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5-HTP for Anxiousness

anxiety Jul 18, 2019
by Henry Emmons, MD

[adapted from The Chemistry of Calm]

ps: Be sure to read Part 1 of this series! 

pps: some of these natural therapies are not ideal for all types of anxiety. Take the Resilience Quiz to learn your Resilience Type and tailor your approach.

 

5-HTP Benefits | 5-HTP and Anxiety

5-HTP is the best studied of the “precursor strategies.” That's a strategy where you try to increase production of a neurotransmitter by adding more of the raw materials. 5-HTP is similar to tryptophan (the amino acid that gets converted into serotonin)—5-HTP is the intermediate step in that process. Both are effective ways to boost serotonin levels, but tryptophan is more sedating so I usually reserve that for sleep problems. 5-HTP can also help sleep, but may be used during the daytime as well because it is not usually sedating. Considerable research has shown that 5-HTP can reduce anxiety, both general and panic, as well as improve mood.12

5-HTP Supplements**

It's often more economical, and generally more effective, to get a product that combines several of these ingredients into a single capsule or powder. We often recommend a combination product like Relaxed Mood rather than piecing things together one nutrient at a time.

 

 

NeuroCalm Capsules

NeuroCalm™ is designed to promote activity of GABA and serotonin, which may help support healthy mood, cravings, and feelings of calm, satiety, and satisfaction.* NeuroCalm™ contains PharmaGABA™, a form of GABA naturally manufactured via a fermentation process, which is considered more effective than chemically produced synthetic forms. Support for the production of calming neurotransmitters is also provided by L-theanine and taurine.*

 

 

CereVive

CereVive is formulated to support a positive mental outlook and a relaxed, focused state. It includes amino acid precursors and bioactive nutrients that support healthy levels of neurotransmitters such as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine. Maintaining adequate neurotransmitter production is vital for regulating mood, appetite, memory, focus, energy levels and a healthy sleep cycle.*

 

 

Cerenity PM

The synergistic ingredients in Cerenity PM, including 5-HTP, PharmaGABA®, and taurine, boost levels of the neurotransmitters and hormones that promote relaxation prior to bedtime and increase the deep, restorative stages of sleep.*

 

 

Cerenity

Cerenity is a comprehensive formula designed to address daily stress by increasing the production of the calming neurotransmitters serotonin and gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA). Cerenity also includes key ingredients that quickly increase the production of alpha brain waves resulting in a relaxed and effortless state of alertness.*

 

5-HTP Dosage & Use*

Adding 5-HTP may be helpful when mood issues are present and there are signs of serotonin deficiency. [See side effects below regarding serotonin.]

I usually recommend a starting dose of 50 mg daily, increasing every few days as tolerated. Most people do well with 100-150 mg daily, but the dose may safely go as high as 300 mg per day if needed. It is usually best to take it in 2 or 3 doses throughout the day, but if it is sedating it may all be taken at night. However, a small number of people actually have trouble sleeping from 5-HTP, and should then take it early in the day. 

5-HTP may be best absorbed if taken half an hour before meals, and that can also reduce carbohydrate craving for those who have it. But if that is a hassle or causes stomach upset, it is fine to take it with meals.

5-HTP Side Effects*

One of the primary concerns with 5-HTP is getting too much serotonin. The broad use of SSRI’s has really caused this concern and complicates the use of 5-HTP. Too much serotonin creates a condition called “serotonin syndrome,” which can be serious. Like all of the other supplements noted, do not add anything without consulting with your prescribing physician, particularly if you are already taking an SSRI.

Sedation or activation may also be experienced as noted in dosage section above.  

 

*Note: Some of the supplements discussed in this series can cause side effects, but many people tolerate them much better than prescription medications. They are generally considered safe, however, they should not be started without your doctor’s knowledge and supervision. If you are taking medication already, be sure to talk with your doctor before adding any of these items. If you are considering going off medication, remember never to stop your medication suddenly—always consult with your doctor about how to safely taper off any psychiatric medication. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.  

 

 


RELATED ARTICLE

Rebalance Cortisol

Stress is not the problem. It is unremitting stress and a constantly elevated level of cortisol that create the problems and the consequences can be severe. Read more.

 


SOURCES
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  2. Kim, A. H., et al. (2002). Blocking excitotoxicity. In Marcoux, F. W., & Choi, D. W. (Eds.), Neuroprotection (3-36). New York: Springer.
  3. Krimer, L. S., et al. (1998). Dopaminergic regulation of cerebral cortical microcirculation. Nature Neuroscience, 1, 286-289.
  4. Wichers, M., & Maes, M. (2002). The psychoneuroimmuno-pathophysiology of cytokine induced depression in humans. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 5, 375-438.
  5. Peled, R., et al. (2008). Breast cancer, psychological distress and life events among young women BMC Cancer, 8.
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  7. Darbinyan, V., et al. (2007). Clinical trial of Rhodiola Rosea L. extract SHR-5 in the treatment of mild to moderate depression. Nordic Journal of Psychiatry, 61(5), 343-348.
  8. Bystritsky, A., et al. (2008). A pilot study of Rhodiola rosea (Rhodax) for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 14(2), 175-180.
  9. Khanum, F., et al. (2005). Rhodiola rosea: A versatile adaptogen. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 4, 55-62.
  10. Lombard, J. (2006, September). Neurobiology of mood and cognition: Strategies and protocols of neurotransmitter balance. Presented at Great Lakes Conference.
  11. Kobayashi, K., et al. (1998). Effects of L-theanine on the release of alpha-brain waves in human volunteers. Journal of the Agricultural Chemical Society of Japan, 72(2), 153-157.
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  13. Grant, J., et al. (2007). N-acetyl cysteine, a glutamate-modulating agent, in the treatment of pathological gambling: A pilot study. Biological Psychiatry, 62(6), 652-657.
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