Natural Remedies

Dealing with Depression Naturally

| Modified on Feb 11, 2022
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What Is Depression?

Depression is a mood disorder described by feelings and behaviors of negativity and sadness; an emotional state of loss that can affect our everyday actions, how we perceive ourselves, and the world around us. Feelings associated with depression are sadness, worry, emptiness, anxiety, worthlessness, guilt, and anxiety; but other symptoms of depression may include restlessness, insomnia, fatigue, or even digestion issues.

A diagnosis of depression can be ambiguous and can be used as a blanket term for feeling low or blue, or be symptomatic of other mood disorders; however, it is important to call a distinction between how we casually talk about someone being depressed and clinical depression, or major depression, as a major mood disorder as diagnosed through a psychiatrist. Diagnosis is based off of self-reported experience or from friends and family, and a clinical assessment. Common onset occurs in ages 20-30, with the incidence rate peaking between 30 and 40.

Natural Treatment for Depression

Below we have nearly a hundred different user-submitted home remedies and natural cures for dealing with depression. People have posted success stories in dealing with depression using apple cider vinegar, 5-HTP, fish oil, and even cold shower therapy. From exercise to diet, here are many options for those suffering from all kinds of depression.

Additional Pages of Interest:



10 User Reviews
5 star (8) 
1 star (1) 

Posted by Misty (Indiana, US) on 07/18/2014
0 out of 5 stars

5-HTP gives me terrible nightmares. It seems as if every night I am waking up screaming or crying, which has never happened to me even as a child. Every night for 2 weeks, I have dreamt that horrible things happened to family members, friends, and me. I also get these weird hallucinations when I am about to drift off to sleep where suddenly I see a giant spider or something on my pillow, then I'll scream and wake up. It is all but impossible to get up in the morning, even when I am done sleeping.

I started out taking 100mg before bed, then gave it a week and tried 100 in morning and 100 before bed, gave it another week and tried 100 in morning and 200 before bed, then tried 100 in morning, 100 in afternoon, 200 before bed, which I've been doing for the past 2 weeks. It does not seem to be helping my depression at all; in fact, it seems as if it has gotten worse.

Replied by Timh
2080 posts

Misty: With such horrid side effects from supplementing w/ a naturally occurring amino acid hints that there is an underlying disease issue going on. As the underlying causes are very often toxicity issues, it would probably prove fruitful to incorporate some detox or cleansing remedies found here

For immediate relief of mild depression drop the HTP and take the amino L-Tryrosine plus the herb St Johnswort. The supplement SAMe is also good for mild depression and also boost detox systems.

Replied by Misty
(Indiana, US)

I also forgot to mention that it has all but completely killed my appetite. I noticed I can't seem to eat more than 1000 calories a day. I've been trying to force myself to eat more but just feel nauseous. I previously had zero problems eating enough.

@Timh Just because it's a naturally occurring amino acid does not mean that it won't cause problems if dosed unnecessarily. Overdosing on any essential nutrient can cause harmful side effects and even death. I have done my research and found that these are all documented side effects of 5-HTP, so clearly it doesn't work for everyone.

Also, I don't believe I need to detox. I eat very clean (paleo and mostly organic), live in a rural area, and detox several times a year. I rarely ever get sick and do not have any other symptoms that indicate toxicity.

However, thank you for your recommendations. I have tried St. Johns Wort, but it doesn't work for me either. I do take some L-Tyrosine in a supplement called True Focus, but I have never tried it separately. I did see marked improvement with SAMe in the past, but I tried 5-HTP in the hopes that a less expensive alternative would work for me.

Replied by Timh
2080 posts

Misty: There are many other effective therapies for depression or other mild psychological disorders, like ---Yoga, Meditation, Healing or Harmonic Music (many healing music plus visuals on YouTube), Prayer, Affirmations. Cold ---Showers, Bathing, or Swimming is also very effective for even severe depression.

Mild Strains of Cannabis starting at low dose (where legal available) has much potential. There are other herbal blends (legal) from Nootropic experts which elevate mood. "Herbal Ecstasy Blend" or such would be a good search.

Replied by Nathan
(Troy, Michigan)

Hello Misty!

My sister likes to use graviola for various ailments including depression. Graviola leaf infusion of 1 cup 3 times a day is the recommended dosage that she follows. It has helped her a lot, it may help you also.

Replied by Gord235
(Vancouver, British Columbia)

To Misty: I have been taking 5HTP 50mg per day for three months and find that it's really effective for depression. However, if I double the dose to 100mg I do have some weird dreams so maybe try dropping your dose.

Replied by Gord235
(Vancouver, British Columbia)

Update: I just want to add that my dreams when doubling the dose to 100mg/day have been not so much weird but vivid and funny. I quite often find myself waking up laughing so that's okay. Obviously not everything affects everyone the same and 5HTP is a good example of this.

Replied by Gord235
(Vancouver, British Columbia)

CAUTION: If coming off of an SRI (saratonin reuptake inhibitor) such as paxel, do not stop the SRI suddenly (cold turkey). Instead, cut your dose in half for a week then take 1/4 dose for the second week.

5HTP can be started at any time and will not interfere with an SRI. Start with 50mg/day of 5HTP, then increase to 100mg/day if required.

Replied by Duncan W.

Hi there, Misty (lovely name, by the way),

Here's a link to remarkable renaissance lute:

and a few powerful words, and the import behind them:

It is Psalm 91 - the prayer of God's Protection. Yup, got to go look it up.

I suggest the King James Version. Read it slowly to yourself, while alone, and out loud. Go over it many times until its depth sinks into your mind.

And here is the mother of all links to alleviate so-called depression, and it is true:

All the best, Misty. You'll be better soon, you can do it.

Replied by Idot13

Did you first try worm tablets? Most of the time it can be the cause if nothing is working for you.

Posted by Neukoln (Edinburgh, Scotland, Uk) on 02/08/2013
5 out of 5 stars

I too had very good results with 5HTP. I was initially taking too much and got the anxiety that people mention. But I cut back the dose and it is so much better. I think people need to experiment with the times of the day that is best for them, and the dosage. I open the 100mg capsule and take 50mg in a tiny bit of water 30mins before breakfast - it helps get rid of the morning catatonia. I take 100mg in a tiny bit of water 30mins before dinner - it helps get rid of the comfort eating in the evening. And I take 50mg in a tiny bit of water at bedtime. I think you need to take it on an empty stomach. It seems to work better that way. But 5HTP definitely works for me - it was matter of finding the right dose and time of day to take it.

Replied by Andrew
(Cambridge, England)

also mate.. St Johns Wort. Hypericum... Amongst other things, it's earth's natural antidepressant... Raises your serotonin levels as does 5htp. but St Johns Wort is more natural.

Replied by Amy
(Los Angeles, Ca, United States)

Thank you very much for your advice! I am wondering: Do you take any other supplements to combat anxiety and depression?

Amy :)

Replied by Frank
(Lebanon, Beirut)

Other supplements for anxiety and depression include: omega 3 vitamin D, Magnesium zinc and B12

Also B6 B9 and (Vitamins A, C, E and selenium to help you get rid of the extra toxin load causing your anxiety)

Vitamins are best absorbed through food. for example omega 2 through flax seeds, zinc and b12 through liver of goat, or sheep or chicken or even cow.

  • vitamin d through sunlight or you can take pill 5000IU a day cuz its very imp
  • vitamin a: carrot juice apricots
  • vitamin c brocoli lemon guava kiwi strawberries parsley yellow bell pepper etc
  • magnesium through magnesium chloride oil rub
  • vitamin e through almonds, spinach, almond oil, hazelnuts spinach
  • selenium through brasil nuts, mustard seeds and garlic are the best sources.

These are power foods that can be used instead of supplements if used properly.

Also load up on potassium food to alkalize your body, like avocado, potatoe peels, banana, pumpkin and goji berries which are very rich in potassium and nutrients.

Replied by Alan

Take out of your diet all sugars, grains, pastas, breads, sweet fruits and you will see a great difference in your mood ....paleo diet or atkins....

Replied by Denise
52 posts

Hi Neukoln,

I'm trying your method above today. I'm writing down when I take it etc. So I got up late, but took 1/2 (100mg) capsule in maybe quarter cup of water and waiting to eat in 30 minutes. I'll save the other 50 mg for the "at bedtime" dose. Then I will do a whole dose before dinner. Geesh, that sounds like a lot as I type it, lol. Maybe I'll just skip the 100mg before dinner and see how I do with the 100mg a day but split up. Just for awhile and see.

I do feel I've turned myself into a lab-rat, but quite frankly, it seems way better than allowing conventional medicine doctors to do the same thing. In my small area of the country (US) you tell the doctor what you want, or they rattle off a list of things that might help and you pick one. I am totally serious. I know there are good and knowledgeable doctors out there, many who have studied natural medicines as well, we just don't have any I know of. And there is always the issue of a doctor accepting my insurance.

Posted by Steve (Las Vegas, Nv Nevada) on 02/07/2013
5 out of 5 stars

When I was going through extreme depression due to adrenal exhaustion I found taking 5HTP pulled me right out of the depression. I knew my serotonin was low and the 5HTP brought me back to normal levels. I started with a dosage of 50mg and gradually increased until I felt I could smile again. I beleive 5HTP is as close as you can get to the actual serotonin produced by your body.

Posted by Amy (Los Angeles, Ca, United States) on 02/07/2013

Hi All! I take 60 mg of an anti-depressant (1 capsule, twice a day (doesn't really help) and depression. I also take 2 mg of an anti-anxiety (1 tablet, twice a day) for anxiety. I am trying to get off all my Rxs. I have been reading up on 5-HTP and weaning, which I did already know about, but my question is: How do I wean when the anti-depressant comes in capsule form (30 mg/capsule). I feel like there will be no way for me to know how much I am taking if I open the capsule to get to the medication. Also, I have gone from 60 mg to 30 mg, and even that was simply awful! Any help with this weaning situation is most appreciated! Amy

Replied by Kelly
(Cambridge, Ma)

You have to wean very slowly - about 5mg's at a time with your anxiety med and about 10mg's at a time with your SSRI/anti-depressant. It's why dropping from the 60mg to 30 made you feel horrible. It's too quick a drop. The rule of thumb is, the slower the better.

Anxiety med - Instead of 2mg's, take 1.5 mg's/day for a couple of weeks by taking 1 tab as your first dose and a 1/2 tab as your second, or vice versa. After two weeks, go to 1mg - 1/2 tab am and pm for two weeks, then to 1/2mg per day for 2 weeks, etc.

SSRI/Anti-depressant - Since it's in capsule form, you could ask your MD to prescribe them in smaller doses, making it easy for you to wean down 10mgs at a time, or pick yourself up some empty capsules. You'll find them at GNC or the Vitamin Shoppe, etc. You can split your 60mg capsule into smaller doses. It's labor-intensive, but it will get the job done.

Start by opening the capsule and dividing its contents into 6 lines (eyeballing it to approx. 10 mgs in each line). Then, only put 5 of the lines into the empty capsules (25 each) so that you'll be taking a total of 50mg's per day for a couple of weeks.

After a couple of weeks, do the same - divvy up your capsules, except put only 4 of the lines into your empty capsules, then 3, 2, etc. taking each dose for a couple of weeks.

When you get to the point where you have weaned down to the final 10mg of the anti-depressant, make your last final two week dose 5mg/day and you should be good to go.

Hang in there. You'll do fine.

Replied by Amy
(Los Angeles, Ca, United States)

I had a feeling that weaning with a capsule would entail what you suggest. I just wasn't sure how to begin, so THANK YOU VERY MUCH! I shall proceed with your suggestion. By any chance, do you know how, when, and how much to start adding the supplements, like 5-htp?

Amy :)

Replied by Mrs Betty

You can empty out the capsule and divide the contents in half with a knife. It is not precisely exact but quite close. This tip was given to me by a hospital pharmacist.

Posted by She (Richmond, Virginia, United States) on 10/23/2012

I'm on Effexor for depression and anxiety. I would love to stop taking it and try something more natural. But I know from previous experience that if I forget to take it within 6 hours I start having withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal symptoms are like having a really bad bout of the flu. Can't get out of bed, have really vivid dreams, etc. What is 5 -HTP and how could I start taking that and get rid of the Effexor? Thanks for any advise!

Replied by Andreea
(Grimsby, On< Canada)

Hi, I was on effexor for about a year and decided I would stop, since it made me feel like a zombie. I did it alone, with no medical support. I started by lowering the dose. Half a dose one day, full dose tomorrow, half a dose next day and so on for about a week, then one more day added with the lower dose, on so on until I got to the minimum dose every day of the week. Then I would take it one day on, one day off and so on. The first few days with no medication were hard, I had headaches and I was a bit confused and couldn't focus, but I was determined. So, slowly, one day at a time, I stopped taking it altogether. I hope this helps.

Replied by Juliette
(Reston, Va)

Check out the book The Mood Cure by Julia Ross. Really lays out a plan for you, helps you identify what your mood type is. Very simple and easy to read. Has chapter on getting off anti depressants! Lots of information on 5htp and other amino acids... can get it used off amazon for pretty cheap. Good luck!

(fyi when I took 5htp I took it twice a day once in afternoon once at night really worked for me)

Replied by Wayout
(Motown, Ca/ Usa)

Hi She! One of the major uses of ascorbic acid is its use as a detoxifying agent. It even is used on poisonous snakebite! It nullifies toxic effects, while enhancing drug effectiveness, so less is often needed - and doctor should be consulted first to be really safe about lowering dose, or titrating off. That said, all too often they just want to put one on $omething el$e... at least that's how mine was, though I was dying right in front of him.

Be prepared for a lot of toxic withdrawl symptoms if you do it without some good detoxifying agent. It was a nightmare the way I did it, a decade ago, and it doesn't have to be that way at all. --T.

Replied by She
(Richmond, Virginia, United States)

Thank you for your reply! Are you totally off meds now? I just took myself off hormone patch and progesterone by applying Clary Sage Oil. Hopefully I can get my Dr. To lower my dosage a little at a time. I know how bad the side effects are!!

Posted by Linda (Atlanta, Ga) on 07/01/2011
5 out of 5 stars

5HTP helps me very well when I have the Blues. I take only 50mg in the morning. It works very subtle. I notice when I do not take it. I also take PS (Phosphatidylserine). It helps me get up and do my work and it helps me with procrastination. I found with 5HTP that it works better in low dosages. When people take too much they experience anxiety.

Posted by Gtijes (Allentown, Pa) on 08/24/2010

Hey, I have always struggled with depression and anxiety since I was young. However, it wasn't until my father passed away very suddenly that I started taking lorazepam & citalopram for extreme anxiety and depression. I am really not into prescriptions unless absolutely necessary. Does anyone know how to start to switch off of prescriptions onto 5-htp? I can never find any answers if it's ok to start weaning off of the prescriptions and introducing the 5-htp right away. Anything you can offer would be greatly appreciated. I really want to get off of these meds right away. Thanks!

Replied by Lily
(Brisbane, Australia)

Hi Gtijes, the best thing to do is ask your chemist/pharmacist if 5htp is safe to be taken with the meds you are on and then if it is safe you can go into one of the hundreds of forums on the internet that help you and suggest how to reduce and finally stop taking your prescription medication. You can then add in your dosage of 5htp that you think is necessary to replace your reducing meds. I hope you succeed with ease. Lily.

Replied by Anon
(Somewhere, Usa)

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE talk to either your doctor or a pharmacist before you proceed with this. I took meds for panic attacks and the side effects were the most horrible experience to go through during the weaning process. A family member went through bad experience with it too and ended up trying to end her life. These medications are dangerous and should be illegal for doctors to pass out scripts the way they do.

Replied by Anonymous

I agree. But ideally you should do this with the assistance an experienced professional who is willing to help you with the switch and is aware of your medical history. If you want to do it alone, make sure that, at the very minimum, you are very knowledgeable about the risks involved, and talk to people who have done it as well. Even so, consider the risks: this change can trigger a serious reaction, these are anti-depressants we are talking about. Any change in your existing drug regimen will result in chance for your brain chemistry. Be safe.

Replied by Brian
(Boulder, Co)
1 out of 5 stars


My caution is quite different: there is a VERY good chance your doctor will advise against 5-HTP (or any natural remedy). For many, that avenue then becomes a dead end.

I use 5-HTP now after being prescribed pharmaceuticals, and it is at least as effective. The dark secret about meds is that for many of us they don't do much in the first place, and eventually they destroy your liver (which happened to my sister, with many serious health consequences).

My advice for wearning yourself off your meds (which is what I did) is to do it VERY slowly, and introduce 5-HTP as slowly. At least 3 months, until the dosages you are taking are just tiny crumbs. This will keep your side effects down to a bare minimum. Good luck!

Posted by Denisse (Long Beach, CA, USA) on 05/07/2009
5 out of 5 stars

5-HTP for depression. This little pill did wonders for me. I had been feeling depressed for around a month due to heavy family problems. When I finally put all my symptoms together (oversleeping, hopelessness, sadness, emotionally unstable) I instantly came to this site. Cold showers did not appeal to me at all; I live in sunny CA and still get cold. I ordered the pills and thankfully they came the next day. I take one or two (depending on how I am doing) 100mg pills a day. My mood has definitely improved and I am finally returning to my normal self. They also seem to have reduced my terrible headaches. I recommend 5-HTP to all!

Replied by Ja
(Ashland City, Tn)

My first order of 5-HTP arrived yesterday, and I took it (one 100mg pill) right away. I was horribly nauseated for a few hours. Then, this morning, I took another one (with all of my other vitamins, etc. ). I have felt quite nauseated yet again. I am hoping that this is just a "beginner" symptom. I tend to experience nausea more frequently than most "normal" people. I'm just curious... Has anyone else had this type of problem?

Replied by Steve
(Las Vegas, Nevada)

If the 5htp is a capsule you way want to try emptying it under your tongue for sublingual absorbtion. That way you don't have to process it through your digestive tract and avoid the nausea. I hold the 5htp powder under my tongue for about an hour or until I feel like I have absorbed it. This way has worked well for me.

Replied by Timh
(Louisville, Usa)
2080 posts

Ja, it appears that your product may be outdated. I have always had the same symptoms as you listed with any protein or amino acid supplement that was close to one yr old (at which time they become infected with bacterial or fungal pathogens). As a safety measure, one can always take their aminos w/ vit-C to counter any germs.

Replied by Rachel
(Manchester, New Hampshire, Usa)

You want the 5HTP to create serotonin in your brain, not your gut. The nausea from 5HTP comes about when the body makes serotonin in the gut rather than the brain. When Europeans take 5HTP they take it with a decarboxylase inhibitor so this will not happen. Try taking it sublingually. I've taken 5HTP on and off for years, but lately I'm having better results with Source Naturals' brand of Tryptophan. (See their website for a comparison of 5HTP and Tryptophan. ) When you take any amino acids, like Tryptophan, do not take with any other protein... Wait 2 or 3 hours, if possible. This may also apply to 5HTP. Amino Acids compete with each other to get into the brain, so it won't be effective if taken too near protein. Take these amino acid pills with fruits or fruit juices. Also take magnesium, folate, vitamin C and especially Vitamin B6 along with the 5HTP or Tryptophan to help your brain create serotonin. See LEF. ORG, then "tryptophan" for a helpful writeup. Here's a very good article:

You can also call LEF (Life Extension Foundation) for a free consultation (tel. 800-226-2370). I got relief from depression by following the GFCF diet (Gluten Free, Casein Free = no dairy, no wheat, barley, no rye, no oats unless gluten-free oats. ) My life picked up from that diet. Lots of info online about it; also see the book THE ULTRAMIND SOLUTION by Mark Hyman, M. D. Also I got great results by learning how to increase serotonin through diet. Do see this excellent book: NATURAL PROZAC by Dr. Joel Robertson. You can start by reading the reviews on Amazon for these books.

Replied by Jc
(Boston, USA)

Rachel, You are right on. The reason eliminating irritants to the gut like gluten help is that many hormones and neurotransmitters like seratonin are manufactuered in the gut. Take good care of your digestive track by eliminating junk food and highly processed foods. Personally, I have found that Tryptophan is more effective than 5htp. Good post and thanks.

Posted by Michele (Kenn, GA) on 02/16/2009

i have some depression and am afraid to go off well butrin. what effect does taking 5htp and tyrosine have if u took it with wellbutrin? i also have a low thyroid and gain weight when i do go off wellbutrin and find it hard to get off and i exercise alot.....

Posted by Kellie (Vancouver BC, Canada) on 01/13/2008
5 out of 5 stars

Hi I found 5 htp a couple years ago on the internet , looking for some thing to help my saddness and depression, so i heard about 5 htp , well i was desprite and i took 2 100 every day , it helped me so so much , i go off it some times because the side effects for me are, it makes me get my period more ofton , mind you i think that is when i was taking 300 mg . and also it has caused me to get itchy palms of my hand ,and the back of my head . but now that iv gone down on them and taken a break for a few months , im good . but i have to go on them because it helps me so much for depression . i have just discovered the 5 htp with 200 mg L- Ter , wow as far as im concerned its a bloody mirical . it changes my hole mood . makes me very happy .but for sure one other side effect im not as hungry when im on it . and i dream more vividly . but as fare as im concerned its a wonder drug , sorry for the spelling.lets just hope the drug companys don't take them away.

Replied by Fred
(Pleasanton, California)

Could give the full spelling of what you meant by L-ter ?

EC: L-ter = L-tyrosine (??)

Replied by Betty
10 posts

I agree!! I wish people wouldn't abbreviate, so we all know what is being referred to, and for us. It's very frustrating.

Posted by Karin (Arlington) on 08/29/2005
5 out of 5 stars

5HTP has been one great discovery for me and several of my friends. We used to all take Valerian root which worked great but smelled awful. St. Johns wort wasn't bad either, but there was concerns about taking before surgeries. We've been taking 5HTP for over a year now and there is always this significant sense of calm.

Replied by Joylie
(Solana Beach, Ca)
5 out of 5 stars

I love 5-HTP. It has helped me while I've gone through some pretty tough times. I just take 50 mg. Every night. But even at that lowest dose, it has made a big difference for me. :-)

Replied by Steve
(Las Vegas, Nevada, United States)

Yes, 5HTP was a lifesaver for me. I had depression so bad that I would cry at the drop of a hat for no apparent reason. I took one 200mg NOW brand cap, opened it up and placed the powder under my tongue. I figured it would be absorbed faster this way. I was right. Within an hour I was back to myself, cracking jokes with my wife and feeling normal again. If you are low on seratonin this supplement is the ticket. I take a 5HTP whenever my body tells me too which is occasionally. I don't think it's good to be on this supplement forever as it is said to deplete dopamine levels, another important neurotransmitter. The big question is how do you know if you are low in seratonin? These are some of the telltale signs of low seratonin:

Anxiety - This can be anything from mild panic to extreme impairment and distress in a high-stress situation.

Fatigue - If you catch yourself being tired all the time regardless of the amount of sleep you get, consider caffeine a major food group and habitually experience mental fogginess, there may be something other than just being too tired.

Depression - Let's face it, everyone has times when they're just down and melancholy, it's part of life; however, if you have "the blues" consistently for extended periods of time you may be experiencing a depressed mood that may require additional intervention.

Impaired cognitive function - Can't remember where you put the car keys and have to think hard about simple math? Cognitive function is directly impacted by serotonin levels and a severe deficiency may result in mental fogginess, minor memory loss and slowed problem-solving abilities.

Low self-esteem - Habitually feeling disgusted by yourself or feeling worthless are not normal things. At times, everyone is bound to believe negative things about themselves. If this severely low self-esteem keeps up for weeks or months, other issues may be the cause.

Loss of pleasure - A marked loss of interest in hobbies previously enjoyed or a sudden lack of even a sense of satisfaction at a job well done are also symptoms of a serotonin deficiency. When the noted lack of pleasure gotten out of activities becomes nearly non-existent, it may be something beyond mere boredom.

Insomnia - Though everyone has the occasional difficulties sleeping at night due to stress or anxiety, insomnia or hyposomnia can be seriously detrimental to health if you're repeatedly not able to sleep until very late hours and only manage to get a few hours of sleep each night or have sleep that is consistently interrupted by waking and being unable to go back to sleep quickly. On the same token hypersomnia, or too much sleep, may also be a symptom of serotonin deficiency.

Poor impulse control - This may often manifest itself in obsessive-compulsive behaviors, manic spending or in addictions such as drugs or alcohol. Many severe addictions are caused or exacerbated by low levels of serotonin.

Peace, Steve

Replied by Breezee
(Raleigh, Nc, Usa)

From childhood I remember feeling depressed. I've never felt good about myself and have always thought my death would give me the peace I can't find in life. I've taken all kinds of "prescribed medications", sat through counseling sessions and 50 years later I'm still the same. No, I'm worse now because I'm so tired of feeling this way. Some medications helped for a time but the side effects are terrible and I'm tired of experimenting trying to find the right combination. I would like to have one month, just 30 days, of my life feeling happy to be here, to feel real joy about being alive. All the comments on 5-HTP made me curious. I've been down the "this will work" path many times and I'm afraid. Will you share the side effects of taking this? Could taking this make my depression even worse?

Replied by Steve
(Las Vegas, Nevada)

I don't think it will make your depression worse if you are low in serotonin. For me it 5-HTP pulled me right out of a severe depression and the difference was immediate, like night and day. I took a 200mg Now brand 5HTP cap and put about half under my tongue for sublingual absorbtion. You can look at this reference for low serotonin levels as well as other neurotransmitters.

Peace, Steve

Replied by Red
(Mohnton, Pa)

Steve, I have all of these symptoms you listed above pretty much all the time. I'm usually a happy person and only had boughts of depression every couple months but lately it's been all the time. I've had 1 good day in 2 weeks... :( I've made my very first doc appt on this in 2 weeks but am worried about starting some other kind of med that causes addiction and weird side effects when trying to get off of it. I've been taking st. Johns wort... Haven't noticed a change in mood since and have been taking it for 2 weeks so far. How does this go along with 5htp?

Replied by Jen
(Bozeman, Mt, Us)

Dear Red from Mohnton, You should be able to take both St Johns Wart and 5-HTP with no problem. They both work differently but toward the same goal. Depression is a very hard disorder to get through but it is possible and in most cases, without taking drugs. Just remember that diet and enviroment are usually a big part of what put you there in the first place. Make sure to get lots of healthy veggies and fruits and a wide variety. Depression can be caused by a nutritional imbalance. Eat fish at least 2 to 3 times a week if you can but if not then take an Omega 3. Also make sure to supplement with D3 at least 2, 000 to 5, 000 mg a day. Especially in the winter months. I take 5-HTP and I love it. When I run out I notice a huge difference in my mood and my sleeping patterns.

Replied by Maria
(Gippsland, Australia)

It is normally recommended if you take St John's Wort and 5HTP together is to take lower doses of each and not the highest doses.

Posted by Charlotte (Richboro, PA)
5 out of 5 stars

My 6 year old grandson was diagnosed with "Select Mutism" 2 years ago and rather than put him on "Prozac", my daughter did some research and learned about 5HTP and chose to try it first. He started on 50mg every night. His psychologist saw the same results with the 5HTP as children on prescribed drugs. It's been a miracle for him. I have since then also taken it since our family seems to have anxiety problems and ADD runs in the family and it has helped very much with these problems. I usually take 100mg to 200mg daily depending on my stress levels at the time. We are so grateful our little grandson did not have to take Prozac or a similar drug. I would highly recommend it as a first choice to try at least.

Replied by Alix
(Columbus, Ohio)

What is 5-HTP exactly? I have tried and am taking many natural remedies for certain aliments but have never heard of this. Is it natural and where would one purchase something like this. Any dangerous side effects anyone can report?

EC: 5-Hydroxytryptophan

5-HTP and Pyridoxal 5 Phosphate

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Tim (Perth, Western Australia) on 03/13/2009
5 out of 5 stars

I am a 46 year old male who has suffered from regular bouts of depression for most of my adult life. These depressed episodes were not usually linked to any situational cause and indeed could be very difficult to understand for my family because there was no obvious trigger or reason why I was depressed. The symptoms presented as physical as well as mental and I would suffer from joint pain, lethargy and extreme nausea and in severe bouts even cold sweats and shivering that would last for days and sometimes a week. I have tried prescription anti-depressants but the side effects were almost as bad as the ailment so I resolved to put up with the ups and downs (I only probably had episodes bad enough to take off work maybe twice a year).

About 2 years ago someone put me on to 5 Hydroxy Tryptophan or 5-HTP as a precursor to serotonin production and I decided to give it a try (the potential for weight loss was an added incentive) and I found the results somewhat hit and miss until after some research and experimentation I hit on the combination of 5-HTP (100mg) combined with Pyridoxal 5 Phosphate (15mg) (the active enzyme version of vitamin B6 and assists in the conversion of the 5-HTP to serotonin) taken first thing in the morning on an empty stomach (I avoid eating for at least half an hour). The theory from my research into taking it on an empty stomach is that this avoids the 5-htp metabolising into serotonin in the stomach before it can be absorbed into the bloodstream. Further, I have found that the active version of B6 is more effective than the common variety version (pyridoxine) because I think I struggle to metabolise the pyridoxine variety into the active enzyme and therefore have a natural B6 deficiency (probably why I don't produce enough serotonin).

I haven't had a bout of depression for over 12 months now despite the fact that I have experienced (as many others have over the past 4 months) the most stressful and extreme anxiety creating environment of my professional life.

Apart from sharing my discovery on this excellent website I have a question about Apple Cider Vinegar and my 5-HTP regimen. I have in the past week begun to experiment with the ACV and Baking Soda remedy for Acid Reflux and I have a dilemma in that the majority of posts suggest that the ACV/BS solution should be taken on an empty stomach. If I take it first thing in the morning at the same time as the 5-HTP and B6 combo will that cause the 5-HTP to metabolise into serotonin in my stomach before it gets a chance to be absorbed (My research indicates that serotonin itself can't be absorbed). Because I don't want to jeopardise the efficacy of the depression remedy, I am waiting half an hour to drink the ACV concoction which is inconvenient to say the least as it makes me nauseas and I can't eat breakfast before having to leave for work (maybe that is the weight loss trick).

Any suggestions? By the way the ACV/BS Combo seems to be working with some interesting side effects (nausea diarrhoea and gas) but it's still too early to tell.

Replied by Anna
(Perth, Australia)

Hi Tim, I wanted to ask if you've continued to see success on this treatment at all? Thanks. :)

Replied by Kay
(Houston, Tx)

Tim-You can cure your acid reflux by taking 4 oz of Aloe Vera Juice (purchased from any health food store) in the morning and before bed. It will be cured in about a month (or less). I was diagnosed with GERD - Gastroesophageal reflux disease a few years ago, did some research & came across a natural cure "Aloe Vera juice". It heals the esophageal tract. The taste is horrible, but worth it. Mix it with NON-ACIDIC juice, if you can't stand the taste. I would pour the aloe vera juice into a shot glass (lol), hold my breath, "down it" & chase it with water. After a while I got used to it. Try "LILY OF THE DESERT Stomach formula - in mint flavor". This works too! You can buy it at any health food store or order on-line. TRUST ME! It will cure it.

You have to do your part and stay away from acidic foods while you're using this remedy, so that your esophageal tract can heal properly. It's been 4 yrs and I've had no more bouts with acid reflux since. My father was recently hospitalized with GERD. I told him about this remedy, he tried it & sings its praises (this is saying a LOT considering my father is a skeptic & believes in NOTHING! ) The aloe vera cure made him a believer & he told me "I'll try any natural remedy you tell me about, from now on! " Please try this. Good luck!

Acetyl L-Carnitine

5 User Reviews
5 star (5) 

Posted by Paul (Saint Louis, Mo) on 05/19/2013
5 out of 5 stars

Acetyl L-Carnitine has changed my life as well. I have suffered from depression since I was a child, have tried every medication out there and nothing seemed to work. Also, I found out I had candida, and everything I have done to bring my GI tract back into balance has helped the depression, OCD, worry, and ADHD. I take probiotics before bed, which has made a huge difference. L-tyrosine has helped me a lot. My biggest help was finding out that I was low in stomach acid. Treating that with Betaine HCL has changed my life and enabled me to actually "absorb" vitamins and nutrients from food that I couldn't before, this has changed my life.

Replied by Emma
(Centralia, Il)
10 posts

Paul: Thank you so much for this help. This depression has been kicking my butt and I'm so tired of it. Now, thanks to you, I have new hope and will try this Acetyl L-Carnitine. I've been taking probiotics, as well. I also have fibromyalgia and just discovered that when I take Serrapeptase, it literally saves me from horrible pain all night. I couldn't do without it. I'd be in a wheelchair without that. Now I can walk again and do my work. It blocks the pain. Works immediately, no bad side effects. They say improving digestion even helps with depression. It sure does.

Acetyl L-Carnitine
Posted by Sveta (Des Plaines, IL) on 07/28/2009
5 out of 5 stars

Having been suffering from bipolar, bulimia, anxiety disorder and depression for 5 years. Tried ACETYL L-CARNITINE. Have one thing to say, it's freaking amazing! I'm surprised you don't hear about it much. It helps my anxiety better than cold showers, antidepressants, and even Xanax! I'm so happy that that i found out about it. It's like the hell I've been living in for years is over. This supplement has the strength of a prescription drug. I advise everyone who has anxiety problem to give a try. Though I need like 50 mg a day instead of 5000 the way they recommend. 5000 is too much for me to tolerate. Find your dosage. And never give up. Try every supplement for depression and anxiety out there, one by one. Some will do nothing, some will make you feel worse, but there'll be one, two, or even more that will help you and make your life a beautiful and joyful thing to have. Good luck everyone.

Replied by Sharon
(Wood Dale, Illinois)

Thank You for your ver insightfull and comments that made sense. I am trying everything I can to get out of the depression I have, as you said, and I think, one thing at a time, not everything works for everybody,, great comments....