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5-HTP and mental health

If you need to go on an anti-depressant, talk with your doctor about Wellbutrin, which has a very low sexual side effect profile. Start there, or with a similar drug, and work up to the stronger ones only if necessary.


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avocet8

Very nice and well documented thread!

I can say everyone here, that 5htp really work for sleep.For more than 15 years i suffered from insomnia..:( It took me about 2 hours to get sleep an then after 30min I used to wake and couldn’t get any rest. 10min sleep then 20min asleep..I was like zombie in the day time..Tried every medicine found on market..nothing helped me! than i start searching on net, reading everything I could find about insomnia…So, when I read about 5htp I decided to try…nothing to lose.Note that I live in Eastern Europe and was impossible to find such product on our market.So, I got it from USA.Form that moment my life changed so much!!! Now I have a normal sleeping path,I’m fresh every morning..I’M LIVING A NORMAL LIFE!:)

On the dosage I am taking 30mg every night before bedtime.Is it true that I dream very vivid, but thanks God I don’t have nightmares;) I use NOW brand get it on 120vcaps of 100mg.Split a vcap in 3 dosage, taking under my tongue.
You may laugh, but I noticed that I’m moon phase sensitive..on full moon I’m more agitated.So my cycle of 5htp is based on moon phase…I’m off during new moon period (-5 to+5days).
No any kind of side effects in 5 years of use. I was 4 moths off and didn’t notices any problems just of agitated sleep pattern again on the fourth month.
I hope my experience would help in getting more and more information about this wonderful naturally-occurring amino that is Griffonia simplicifolia (5-htp)

\

Originally Posted by mgus
This smacks of conspiration theories, that the advocated way of treating depression etc is ruled by what companies can sell. I’m not in research myself, but I am close to some who are, and rest assured that there are lot’s of people in the world that have a very critical way at looking at things. If medicine companies could make a medicine that took away scurvy, so that one wouldn’t have to eat vitamin C in order to be well - do you really think doctors would recommend the anti-scurvy medicine only, and totally ignore the alternative of eating well?

That’s just silly.

Hi MGUS,

I would have to disagree that my statement was silly. I think that it is an accurate statement about how the world of medicine works. As to their being a conspiracy, no. I do not see a conspiracy, I see groups of drug companies looking for new areas to market products. Or to say it another way, business as usual.

Drug companies are for profit businesses with high overhead. They have a number of challenges that they have to overcome in the operation of their businesses. They have very high costs for the development of a drug. These costs must be capitalized and then amortized over the expected life of the drug, which is usually calculated as a time period that they can control pricing through their patent. When their patent expires, other drug companies can sell their product as a generic and profits drop. In order to recoup their investments, they need to have the protection that a patent will give them.

In looking for a market for their products, it is much better to sell a drug that has high demand, versus one that has low demand. This is why we are in a state of crisis with the lack of new antibiotics to replace those that are no longer effective. Antibiotics are only used when someone is ill. So, with limited sales, the costs necessary to amortize the investment to make the drug are very, very high. This is why you see some medicines prices in the thousands of dollars per dose.

In the Serotonin market, you have a number of SSRI’s and SSNRI’s already made and they are quite profitable. What is nice for the drug companies, is that they all work on one Serotonin receptor. And as there are 30 more receptors (according to the latest state of the art) there is much ground for new invention.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is, and will be a classic case of just this That serotonin insufficiency is the cause of IBS has been known for some time. The first drug that worked on the Serotonin pathway for IBS came out in 2000. It was then taken off the market due to its side effects, but was later allowed back on for use by women only. It is not in wide use due to the side effects. So, with that drug being approved the relationship between Serotonin and IBS has been shown to any and all drug companies. As was the fact that the particular drug did not work well.

To define the market for IBS drugs, I will use the figures given by a non profit group that seeks to help those with IBS. Their web site is here: http://www.aboutibs.org/

They claim that 15% of the population suffers to one degree or another from IBS. In the US alone, that would be 45,000,000 people. That seems like a great potential market for a drug company. And it should stir up a lot of interest in drug companies to do just that. If worldwide rates are the same as in the US, then an IBS drug has a huge potential for sales.

Well, to verify that, I will refer the readers to this web site: http://clinicaltrials.gov/ This site is run by the US Department of Health. Drug companies that want to run trials must register those trials, and this is where the trials are listed. If you type in “irritable bowel syndrome” in the selector, you will find 32 trials ongoing today, with most of them recruiting. There are more that are no longer recruiting. If you spend some time there going through the trials as to what they are seeking, you will find Serotonin connections in the largest percentage.

These companies are sophisticated in their knowledge of neurotransmitters. They all know how serotonin is created, that the rate limiting function is the process of hyroxylation, and they know that decarboxylation is a non saturated enzyme reaction. That means that they all know that a patient who bypasses the rate limiting function by taking 5 HTP will create more Serotonin. And yes, they all know that 5 HTP is sold over the counter.

The question that the reader of his has to ask, is why would so many drug companies want to risk so much money when they have an over the counter item available for sale that costs little now, that is better?

Certainly my last statement that 5 HTP is better than an unknown product can be construed as being a bit flippant. So, to defend that, I will support that by first going back to the chemistry that I have already discussed (and which is easily verified on line) the Serotonin can ONLY be made with 5 HTP. If the drug company is going to have more synaptic levels of serotonin, then they must work on means to keep the persons existing levels of Serotonin from leaving the synapse as easily as it would normally. This is where reuptake inhibition, or perhaps MAO suppression would come in. Certainly Diffusion cannot be controlled, and neruoglia activity is irrelevant because the Serotonin is already out of the synaptic cleft before neuroglia begin their job. Perhaps the scientists have developed some new way to keep Serotonin in the synapse longer. Secondly, 5 HTP is the fastest growing over the counter medicine in the US today. Its use is with people who have depression, and do not like taking SSRI’s. A trip down any of the the big supplement vendors that carry large numbers of products will find 5 HTP, and usually it is easily visible to the buyer.

Regarding why the drug companies feel secure enough that they can find a market with physicians, the answer is in how business is done.

The US is a litigious country. Physicians can be targets for malpractice suits, and the physician that looses a malpractice suit will find that his liability insurance will go sky high. So, a physician must practice “defensive medicine” to survive. In a suit for malpractice, the usual legal claim is for negligence. To defeat a claim for negligence, the physician must show that the symptoms that the patient gave him, and what ever supporting documentation he has (such as blood tests) show that his diagnosis was justifiable. Then he must show that his treatment protocol was also justifiable. The physician does not have to prove that he helped the patient, only that his standard of care was more or less, what other physicians would do. To say it another way, the physician has to have something to “hang his hat on.”

When it comes to prescription medicine, the FDA approval is that thing that he can hang his hat on. Now, he is not saying that the medication is appropriate for a diagnosed condition, the government is. So, in Kitten’s case, she was diagnosed with panic attacks (and it seems that she agrees) and she got Paxil, which is FDA approved for use with panic attacks. 5 HTP is a “dietary supplement” which means that it cannot make any health claims.

The fact that 5 HTP may be better, that the chemistry about how Serotonin is made is fact, can be irrelevant to the physician because 5 HTP has not gone through any clinical trials. Without clinical trials, it cannot be FDA approved. Without FDA approval, the physician has lost the defense that is his security blanket. The reason that no one will put 5 HTP through a clinical trial is that since it cannot be patented, and the barriers to entry are next to zero for this product, there is no way to recoup the investment in the trials.

(The term “barrier to entry” is a business term. Basically, 5 HTP is dried, chopped up plant stem from the Griffonia Simplicifolia plant. The plant stem just happens to be 20% 5 HTP. So anyone who can grow, and dry the plant can be in the 5 HTP business. To say it another way, if any gardener can do this, there would few “barriers” to prevent that gardener from getting in the business)

So, is this a conspiracy Mogus? Is the advocated way of treating depression based upon what companies can sell? No, it is more along the line of what the companies can get approved by the FDA (or other national agencies for other countries). To find a doctor that will prescribe 5 HTP would be rare due to his need to practice defensive medicine, EVEN if he believed 5 HTP to be the superior product. A good number of my physician friends, when they come across a situation where 5 HTP is warranted, will handle it by saying ” I hear 5 HTP works well in those situations” and if the patient asks, they will be told where it can be purchased. They do not prescribe it though for the reasons cited above.

Changing gears, the battle between 5 HTP, and SSRI’s as well as the yet to be produced drugs for IBS, will be very interesting. 5 HTP sales are increasing dramatically, yet few doctors prescribe them. The question then becomes, what is making these people buy a non FDA approved product? The reason is simple, it works, and it works fast. The reason for the speed is simple. If one’s problem is that a message is not making it to the brain because it stops on one side of a receptor, putting more neurotransmitter into that receptor will get the message through.

The next question is how do non medically trained people find out about 5 HTP. Well, there is tons of documentation on it, and there are a number of books by reputable physicians on it. Even if a physician feels that he does not want to prescribe a non FDA approved method of treatment, he is free to write books on it and let the reader make up his own mind. Couple that with the investment necessary to “give it a try” which is very, very low, the risk reward ratio is very attractive. If the person has a serotonin insufficiency problem, he will be able to get that fixed in a couple of days. If he doesn’t have a Serotonin insufficiency problem, nothing will happen in those two days and he is only out the cost of one bottle of pills and whatever it cost him to obtain the knowledge of 5 HTP.

Best regards,

Stage

All of the drugs that drug companies produce are “engineered” on a molecular level to provide what they consider to be benefits to the patient, sometimes very subtle, and sometimes not - very often, as you point out, at a high cost in development.

If I take Paxil, (or Zoloft or Wellbutrin), I am told by a doctor - based on my body chemisty as he/she understands it and my body weight and the condition(s) that I present - that x milligrams are appropriate for where I am at the moment.

They see me, examine me, and talk to me, sometimes twice a year. They have already a large volume of literature on the chemical/physiological conditions of my body, having years of data on me to compare. I would bet that my doctor has a finer tune on what will or will not work for me than someone I might meet in a chat room or some such.

Should I abandon all of the previous data and advice from trained medical professionals - quit the medications I am on and that do work quite well and keep me stable - on the whim that someone I don’t know knows more than my doctors do?

I am concerned that kitten will quit a drug that cannot be quit cold turkey without serious fallout. So far, you have not addressed your suggestion that she do so and I would like you to do that.


_______________

avocet8

Stage,

I don’t understand a lot of the stuff in this thread (way over my head). I do understand the money argument. PE is similarly a no money deal for people so why would anyone research it when surgery is such a neat and expensive option.

It occurs to me though that plenty of plant products have been patented by drug companies. There are even campaigns run by people indigenous to the areas these plants are found who are trying to get a cut on the cash. Are there no drugs on the market that include 5 HTP? Is there no standard medical route to 5 HTP in any country?

On the stopping paxil thing. I personally think a lot of these drugs are counter-productive long term but I don’t think they are quite as counter-productive as a full force panic attack that might encourage someone back into the hole they climbed out of with the help of paxil. If 5 HTP is a good alternative to paxil, there must be a safe way to transition between these two drugs, right?


Thunder's Place: increasing penis size one dick at a time.

Originally Posted by stagestop
So, is this a conspiracy Mogus? Is the advocated way of treating depression based upon what companies can sell? No, it is more along the line of what the companies can get approved by the FDA (or other national agencies for other countries). To find a doctor that will prescribe 5 HTP would be rare due to his need to practice defensive medicine, EVEN if he believed 5 HTP to be the superior product. A good number of my physician friends, when they come across a situation where 5 HTP is warranted, will handle it by saying ” I hear 5 HTP works well in those situations” and if the patient asks, they will be told where it can be purchased. They do not prescribe it though for the reasons cited above.

Changing gears, the battle between 5 HTP, and SSRI’s as well as the yet to be produced drugs for IBS, will be very interesting. 5 HTP sales are increasing dramatically, yet few doctors prescribe them. The question then becomes, what is making these people buy a non FDA approved product? The reason is simple, it works, and it works fast. The reason for the speed is simple. If one’s problem is that a message is not making it to the brain because it stops on one side of a receptor, putting more neurotransmitter into that receptor will get the message through.

The next question is how do non medically trained people find out about 5 HTP. Well, there is tons of documentation on it, and there are a number of books by reputable physicians on it. Even if a physician feels that he does not want to prescribe a non FDA approved method of treatment, he is free to write books on it and let the reader make up his own mind. Couple that with the investment necessary to “give it a try” which is very, very low, the risk reward ratio is very attractive. If the person has a serotonin insufficiency problem, he will be able to get that fixed in a couple of days. If he doesn’t have a Serotonin insufficiency problem, nothing will happen in those two days and he is only out the cost of one bottle of pills and whatever it cost him to obtain the knowledge of 5 HTP.

Best regards,

Stage


No, that’s not a conspiracy. Although that is not how I understood your original statement, but that may be me reading too much into it.

Well, Sweden isn’t quite as dense with lawyers as the US. And I believe there are doctors both here and there that will tell a depressed patient to try to eat well even if he has no appetite, to exercise and other common things - even though working out at the gym isn’t FDA approved. It’s just plain old good medicine, based on experience. My favorite article on Omega3 from lipidworld.com is a compilation of various research to explain to healthcare professionals that EPA&DHA affect depression and that it is a path that is well worth considering. Eventually that too will be “good practice” and indeed something to hang one’s hat on.

And if your physician friends are suggesting 5-HTP rather than the medicine, then the ball is rolling - kind of what I was trying to say in my later posts. Eventually enough experience will be amassed that it might be considered good practice to prescribe 5-HTP as an initial assessment in the future?

What I’m really curious to find out is what happens if you overdose on 5-HTP, especially in the long run. Methinkst that it might not be so simple as the Serotonin is just left to stew in the system without any harm - not considering the parallel example of Parkinsons.


regards, mgus

Taped onto the dashboard of a car at a junkyard, I once found the following: "Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement." The car was crashed.

Primary goal: To have an EQ above average (i.e. streetsmart, compassionate about life and happy) Secondary goal: to make an anagram of my signature denoting how I feel about my gains

I’ve tried 5-HTP after taking effexor for over a year, and found that it made no difference. Has anyone heard or tried the other natural anti depressant SAM-e?

Hi Mogus,

I agree with you completely about Omega 3 EFA’s. They are indeed helpful.

As to taking too much 5 HTP, the process that adjusts the response to changes in neurotransmitters and most hormones, is upregulation/downregulation. I gave an analogy of how that worked earlier in the posting, with the analogy being the trombone player and the symphony conductor. If you keep taking 5 HTP you may well suffer from anorgasmia.

Best regards,

Stage

Hi Avocet,

In regard to Kitten, she posted 2 days ago that she enjoyed the information provided and would be employing a physician to help her achieve her goals. Therefore I think that your concerns have been satisfied.

In reflecting on your concerns and the stated concerns of others, my postings on this tread did go too far. What started out was intended to be a thorough discussion on alternatives for Mr. F’s depression. Mr. F is being seen by a physician, and posted his physicians letter on the board. With that, I felt no need to not be as descriptive as possible in an attempt to provide more information, not only to Mr. F, but to the board. Not all that many people are familiar with the process of neurotransmission, and I thought that it may be interesting. To be accurate in that description requires a good deal of writing, with various analogies to make a point.

Kitten reacted to the posting, and replied. My response was not as well thought out as it could have been in that I answered her questions honestly, but did not probe as to what her conditions were. I did not probe because it was not my intent to provide Kitten a treatment protocol, and I did not. When she replied that she would employ a physician to help her, I do feel that my responsibility for providing information that could possibly be misconstrued ended.

Stage

Originally Posted by avocet8
All of the drugs that drug companies produce are “engineered” on a molecular level to provide what they consider to be benefits to the patient, sometimes very subtle, and sometimes not - very often, as you point out, at a high cost in development.

If I take Paxil, (or Zoloft or Wellbutrin), I am told by a doctor - based on my body chemisty as he/she understands it and my body weight and the condition(s) that I present - that x milligrams are appropriate for where I am at the moment.

They see me, examine me, and talk to me, sometimes twice a year. They have already a large volume of literature on the chemical/physiological conditions of my body, having years of data on me to compare. I would bet that my doctor has a finer tune on what will or will not work for me than someone I might meet in a chat room or some such.

Should I abandon all of the previous data and advice from trained medical professionals - quit the medications I am on and that do work quite well and keep me stable - on the whim that someone I don’t know knows more than my doctors do?

I am concerned that kitten will quit a drug that cannot be quit cold turkey without serious fallout. So far, you have not addressed your suggestion that she do so and I would like you to do that.

Originally Posted by memento
Stage,

I don’t understand a lot of the stuff in this thread (way over my head). I do understand the money argument. PE is similarly a no money deal for people so why would anyone research it when surgery is such a neat and expensive option.

It occurs to me though that plenty of plant products have been patented by drug companies. There are even campaigns run by people indigenous to the areas these plants are found who are trying to get a cut on the cash. Are there no drugs on the market that include 5 HTP? Is there no standard medical route to 5 HTP in any country?

On the stopping paxil thing. I personally think a lot of these drugs are counter-productive long term but I don’t think they are quite as counter-productive as a full force panic attack that might encourage someone back into the hole they climbed out of with the help of paxil. If 5 HTP is a good alternative to paxil, there must be a safe way to transition between these two drugs, right?

Hi Memento,

To the best of my knowledge, there is nothing being made that contains 5 HTP except what is sold by the supplement makers. I rather doubt that anyone would combine 5 HTP with something else, because of the challenge in keeping up with more than one reaction at a time.

Regarding the transition, yes, but I fear that if I post it, it may be misconstrued.

Best regards,

Stage

Stage,

Thank you for taking your time writing these informative posts.

I need to go back to a book that describes upregulation/downregulation, but if my memory serves me right your description doesn’t quite cover my worries. Of course there is a problem if one constantly go high/low in rapid changes (such as drug abuse) but my concern is with what happens with excess amounts? More than what is necessary, and more than what is handled within the normal up/downregulation range?


regards, mgus

Taped onto the dashboard of a car at a junkyard, I once found the following: "Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement." The car was crashed.

Primary goal: To have an EQ above average (i.e. streetsmart, compassionate about life and happy) Secondary goal: to make an anagram of my signature denoting how I feel about my gains

Originally Posted by stagestop
Regarding the transition, yes, but I fear that if I post it, it may be misconstrued.

I’ve been on Paxil and Efexor, years ago (now I am back on Paxil, since Omega3 got me up to a certain level but not all the way in mood) and weaned myself off them slowly. Going off Paxil was uncomfortable, since I got back the initial sideeffects of dizziness and a choking feeling in my throat and irritability. Going off efexor was not as uncomfortable, I didn’t experience as many sideeffects going on either (but not as much help either).

The second time around I supplemented with Omega3 to take up the slack in the system, and I never experienced a real drop after that.

My guess is that traditional slow weaning over 14 days-2 months is the ticket. And then, when withdrawal symptoms are out of the way try 5-HTP. That would adress my problem (mild depression / dystymia) but not panic attacks or bipolar disorder. But bipolar disorder also responds well to Omega3 so it should be equally useful there, to take up the slack. Panic Attacks I have no idea about.


regards, mgus

Taped onto the dashboard of a car at a junkyard, I once found the following: "Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement." The car was crashed.

Primary goal: To have an EQ above average (i.e. streetsmart, compassionate about life and happy) Secondary goal: to make an anagram of my signature denoting how I feel about my gains

Originally Posted by stagestop
If you keep taking 5 HTP you may well suffer from anorgasmia.

So stagestop, does this mean that the answer to my question is “yes?” Or just “possibly?”

Hey mgus, some of the newer seizure drugs work very well for bipolar disorder. As well as for pain control. But the side effects are not fun.

I know some folks have great success controlling bipolar with gabatril, but it’s very expensive. I used neurontin to control my chronic neurogenic pain and it worked very well except for the little problem of not having a bowel movement for over 3 weeks. I don’t use it anymore.

I have to wonder if there aren’t naturopathic answers that may help bipolar disorder as well as or better than some of the other “real” drugs. Perhaps something like GABA in a high enough dosage to cross the blood/brain barrier? Not recommending it, but it would be something to discuss with your doctor.

My wife suffers from something that looks like narcolepsy which was well controlled by a bodybuilding supplement called GHB until it was taken off the market because it’s been abused as a date rape drug. Now it’s back under the prescription name xyrem, the same exact stuff I used to cook in my kitchen and called it G before they made it a 20 year felony to cook it so I stopped.

We can’t afford the xyrem because it’s so damn expensive but would only cost $20.00 to cook a 3 month supply ourselves. She now gets some sleep and is able to stay awake much better by just taking nortriptylline and supplementing with GABA.

Look into it, talk to the doc, neurotransmitters are often just amino acids and if you find the right one, you may be able to be treated more effectively for less money and with better results.

I don’t have bipolar disorder, that’s not an issue for me. Bipolar disorder seems to be treated as well with Omega3 (www.oilofpisces.com) as with prescription medicine, according to some tests - but as I recall there was a decent individual variation.


regards, mgus

Taped onto the dashboard of a car at a junkyard, I once found the following: "Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgement." The car was crashed.

Primary goal: To have an EQ above average (i.e. streetsmart, compassionate about life and happy) Secondary goal: to make an anagram of my signature denoting how I feel about my gains

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