5htp is fast becoming the most sought after weight management supplement on the market. 30 years of research and a recent mention on the Doctor Oz website have generated considerable buzz about this new weight loss wonder. But what exactly is 5htp, what does it do, and are there any side effects?
Following is a brief introduction, some facts and a summary of 5htp’s health benefits. 5-Hydroxytryptophan is an amino acid naturally occurring in small amounts in the body. It is synthesized from L-tryptophan, present in such whole food sources as pumpkins, potatoes, turkey, milk and cheese, and assorted greens. Incorporating these foods into one’s diet can result in higher 5-Hydroxytryptophan levels, but supplements can also provide an easy and equally viable option for those embarking on weight loss regimens.
Typically derived from a shrub indigenous to West and Central Africa, 5-Hydroxytryptophan is available in many over the counter forms, and it can be found in the health food or pharmacy sections of large supermarkets. Mucuna pruriens, a tropical legume, is another source. An offshoot of serotonin production, 5-Hydroxytryptophan aids in mood regulation. Double blind placebo studies have demonstrated its effectiveness at combating depression and promoting restful sleeping patterns. Boosted serotonin levels have also been linked with decreased appetite.
5-Hydroxytryptophan significantly increases levels of both amylin and leptin, the body’s natural appetite suppressants and fullness hormones. As referenced on the Doctor Oz website, 5-Hydroxytryptophan easily accesses the blood brain barrier, directly impacting brain function and stimulating the release of certain hormones, leaving one feeling fuller for longer periods of time and less subject to cravings.
Individuals on a diet of any kind will find 5-Hydroxytryptophan enables them to go longer periods on less calories, thus expediting weight loss at a steady, manageable rate. Researchers and experts especially recommend it for those who crave carbs nonstop.
A recent study found that of two groups of women whose food consumption was observed over five weeks, the group given 200 mg of 5-Hydroxytryptophan prior to meals consumed upwards of 1,000 calories less per day and experienced less hunger. The women involved in the study did not restrict their diets, nor exercise profusely, yet still experienced loss of weight.
Incorporating 5-Hydroxytryptophan into one’s diet should be done gradually, beginning with a small dose to assess tolerance. It is best taken approximately one half hour prior to meals, and periods of dosage should be cycled: 12 weeks on, one month off, etc. Two to three weeks may transpire before benefits begin to manifest.
Indirect evidence suggests that side effects of 5-Hydroxytryptophan may include damage to heart valves and/or cardiac fibrosis, or headaches and tremors, nausea, and diarrhea. It should be noted these side effects are primarily the result of contrary interactions between 5-Hydroxytryptophan and SSR/MAO inhibitors (antidepressants). For those who are not currently taking SSR/MAO inhibitors, 5-Hydroxytryptophan may provide relief of moderate mood disorders, anxiety, insomnia, and eating disorders.