5-HTP and SAM-E ; Have you tried it to raise seratonin levels?

Submitted by Confinement84 on
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I have recently read a book called "The Mood Cure" by Julia Ross. It has some rather interesting information in regards to people who are anxious/depressed and how they tend to seek medications such as SSRI's (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitor). The long and short of it is SSRI's make people feel more "normal" or less depressed and anxious because it increases the amount of serotonin in the brain. Of course, this comes with many side effects. She has specific regiments (although you should still consult with your doctor) using tryptophan, 5HTP, St John Wort , L-Tyrosine and SAM-E supplements (these are not meant to be taking for long periods of time) to balance out seratonin and dopamine a more "natural" way while avoiding medications such as SSRI's . She also discusses foods that have these amino acids in abundance. I am not sure if low levels of serotonin plays a role in porn addiction but as a recovered marijuana and energy drink addict, I can see how I personally had issues with serotonin.

Our natural production of serotonin may be inhibited by: chemicals in your food such as caffeine, alcohol or aspartame. If you're not eating protein and healthy fat. Stress. Genes. If there's not enough bright light (during the day) to signal your brain to make serotonin. Lack of exercise.

Increasing fat intake increases the availability of tryptophan in the brain.

Females produce less serotonin than males do.

Estrogen helps serotonin.

Low serotonin: depression, shame and guilt/low self-esteem, obsessive or controlling, angry feelings, fear or anxiety. Physical stuff: gut and heart problems, sleep problems, fibromyalgia and other pains, cravings for carbs, alcohol and drugs.

Marijuana is seeked to boost serotonin, but at the end it inhibits serotonin production.

300mg of 5HTP per day for a week (but some require more), if no improvement:

tryptophan, which is also a source of niacin and other enzymes.
Saint John's Wort which helps to to raise serotonin levels when the amino acids somehow do not. It can be combined with the 5HTP. It works when 5THp doesn't, mostly in people with sluggish thyroids.
Sam-e sometimes, specially if there are arthritis and liver problems, but it needs more time, at least a bottle to see if it helps.


5HTP best taken twice a day, specially if symptoms in the morning.
IF too sleepy after months or weeks, or headaches after taking it, then enough of 5THP. Same if symptoms return.

St. John doesn't need the assistance of thyroid hormone to raise serotonin levels.

St John, 300mg three times a day.

Sam-e400mg, 2 and 2 capsules.

Melatonin 1 to 6mg


3 Do you have a tendency to be negative, to see the glass as half-empty rather than half-full? Do you have dark pessimistic thoughts?
3 Are you often worried and anxious?
3 Do you have feelings of low self-esteem and lack confidence?
3 Do you easily get to feeling self-critical and guilty?
3 Do you have obsessive, repetitive, angry or useless thoughts that you just can't turn off-for instance, when you're trying to get to sleep?
3 Does your behavior often get a bit, or a lot, obsessive? Is it hard for you to make transitions, to be flexible? Are you a perfectionist, a neatnik, or a control freak? A computer, TV, or work addict?
3 Do you really dislike the dark weather or have a clear-cut fall/winter depression (SAD)?
2 Are you apt to be irritable, impatient, edgy, or angry?
Do you tend to be shy or fearful? Do you get nervous or panicky about heights, flying, enclosed spaces, public performance, spiders, snakes, bridges, crowds, leaving the house, or anything else?
2 Have you had anxiety attacks or panic attacks (your heart races, it's hard to breathe?)
2 Do you get PMS or menopausal moodiness (tears, anger, depression)?
3 Do you hate hot weather?
2 Are you a night owl, or do you often find it hard to get to sleep even though you want to?
2Do you wake up in the night, have restless or light sleep, or wake up too early in the morning?
3 Do you routinely like to have sweet or starchy snacks, wine, or marijuana in the afternoons, evenings, or in the middle of the night (but not earlier in the day)?
2 Do you find relief from any of the above symptoms through exercise?
3 Have you had fibromyalgia (unexplained muscle pain) or TMJ (pain, tension, and grinding associated with your jaw)?
2 Have you had suicidal thoughts or plans?

If you score more than 12....

Anyways, I had a relapse about 10 days ago and had a quicker than normal recovery while taking some of these amino-acids (though I have been them for weeks). I felt much less anxious and surprisingly upbeat given the circumstance. I am not saying this from taking these amino-acids but I am curious if anybody else has had good or bad experiences with these supplements.


Quote from Martin Brodeur

Quote from Martin Brodeur
"The book has a good name given its content: The Mood Cure is intended for those who are in search of a cure for their mood. According to Julia Ross, much of the psychological suffering we endure in North America is due to our bad nutrition. She suggests us an interesting way of alleviating this pain and maybe do the first steps towards a renewed and freshened life so as to get our mood cured. The book is talking about how our mood relates to the food we eat. It aims at relieving sadness and heavy feelings by ensuring she gets the key nutrients missing in our brain. The solution lies in a knowledge of which chemicals are necessary in our brain to create "good moods". Conversely, knowledge of how "bad moods" are caused up with the depletion or proliferation of different chemicals in our brain is necessary. Knowing how moods are made present by these chemicals is then put in relation with the food we eat.

The book starts with four questionnaires aimed at determining what kind of problems you may have with your brain. The first is called "Are You Under a Dark Cloud?", the second "Are You Suffering from the Blahs?", the third "Is Stress Your Problem?" and the fourth "Are You Too Sensitive to Life's Pain?". These four charts list the symptoms of what her team in San Francisco have determined to be general categories of uneasiness that are linked to particular causes. Each chart identifies specific substances that, when insufficient, can lead to the symptoms the chart indicates. In the case of the first chart, low-levels of serotonin are the cause. In the case of the second chart, depletion of catecholamines' and thyroid functions under normal are the cause. In the case of the third chart, adrenal overload is the cause. And in the case of the fourth chart, it is low levels of endorphins that are at fault. In all cases, it is depletion of a substance that drives the bad mood. And it is essentially because our bad eating habits have destroyed our reserves of these basic good mood nutrients that we need to be hoisted up.

Her experience as a nutritional psychologist has shown her that even if people started to eat well (lots of proteins and vegetables) and stopped eating junk food, the relapse was too hard to be shunned for most of them, as the call for coffee or tempting foods, such as sweets and refined starches, took them over. People with depleted stocks of essential nutrients are low to build them up again, and before the stocks rebuild, many of her clients did fall.

Around 1980, Blum's results concerning amino acids on alcohol as well as drug addicted individuals came to Ross' attention: Blum found that "the addicts who took the amino acids were able to stay away from drugs and alcohol. Those who took no aminos had four times higher relapse rates" (p. 7). This is the heart of the book: Ross suggests using amino acids as a spring-board to avoid relapses when we make our first steps towards a good mood nutrition. In fact, the four charts are based on relapses and on our addictions. All these are normal for Ross: our addictions rest on the fact that we are using this very addiction to boost, artificially though, the now depleted but usually present substance. For example, in the case of the second chart, it is normal that one of the symptoms is "Do you feel the need to get more alert and motivated by consuming a lot of coffee or other "uppers" like sugar, diet soda, ephedra, or cocaine?" (p. 17) since these substances increase catecholamines levels temporarily, but leaving your body totally depleted afterwards in catecholamines, which means that you'll further seek these substances, which gets you in a circle that doesn't break. Her solution is that our addictions should to be replaced by nutritional supplements that will naturally fulfill the needs of our body. This is the very reason why we get to know the aminos that are missing in our brain so that we start right now building up our stocks.

Our knowledge in the field of neurotransmitters has shown links between the mood of people and their inner balance of elements in their brain. Neurotransmitters are chemical elements that are necessary to the neurons to "communicate" with their neighbours: these substances are the messengers. These are in fact interacting in the neighbouring of the contact of two neurons: this is the interface where all of human cognition is centred. Imagine: millions of neurons interconnected in this way constitute our intelligence, solely.

But when we get to feel bad and low, researchers have identified that we are then low on certain of these neurotransmitters. A chief one is serotonin, a natural element present in all of our brains. This lays the bases for pharmaceutical companies who produce antidepressants like Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, etc.: knowing what deficiency a brain has (serotonin here), we will try to tweak in some artificial reaction that can help to sustain the element that interests us. These antidepressants have, to a variable extent, an effect on the subject that is usually beneficial but often unstable in many cases, coming with numbers of side effects. In fact, it is a very known fact that almost all of antidepressants have a long list of side effects. We are tempted to think that maybe an artificial solution isn't the right one after all? That is what Ross believes. And this explains her enthusiasm.

She gives us the example of the SSRI's. They are technically called "selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors" (SSRI's). Here's basically how it works. When the day finishes off, serotonin, from the catecholamine family, breaks into melatonin and 5-HIAA. So, said the biochemical scientists of these companies, since serotonin is the element we are interested in, let's stop the normal reaction that converts serotonin into less complex forms. "The individual will be better " they thought. The idea, essentially, is fine. But they didn't foresee that melatonin and 5-HIAA were also essential to a good mood! In fact, melatonin is a very good molecule, by getting us to sleep, and 5-HIAA, by being an efficient protector against "negative moods like violent crimes, suicide, severe insomnia and addiction" (p. 224). Our body was designed so that serotonin decomposes itself into the forms of melatonin and 5-HIAA: that's the way our body was built, naturally. It is then more than normal that major side effects to SSRI's (except Prozac) are bad sleep and violence (either internally or externally directed)! The thing is: natural substances like serotonin and melatonin and 5-HIAA can't be patented. They are, let's say, public. So why then do you think the child in our schools are getting Prozac and other drugs? Ross shows evidence that these natural ways of balancing our moods are often more effective than the artificial ones… and without the well-known side effects.

In the case of SSRI's, she proposes an interesting alternative: the amino acids. These are "concentrates of common proteins found in food" (p. 7). Instead of going for artificially acting antidepressants and the like, she urges us to go for what our brain naturally asks for, simply, certain proteins in a sufficient amount. In the case of serotonin, she asks us to get serotonin boosters, simply, like 5-HTP and Tryptophan. And these boosters are naturally present in our brain, so they won't alter our natural balance if taken with care. So her book is telling us two things : 1) North Americans have poor diets, and what a good diet should look like and 2) the solution proposed by the pharmaceutical industry to bypass bad moods are far from excellent, and a good diet should do the trick along with the necessary "recovery" regimen of amino acids.

For each of the four charts of symptoms, Ross indicates a somewhat complex program. The book in general is written in a quite technical language, making it a complete but a little abstruse text. It will be hard for the first-comer in neurotransmitters' talk to get to understand fully what is the thing going on. Nonetheless, the steps she proposes us are quite easy to go through. The problem though with this text is that recommendations are entwined in the text, making it somewhat delicate, I felt, for someone with absolute no scientific knowledge to use this book. I felt this book was designed for educated people and couldn't really be called a "self-help" book in the broadest sense of the term since it demands of the reader a certain responsibility over his own self that some may lack. On the other hand, this book is so complete that I am assured someone could start his own clinic using this book as it is full of instructive insights into such a practice.

I personally attest that the programs do yield interesting results! I personally tried Saint-John's Wort and Tyrosine – both natural – and had quite good results with both to resolve some chart's 1 and 2 symptoms. I was quite curious to see what would be the effects and I was quite amazed to see how clean and effective their effects were, but somewhat surprisingly unnatural to me at first. Tyrosine was especially strong in "brightening" up my mood and giving me alertness: I was suspicious about such a strong effect on only one pill. But soon the effect felt natural for me, something you get used to and appreciate. In a word, I felt her understanding of the brain's chemicals functions targeted accurately the deficiencies and that the solution to them were precise."

i have not tried the natural supplements...but

but I was prescribed Cipralex last year about when I began my long 160plus day reboot. It is a SSRI, I am very adverse to drug use of any kind and was reluctant to take it. Due to some depression and SAD as it was fall at the time I gave in and took it. After about 6 weeks, it did seem to have an affect but so did my reboot, I quit taking the SSRI mid-winter, my focus was on rebalancing by quitting PM. I did ultimately slip and relapse, but going again on another very determined reboot, without any meds, the whole process seems better and quicker this time.

Very interesting, the naturally occuring foods that contain SSRI type components.


I'll add it.

Yeah, long time no see is right. Whatcha been up to? You know what I'm going to ask you, right?

School over for the term?

I have been extremely busy

I have been extremely busy with school as next week will be finals for the Fall semester. If all goes well, I will be enrolled in 18 units next semester which will really keep me occupied. That would leave me with only 2 CISP (computer programming) courses needed to graduate with my Associates Degree in Computer Science!

I have also been pretty busy with work as I have been taking any overtime offered. Buying a new truck has been another big goal of mine (as my truck is reaching 300,000 miles) aside from school.

I think the last time I posted on this site I was having some issues with energy drinks. I was drinking about 4-5 Monster drinks a day (aprox 900 milligrams of caffeine) which really made it difficult to think straight. It started to make me very moody and lethargic. Even more so, I had this constant crave for dopamine, which is never a good thing for a recovering PMO and once drug addict. I am now happy to say that I am 3 weeks free of caffeine. I know that is a not a big deal for most people. However, I am one of those few people that can't do anything in moderation. Its best I just stay clear of all alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, caffeine and even masturbation.

I still haven't met that special someone yet but there is still time!

Anyways, I hope you and your husband have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Are you kidding?

That's huge! Well done. Did you have headaches when you stopped? How did you do it? You always give yourself WAY too little credit. You're an amazing guy.

Congratulations on your progress in school. Hope the new truck shows up in time.

Cool. How many 400 mg tablets

Cool. How many 400 mg tablets do you take a day? The suggest 4 a day can become an extremely expensive habit. I started with 2 in the morning and 2 at lunch but recently started digesting just 1 a day. They also can be very upsetting for the stomach.