Sometimes, our appetite just seems out of control. No matter what we eat, it's never enough, and that's how we can get into trouble with our weight. 5-HTP has been shown to help with this problem, to keep you from reaching for extra snacks between meals.
On today's episode of "Dr. Oz," Dr. Mehmet Oz will be discussing this supplement as a powerful appetite suppressant, so we decided to take a look at what your appetite really is and how adding 5-HTP to your diet can help you lose weight.
The Inner Voice Known As Your Appetite
It's that tiny whisper that grows into a growl and then into a scream so loud you can't ignore it anymore and start devouring whatever is in sight like you haven't seen food in days (maybe not that extreme, but you get the idea). Your appetite is a desire -- an urge to satisfy a need -- like eating. Like all functions in the body, it's triggered in your brain, telling you your body needs more as well as telling you when it doesn't.
Why doesn't it shut up?
When this desire exceeds normal, a few things may be going on. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an increased appetite can be intermittent or persistent, depending on the cause. Someone who eats beyond their means could be experiencing hyperphagia (increased appetite) or polyphagia (excessive hunger), meaning their sole focus is on consuming more food.
The reason for this urge can be mental, such as increased anxiety that can cause you to eat out of stress. Medical conditions like diabetes mellitus (including gestational diabetes), Grave's disease, hypoglycemia, hyperthyroidism as well as premenstrual syndrome (PMS) can all make you overeat. Certain drugs like corticosteroids or antidepressants can also increase appetite.
On the reverse, a decreased appetite can be caused by age (common in most elderly individuals) and illnesses like cancer, liver disease, kidney failure and heart disease or even the first trimester of pregnancy. Certain medications can also affect your appetite, like antibiotics, pain medicine or chemotherapy.
How can 5-HTP help?
One of the reasons we eat is to relieve stress or feel better. Serotonin is responsible for the feeling of happiness and calm that relives this anxiety. Serotonin is also a neurotransmitter and when we have enough of it, our appetite can decrease.
5-HTP, or 5-hydroxtyrptophan, is produced from the seeds of the Griffonia simplicifolia plant, a shrub found commonly in West Africa. It's also a byproduct of converting l-tryptophan to serotonin. When taken daily as a supplement, 5-HTP has been shown to boost serotonin levels in the brain, which help you feel hungry less often. Suppressing your appetite this way will help you consume fewer calories throughout the day to help you lose weight and stay in control.
In addition, 5-HTP can help improve your mood, relieve symptoms of PMS and promote better sleep by calming your mind so you get the rest you need.
Adding 5-HTP to Your Routine
Dr. Oz recommends taking 200 mg of 5-HTP three times a day, in divided doses. Anyone who is currently on medication, such as antidepressants, should speak with their physician before taking this supplement as well as pregant or nursing women. It can also cause drowsiness, so use caution when driving or using machinery when first beginning 5-HTP supplementation.
5-HTP is just one way to keep that little voice in check. More appetite suppressants to come, so stay tuned!