5-HTP for Weight Loss Review
If you're considering actual research on 5-HTP and its impact on weight-loss, you won't find much. In one small study, Italian researchers put a group of obese, hyperphagic (science for "eating too much") adults on a 1,200-calorie diet and gave half of them 300 milligrams of 5-HTP to take 30 minutes before each meal. After 12 weeks, these participants lost about 7.2 pounds compared to 4 pounds for the rest of the group, who, unknowingly, took a placebo.
What's essential to note is that while the weight-loss for the placebo group wasn't statistically significant, during the second half of the study, all participants were given specific guidance to lower their calorie intake. The sugar-pill group missed the calorie mark by virtually 800 calories. To me this seems more like not following instructions than the impact of a supplement.
And while it appears the 5-HTP may have helped with weight-loss, for someone who is very overweight to lose 7 pounds in 12 weeks while also eating a very calorie-restricted diet isn't that remarkable.
Outside of this study, there is not a lot more-- aside from hypotheses and biochemical mechanisms-- to show that 5-HTP is an appetite suppressant. If you are exercising regularly and following a calorie- and carbohydrate-restricted diet plan, then I would have a hard time seeing a benefit to supplementing with 5-HTP.
If you're still interested in taking 5-HTP, know that it's readily marketed as seemingly safe and side-effect cost-free, but anyone taking antidepressants, which can unfortunately aid in weight gain, must avoid taking the supplement, as it can mess with the effect and required dose of serotonin in antidepressants.