In simple terms, 5-HTP (also known by the wordier name of 5-hydroxytrptophan) is a naturally occurring amino acid that contributes to the production of serotonin or ‘the happy hormone.’ While it is primarily used as a mood boosting supplement, 5-HTP can also aid weight loss and help you stick to your new diet.
To understand why, we must first acknowledge the fact that mood and appetite are closely linked. This is why are we so prone to eating when we’re not actually hungry. Feelings of sadness, boredom, fatigue, and anxiety can all be temporarily soothed with food. This is clearly not a good idea if you’re trying to lose weight, so how can 5-HTP break the cycle?
Why 5-HTP Is More Than a Mood Booster
This wonder substance, which can be taken in the form of pills or supplement powders, has a much bigger impact on appetite control and weight loss than we once thought. Studies have shown that people who regularly take 5-HTP find it easier to lower their calorific intake. Not only that, but they can do this while reducing their intake of starchy carbs as well.
The finding is a very interesting one, because it is believed that 5-HTP actually imitates the effect that carbs have on the brain. In other words, they boost serotonin levels in a similar way, even when a low carb diet is being followed. This is a great help for people who are trying to cut out sugary foods like white bread, white sugar, and cereals.
Ultimately, 5-HTP encourages the body to feel full, even while food intake is being reduced and this makes it an extremely valuable supplement for dieters. Furthermore, tests have shown that it leads to reductions in BMI, general body measurements (like the waist), and skinfold thickness.
5-HTP Accelerates and Sustains Weight Loss
If you already lead quite a healthy lifestyle, but you want some extra help getting rid of a few stubborn pounds, 5-HTP could the right choice for you. However, it must be noted that long term results aren’t really compatible with this kind of supplement. You really don’t want to be ‘tricking’ your body into feeling fuller on less food for too long, as you’ll risk developing nutritional deficiencies. This is a short term solution only, unless you are combing it with other supplements and your diet still contains a reasonable amount of carbs. Also, you absolutely cannot take 5-HTP if you are already on medication for depression or anxiety. A combination of the two will send your serotonin levels into overdrive and this can be dangerous. If you are planning to supplement with 5-HTP, start at 300 milligrams per day. This dose can be gradually increased to a maximum of 500 milligrams, if you so choose, but it is important that you don’t take the whole amount in one sitting. Split it up into 2-3 doses throughout the day. If you have any concerns or you start to see unwanted side effects, stop taking the supplement and talk with your doctor.