Serotonin influences eating behaviour, so much so that in experiments a tryptophandeficient
diet results in significantly increased appetite and binge eating (especially with
carbohydrates). 5-HTP has been shown to positively influence cravings and diet
adherence in obese individuals because of it influence on serotonin levels. In one study
20 obese patients were randomly assigned either 900mg per day of 5-HTP or a placebo
for 2 consecutive 6 week periods. During the first 6 week period no diet was
prescribed, and in the second period subjects followed a 1200 calorie/day diet.
Significant weight loss was observed in the 5-HTP group during both periods with
subjects reporting reduced carbohydrate intake and consistent presence of early satiety
Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)
Preliminary evidence suggests a role for CLA in weight control programmes when used
in conjunction with regular exercise. CLA works to decrease the number and size of
adipocytes (fat cells), which results in a body fat mass decrease. Studies have shown
that CLA decreases the activity of an enzyme that promotes the storage of triglycerides
into the fat cells, which means less fat is stored. In addition, CLA is also thought to
increase the transportation of fat to the mitochondria (energy producing cell
components), which leads to an increase in the rate of energy production from fat
during exercise. Studies also indicate that CLA may improve insulin sensitivity, a factor
that may be helpful in preventing weight gain associated with blood sugar imbalance
and syndrome X (diabetes).
This amino acid is required to carry long chain fatty acids into the mitochondria, the
energy-producing components of cells, so they can be metabolised into energy.
Although carnitine is not an essential amino acid, and can therefore be synthesised in
the body, certain conditions can lead to carnitine deficiency. Examples include poor
absorption, dietary deficiency of essential amino acids (especially lysine and
methionine), co factor deficiency (iron, B3, B6, and C), and a high fat diet. Some
studies have suggested a role for carnitine in weight loss programmes when used in
combination with aerobic exercise and an appropriate diet.
In combination with L-carnitine, CoQ10 facilitates the conversion of fat into energy in
a complex process that occurs in the mitochondria, the energy-producing components
of cells. As such, it may aid weight control as part of a healthy programme that
includes appropriate dietary measures and, most importantly, aerobic exercise. CoQ10
levels tend to decline with age, and are adversely affected by the use of statin drugs.
Supplementation may therefore be especially appropriate in these instances.
Hydroxy citrate, the calcium salt of HCA, has been reported in scientific and medical
literature to reduce body fat, blood cholesterol and triglycerides. Research studies
indicate hydroxy citrate reduces the production of fat in the liver and simultaneously
increases the amount of glycogen. It is also reportedly fights obesity by decreasing
appetite, speeding up calorie burning and inhibits the body's ability to store fat without
the central nervous system stimulation seen with the use of certain other slimming
Medium Chain Triglycerides MCTs
MCT’s may be beneficial in weight loss programmes. In being metabolised easily into
energy they are less likely to result in fat storage. Additionally, diets that are low in
carbohydrates and high in protein and fat induce a state called ketosis. In ketosis, the
body burns its stored fat for energy. Preliminary research suggests that MCT’s can
promote calorie burning by as much as 50% when compared with diets containing the
same amount of long chain fatty acids. Maximum benefit appears to be gained when
dietary long chain fats are minimised.
Nutrient/Herb Typical intake range
5-HTP1 100 – 300mg per day (away from food)
CLA 1000 – 3000mg per day
L-Carnitine2 500 – 2000mg per day (away from food)
QoQ103 30 – 200mg per day
Hydroxy citrate 250 – 500 hydroxycitric acid per day
MCTs4 1 – 2 tablespoons per day
Saturated and trans fats
Nuts and seeds
Do not embark on fad diets – make healthy lifestyle changes for life
Avoid yo-yo diet patterns
Take regular exercise (start gently and work up slowly)
1. May increase risk of scleroderma-like symptoms in susceptible individuals. May cause serotonin
syndrome if combined with antidepressant drugs that increase serotonin levels – avoid concurrent
use. Best avoided by pregnant women and nursing mothers.
2. Certain reports have suggested that ALC should be avoided if pregnant or breastfeeding unless
under supervision by a qualified medical health practitioner
3. Use under medical supervision if taking Warfarin as CoQ10 reduces the effectiveness of
Warfarin. Concurrent use with heart medication only under medical supervision.
4. Individuals with liver disease or diabetes should be monitored by a Doctor as MCTs may induce
ketoacidosis in some cases.