5-HTP is a popular supplement, so I thought I'd put up a blog post to share my thoughts on the supplement.
Supplementing with this natural bean extract (the Griffonia Simplicifolia) has been recommended to numerous patients that do suffer from depression. Do a quick Google search on depression and you'll see what I mean with 594,000 results displayed! However 5-HTP has also been shown to assist with other psychological concerns such as poor mood, depression, insomnia and lack of concentration.
But hang on, I'm no psychologist. So why am I talking about depression, insomnia, lack of concentration and poor mood? Well, 5-HTP has also been shown by some studies to assist in weight loss and curb over-eating. Interestingly, all of these symptoms can be linked to depression.
It has been demonstrated that 5-HTP acts as the "middle-man" between tryptophan (an essential amino acid found in your everyday diet) and serotonin (responsible for normal mood). The science basically suggests that a lack in serotonin can cause an array of symptoms, such as those previously mentioned.
5-HTP, or technically "5-Hydroxytryptophan" has been shown to enhance serotonin levels as it is a natural precursor to (or is converted into) serontonin.
Now because this supplement deals with serotonin (as do anti-depressants), it is very important to always seek advice from your doctor before using 5-HTP. Personally, even though "some" studies have demonstrated weight loss with this supplement, I would not supplement with 5-HTP purely for weight loss. A correct nutritional and exercise regime can take care of that far more effectively than a single supplement.
By the way, here are some guidelines I found for 5-HTP:
While 5-HTP, in a pure form is not a risk for EMS, there are some cautions to be observed in it's use. 5-HTP should not be used if you have the following medical conditions:
Cardiovascular Diseases; Extremely Elderly Persons; those with Parkinsons; Disease, Cancer or Autoimmune Diseases; Lung Diseases; Chronic Alcoholism; Liver diseases; parasitic infection; AIDS; Anorexia Nervosa; Low protein Diets; Severe allergies; Myalgia; Peripheral Neuropathy; Rash or Flushing; Edema; Nausea; Diarrhea; Sickle cell anemia; hemophilia; Pregnancy
Do not use 5-HTP is you are currently taking any of the following medications:
Anti-depressant drugs; Monoamine oxidase inhibitors; Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors; Tricyclic medications; Weight Loss medications; Anti-parkinson medications; Barbiturates and other tranquilizing drugs; Antihistamines and cold medications; Alcoholic beverages; Intravenous drugs; Cancer chemotherapy or antibiotic medications.