Is 5-HTP Recommended for You?

5htp pic 8Many doctors look at 5-HTP as the best natural appetite suppressant because it comes from natural origins. 5-HTP is the chemical compound responsible for the creation of serotonin, which is responsible for mood regulation among others. 5-HTP is also produced by plants such as Griffonia simplicifolia, an African plant that’s the most common source of 5-HTP in supplements. Aside from suppressing your appetite, 5-HTP is also known for other benefits such as treatment of insomnia, depression, headaches, and fibromyalgia.

How it works

Tryptophan in the body creates 5-HTP, which then creates serotonin, the neurotransmitter responsible for mood improvement and hunger suppression. It is also the neurotransmitter responsible for preventing weight gain. Is 5-HTP supplement better than serotonin supplement, then? According to experts, yes. 5-HTP supplements can access the brain by going through the blood brain barrier, while serotonin supplements cannot. By crossing that barrier, serotonin levels in the brain can be increased.

What is so important about increasing serotonin levels anyway? Well, it reduces your hunger because it makes you feel satiated. This goes without even restricting your food intake. According to a clinical study, women effortlessly ate less while using 5-HTP.

Can it work for you?

For over 30 years, 5-HTP has been studied by experts. There are numerous clinical trials showing that it helps lower the calorie consumption of individuals and effectively aids weight loss. In one particular study, overweight women who were given 200mg of 5-HTP before mealtime were compared with women who took a placebo medication. Those taking the supplement ate 1000 calories less than the other group without feeling hungry throughout the day. Meanwhile, a different study shows that women given 5-HTP lost 10.3 pounds on average in 12 weeks, a number that’s very far from the average of 2.2 pounds lost by women in the placebo group. 5-HTP works even better for people who constantly crave for carbs.

Is it safe to use?

This question has to be answered before you can proceed with the use of 5-HTP supplements. Yes, it is safe for short-term use of up to 12 weeks, mostly because it is naturally occurring in the body. However, those with gastrointestinal problems may experience some GI side effects such as vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and nausea. If you are taking antidepressants, SSRI, or MAOI, you should avoid using this. Pregnant women should especially not use 5-HTP. Consult your physician first before taking it to make sure that other things you are taking won’t have a bad effect on your body.

How to choose 5-HTP supplements

5htp pic 15There are different places where 5-HTP can be found. You can look in drug stores, health food stores, and even online stores. The price ranges from $10-20 per bottle for high quality brands. What you’re looking for is pure 5-HTP from griffonia simplicifolia extract. There should be no additives, binders, and fillers. Also beware of contaminants or impurities, which can cause deadly problems like eosinophilia myalgia syndrome. Note that this condition stems from impurities added to 5-HTP supplements and not from 5-HTP itself. You could ask your physician or health specialist for some recommendations on trusted brands if you’re not sure which one to buy.

How to use 5-HTP

Start with small doses of 5-HTP to gradually ease your body into it. Doses of 50mg should be okay up to 3 times per day. The ideal time to take it is 20-30 minutes before eating. If 50mg isn’t working for you, talk to your doctor and discuss an increase in the dosage. Note that the results may take a few weeks to appear, but that you are not supposed to take the supplement for over 12 weeks.

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