Pillar Number Five Of Successful Weight Loss

Restore Brain Serotonin by Life Extension

According to, the author, William Faloon, when the brain is flooded with serotonin, satiety normally occurs. A serotonin deficiency has been associated with the carbohydrate binging that contributes to the accumulation of excess body fat.  Obese individuals have low blood tryptophan levels, which indicate that their overeating patterns may be related to a serotonin deficiency in the brain.




In addition, cutting-edge research reveals that chronic inflammation and immune system overactivation appear to play critical roles in obesity.  Inflammatory cytokines like interfeon-gamma are made and released in body fat.  An enzyme called indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase is activated by interferon-gamma, which then degrades tryptophan in the body. Tryptophan is needed to produce serotonin in the brain.

In fact, human studies suggest that obese patients have decreased plasma tryptophan levels that remain low, independently of weight reduction or dietary intake.  This altered tryptophan metabolism reduces serotonin production and contributes to impaired satiety, which in turn contributes to increased caloric intake and obesity.

When obese patients were given 1,000 mg, 2,000 mg, or 3,000 mg doses of L-tryptophan one hour before meals, a significant decrease in caloric consumption was observed.  The majority of the reduction in caloric intake was in the amount of carbohydrates consumed and not the amount of protein consumed.

In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, obese patients on protein-rich diets who received tryptophan (750 mg twice daily orally) had significant weight loss, compared with a placebo group.

For 19 years, tryptophan dietary supplements were restricted.  The good news is that pharmaceutical-pure tryptophan supplements are once again available to Americans.

Those seeking to embark on a comprehensive weight-loss program should consider adding tryptophan (along with nutrients that inhibit tryptophan-degrading enzymes) to their daily program in starting doses of 500 mg before meals, two to three times per day.


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