Increased Serotonin Levels and Thermogenesis
Equal Remarkable Fat Loss

en-phen and Redux® (dexfenfluramine) have achieved weight-loss success, because they reduce appetite and, to a lesser degree, enhance fat-burning or thermogenesis. The probable mechanisms involved are thought to be that they elevate serotonin (5-HT) levels and stimulate adrenergic receptors. With fen-phen, each of the two drugs (fenfluramine and phentermine) worked only moderately well when used alone, but when used together the weight-loss results were significant. Apparently, there is a powerful synergetic effect when you stimulate both systems at the same time, but unfortunately, these drugs have unacceptable and serious side effects.

Fortunately, there are better - and more natural - ways to accomplish these goals than taking the dangerous fen-phen or Redux drugs. A combination of 5-HTP, ephedra, white willow bark and caffeine, all of which effectively stimulate the crucial systemic functions and mechanisms (serotonergic, adrenergic, and thermogenic) that help reduce body fat, and do so safely and naturally.

As evidenced by the growing use of SSRI drugs like Prozac® for weight loss, increasing serotonin levels can put a damper on appetite.

According to one British researcher, of the many appetite suppressants found to be "active" in laboratory animals, very few have clinical potential. Among the most promising candidates, he argues, are those like 5-HTP that increase the brain's levels of serotonin.1 Others have reported that 5-HTP does not significantly increase levels elsewhere in the body.2 A group of Italian researchers reported that 20 obese patients taking 5-HTP (900 mg/day) lost a significant amount of weight, had less carbohydrate intake, and consistently became sated earlier than a similar group taking a placebo. They concluded that since 5-HTP was well-tolerated, it could be safely used to treat obesity.3

Reducing caloric intake is just one side of the weight-loss equation. It also helps if you can burn off fat at a faster rate. Both phentermine and dexfenfluramine increase thermogenesis to a relatively small degree. Ephedra, on the other hand, is a more effective and safer way both to positively influence bodily function in ways that help reduce appetite4 and help stimulate adipose brown fat cells to increase the oxidation of white fat.5-7

Finally, there are white willow bark and caffeine, the active components of which have been shown to potentiate the function of the active ingredient in ephedra by helping to release and increase sensitivity to this primary thermogenic agent. White willow's active component and caffeine actually exert a supra-additive synergism on thermogenesis.8,9 Moreover, the ephedra/caffeine combination simultaneously helps increase lean body tissue and promotes fat loss and preserves fat-free mass, which may contribute to its lasting effect on energy balance.10 The combination of ephedra, the active component of white willow, and caffeine were found to be safe as well as functionally effective,11 and with continued use even escalate thermogenesis while the effect on energy expenditure persists. There is also possibly a separate effect which helps to lower cholesterol levels.12

Many people feel upset that fen-phen and Redux are no longer available to help them lose weight. They needn't be. The nutrients mentioned above offer all the weight loss benefits of these drugs - and more - with far fewer risks.


  1. Blundell J. Pharmacological approaches to appetite suppression. Trends Pharmacol. 1991;12:147-157.
  2. T. Li Kam Wa, et al. Blood and urine 5-hydroxytryptamine [serotonin] levels after administration of two 5-hydroxytryptophan precursors in normal man. Bri J Clin Pharmacol. 1995;39:327-329.
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  9. Dulloo AG, Miller DS. Ephedrine, caffeine and aspirin: "over-the-counter" drugs that interact to stimulate thermogenesis in the obese. Nutrition. 1989;5(1):7-9.
  10. Astrup A, Toubro S, Christensen NJ, Quaade F. Pharmacology of thermogenic drugs. Am J Clin Nutr. 1992;55(1 Suppl):246S-248S.
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  12. Buemann B, Marckmann P, Christensen NJ, Astrup A. The effect of ephedrine plus caffeine on plasma lipids and lipoproteins during a 4.2 MJ/day diet. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 1994;18:329-332.

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