Is 5-HTP a Miracle?

Though many companies and researchers are finding effective ways to naturally attack obesity and depression, one natural solution has emerged to become one of the most exciting options for both problems: Griffonia simplicifolia, a West African seed from a plant commonly used as food and medicine. Griffonia is high in 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), a substance that can have the same effects as dexfenfluramine on appetite and weight control. But 5-HTP is effective in a much different, and evidently safer, way. Within the body, 5-HTP changes to serotonin, one of the most important natural transmitters in the brain. Essentially, when we're low on serotonin, we experience cravings and feelings of depression. So, if you can influence the body's use of serotonin, you can influence the body's appetite and mood. Serotonin acts as the bridge from one neuron to the next. It acts as a courier that helps pass along the brain's command to the lungs to take a breath; another example is the way in which serotonin relays a message to the fingers that a pan is hot. Without serotonin, as you might imagine, we would die. Serotonin is a remarkable biochemical and plays an important role in a wide variety of disorders. According to University of Mississippi researcher Ronald F. Bore, serotonin is the eurotransmitter of the 1990s. He writes that of the chemical neurotransmitter substances . . . serotonin is perhaps the most implicated in the etiology or treatment of various disorders, particularly those of the central nervous system.
5-HTP and OBESITYThe idea that serotonin might affect our appetite is less than a quarter of a century old, but in that short time, a solid theory has emerged from numerous research projects dealing with serotonin: When the brain, particularly the area known as the satiety center, has more serotonin available, our feelings of satiety—the feeling of being full increase. And accordingly, we eat less. Much of the most interesting research, therefore, has been to help the body use serotonin better and to keep more of it in between the brain's nerve cells in order to increase our feelings of fullness. One of the best examples of these attempts is dexfenfluramine Redux. It is a serotonin reuptake inhibitor. What that means is that dexfenfluramine keeps the nerves from picking up the serotonin from one nerve to the other. It also helps the nerves emit serotonin. Another method tried with drugs is to increase the sensitivity of nerve receptors to serotonin. In fact, a mechanism much like this happens when smokers quit smoking. Nicotine in cigarettes increase the sensitivity of the nerves to serotonin, ultimately causing a decrease in appetite. When the nicotine addiction stops, then the result is another serotonin thirst that leads to eating junk food and weight gain.
5-HTP and DEPRESSIONThough the human studies linking 5-HTP and the control of obesity showed little evidence of 5-HTP being connected with a change in mood, significant research seems to show that 5-HTP can help combat depression for some people. In a 1988 study, for example, 25 depressed patients were treated with 5-HTP and the benefits of 5-HTP was considered equal to that of traditional antidepressants. In another significant study, Dr. W. Poldinger of the Psychiatrische Universitatsklinik in Basel, Switzerland, in a double blind, multi-center, controlled study used patients diagnosed with depression. Dr. Poldinger found that after six weeks, both patients taking 100 mg of 5-HTP three times per day and those taking 150 mg of Prozac fluvoxamine three times per day showed about 50 percent improvement in their depression. Those taking 5-HTP also had a better tolerance for the therapy and a lower failure rate. On the other hand, some research shows some of the more severe cases of depression may, in fact, be caused by a breakdown of the process that allows 5-HTP itself to cross into the brain. This line of research also adds strong evidence to the fact that in other types of depression, 5-HTP would logically be a significant alternative to traditional therapies. Griffonia is the premiere food source of 5-HTP, a compound that is emerging as one of the primary methods to fight obesity and, to a lesser extent, depression and other mood disorders. It's time to eliminate the guilt we associate with overeating and depression. No more fad diets or severe side-effects from antidepressants. Simply put, all you have to gain is your health. Griffonia and 5-HTP may be just the bridge between a melancholy yesterday and a fantastic tomorrow. Lane Williams has several published titles, including Griffonia: A Premier Source of 5-HTP available through Woodland Publishing.

Information provided is intended to provide an electronic reference library about nutrition and health. The views expressed in this or other sections of this site, have not been independently researched or confirmed.
Updated on : 2/19/2012 6:18:52 PM
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