5-HTP is a chemical whose full name is 5-hydroxytryptophan. This chemical is made by the body from an essential amino acid, tryptophan, which is found in food. Although tryptophan is found in the food we eat, 5-HTP is not. After the conversion of tryptophan to 5-HTP, it is then changed into serotonin. This is a neurotransmitter and it aids in relaying signals between the brain cells. Therefore, 5-HTP supplements work to raise the levels of serotonin in the brain
The Source of 5-HTP
It is extracted from the seeds of Griffonia Simplicifolia, a legume that is native to West Africa. The 5-htp supplement comes either in a drink mix or in capsule form. 5-HTP should be taken at least half an hour before any meal. Dr Oz recommended 50 mg three times a day 20 minutes before meals. This prevents it from interacting with the various amino acids found in food, thereby ensuring its effectiveness.
5-HTP and Obesity
A number of studies have been done on the relationship between the use of 5-HTP and weight loss. In one such study, researchers observed that 5-HTP made the people to eat less. This is because they felt fuller after eating; this feeling is referred to as satiety.
Does it work?
A study found that use of 5-HTP reduced the caloric intake. It is worth noting that the 19 participants did not make any conscious effort to diet. The dose of 5-HTP was taken daily (8mg for every kilogram of body weight). 26 participants in the study that did not take the supplement had a daily intake of 2,300 calories. Those who took 5-HTP however only consumed about 1,800 calories per day. The use of 5-HTP led to an enhanced feeling of satiety after meals. Over the five week period that the study was done, the women who took 5-HTP lost over 3 lbs. This was done without dieting or exercise; it was almost effortless
A serotonin (5-HTP) deficiency is strongly believed to cause a number of behaviors including carbohydrate craving. This because research has shown that eating carbohydrates increases the level of 5-HTP in the brain albeit briefly. The conclusion was therefore that increasing the levels of 5-HTP with other methods apart from overeating carbohydrates would cause satiety. Consequently, the individual will not have a craving for carbs. When they get a sense of satiety early on, they will avoid overeating and over time weight will be lost.
Before taking 5-HTP, it is important to consult your doctor and avoid it if you are already taking anti-depressants such as Zoloft and Paxil which already raise Serotonin. People with gastrointestinal problems also need not to take this supplement. Pregnant women should avoid taking the supplement altogether
Please Check the bottle and be sure it contains Griffonia Simplicifora extract.
Dr Oz said start with small doses (50mg thrice daily) and give it a couple of weeks to kick in.