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.