Whether our bodies are holy temples, complex machines, or cosmic stardust from the deep reaches of outer space, we all rely on food to keep us sustained and energized. Three meals a day, seven days a week, with snacks intermittently thrown in for good measure – that’s the fuel we depend on, what we can’t live without.
But even something as intrinsically good as food can be harmful in large amounts. Many people realize this fact and strive to set boundaries in order to lose weight and be healthy, often through restrictive diets that limit certain food groups, rigorous exercise, and the help of dietary supplements like 5-HTP.
While I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment behind diets and exercise, their implementation into your life should be based on your personal wellness goals. I believe everyone’s health journeys are unique and meant to be approached through a holistic manner, and for anyone to best achieve that, the use of supplements can make all the difference.
I’m here to discuss how incorporating 5-HTP supplements into your wellness routine can boost your health and assist you on your weight loss journey. Despite what you may be inclined to think, losing weight does not have to be a constant struggle. Medicine is an ever-evolving field, and there are tools available to assist you and fight back against an incessant appetite.
Let’s explore more about 5-HTP supplements and what they can do for you. Continue reading to learn more about:
- Why your body needs 5-HTP
- 5-HTP supplements and weight loss
- What else 5-HTP may be good for
Why You Should Care About 5-HTP
What 5-HTP Does to Your Body
Before I go any further about the benefits of 5-HTP and its usefulness as a supplement, I’m going to go out on a whim and assume you want to know what I’m talking about, right?
5-HTP, or 5-hydroxytryptophan, is naturally occurring within our bodies and is the precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin. 5-HTP is made from the amino acid tryptophan, which gets converted into 5-HTP by way of the enzyme tryptophan hydroxylase. Afterwards, 5-HTP is converted into serotonin by the enzyme L-amino acid decarboxylase, and that concludes the process of serotonin synthesis in the body.
A lack of 5-HTP can impact the production of serotonin, which is the hormone responsible for regulating your mood and appetite, along with many other important functions.
Low serotonin levels can be bad for your health and are generally associated with the presence of sleep disorders, anxiety, depression, appetite issues, and problems with memory and learning.
Where They Come From and Why They Matter
While 5-HTP occurs naturally in the body, it is possible to experience a deficiency of the compound, but don’t stress too much. A supplemental form of 5-HTP can be extracted from the seeds of the Griffonia simplicifolia, a woody climbing shrub native to Central Africa and West Africa that bears thick green flowers with black pods.
5-HTP has been used in traditional African medicine to treat a range of illnesses, with one popular form of consumption being to grind the leaves of the Griffonia simplicifolia and brew tea from it.
Manufacturers have been extracting the 5-HTP supplement from the abundance of wild Griffonia simplicifolia trees throughout African regions to sell to consumers for many years now. The demand for 5-HTP has increased dramatically since it became available as an over-the-counter drug in 1995; prior to that, it was only possible to obtain with a doctor’s prescription.
Supplements of 5-HTP have the ability to counteract the symptoms of low serotonin levels by triggering the production of serotonin in the body. This can have the effect of reducing the urge to eat that developed while serotonin levels were low, which has the potential to result in weight loss.
Increased serotonin levels have an overall positive impact on your physical well-being and your mental health, putting you in the right mindset to make thoughtful decisions regarding health-related concerns.
In order to live a healthy lifestyle it is crucial that you are able to keep your serotonin levels up, though that can often be difficult and not possible for various reasons. That’s why 5-HTP supplements are the perfect remedy to counterbalance low serotonin levels and encourage a healthy mindset that promotes positive change.
What Are 5-HTP Supplements Used For?
There is a broad range of benefits that can occur with regular consumption of 5-HTP supplements, and they are used to treat many symptoms that occur because of low serotonin levels. Some of the conditions 5-HTP can help with are:
- Issues with mood (like depression)
- Obesity and overeating
- Pain management
- Sleep disorders and insomnia
- Reduces frequency of migraines and headaches
5-HTP Supplements and Weight Loss
Losing weight can be a real doozy, which is why there’s plenty of products and tools to help you along the way. 5-HTP supplements are no different, and they could be the key you’ve been looking for to unlock a world of holistic health and wellness.
Take, for instance, my own 5-HTP Plus dietary supplements. At a dose of 200 mg, or two capsules taken daily, these supplements work to increase your serotonin levels and boost brain function as a result. From enhancing mood to bettering sleep to reducing your desire to overeat, 5-HTP supplements can do a lot of good.
But let’s focus on the specifics of taking 5-HTP supplements and weight loss.
The Science Behind 5-HTP Supplements and Losing Weight
Of course, there’s bound to be some skepticism surrounding the beneficial effects of 5-HTP supplements in regards to weight loss. But rest assured, the facts are here to support this cause.
5-HTP is a natural appetite suppressant found in the body and in certain plants. Since 5-HTP is an important part of the synthesis of serotonin, an increased presence of 5-HTP means higher serotonin levels.
You want boosted levels of serotonin to satisfy your hunger and increase feelings of fullness while you eat. This encourages reduced portion sizes and a lower calorie intake, which can lead to gradual weight loss over a period of time. 5-HTP supplements also boast a range of other health benefits outside of weight loss that could improve various other areas of your life.
So, yes, 5-HTP can be a contributing factor in your ability to lose weight, but it will not be an outright cause of weight loss. Supplements aren’t magic, and unless you put forth your own effort by making smart decisions in your everyday life, you won’t see the results you desperately want to see.
When to Take 5-HTP
Whether you’re trying to shed a lot of pounds or just want to skim down a bit, 5-HTP supplements can help, but be aware that your lifestyle matters immensely when it comes to losing weight.
When you combine 5-HTP supplements with steady exercise and a healthy diet, you’re bound to see substantial weight loss results in a couple months. If you take the supplements and make no other changes to your life, your results are going to be much less significant and slower.
The general guideline for taking 5-HTP for weight managements is to start your dose at 250-300 mg, approximately thirty minutes before you eat.
Other Notable Benefits of 5-HTP Supplements
5-HTP does a lot more than make it easier to lose weight. It’s important to recognize the other benefits that come alongside regular consumption of this supplement, so we’re going to explore some of the big ones.
Depression and Anxiety
5-HTP is involved in the synthesis of serotonin, a complex neurotransmitter that is responsible for certain cognitive functions and mood regulation. A lack of serotonin can cause emotional distress and lead to developing mood disorders. Depression is a common condition that stems from low levels of serotonin in the body.
Normal levels of serotonin typically cause feelings of happiness and emotional stability, which is why many medications for depression aim to increase the amount of serotonin in the brain. With this in mind, it is plausible that 5-HTP supplements work to regulate certain mood disorders.
Improves Sleep Quality
5-HTP supplements can promote a more restful night’s sleep by increasing melatonin production, which can be converted from the hormone serotonin. Melatonin is important in healthy sleep regulation; its level begin to rise in the evening and fall in the morning, helping to keep your sleep cycles consistent.
Though several studies completed on animals and insects show promising signs that 5-HTP can aid in regulating your sleep, there is insufficient evidence to support 5-HTP as a factor that improves sleep quality. Still, it is something to consider if you are curious about the effects of 5-HTP, just be sure to consult your doctor first and be aware of any potential side effects that could pop up as a result.
Symptoms of Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread muscle pain all over the body, general weakness, sleep issues and fatigue, and memory problems. There is currently no cure for the condition, but recent studies have shown promise that 5-HTP could be beneficial.
When taken at doses of 100 milligrams per day, three time daily, 5-HTP reduced fibromyalgia symptoms in a significant portion of the participants. Among the symptoms that were reduced, pain and tenderness appeared to be the most common.
Get the Results You Want to See
Because it’s Your Body and You Deserve to Be Satisfied with It
No one wants to limit their intake of what they enjoy, even when it comes to something as stigmatized as weight loss. Though the desire to lose weight is there, it is extremely difficult to implement a strict weight loss regime with restrictive diets and constant calorie burning.
But guess what – none of that has to apply to your weight loss journey!
Living a healthier lifestyle does not mean performing intense exercise routines or never again tasting the sweet goodness of chocolate chip cookies; it starts with being mindful of your own limits and doing what you can within your capabilities.
And when it comes down to what is within your power, always remember that seeking medical advice is something you have to do for yourself. Your mother can’t take care of you forever (even though that sounds like a pretty sweet deal), so it is up to you to be aware of the state of your health and pay attention to what’s good for you.
There are many dangerous slopes you might find yourself tumbling down in your efforts to lose weight, and it may even be scary at times, but there are resources and professionals out there who care about your well-being. Honest and open communication with your doctors will make weight loss a much less stressful endeavor for you, and will likely yield improved, long-term results.