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I am quite surprised there were not any previous topics on 5-htp here. I think that a large majority of herbal products are ineffective/a waste of money, however, I have personally found 5-htp to be amazing.

I took this supplement daily for 2 years, and it cured my problem OVERNIGHT with virtually no side-effects. It did not cause the supressed libido/numb feeling or night sweats that SSRI's seem to cause. I come from a long line of uni-polar and bi-polar depressives. My mother, who suffers from the same chronic problems as I and the rest of my family do, would sometimes be screaming and crying for no reason and I would sometimes give her a 5-htp pill, and 1 HOUR later she would be calmed down and feeling a lot better. I got basically these effects-very much improved sleep quality, deep sleep, very pleasant happy vivid dreams at night, and powerful anti-depressant effect. It replaced the chronic psychic pain and tiredness with simultaneous energic hyperness/calmness or sometimes even euphoria. It felt like it was correcting something inside my brain.

HOWEVER, after 2 years of taking 5-htp it seems to have lost all effectiveness for me for some reason(antidepressant poopout???). I am not sure what happened; either my brain has become imune to the drug, or something else. I am very heartbroken that this happened, as it was such an amazing perfect remedy for me. This happened about 1 year ago and since then I have been suffering, desperately trying to find something else-prescription drugs, supplements, ANYTHING, to get the same anti-depressant effects as 5-htp, but i have not had much luck so far...

I am trying to find out why it stopped working. There are many brands of 5-htp

out there. Back when it was working for me, I found that some brands were completely inneffective. The brand I used most often was Natrol's brand from wal-mart, which comes in a purple box. This was the cheapest brand available (only 8 bucks for a month's supply) and it was effective. However now that it pooped out, no brand has any effects on me (I currently have 5 different brands of 5-htp in my medicine box). This leads me to conlude that either:

a)my brain has become immune to it

b)some large manufacturer of the 5-htp for all brands is totally fucking up so that no brand contains a quality product

c) something else???????

This is why I NEED YOUR HELP. If you have experience with anti-depressants, uni-polar depression, dysthymia, sleep problems or any of these kind of issues GIVE 5-HTP A TRY. I would really appreciate this if you could at least try it and report your results to me in helping me with my research and understanding to find a solution to this illness. Any other advice or thoughts you might have for me would also be greatly appreciated....

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Hi crazykid:

I personally do not have any experience with 5-HTP, and thus cannot be of any assistance. However, a note of caution for others...

Please do not touch 5-HTP if you take any medication which even remotely affects serotonin prior to a comprehensive conversation with your doctor.

Todd.

Edited by Todd
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Another possible explanation for loss of effect:

d.)  The original response was due to placebo effect.  Your condition has worsened so that even the placebo effect no longer provides relief.

Not throwing any stones at your previous success.  I just wanted to be thorough and include another logical explanation.

I don't have any experience with 5-htp, but you post has raised my interest to do a little reading and research.

Since you have a significant family history of BP and MI, and since you are no longer able to maintain stability on home remedies, you need to be honest with yourself and admit that as things get worse you are going to need to go a professional for proven medication and therapy.

Good luck to you.    A.M.

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Crazykid,

I take tryptophan at night to help me sleep.  5-HTP is one step closer to seratonin than tryptophan.  there was a bad batch of tryptophan on the market in the 70's so it's not an rx.  i get mine from my doctor who gets it from a compounting pharmacy.  it sure does help with the sleep.

as far as 5-HTP poop out.  it may be that your MI issues have changed since you first started taking it, and that you need help with more that just seratonin. 

you also mentioned that you have a family history of BP, and sometimes too much seratonin can really really exacerbate BP.  and remember, not all BP is like yay happy manias, it can also come in the form or agitation, etc.

i take a lot of supplements and aminos, but i also take rx psych meds.

if you want to keep doing the "natural" route i suggest you seek out a psychiatrist who is comfortable in combining "natural" and "traditional" therapies.  esp. since, as was mentioned, if you're on an SSRI and take 5-HTP, you're prone to seratonin syndrome which BLOWS.

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Most likely explanation is down-regulation of serotonergic receptors. You've adapted to the drug. I've been helped a lot by 5HTP (haven't taken it in a while), and have recommended it to friends who have been amazed by how much it has helped them. I don't think it's reasonable to write it off as a placebo -- it is a precursor to serotonin and most of the effects do seem to be serotonergic, including extremely increased and more vivid dreams, at least in my and my friends' experience.

However, as I was just a few minutes ago telling one such friend, who says the drug has also been having less of an effect, it is worth knowing that your serotonin is naturally lower in darker months. So down-regulation may not be the whole story.

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First off, before I start my 5HTP rant, I'd like to point out that for many pure-chemical

supplements (DHEA, 5HTP, amino acids, and such) it won't matter for most people what

brand they use.  There will be variance in the real amounts in each pill because of QA issues,

but on average you should be getting what you pay for. Allergy issues and bioavailability

from the binders and "inert ingredients" will differ for some people - that is a GOOD reason

to stick with a brand that works for you.

However, different formulations (calcium + /Mg|B|Zn|nothing/) or the use of different

compounds (calcium carbonate [good] vs. calcium oxalate[not good]

vs calcium phosphate [waste of money]) will change your results.  And, you never know

what some of these companies are using in their herbals.  That's where your mileage will really

vary.

For me, as an example, for calcium supplements  I get the cheap carbonate, sometimes with added

non-calcium stuff; for lactase I have to have the one brand that includes rennet, screw the price.

Varying mileage...

I am quite surprised there were not any previous topics on 5-htp here. I think that a large majority of herbal products are ineffective/a waste of money, however, I have personally found 5-htp to be amazing.

I took this supplement daily for 2 years, and it cured my problem OVERNIGHT with virtually no side-effects. It did not cause the supressed libido/numb feeling or night sweats that SSRI's seem to cause. I come from a long line of uni-polar and bi-polar depressives. My mother, who suffers from the same chronic problems as I and the rest of my family do, would sometimes be screaming and crying for no reason and I would sometimes give her a 5-htp pill, and 1 HOUR later she would be calmed down and feeling a lot better. I got basically these effects-very much improved sleep quality, deep sleep, very pleasant happy vivid dreams at night, and powerful anti-depressant effect. It replaced the chronic psychic pain and tiredness with simultaneous energic hyperness/calmness or sometimes even euphoria. It felt like it was correcting something inside my brain.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

As mentioned, tryptophan and 5-HTP are the metabolic presursors to serotonin, just as phenylalanine

and tyrosine are precursors to dopamine and noradrenaline.

In general - barring metabolic issues, which can be dangerous to screw with  -  increasing the

precursor or increasing the precursors to enzymes involved in production  will usually increase the

transmitter available. The more available, the more that can be released.  Serotonin, via tryptophan,

is very susceptible to this effect as many larger amino acids out-compete tryptophan for absorption

into the body.

The "eat a whopping hunk o' meat whenever possible" American diet can be tryptophan-uptake-

unfriendly from the competition effect.  High carb/low-protein diets are good for getting the

tryptophan in through reduced competition from other amino acids - if it's even IN the

food - but over time the serotonin receptors may down-regulate to compensate for the

easy-serotonin good times...

It's a miracle anyone in the US is mentally healthy.

However, if there isn't an issue with serotonin  low supply/low production 5-HTP will either

not help, or it can make matters far worse.

-----------

You mentioned unipolar and bipolar depression in the family, and "simultaneous energic 

hyperness/calmness or sometimes even euphoria" from the 5-HTP.  This *sounds* like

low-grade mania.    One of the things that the bipolar folks have been reporting over and

over (and it is a documented effect) is that taking an SSRI will often send them into a manic

phase or just start them cycling again.  It sounds to me like the 5HTP has been acting

just enough like a mild SSRI to be giving you similar results.  And that is one of the

reasons a pdoc might prescribe an SSRI to a BP patient on the depressive side to keep

things from getting real bad...

My bet is that there is a combination of receptor down-regulation and maybe bipolar kindling

going on. Translation: your body has figured out how to beat the existing treatment with 5HTP,

and your moods are starting to swing further than OTC meds can cover for.

I am NOT a doctor, so it's better to get an informed opinion from one or two good ones

than to go on my impressions. 

This is why I NEED YOUR HELP. If you have experience with anti-depressants, uni-polar depression, dysthymia, sleep problems or any of these kind of issues GIVE 5-HTP A TRY. I would really appreciate this if you could at least try it and report your results to me in helping me with my research and understanding to find a solution to this illness. Any other advice or thoughts you might have for me would also be greatly appreciated....

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

With an SSRI regimen 5HTP can be Very Bad News because Serotonin Syndrome can kill you. 

It's rare with an SSRI but almost expected with an MAOI. (Melatonin + an MAOI doesn't

cause SS, but it's no laughing matter either. I've *done* this before finding out it was

Officially a Bad Idea.)

I personally have a depression/ADD combination that reacts very very poorly to 5HTP.  Without a

functioning antidepressant, 5HTP, SAMe, melatonin, and GABA supplements all make the hypersomnia

far worse without improving my mood at all, leaving me more zombified than usual. Even taking only

10 mg Parnate a day I have developed the eye twitching usually associated with Haldol treatment.

From personal experience, sky-high serotonin levels, even without going into full-blown SS are

not fun.  Actually, it's impossible to have fun in that state because dopamine levels usually tank. 

As my serotonin levels inch into the Too Damn High range I go into ADD overfocus with

overdrive. I just can't stop obsessing over some project or another and just keep going until my

body drops me because I've not paid attention to how late it is.

Sidenote: that sounds like the mild version of a manic state. No wonder bipolar disorder is so

debilitating.

MY LAYMAN'S IMPRESSION:

PROBABLY OK: In place of an SSRI for mild depression.  BTW, "mild" excludes most of  the

unipolar and bipolar variants as much as it does major depression. Maybe as an augment

when your SSRI starts to "poop out" , though usually switching meds seems to work better. 

Some forms of ADD respond better to an SSRI than to a stimulant, and Jemini would know,

so 5HTP can be a good alternative there.

NOT SURE: dilantin supposedly has an antiserotonergic effect. It might help if you are depressed

  and on dilantin monotherapy (Does anyone do AC monotherapy anymore?) in place of an SSRI.

  As in - this might be an alternative if your doctor wants to prescribe Prozac. 

WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS?: migraines are often triggered by high circulating serotonin. That's

  one of the theories. Find out how your antimigraine med works before even thinking of trying

  5HTP or you could be back to square one.

BAD IDEA: in combination with an AP, TCA, or SSRI unless your doctor knows you are doing this

  and is still willing to work with you as a patient. Also a bad idea with OTC meds containing

  dextromethorphan.

F* NO:  anergic/dopamine-dependant depression.  Then again, if you have this, you've probably

tried it to same bad results as I have.

NEVER: for combination with an MAOI, at any dosing level.

Yeah. It's a bit ranty. I think it's safest to think of 5HTP as an "SSRI-lite"  OTC med. Below the

"you need to see a doctor about this" level of everyday depression it is probably a "wonder drug"

Taking it too much or too long will cause the same problems as Paxil or any other SSRI.

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just as phenylalanine

and tyrosine are precursors to dopamine and noradrenaline.

Does this mean phenylketonurics are unable to produce dopamine normally? Actually I've always wondered how anyone produces any protein molecules while eliminating one of the amino acids from their diet completely.

Sorry, off-topic. Just curious if you know.

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just as phenylalanine

and tyrosine are precursors to dopamine and noradrenaline.

Does this mean phenylketonurics are unable to produce dopamine normally? Actually I've always wondered how anyone produces any protein molecules while eliminating one of the amino acids from their diet completely.

Sorry, off-topic. Just curious if you know.

i talk about this a bit in this thread

Basically, phenklketonurics take very large doses of L-Tyrosine.  (Doses MUCH larger than people without this problem should EVER take) and this is how they ensure they have dopamine, etc.

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  • 2 years later...

Hey Crazykid,

Jemini got it right in his/her first post. Some of us DO INDEED experience genuine "poop-out", not a placebo effect AT ALL. And what I've discovered with absolute certainty is; you don't become "immune" to the medication, but rather, your body becomes "immune" to it's own neurotransmitters. It is indeed DOWNREGULATION!! It can be downregulation in the NUMBER of receptors present, and/or, downregulation of the sensitivity level of the remaining receptors. That means, once a med or nutrient that works on one specific system (5-HTP works on serotinin, as does Prozac, etc) stops working, then ANY med or nutrient that attempts to work on the same system will not work. You can get your serotonin levels so high, that you are bordering on Serotonin Syndrome, yet still not get relief. The only answer that I've found is, once it stops working, you must get off of it, and STAY OFF OF IT, for at least a year (longer if you can stand it). The receptors will gradually increase in numbers, and/or sensitivity, and the med/nutrient will once again work. Those of us that have a life-long affliction pretty much have no other choice if we do experience "poop-out". To persist with ever-increasing doses of meds/nutrients after "poop-out" has occurred is SO RISKY (long term side effects). Fluoxetine worked for me (Prozac generic), and it was GREAT!! It was ONE HUNDRED PERCENT EFFECTIVE. But, after 30 months, it pooped out. Long story short, based on many years of past experience, it always became effective again after being off of it for a long period of time. This will be the case with all the neurotransmitter systems - norepinephrine, dopamine, etc.

So much more to say, but I don't want to wear out my welcome.

GOOD LUCK!!

DysthymicDude

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Crazykid, its important you read this: [link=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5-HTP"'>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5-HTP" target="_blank]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5-HTP[/link] (the risks and side effects part)

also [link=http://yarchive.net/med/5-htp.html"'>http://yarchive.net/med/5-htp.html" target="_blank]http://yarchive.net/med/5-htp.html[/link]

you might also try going a google for "5htp green bananas", should you do so all will be explained.

In short, I have been informed by a doctor that this is a very dangerous supplement to take. There are some doctors who say its ok, but there does seem to be a bit of evidence that they are not correct.

The 5HTP is converted to serotonin in the bloodstream if not taken with carpidopa. This is a very bad place for it to be, and can cause all kinds of health problems including (from memory) atrial valve stenosis.

5HTP is used in medicine for prescribing to schizophrenics, they prescribe it with carbidopa though. Carbidopa is not always good either though and can cause side effects.

How do I know this crap? Some "holistic" doctor prescribed me a med with 5HTP in it, so trusting my doctor I thought it was safe and took it for a while, he also prescribed me SAMe (S-adenosyl L-methionine) which as I found later is a no-no for bipolars. My pdoc at the time asked for a list of all supplements I was taking (he was an excellent pdoc), and picked this up - I happened to find out the same information at the same time and freaked out about it. In short I didn't go back to this "holistic" doctor again (quack).

Don't want to worry you excessively but this is something to consider.

Edited by ShadowCat
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Having tried the St Johns Wort / 5HTP route recommended by a friend for a low grade depression one summer, and having the DP just lift after about two weeks? Like taking the right anti depressant feels for DPers?

It did squat for my large scale, big budget surround sound DP the following year. I went back on an TCA because the SSRIs fuck with me too much. Then? the AD stopped working, no matter what dosage.

So off to a pdoc. Turns out , the reason was the DP was BP. He prescribed lamictal, or if that werent available , to start with Tegretol or Trileptal. The rest as they say.....is the rest.

Pleaaazze heed the warnings above .....!!!!! Meds and the herbals DO NOT MIX. Well, actually they do mix. And the way they mix can kill you as people pointed out. IF you are prescribed standard meds, now is not the time to go all mother nature......chances are you need more than herbal supplements.

Yes they are natural.

So is snake venom.

cheers

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Hey Crazykid,

Jemini got it right in his/her first post. Some of us DO INDEED experience genuine "poop-out", not a placebo effect AT ALL. And what I've discovered with absolute certainty is; you don't become "immune" to the medication, but rather, your body becomes "immune" to it's own neurotransmitters. It is indeed DOWNREGULATION!!

There are multiple serotonin (and other neurotransmitter) receptors, and the SSRIs only affect them indirectly through reuptake inhibition. While downregulation has been studied as a mechanism for antidepressant function, there's no evidence of blanket downregulation that would cause all medications that act on a given transmitter to cease working.

For that matter, there's no real guarantee that for a given individual excess amounts of a transmitter will provoke downregulation of the desired receptors. Some research (abstract) indicates that increasing 5HTP and 5HT can reduce dopamine synthesis, which should help treat schizophrenia. That's not too surprising, given that even SSRIs can cause akathisia, but it should illustrate that pushing buttons with a big fluffy pillow doesn't allow for consistent control of a precision system.

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  • 1 year later...

5-htp is nice when my energy is high. At those times, it produces feelings of comfort, relaxation, it helps me sleep, I get an opiate buzz too, the next day I feel relaxed.

When my energy is low, and I am down in the shitpile, 5-htp does nothing, and it intensifies my zombification. Now is one of those times when 5-htp does nothing other than make me more zombified.

I still take it out of a pathetic, pathetic, helpless hopeless attempt to feel better. I even increase the dose, with zero effects.

5-htp and serotonin in general does not help depression in as much as it reduces stress and energy levels. It helps you feel a bit calm, centered, comfortable. 5-htp is especially good at this because it also converts to melatonin. 5-htp does not help depression, it does help agitated energetic anxiety and/or dysphoria. Maybe.

When I'm zombied and 5-htp is making it worse, I can't stop eating. Now is sorta one of those times. I am gaining weight like someone falling in a dream.

My whole life right now is pretty terrible.

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  • 3 years later...

5-htp really helps my anxiety & paranoia, but like the above poster said, it is not good to take in times of apathy.  I have had much success cycling between an herb called Mucuna pruriens & 5-htp, taking Mucuna when I am apathetic & 5-htp when I am anxious & paranoid.  Too much of either can cause what the other fixes, so I feel a balance of each is best for managing my psychological state.  You need to take a decarboxylase inhibitor such as a cup of green tea or some carob with either for the best absorption, and having an empty stomach is absolutely vital for absorption of the amino acids.  I much prefer the Mucuna pruriens bean powder to extracts, which feel like there is something missing.  You can find the beans on google.

Edited by freeeasywanderer
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