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Interview with Michael Murray, N.D. about 5-HTP
Wednesday, September 10, 2003 3:27 pm Email this article
Michael T. Murray, N.D., is the author of numerous books about nutritional supplements. His latest is 5-HTP: The Natural Way to Boost Serotonin and Overcome Depression, Obesity, and Insomnia. Larry Hobbs interviewed Dr. Murray by phone about the use of 5-HTP for weight loss.
This interview was first published in Obesity Research Update, June 1998, Volume 3 Number 6 Page 41.
Hobbs: How much weight loss have you seen with 5-HTP?
Murray: The average is about 1 pound per week or 10 pounds in 10 weeks. One woman who had trouble losing weight in the past lost 26 pounds in 5 months. She’s been taking 5-HTP for about a year.
Hobbs: What dose do you use?
Murray: 50 to 100 mg three times a day 20 minutes before meals, but it varies. For people, who don’t have a problem with breakfast or lunch, but overeat at dinner or later in the day, I give 100 to 200 mg before dinner. The woman I mentioned before who lost 26 pounds did it by taking 200 mg once in the morning which reduced her grazing on sugary snacks throughout the day.
Hobbs: What are the most common side effects?
Murray: Nausea, but it’s dose-related and it only lasts two weeks. With 50 mg maybe 5 percent experience nausea. With 100 mg maybe 10 percent. With a dose of 200 mg roughly half will have nausea the first two weeks. And with 300 mg virtually 100 percent of patients complain of nausea. But regardless of the dose, the nausea goes away after 2 weeks. I gradually increase the dose to minimize the nausea.
Hobbs: Do patients ever complain of sleepiness?
Murray: No, very rarely.
Hobbs: Do you every combine 5-HTP with other drugs or supplements?
Murray: I give 5-HTP with St. John’s Wort for people with fibromyalgia (unexplained muscle pain).
Hobbs: How much St. John’s Wort?
Murray: 300 mg, standardized to 0.3 percent hypericin, three times per day.
Hobbs: Do you ever use it with ephedrine and caffeine?
Murray: No. I avoid using them together. I feel that the effects of ephedrine and caffeine tend to cancel out the effects of 5-HTP. I like ephedrine and caffeine for some people, but it causes more side effects, and I avoid using it in people with hypertension, anxiety or prostate enlargement.
Hobbs: What other conditions are helped with 5-HTP?
Murray: Depression, sleep problems, fibromyalgia, and both tension and migraine headaches. Those problems tend to be more common in women than men.
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