One of the most popular supplements on the market right now is 5-Hydroxytryptophan, or 5-HTP. 5-HTP is actually an essential amino acid that is already produced by your body, which is then converted into serotonin. You may have already read about serotonin and its role as a neurotransmitter. Because it influences both mood and behavior, serotonin is believed to be linked to numerous bodily functions such as sleep, appetite, and pain sensation. We already know a shortage of serotonin is involved in depression and anxiety disorders.
Because the body uses 5-HTP to manufacture serotonin, it is believed that taking supplements of 5-HTP will help with a variety of disorders related to serotonin shortage. This includes depression, fibromyalgia, insomnia, migraines, and weight control.
5-HTP may work to control appetite in several ways. First, the serotonin produced by the body is responsible for regulating appetite and making you feel “full”. It is possible that in some people, an insatiable appetite (feeling the urge to eat frequently, and more than you should) could be related to a shortage of serotonin. Helping your body manufacture more serotonin could counteract the problem. Also, a lot of people overeat because they are depressed. Since 5-HTP is also used to treat depression, it makes sense that getting to the root of an appetite problem will be more helpful than simply coaching a person to eat less and exercise more.
A lot of people think they can get 5-HTP from eating foods that contain tryptophan. While the body does indeed use tryptophan to manufacture 5-HTP, eating more of these foods does not actually cause a significant increase in your body’s production of 5-HTP. You can obtain this supplement over-the-counter from our office, and since certain drug interactions and side effects can occur, it’s always best to be under the supervision of a physician. Please contact our clinic for a consultation, and we can discuss whether 5-HTP might be the right supplement to help you drop those pounds and start feeling healthier from the inside out.