How to Treat Depression Using 5-HTP

Written by kari livingston
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The neurotransmitter serotonin plays a major role in many body functions, including the regulation of mood. Many powerful prescription antidepressants work by slowing the absorption of serotonin by the brain. For many people, prescription antidepressants like Prozac or Paxil have been lifesavers, but for others, the drugs are ineffective, or slow-working. In many instances, side effects are severe enough to discourage patients from taking the prescription drugs. 5-HTP is made from the seeds of the Griffonia simplicifolia plant. Your body converts 5-HTP into serotonin, elevating mood without severe side effects.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • 50 mg 5-HTP Capsules
  • Mood Journal

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    Treating Depression Using 5-HTP

  1. 1

    Take one 50 mg 5-HTP capsule with food early in the morning. Document your mood at several points throughout the morning.

  2. 2

    Take one 50 mg 5-HTP capsule with lunch. Continue to document your moods, including any sudden mood changes. You should also document any side effects.

  3. 3

    Take one 50 mg 5-HTP capsule before bed. Eat a light snack if the capsule upsets your stomach.

  4. 4

    Continue this schedule for one week, making sure that you document your moods as well as any instances of extreme stress in your life. If you feel that you have improved on 50 mg three times daily, continue with your regimen. If your mood has lifted, but you still suffer from depression or irritability, increase your morning dosage to 100 mg of 5-HTP. You may wish to take 100 mg in the morning and in the evening and skip your midday dose. If you find yourself having difficulty coping during the day, take another 50 mg 5-HTP capsule.

  5. 5

    Document all mood changes, as well as times and amounts of 5-HTP dosage. Adjust your 5-HTP intake as needed.

Tips and warnings

  • There is no one set dosage for 5-HTP. Each person is different and it may take a few weeks to arrive at a dosage schedule that works for you.
  • If you are on prescription antidepressant therapy, do not take 5-HTP without consulting your doctor.
  • Do not attempt to self-treat depression. Work with your doctor to find the treatment that is right for you. If your doctor does not believe in natural alternatives, find a doctor who shares your convictions and beliefs.
  • Document all mood changes and side effects.
  • Some people find 5-HTP to be more effective if taken on an empty stomach.

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