One of the keys to becoming physically fit is to maintain your current weight (if you are within the healthy range) or lose excess pounds if necessary. Losing pounds is not easy however, because if you eat the same amounts of food that you were used to before dieting, you’ll regain all the pounds you lose when exercising. To lose weight effectively, you’ll need a natural appetite suppressant supplement, and while there are several so-called natural suppressants online, only 5–HTP has been proven effective.
Natural appetite suppressant 5-HTP (5–hydroxytryptophan) is an amino acid, or to be more precise, the L–tryptophan amino acid is transformed into 5-HTP in the human body. However, 5–HTP can also be produced synthetically or obtained from Griffonia simplicifolia plant seeds which are native to certain African countries like Togo, Ivory Coast and Ghana.
For many years now, the juice and leaf of the plant had been used for treating wounds, but now there’s evidence suggesting that 5-HTP is also one of the best appetite suppressants available.
How 5-HTP Suppresses Appetite
To understand how 5-HTP works as an all natural appetite suppressant you must know something about serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that performs several functions in your body such as reducing appetite. This was long suspected but in recent years it’s been scientifically established that increasing serotonin levels is one of the keys to reducing your appetite and getting in shape.
In the past you could only get this from selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which is ineffective for the long term. But 5–HTP provides an alternative because once in your system it is converted into serotonin. In addition, 5–HTP goes through the blood and brain barrier and stimulates the central nervous system to increase serotonin production.
As more serotonin is produced, your hunger pangs are reduced or completely stopped. This becomes possible because the serotonin receptors that signal satiety (5–HT1B and 5–HT2C) experience an increase in production.
The Scientific Evidence
Several clinical studies have been done proving the efficiency of 5–HTP. A placebo–controlled, double blind, randomized study was conducted in 2012 (Rondanelli M, Opizzi A, Faliva M, Bucci M, Perna S.), lasting four weeks and consisted of 20 overweight individuals.
During the course of the trial, one group was given 5–HTP and the other placebo, and they were trained to reduce calorie intake by 800 calories and keep their calorie level to 15% protein, 60% carbohydrates and 25% fat. At the end of the study the 5–HTP group demonstrated a significant appetite reduction. Also, those that took 5–HTP lost 2.3 inches on their hips, an inch off the waist .9 points from the BMI and 2.5 lbs.
The 2009 Study
The 2012 studies support the findings in the 2009 trials (Rondanelli M, Klersy C, Iadarola P, Monteferrario F, Opizzi A). The study was also placebo–controlled, double blind and randomized and lasted for eight weeks. Rather than take a 5–HTP tablet, the participants used a spray that was applied under the tongue.
The main ingredient in the spray was Griffonia simplicifolia, the major source of 5–HTP, but other herbs were added:
- Klamath Algae powder (Thallus) 39 mcg
- Guarana extract (Seed) 4.55 mg
- Globe Artichoke extract (Leaf) 9.75 mg
- Griffonia extract (Seed) 10.24 mg
- Dandelion extract (Root) 11.7 mg
- Gotu Kola extract (Herb) 11.7 mg
The spray was used by the participants five times daily (prior to breakfast, lunch and supper and between eating their meals). At the end of the clinical trial, the group that took the 5-HTP reported a decrease in appetite.
Results showed that the 5-HTP group experienced a 33% reduction in binge eating and a 28% increase in satiety. At the end of the trial, the 5-HTP group also reported a reduction of 1.06 inches off their hips, a 1.02 point reduction in the BMI and 1.02 points off their waists.
The 1998 Study
The two studies above support the findings of an earlier study in 1998 (Cangiano C, Laviano A, Del Ben M, Preziosa I, Angelico F, Cascino A, Rossi–Fanelli F). In this study, 25 overweight participants were asked to take part in a double–blind, placebo–controlled experiment, with some given 750 mg/day of 5-HTP and the others placebo. The experiment lasted for two weeks and no restrictions on diet were imposed.
During the trial period, eating behavior and calorie intake were placed under observation. At the end of the test, the 5-HTP group was able to cut back their calorie intake by more than 20%. Not only was the intake reduced after just two weeks, but they also reported a sharp decrease in fat and carbohydrate intake. In contrast, the placebo group didn’t experience any changes in their appetite. The 5-HTP group however, reported that they each lost 5 lbs. during the trial period.
An earlier study was conducted in 1992 wherein 20 overweight individuals were asked to participate, and just like the other studies, were given either 5–HTP (900 mg daily) or placebo. The double blinded study was held for two successive six-week periods. During the first six weeks, no diet restriction was imposed but during the second period, a 1200 daily calorie limit was set.
The results showed that everyone who took 5–HTP experienced early satiety. To underscore its efficiency, during the first week, the 5–HTP group was able to cut down their calorie intake by 45% even though no diet restrictions were imposed. Even more impressive by the second week, the 5–HTP group was able to cut their calorie intake by over 60%.
The 5–HTP group also consumed less amounts of carbohydrates and fats. Just like in the three previous studies, those in the placebo group reported no decrease in their appetite or desire to consume carbohydrate and fat rich foods.
With so many supporting studies, it is easy to see why 5-HTP is the best natural diet suppressant available. Unlike other appetite suppressants that rely on a single study, 5–HTP has been subjected to multiple, double blind studies, all of which prove its efficiency when it comes to suppressing appetite.