Wednesday, 5 March 2008

5-HTP and depression

Depression: Drug-Free Ways To Alleviate Depression By Boosting Levels Of The “Feel-Good” hormone - seritonin:

Often when people complain about “feeling depressed”, it means they’ve had a bad day or are feeling temporarily down. However, as a medical condition, depression is quite different.

It can leave you feeling constantly sad and empty, pessimistic about the future, unable to enjoy things that once gave you pleasure, tearful and unable to cope. It can also disturb your sleep patterns and cause marked changes in your appetite. All of these symptoms can soon fill you with despair and paralyse your ability to get on with life.

Apart from being triggered by a bereavement, redundancy or illness, the cause of depression is still unclear. One of the most probable scientific explanations is a deficiency of neurotransmitters in the brain, particularly of the “feel-good” hormone serotonin.

Normally, optimal amounts of serotonin flood your brain’s tissues and synapses (cell connections), which helps regulate your moods, feelings of well-being and many emotional responses. So, it follows that if your body produces too little you can soon start to feel low, which can eventually progress to full-blown clinical depression if left unchecked.

You should see your doctor immediately if you are severely depressed or experiencing suicidal thoughts, as you could benefit from medication. For sufferers with mild to moderate depression, natural approaches may offer a better choice to help overcome the problem, as anti-depressants can cause serious side effects.

For example, commonly prescribed SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), such as Prozac, can cause stomach upsets, indigestion, skin allergies, headaches and anxiety. More disturbingly, they’ve even been linked to increased suicidal tendencies in some people, especially among children and adolescents. To date there have been 90 legal actions brought against the pharmaceutical companies which manufacture antidepressants.

5-HTP, a mood-elevating natural supplement, can help lift you out of depression
While this remedy can help keep depression at bay, it’s important that you consult your doctor before taking as it can have side effects if mixed with other antidepressants or medication.

Numerous clinical trials have studied the efficacy of 5-HTP for treating depression. One compared it to the antidepressant drug fluvoxamine and found 5-HTP to be equally effective (Psychopathology 1991; 24:53-81). Scientists also examined research from around the world on the use of 5-HTP in treating depression and found that: “Of the 17 reviewed studies, 13 confirm that 5-HTP has true antidepressant properties” (Neuropsychobiology 1988; 20: 28-35).

The recommended dosage for 5-HTP is 50mg to 100mg taken three times a day.

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