Nature’s Pure 5-HTP claims to be a miraculous supplement that will suppress your appetite and help you lose weight without dieting or exercise. They add Nature’s Pure 5-HTP is natural and will boost your mood and help you sleep better, too.
What is 5-HTP?
5-HTP (5- hydroxytryptophan) is a naturally occurring amino acid. Our body makes 5-HTP as a byproduct of tryptophan, but when sold in supplement form it comes from the seeds of Griffonia simplicifolia, an African herb. 5-HTP is then converted into serotonin, which is thought to affect mood and sleep. According to WebMD, there is evidence that 5-HTP is possibly effective for treatment of depression and fibromyalgia, but insufficient proof that it helps with obesity or appetite suppression.
The Nature’s Pure 5-HTP website links to a couple of clinical studies that they say show it helped obese females with appetite control. However, one of these studies only had 19 subjects and the other one had no information about the study or its conclusions at all (although on their website they claim participants lost an average of 10.34 pounds).
A researcher at University of Maryland Medical Center found a study that showed participants lost 2% of body weight when taking 5-HTP. However, they noted that the dosage of 5-HTP was very high and they had side effects of nausea. They concluded there is not much evidence for any benefits of taking 5-HTP.
There have been a few studies that show 5-HTP works as good as pharmaceutical drugs like Prozac or Zoloft with fewer side effects. One with 63 people seemed to show it helped with mild/moderate depression, but larger trials are needed.
The Nature’s Pure 5-HTP Pitch
Nature’s Pure 5-HTP uses a “limited availability” tactic to get you order. There is an advisory on the home page saying “due to popular demand they cannot guarantee supply” and then when you get to the order page they claim there are only x amount of its 7-Bottle Mega Package and x number of people are watching this page right now.
In reality, the “x” number appears to randomly change with each refresh of the page and there is most likely plenty of Nature’s Pure 5-HTP in stock. (See our article on Anatomy of a Nutritional Supplement “Special Offer” Page for more info.)
Nature’s Pure 5-HTP Cost:
If you fall for the hype and go for the 7-Bottle Mega Package, you will pay $197, which includes free shipping. You can also buy 5 for $147, 3 for $97, or 1 for $51.99.
Nature’s Pure 5-HTP is said to come with a 30-day money back guarantee. However, the fine print reveals that the bottles (used or not) must be received by the company within 30-days from order and are subject to a $4.95 fee for single orders and $9.95 for multi-bottle orders. Since shipping times are often very long, you may have a very limited window in which to get your money back.
Bottom Line: Is Nature’s Pure 5-HTP a Scam?
5-HTP is a supplement that seems to have some evidence that it works to treat mild depression, and possibly works as an appetite suppressant. But is Nature’s Pure 5-HTP really pure? Quite frankly, there is no way to know.
A recent investigation by the NY attorney general found that many supplements sold by such major retailers as Target, Wal-Mart and GNC did not contain what they said on their label. (GNC recently settled with the state and promised to implement reforms.)
Generally speaking, there is lax oversight in the marketing and selling of supplements. Only 1% of supplements are analyzed for purity by an independent lab, US Pharmacopeia (USP) a 100 year-old non-profit. We recommend only buying supplements from companies that carry the USP seal – you can find a list of them here (Nature’s Pure 5-HTP is not on the list).
If you decide you’d like to try 5-HTP we strongly recommend you consult with your doctor first, especially if you are already taking antidepressants or other medications.
Let us know your experience with Nature’s Pure 5-HTP below!
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