Severe ME Day of Understanding and Remembrance: Aug. 8, 2017
Determined to paper the Internet with articles about ME, Jody Smith brings some additional focus to Severe Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Day of Understanding and Remembrance on Aug. 8, 2017 ...
Discuss the article on the Forums.

Tryptophan/ Melatonin/ Serotonin Side-Effect Warnings - Thoughts?

Discussion in 'Alternative Therapies' started by Jigsaw, Mar 10, 2017.

  1. Jigsaw

    Jigsaw Senior Member

    Messages:
    412
    Likes:
    412
    UK
    I found this comprehensively referenced review article earlier today, and thought it worth sharing.

    The author, Rolf Hefti, presents some disturbing opinions on tryptophan metabolism which encompass serotonin and melatonin too.

    The citations, references, and inferences all seem solid at first read, though I'd need to read each one in context to be fully convinced and rule out cherry-picking. He does seem to rely quite heavily on Ray Peat.

    Even so, and despite having had (mostly) good experiences with trypto, some of this has me concerned. In particular, melatonin production and its effects (@Mary @Learner1 ) look to be actively dangerous, which is unwelcome news if it's true.

    I'd welcome everyone's thoughts on this:

    http://www.supplements-and-health.com/tryptophan-side-effects.html


    If you have the interest, the patience and the energy to read this, I'd welcome thoughts on what follows. If not, the TL;DNR version is that I had initially spectacular results from tryptophan supplementation, over-did it, got shingles, reduced my dose, and have never replicated the positive effect it had on me since then.

    I've bolded some words in an effort to make it more readable - I appreciate that it's a long old lump of text.




    My Experience With Tryptophan and 5-HTP

    .....was spectacular! It brought me out of the worst anxiety and depression that I've ever experienced.

    I was suicidal. I couldn't eat and became medically anorexic, losing nearly 1/3 of my original bodyweight. I was mentally, physically, and emotionally paralysed by it. Every single, solitary, interminable second was torture. Every sound alarmed me. I couldn't talk, sleep, think, be, or socialise in any way. Sometimes I was so withdrawn that I couldn't even cry. Other times that was all I did. I was terrified of everything. I couldn't drive anywhere, couldn't get myself to any medical appointments without my poor partner. I was paranoid that my GP would have me sectioned.

    Anyway, that started early summer 2015 and went unrelentingly all the way through to Dec 2015, when I started adding tiny amounts of tryptophan to the 100-200mgs of 5-HTP that I'd been taking for most of that period.

    I can't take any antidepressants from any of the different families of drugs, so I've always had to rely on things like B6 and B3 that feed into the serotnin pathway, and turmeric, which feeds into the dopamine pathway, to relieve depression-jags. They weren't enough this time, so I added tryptophan.

    100mg of 5-HTP allowed me to fall asleep, and when I invariably woke up 90 minutes or so later, I'd take another 50-100mgs. I was wary of taking too much, because although I'm not on any SSRIs (no tolerance), I AM on sumatriptan (Imigran for migraine) and am aware of serotonin syndrome and the way that too many serotonin-producing products (taurine being another, which I also take) can combine to produce the exact opposite effect of lifting depression, even if they aren't enough to cause an actual serotonin storm. The last thing I needed was to make the depression worse. So I was careful.

    I started to see small chinks of light as I titrated the tryptophan, taken nightly, on an empty stomach, with no competing proteins (including other aminos), and always with the relevant co-factors - P5P taken earlier in the day, plus mag citrate and C at night.

    As I increased my dose from 100mg (1/16th tsp) to 250mg (1/8th tsp), then 500mg (1/4 tsp), the chinks of light widened and I could sometimes eat, speak and feel things normally. Sleep was hugely improved and sometimes I didn't wake up in the early hours.

    By the time I'd titrated up to 1g (1/2 tsp), I wasn't depressed or anxious anymore, my brain was firing on most cylinders again, and things were not only improved, they were much better than BEFORE the depression etc had clobbered me so hard.

    I went up to my final dose of 1,250mg of trypto, plus the 100mg 5-HTP, and I was amazed to find that I had energy, was alert and calm, had a brain like Bradley Cooper in "Limitless" and generally felt super-human. It was brilliant. I was able to do things I haven't been able to do for years. I had muscle strength. I could carry things, move furniture, do housework, clean the loo! (Yay!!) I could walk without my rollator or walking sticks. I could drink alcohol without getting an instant migraine. I did little dance routines in the front room. I was delighted. I thought I'd fixed me. I'd gone from being 5% functional to probably 95% functional, with my brain being 100%. It surprised me, tbh.

    I see now that I was taking too much for me, and was hyper-stimulated and/or producing excito-toxins, because I started to notice tgat I was swearing more, was far more impatient and irritable, had the odd flash of feeling aggression (never expressed), which isn't like me at all, and apparently didn't need much sleep. I'd still be wide-awake and raring to go at 3am, and still woke up at 6.30, 7am feeling great. I thought I must be getting some Stage 3 Deep Sleep at last, because I wasn't waking up feeling like I'd been run over, beaten up, or had run 4 marathons in my sleep.

    I also noticed that my facial skin had suddenly developed brown marks, like melasma, all over one side and not so much the other. Some of them I could scratch off, some of them I couldn't. My right cheek was the most affected. Some impact on melanin production and/or derangement, possibly. I don't know, nor does my GP, who supervised throughout.

    Then in mid-March, so about 12 weeks after starting tryptophan, I was on a rare trip visiting my parents 200 miles away (rare because 200 miles is normally no more do-able for me than travelling to the Himalayas on foot twice before lunch), when my scalp started to hurt. Initially, I thought I'd been wearing my pony-tail too tight, but it turned out to be shingles, "Or some sort of pox, anyway," as my GP said, confused as to the atypical presentation. I had shingles-type spots everywhere. Scalp, back, shoulders, chest, and abdo mostly, but one or two on my limbs and face too. Not the typical one-nerve-line and one-sided presentation at all.

    I felt that tryptophan might have suppressed my immune system, so I stopped it as soon as I'd made the connection.

    It only took a very few weeks before the depression and anxiety reared its ugly head and started waggling its soggy black tentacles at me again, so I restarted trypto at 250mg. My mood has been 90% stable ever since.

    I've never reproduced the soaring energy, strength, mood, cognitive function that I had this time last year, and was thinking about increasing my dose again. Having read this article, I'm going to have to give that some serious thought. Glycine is the only thing I'm missing from the list of protective agents against the toxic metabolites that Hefti details, so I should probably add that in.

    Obviously, I don't want to risk the cancers, eye problems, et al, that Hefti points up, but neither could I bear going back to being that paranoid, petrified, suicidal husk of myself EVER again.

    Thoughts, please :confused: :cautious::nervous:
     
    Gondwanaland likes this.
  2. Jigsaw

    Jigsaw Senior Member

    Messages:
    412
    Likes:
    412
    UK
    158 views and no comments? o_O

    No-one else here take tryptophan, then? :confused:
     
  3. Gondwanaland

    Gondwanaland Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,615
    Likes:
    3,595
    Sorry I have no answers, but perhaps I found an explanation in the text you linked to the stinging eye pain I get from eating bananas and some high-phenol/aromatic foods/spices
    ( @sb4 ?)
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2017
  4. Crux

    Crux Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,101
    Likes:
    768
    USA
    Tryptophan is an essential amino acid.

    Other amino acids tend to dominate it for absorption.

    I've taken it off and on . Now, I take 500mg. at bed time.
    When I've taken more, I've become more tired.

    I take melatonin, 1mg. an hour before bed time.

    I make very little estrogen, which may be why I seem to be low in serotonin/melatonin.

    Oh yeah, Ray Peat, et al., haters of anything estrogenic. I remember fearing it too, until I tested low in it.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4728667/
     
    debored13, keenly and Gondwanaland like this.
  5. Gondwanaland

    Gondwanaland Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,615
    Likes:
    3,595
    Me too! I think a paleo / LC diet has thrown my estrogen production to the floor. Too many aromatase inhibitors (study enclosed).
     

    Attached Files:

    Crux likes this.
  6. Gondwanaland

    Gondwanaland Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,615
    Likes:
    3,595
    My sleep greatly benefitted from increasing high Tryptophan foods. However, my body does need help to break down rings (phenol / aromatic compounds).
     
  7. Crux

    Crux Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,101
    Likes:
    768
    USA
    Just call me , 'It' :alien:

    I suspect my ovaries have been bunged with iron...don't know.
     
  8. Gondwanaland

    Gondwanaland Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,615
    Likes:
    3,595
    :eek:
     
    Crux likes this.
  9. Crux

    Crux Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,101
    Likes:
    768
    USA
    What helps for this process?
     
  10. Gondwanaland

    Gondwanaland Senior Member

    Messages:
    4,615
    Likes:
    3,595
    Anti-glycation supplement certainly removed a burden from my body while I took it.
    The probiotic mix I take seems to lower cortisol and histamine (everything ending in -ol and -ine - think hormones and neurotransmitters - seems to compound the problem) so it is an -ol and an -ine less for my body to break down... (B. infantis + B. longum).
    I will try next enzymes to breake phenol down...
     
  11. debored13

    debored13 Senior Member

    Messages:
    377
    Likes:
    175
    Vermont, school in Western MA
    i also have been imbibing the ray peat estrogen-hate.. and have sleep issues, better get tested for tryptophan. ray has some good points and he has done his research, but of course, even though estrogen may be particularly toxic when not balanced by other hormones, it is necessary
     

See more popular forum discussions.

Share This Page