scam websites are found there, as they can easily disappear tomorrow and their victims cannot find them again.
Where to Find 5HTP Supplements
This is not a new product, and you can find this supplement in many health food stores or online. Just remember that a quality product is worth a little extra. You should expect to pay up to about $20-$40 a bottle, depending on the quantity per capsule and capsules per bottle. Be very suspicious of any price too low – read the label very carefully and you will probably see it’s deceptive in some way – lots of fillers, or low mg per capsule, etc.
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