As your body produces the mood regulating hormone serotonin from the amino acid tryptophan, it also produces a compound, 5htp, as a precursor. This compound also is found in trace amounts in some plants. For commercial purposes, it is typically extracted from the seeds of an African plant, Griffonia simplicifolia. Whether produced by your body or extracted from the plant this is a naturally occurring compound….and one that has been studied for over three decades. I has been used for It is often used as part of a short term diet program.
Other Uses/Weight Loss
The compound is thought to work like serotonin antidepressants (SSRIs); therefore, it has been used for other conditions for which SSRIs are prescribed depression, insomnia, fibromyalgia, and so on anxiety.
There are also very strong indications that this naturally occurring compound can play a significant role in weight loss. It is considered an excellent natural appetite suppressant by some doctors. As mentioned on the Doctor Oz website, clinical trials show that it is effective in lowering calorie count. One study compared two groups of overweight women. The first group took a placebo. The second group took 200 mg supplement of 5htp before each meal. The women who took the supplement were not only less hungry during the test period; they ate over 1,000 fewer calories per day. In a similar study, women taking the supplement lost 10.2 pounds over a three month period which was 8 pounds more than women taking a placebo.
D Doctor Oz states that the biggest benefit of the product was this: “It really works to stop your hunger”.
Although the supplement is a natural compound it is not suggested for long term use. It is a good tool for a short term diet: It is generally considered safe for use up to twelve weeks. There are some reports of nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems. If you suffer from depression or bipolar disorder do not take it. If you are taking antidepressants (SSRI, MAOI, other) it is advisable to avoid this supplement. Side effects include increased suicidal thought in some cases. You should not use the supplement at all if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant or if you are breastfeeding. If you have any questions about side effects check with your physician.
The supplement is found online, in drug stores, grocery stores, and in health food stores. Cost range from $10 to $20 per bottle. Avoid versions that include additives, binders, or fillers. Be certain to look for the words “pure” and/or “griffonia simplicifolia” on the list of ingredients. A naturopathic physician,M.D.,or health food specialist can give you advice and guidance regarding the best brands.
Take a small dose when starting out. Try three 50mg doses per day taken 20-30 minutes before each meal when you first start. You can always increase this dose later if you feel 50mg is not enough. Check with your doctor, however, before increasing your dosage. Remember that the compound should not be taken for more than twelve weeks.