Dr. Oz's Appetite Suppressant Advice Plus 3 Natural Ways to Increase Your Serotonin
On The Dr. Oz Show, America's celebrity doctor recently promoted an appetite suppressing supplement called griffonia simplicifolia.
Griffonia simplicifolia acts by increasing the serotonin levels in your brain and is reportedly among one of the safest weight loss supplements on the market. However, for those who feel that they have just had too much weight loss supplement advice crammed down their throats, there are natural non-drug/non-supplement solutions for increasing your serotonin levels that are not only simple, but good health practices you should be doing every day.
Griffonia simplicifolia is a West African shrub of which the seeds contain a chemical compound called 5-hydroxtyrptophan (5-HTP). Numerous studies have shown that 5-HTP leads to increased levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, which among many things has been linked to controlling weight gain via serotonin’s appetite suppressing ability.
Through diet, serotonin levels are increased slightly when we eat amino acid tryptophan-containing foods. Tryptophan is converted into 5-hydroxytryptophan, which is then converted into serotonin. Serotonin works its magic by relaying signals between brain cells and is known primarily for regulating mood and behavior. Because tryptophan from food contributes very little to increasing serotonin levels and because 5-HTP is not typically directly available in the foods we eat, supplements are one way to boost serotonin levels quickly to suppress appetite.
In one study published in the Journal of Neural Transmission, researchers evaluated the effects of a 5-HTP supplement on eating behavior, mood and weight loss. Nineteen obese female volunteers were placed in a double-blind crossover study using a 5-HTP supplement and a placebo control. What the study revealed was that although there were no significant changes in mood, they did discover appetite suppression and weight loss among the participants.
Among his choices of Glucomannan from the Konjac plant and common grape seed oil as appetite suppressants, Dr. Oz also highly recommended taking 200 milligrams per day of griffonia simplicifolia to curb your hunger pains and improve your mood while on a diet.
However, as it turns out, serotonin levels can be increased in the brain naturally without having to resort to supplements.
In an article titled “How to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs” published in the Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, an editorial article summarizing results from multiple studies tells us that increasing serotonin levels can be accomplished without drugs.
In the paper the author lists the following 3 natural ways to increase your serotonin:
(1) Think Happy Thoughts
Using positron emission tomography, researchers were able to measure and record serotonin synthesis in the brains of healthy participants who underwent positive, negative and neutral mood inductions. They found that levels of happiness were positively correlated, and reported levels of sadness were negatively correlated, with serotonin synthesis in the right anterior cingulate cortex of the brain. The study was the first to report that self-induced changes in mood can influence serotonin synthesis raising the possibility that the interaction between serotonin synthesis and mood may be 2-way, with serotonin influencing mood and mood influencing serotonin.
(2) Let There be Light
Exposure to bright light is a second way to increase serotonin levels without drugs or supplements. Not only is it generally accepted that drops in serotonin levels during the winter months can explain seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and is remedied with bright lights, other studies have suggested that bright light may be effective for non-seasonal depression as well.
This idea is supported by studies that have looked at human brain serotonin levels from deceased subjects that found that those who died in summer had higher serotonin levels than those who died in winter. Furthermore, other studies have shown that there is also a positive correlation between serotonin synthesis and the hours of sunlight on the day the measurements were made, independent of the season.
(3) Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
While not agreed on by everyone, there is a significant amount of research that links exercise with increased serotonin levels via increased tryptophan availability resulting from fatigue during exercise. Exercise has been promoted as a non-drug way of treating some forms of depression associated with probable positive serotonin effects toward improving mood. Some studies have shown that increased motor activity increases the firing rates of serotonin neurons, which then results in increased release and synthesis of serotonin as well as an increase in the brain of serotonin’s precursor—tryptophan.
Serotonin-stimulating supplements and behaviors appear to be a safe and possibly effective brain-drug of choice, not only as an appetite suppressant to control your weight, but also to improve your mood when those hunger pains persist and make you feel cranky.
Image Source: Courtesy of MorgueFile
“How to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs” Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience; 2007 November; 32(6): 394–399; Simon N. Young.
“The effects of oral 5-hydroxytryptophan administration on feeding behavior in obese adult female subjects” Journal of Neural Transmission Vol. 76, Number 2 (1989), 109-117, F Ceci et al.