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For years I struggled with Anxiety and Depression.
I saw many doctors who would write a prescription for the symptoms and send me on my way to live in agony.
They NEVER looked for the what was causing the anxiety or depression. They tried and failed miserably at masking it.
After LOTS of blood work, finding a great Functional Doctor and working with a nutritionist, I have found the root cause of my issues.
A long list so I’ll just say I am battling autoimmune issues and have joined the MTHFR club.
In the past, I have been put on Zoloft, Lexapro, and Wellbutrin. While on any of these meds I was a very angry and even more depressed person. I hated the way it felt to be on “depression meds”.
After about 3 months off ALL MEDS. I decided to start trying different supplements adding them one at a time.
The first thing I tried that worked great for depression was 5-HTP.
It also helps with my insomnia.
5-hydroxy tryptophan (5-HTP)–an amino acid extracted from the seeds of the Griffonia plant–which is available without a prescription and has been shown to be safer and more effective than prescription drugs in treating conditions associated with low levels of serotonin.
Stress, poor diet, and insufficient exercise cause our brains to produce low levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter that regulates our mood, appetite, and ability to get a good night’s sleep. When our brains aren’t producing enough serotonin, we may experience depression, suffer from obesity or insomnia, or otherwise function at less than our mental and physical peak. Serotonin, the neurotransmitter which crates feeling of contentedness, calm, and gentle euphoria, cannot be supplemented directly. But regular 5-HTP supplements create a natural lift in serotonin levels.
5-HTP may help treat a variety of conditions. Although the mechanisms are not well understood, 5-HTP may help treat fibromyalgia by relieving symptoms of pain, anxiety, morning stiffness and fatigue. 5-HTP may be beneficial in treating migraine headaches. Heightened serotonin levels from 5-HTP can help reduce your appetite and help you lose weight. Lastly, increased serotonin levels from 5-HTP may help reduce hot flashes often experienced by postmenopausal women.
It is possible for the body to receive too much serotonin. This is rare, but something to watch for if you choose to take a 5-HTP supplement. If the body gets too much serotonin, it causes a neurotransmitter imbalance which can lead to hormone imbalances. Some side effects to look out for are headaches, feeling flushed, excessive sweating, and tremors. On the other hand though, if serotonin levels are too low, this is thought to be a cause of depression, chronic inflammation, and issues with the immune system, gastrointestinal issues, and sleep disturbances.
When I first started taking 5-HTP it relaxed me right away. I took it at bedtime and was able to fall right asleep. One of the benefits of 5-HTP over Melatonin is that it does not give you the hangover feeling. You wake up ready to go. Which is awesome because it used to take me a couple cups of coffee before I even wanted to look at someone lol.
I know for others 5-HTP works wonders alone. I noticed tho that taking 5-HTP alone caused me to have very vivid nightmares. So I started doing some research and found that when pairing it with GABA you will experience more relaxation and better dream state. This was true for me. So I have added GABA and now I take them both about 1 hr before bedtime. I have also noticed since pairing them that I do not get the leg and arm cramps that I use to have. Cramping muscles made it very difficult to fall asleep. The GABA also helps me to “turn off” my thoughts. I would lay in bed for hours going crazy because I was remembering everything I forgot to do that day and what I needed to do tomorrow. I no longer struggle with that since adding GABA.
Top 5-HTP Supplements
GABA is our main inhibitory neurotransmitter and a key regulator of both anxiety and addiction. It helps us stay in that calm, healing, para-sympathetic mode, and avoid the sympathetic flight or fight mode. It governs dozens of functions in the mind and body. Along with Serotonin, GABA provides the brakes in our body, much as Dopamine and Acetyl-Choline provide the “go-go”. Like yin and yang, we need “go” and “slow” to be balanced.
Low levels of GABA can cause or contribute to a variety of health issues such as anxiety, panic disorders, depression (including postpartum depression), epilepsy, convulsions, stress, insomnia (especially waking with a racing mind or waking and not being able fall back to sleep), Tourette’s syndrome, muscle spasms, hypertension, emotional issues associated with premenstrual syndrome, dry skin and wrinkles. GABA stimulates secretion of your digestive enzymes and low levels of digestive enzymes are associated with poor digestion, bloating, flatulence, poor bowel motions, and malabsorption.
Top GABA Supplements
Another supplement I recently added Is L’Tyrosine.
I added because I was having issues with low dopamine.
Dopamine motivates us to take action toward goals, desires, and needs and gives a surge of reinforcing pleasure when achieving them. Procrastination, self-doubt, and lack of enthusiasm are linked with low levels of dopamine. Without dopamine, we wouldn’t be able to feel driven and motivated. Dopamine increases attention, improves cognitive function, and stimulates our creativity. It makes us more social and extroverted and helps us form romantic and parental bonds. However, dopamine, when too high, can also have its drawbacks. Many people seek out artificial sources of dopamine, which can lead to addiction. Dopamine has many other important roles, including movement, memory, attention, learning, sleep, and mood. Dysfunctions of the dopamine system contribute to Parkinson’s disease, schizophrenia, restless legs syndrome, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Tyrosine plays a key role in the production of neurotransmitters. These include epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine, and dopamine (the so-called ‘pleasure’ chemical). According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the role tyrosine plays in the human body includes:
- Producing melanin (the pigment responsible for the color of your hair and skin)
- Regulation of organs that produce hormones, including the adrenal, thyroid, and pituitary glands
- Providing structure of proteins throughout the body
Tyrosine can reduce depression, mood disorders, Parkinson’s disease and in some cases Alzheimer’s disease. Tyrosine can also be effective in making strong muscles. Few research articles state that L-tyrosine is helpful in providing relief from fatigue, stroke, and it also increases the memory of an individual.The body uses tyrosine to make chemical messengers, which are involved in the mental alertness of an individual. Other than this, tyrosine is seen in playing an important role in generating neurotransmitters. Some of the hormones are also having tyrosine in them. Tyrosine can help in keeping an individual focused and is also considered to be controlling the emotions of the individual. Tyrosine fortifies the immune system and also provides nourishment and strength to other organs of the body because it acts as a cortisol regulator. This amino acid is also the precursor of melanin. This protein component can enhance the function of pituitary and adrenal glands, boosting up the performance of these two glands results in the formation of progesterone hormone.
L-Tyrosine can increase production of the thyroid hormone thyroxine. Hence, people suffering from hyperthyroidism should avoid L-tyrosine supplements.
Top L-Tyrosine Supplements
These 3 supplements have been very helpful in improving my emotional and physical health.
Have you tried any of them?