5-HTP and a Lesson on Safety

5-hydroxy-tryptophan (5-HTP), a well-known supplement used to support depression and mood, was featured this week on the Dr. Oz Show and blog for its potential use as an appetite suppressant and weight loss aid. While the Dr. Oz blog makes a compelling case, it may be dangerously playing to our society’s affinity for mindless, quick fix weight loss cures. “Take this pill and you’ll lose weight without trying!” If only it were that easy, we’d all be much thinner. And yet we want so badly to believe it… and try it!

A precursor to the synthesis of serotonin in the brain, 5-HTP has been studied for decades as a method for increasing serotonin levels due to its ability, unlike serotonin itself, to pass from the bloodstream into the brain. It is widely accepted that serotonin regulates mood, appetite and sleep. so it makes sense that increasing it could impact overeating and support weight loss.

So why sound the alarm? Before we go out and get some, let’s do our homework and break down the critical facts about 5-HTP.  Continue reading “5-HTP and a Lesson on Safety”

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