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Dr. Oz: 5-HTP's antidepressant and weight loss benefits and lap-band surgery

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Dr. Mehmet Oz discussed the natural appetite suppressant 5-HTP and examined the weight loss benefits of lap band surgery on the May 2 episode of the Dr. Oz Show.

Dr. Oz said the amino acid 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) helps you lose weight without the jitters you get from caffeinated appetite suppressants. 5-HTP is a chemical compound your body naturally produces as it makes serotonin, a hormone that regulates mood.

Several studies have shown that the 5-HTP supplement improves mood, helps you sleep better, and curbs hunger by boosting serotonin. While most people think hunger is a physical response that starts in your gut, your brain actually controls your appetite. This is why people overeat when they're stressed, depressed or angry.

Dr. Oz said two separate studies showed that women who took 5-HTP ate 1,000 calories less a day. Dr. Oz's guest, rheumatologist Dr. Dr. Natali Azar of NYU Medical Center, said her patients have lost about a pound a week using 5-HTP. She said 5-HTP has been proven safe for the past 15 years.

5-HTP has also been shown to ease anxiety and depression. However, people who take antidepressants should not take 5-HTP because the combination boosts your serotonin levels too much.

  • Take 50 mg three times a day before you eat.
  • Look for the label “Pure 5-HTP” or “Griffonia Simplicifolia."

Lap Band Surgery For 40-Pound Weight Loss Or More

On a separate segment, Dr. Oz examined the pros and cons of lap band surgery. Dr. Oz's guest were the husband-and-wife bariatric surgery team of Drs. George Fielding and Christine Ren-Fielding.

Dr. George underwent lap-band surgery himself 15 years ago, and said the procedure helped him get off 11 different medications. Many celebrities, including comedians Rosie O'Donnell and Lisa Lampanelli, have lost dramatic amounts of weight (70 to 100 pounds) just months after getting lap-band surgeries.

Dr. Fielding is the surgeon who performed the lap band procedure on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in February 2013. Gov. Christie has since lost more than 100 pounds.

"The lap-band works primarily by controlling hunger," said Fielding. "There are many pathways that go to the brain to help it work out whether we are hungry or not. Many of them come from the top of the stomach, and are manipulated by the pressure applied by the band. When it’s adjusted properly, that relentless urge to eat can fade away. If you loosen it, the hunger may quickly return."

For people who want to lose 40 pounds or more, lap-band surgery is increasingly becoming a popular option, especially as research shows that bariatric surgery beats diet and exercise for producing fast weight loss.

The gastric-band operation involves having a silicone band placed around the stomach to create a pouch the size of a golf ball, limiting the amount of food the patient is able to ingest. Basically, it forces patients to follow a very-low-calorie diet. Patients often lose one to two pounds a week, and shed 40-50% of their body weight within a year.

However, doctors warn that bariatric surgery has its own set of complications (both physical and emotional) and isnot an "easy way out," according to Weight Loss Surgery for Dummies. Lap band surgery usually is covered insurance.

Natural Heartburn Relief

Dr Oz said that 20 million people suffer from heartburn, but there are natural ways to relieve it, including:

  • Manuka honey. Manuka honey is produced from the nectar of the mānuka tree. It has been shown to contain both anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. One teaspoon of manuka honey at the first sign of heartburn usually relieves symptoms.
  • Orange peel extract. Orange peel extract stimulates peristalsis, which helps you move food through your body more quickly. This is a favorite recommended treatment among heartburn experts. Dr. Oz suggested taking 1,000 mg every other day for up to 20 days.
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