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Serotonin: 5HTP tablets


I've been dealing with anxiety since... Since I know about myself. But, things got worse over the years.

I've been prescribed one serotonin-based tablets. It never helped.

Tried to deal with aniety through teas, numerous nature-based tablets, but still nothing.

One month ago, I visited a neurologist (neuropsychologist) and she prescribed me something, which in my country is called Seroxat.

But, another doctor tried to explain to me that it's not good for my body to get them daily... So, the advice given to me was: 5-HTP tablets. I bought one bottle (it is pretty expensive for me) and I totally believed it would help me.


Why is that?

I've been using the 5-HTP tablets for 3+ weeks, and still nothing. Does that mean that the level of my anxiety is bigger, so I really need drugs?
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Avatar universal
P.S. 5-HTP as food supplement tablets.
Helpful - 0
Meds affect everyone differently so what works for someone else might not work for you so if that happens you have to try something else until something works. Some people can't find anything that works though.
I think you need to talk with a therapist to see if they can help. Your post on the HIV forum shows you have HIV phobia and no one can diagnose you from here.
Avatar universal
Are you sure you talked to a doctor?  Obviously you have to take an antidepressant every day.  There are definitely downsides to taking medication, and if your life isn't so badly disrupted you can't function it's good to look for alternatives, especially therapy.  But I'm always amazed at how many people take things without doing any homework first.  When a doctor gives you a prescription, there's a dosage.  That dosage has been arrived at by trials and experience.  The same is true if you use natural medicine -- it's still medicine and you still have to know when to take it and how to take it.  When you were recommended Zoloft by a neurologist, did you ever think about what neurologists actually do for a living?  It's not treating mental illness, it's treating problems with the nerves and the biological function of the brain.  Psychiatrists are the docs who specialize in treating mental illness with medication.  Any doc can give you these drugs, including your regular doc, but if you're concerned you have a mental illness and you've tried therapy and other less invasive methods of treating it and they failed, again, the doc to see is a psychiatrist.  Remember, once you're on a drug, you have to know how to use it.  Good psychiatrists taper up on them gradually so they can see how you'll react.  They know the dosage that works for most people.  A neurologist might not know that.  They also should know, though they often don't, how to take you off them when it's time to do that.  Other docs might not even have enough appointments available to see you regularly to do that and monitor you.  And Zoloft isn't a serotonin based tablet.  It affects how the body uses serotonin, but there isn't any serotonin in it.  Okay.  5-HTP is a metabolite of the amino acid, found in all complete proteins, called tryptophan.  When you eat food containing tryptophan, it combines with B6, Vitamin C and some other co-factors to manufacture the serotonin the body uses in the digestive system, the blood vessels, the muscles, and the smaller amount in the brain.  If you absorb it well it metabolizes into 5-HTP.  Because tryptophan has a bad success rate of crossing the blood/brain barrier when taken as a supplement, 5-HTP is recommended, as it's already in the metabolized form.  It comes from a plant, but not one that we eat.  They found it when the FDA, in one of their crusades against natural medicine (they exist to help sell allopathic medicine, which is a competitor with older forms of medicine for historical reasons mostly centering on the fact the early doctors were killing people more than helping them) banned tryptophan because of a tainted batch from one lab and an enterprising herbalist discovered that the better form, 5-HTP, existed in the griffonia plant, and the FDA hadn't banned that one.  But you have to take the right dose, which as with medication can take some time to find.  You usually start with 50mg, then move up to 100, then 150 if you need to, and after that, you have to decide if you want to risk some side effects by going higher.  A doctor who knows natural medicine will probably combine this with several other remedies, get you to eat better, exercise, get therapy, and learn relaxation techniques such as meditation.  A holistic process.  Those who do it themselves will more often buy a combination formula that may or may not have things in it at a useful dosage and that should be taken at the same time.  For example, 5-HTP, as with most amino acids, should be taken on an empty stomach.  Also, as with any form of medicine, you can have side effects, and it will take some time to work -- it took you a long time to get to this point, it isn't going to go away tomorrow.  Drugs work much faster, but even with those it takes 4-6 weeks at a proper dosage for you to work.  
Helpful - 0
WOW! I mean... Thank You!!! I'm left speechless... Wonderful explanation!

So, the version of 5-HTP I have is an English one, ''Health Aid'' company. Since I don't live in English-language country, the translation of usage says that the pill should be taken while eating, I don't know why.

Since You've mentoned it has to be taken on empty stomach- I have a problem. I'm taking thyroid pills every morning when I wake up, then waiting for 30+ minutes not to drink or eat anything. Is it OK if I take the 5-HTP pill after ?
I can't tell you that.  The fact is, all your problems may be being caused by your thyroid not being properly medicated -- a common problem.  I have no idea if that's the case or not.  I'm not an expert in thyroid medication.  I can tell you the thyroid is intimately connected to the adrenal glands, and if you have an anxiety problem, part of it is in too much cortisol being emitted from the adrenal gland at inappropriate times.  If it were me, I'd probably take it several hours apart from your medication and apart from a meal to avoid conflicting with them, but before I did that I'd try to learn if the two go together.  Remember, many people get a side effect from taking antidepressants of getting anxious because while some are sedating to most people, others are stimulating to most people, and some people get odd reactions.  5-HTP can have side effects -- anything can, including food.  That's just life.  I'd want to know as much as I was able to learn first, though I'm suspecting nobody really knows the answer.  But again, if it were me and I decided to try it given I was taking meds, I would take it apart from the meal and apart from the med -- easy to do with 5-HTP as you only need to take it once a day.
By the way, they probably recommended it with a meal because another problem with antidepressants is they cause digestive problems.  Remember, most of your serotonin is in your digestive system.  Taking it with a meal would reduce that problem, but also reduce it's absorption.  It's not that it can't be absorbed with food, obviously the natural way to get tryptophan is by eating it, it's just less well absorbed at that time.  It's an odd thing with amino acids -- they're all gotten from food but when supplementing they seem to work best if taken apart from a meal.  So you try to do it that way, but if you have to use it and it makes you get a stomach ache, you try it with a meal and see if it works for you that way.  If it doesn't it isn't the supplement for you.  Peace.
I doubt any medication will help you without therapy because the problem still exists. You said you are a hypochondriac on the hiv forum and wouldn't accept any of the advice there, so you would be better off seeing a professional therapist rather than continuing to be a hypochondriac while trying to take a drug to try to mask the problem.
Only one caveat, 5-HTP isn't a drug.  It's not medication.  There are rare cases, and they are very rare, where someone really doesn't make serotonin efficiently.   The treatment for that would be taking 5-HTP.  I'd also question whether your average hypochondriac has a mental disorder -- depends on how bad the problem is.  If it's just uncomfortable and doesn't make life really really hard, well, we all have something odd about us.  It's only when it rises to an anxiety disorder that it needs treatment.  That being said, not sure any of this applies to the person posting, just trying to be clear for anyone who is reading this -- anyone reading this?
He claims to be a hypochondriac. He also said, "Guys, I'm literally crying right now." He can't accept the science that he has been advised proves he doesn't have HIV. He thinks he can drink some tea or tablets and the problems will go away.
You are questioning if he should see a therapist?
As I said, Anxious, my post wasn't about this poster, it was about you calling 5-HTP a drug.  
My question referred to this. "If it's just uncomfortable and doesn't make life really really hard, well, we all have something "
He said  "Guys, I'm literally crying right now." which is not something we all have ( after it has been explained to him that he didn't have a risk), so he needs to explore therapy.
I don't hang out on the HIV forum, Anxious, only know what I read here.  But here's what I meant -- I'm too scared to ride a roller coaster.  I'm too scared to sky dive.  Not for me.  Doesn't make me ill.  If a person is a hypochondriac but that's the only thing in life that gets them down, acceptance might be the best thing rather than years of therapy and medication.  If the condition is causing great distress and avoidance, then therapy is a good idea, and medication might be a good idea as well is it's so bad as to cause a person to avoid seeing doctors when they need help.  It's all levels of distress, as again, every human has problems but not every human has a mental disorder.  Therapy is a fine idea, never said it wasn't.  Might need more.  Might not.  I can't know, I'm not there, I'm here.
973741 tn?1342342773
I'm glad you got some help here.  It sounds like you are on a path to mental wellness.  
Helpful - 0
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