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Best Natural Way to Boost My Serotonin Levels

serotonin anxiety mood natural

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#1 hanzsolo

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 05:41 PM


Hi all,

I tried SSRIs over the years, but always had issues when used monotherapy (Restless legs (low DA), very vivid dreams, more tired, flat feeling overall, low libido, +++)..

I am wondering what herbs or supplements would help increase my serotonin levels ??

And if I increase serotonin, will I need to supplement dopamine levels as well (to avoid the seesaw effect) ??


Any feedback or help would be much appreciated (as always)

THANKS :)

Edited for horrible font. (rwac)

Edited by rwac, 13 September 2012 - 06:27 PM.


#2 K Complex

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 06:32 PM

You could try SSREs (tianeptine), since SSRIs didn't work for you.
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#3 renfr

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 08:15 PM

Bacopa increases my serotonin levels extremely, so much that it cause extreme deep sleep.

#4 panhedonic

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Posted 27 September 2012 - 05:59 AM

Did bacopa do anything to your libido?

#5 Raza

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 10:07 AM

To do it naturally? Well, L-Tryptophan. That's what is actually in our diets, that we make serotonin out of. Adding L-Tyrosine for dopamine in the morning might help, both in making you feel better and to compensate for more serotonin - the only thing to watch out for with that is insomnia, in my experience.

Tryptophan isn't very powerful as an antidepressant, though. If you want a semi-natural one of those, try Saint John's Worth perhaps - it's a bit better balanced over multiple neurotransmitters than SSRI's, but confers many of the same benefits over long-term use. Give it a few months before reevaluating it, though - it needs about half a year to reach full effect, just like SSRIs.
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#6 Guardian4981

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 04:31 PM

The best thing for me and I have tried dozens, is Niacinimide.
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#7 panhedonic

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 09:12 PM

Guardian, how can you tell Niacinamide improved your serotonin levels?
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#8 Guardian4981

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Posted 01 October 2012 - 10:48 PM

My anxiety went way down and I felt less overwhelmed by life. Also when my serotonin is low I tend to get migraines, when my serotonin is up I do not.

I have to be careful though, too much niacinamide and it becomes very difficult for me to climax. Maybe thats a tmi, but that too in my opinion shows it boosts serotonin in that too high of serotonin can cause this issue hence why SSRIs are known for this.

I use about 250mg every other day. I take it during the day, I also think it works well in conjunction with zinc and magnesium before bed but that is anecdotal.

I have tried other things

St Johns wort- Works initially then after a couple weeks I often feel even worse then before starting it. Tends to cause my right eye to twitch.

Trytophan- Seems to be ok for helping get to sleep and relax temporarily, but does not seem to provide a more "around the clock" benefit.

Rhodiola- Similar to St Johns wort, initially gives me alot of confidence and motivation, but a week or so into it I find I get very irritable

SAMe- Feel really good the first day, seems to help self esteem, but a few days into it loses the effect, then more days into it I find I have zero energy off it.

B12- I am still trying to decide, at times it seems to cause me to feel a bit lethargic, other times it seems to give me a lift. It seems to actually work well taken before bed, enhances dreams and awake feeling more rested and energetic. Am contemplating trying the hydroxo form soon.

P-5-P- Lifts my mood, increases libido, more energy, but seems to be over stimulating, sometimes get symptoms of serotonin syndrome off of it, seems to make anxiety worse, can cause slight numbness in the extremities I only used 25 mg too.

Ashwaghanda- I have only used 500 mg at a time (some say to try higher doses) seems to give me a bit of energy but also seems to be a harsh diuretic for me, also gives me headaches at times. Does not seem to have alot of influence on my actual mood though.

Zinc- I take before bed, tends to give me a bit more energy and motivation, helps sleep.

Magnesium- Same as Zinc however one or two days a week I do not take magnesium, too much magnesium may lower dopamine levels. If your issue is more mania magnesium probably very good, if its more serotonin its still good but probably use lower dose with periodic off days.

Folic acid- Taking a standalone pill of folic acid always gives me bad general anxiety within minutes of taking it.

TMG- Did no notice much from this either way, but I only used a gram a day, I have contemplated higher dose but read it may raise cholesterol in higher dosages.

I bought into the whole meythlation theory, but my histamine levels tend to be high yet it seems supplements recommended for under meythlators either do more harm then good or nothing at all for me.

I think what is a better route is simple trial and error, I have tried many different supplements, I am now luckily at a point where I know more of what works for me and not and the amount of new ones to try is getting smaller.

Also one more point, the past week I have found royal jelly seems to give me an overall boost, "subtle" in that I just feel a bit more energy and that my brain is working a bit more sharp if that makes sense.

My current supplement regiment is the following

Astaxanathin- 4mg
Devils claw- 2 grams
Olive Leaf Extract 20%- 750mg
Acerola- 1 gram
Royal Jelly- 1 tablespoon
Niacinimide- 250mg every other day
Magnesium Malate- 1 gram on weeknights
Zinc- 30 mg every night
Astragalus- 5 grams raw powder a day
Calcium- 500 mg weekday mornings
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#9 hanzsolo

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 02:56 PM

Thanks to all for the ideas and feedback !!!

@Guardian - interesting list (thanks for taking the time to list them all along with your experiences on them), and even more interesting what you said about magnesium - because when I take mag regularly, my legs start to bother me at night (RLS) which is the same issue I had when on anti depressants (higher serotonin = lower dopamine)... SO will definitely reduce the mag...

I believe that I have raised my serotonin levels lately with omega3, bacopa, turmeric, magnesium, etc (the proof is in my legs so to speak, and my reduced anxiety)... but also want to keep my DA in check (along with all the other NTs) or I end up too tired and with RLS etc...
Such a balancing act...

Sorry to go off topic here - but any recommendations to offset the lower DA and increase it ?? Maybe from your stack ??

Thanks again

#10 Guardian4981

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 04:32 PM

hanzsolo

Hard to say for sure on the DA as I am still tweaking things out and figuring out what works and doesn't.

Anecdotally, the past week I have been using a tablespoon of royal jelly upon waking on an empty stomach, seems to give me a gentle dopamine boost throughout the day.

If I were you I would also consider dropping bacopa and omega 3. Bacopa can be a "chasing" supplement in that over time it loses effect. Omega 3 I find hampers my immune system and nasal allergies, its also pro oxidative, you could take it with something like astaxanthin. I also find when using fish oil I am more prone to getting "stuck." What I mean by this is sometimes trying different things and combos out I fall into a bad place of anxiety or mania or what not, where you can tell the "mix" or supplement is just not good for you. When on fish oil this seems to be enhanced to the point hours pass and I hope I will be ok. When not on fish oil when I reach points of concern it seems to more quickly come and go and not have to suffer as long. IT almost seems like fish oil helps retain compounds in your chemistry longer so if that chemistry is off it will last longer.

I think an area of concern with bacopa is it may have a stronger influence on gaba. While there are exceptions, I think most peoples anxiety stem from serotonin shortage not gaba. Gaba will make one feel tired and lazy where as serotonin sometimes can actually make one feel more energized and motivated.

I would double check but I believe turmeric is an MAO B inhibitor, which means it actually is not helping raise your serotonin and should be helping to raise dopamine. But if other areas of your regiment outweigh it perhaps that's why you feel dopamine shortage.

#11 hanzsolo

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 05:02 PM

Thanks, I'll give some royal jelly a try..

I have only been testing with bacopa, and have found it hit/miss so far...

As for omega 3, very interesting observation... I realized that I am mostly getting it from chia and flax seeds (not fish per say), so to my understanding, it does not convert to EPA/DHA and am not sure it would have the same issues as you mentioned above. Thoughts ??

Turmeric is MAO A to my understanding, but can also be MAO B at higher doses (I am on a relatively low dose) - although as always, I have read very mixed things on this. Some say otherwise...

Regardless, as you pointed out, I now have RLS issues to deal with. Not to mention my anxiety is back somewhat haha.

I know there are external factors and stressors that affect my mood, and of course diet /exercise /mindfulness all play a factor, but why dont things ever seem to work for very long ???

#12 Guardian4981

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Posted 03 October 2012 - 08:25 PM

hanzsolo


Your question gets into a much more broad debate in terms of scope and that is what exactly causes anxiety, depression, etc and how to "cure" them.

My belief is that its a two pronged issue. The first is nutritional/supplemental deficiencies which have opportunity. Some people may need extra b12, some people extra b12 may do more harm then good, etc.

The reason things likely do not "work" for very long is because the other prong is our phsycic makeup and thought patterns. If you have ever done meditation you may have found all kinds of thoughts from the distant past flashing before you, all of these are likely constantly having an influence on our chemistry. If people correct the nutritional/supplemental side with not enough work on the thought process side then results will likely be short lived.

Think of it like running with a 10 pound weight strapped to you, now if you eat well, take caffeine, etc you may initially get a boost and run faster, but sooner or later that weight behind you will slow you down even if everything else is perfect. That weight represents mental baggage.

#13 Anewlife

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 07:22 AM

Old thread but I think it deserves an informative response.

Sunlight, cardio and magnesium+b6 will improve serotonin levels a lot.

#14 Strelok

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 05:37 PM

As renfr mentioned early in the thread, Bacopa seems to boost serotonin. I remember reading that it can cause serotonin receptors to upregulate, which sounds like something that I could use.

Anybody know of anything else that upregulates serotonin receptors (or downregulates them so that they can be avoided)?

#15 robcypher

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 06:40 PM

5-HTP works for generating raw serotonin, but that alone isn't enough to alleviate depression most of the time (the problem is usually more complex than that; IMO serotonin supplementing of that kind should only be done if one is using drugs that deplete it, ala MDMA). I think St. John's Wort is overhyped as well (and sometimes misused alongside SSRIs as well, which can be dangerous due to their interactions). I've heard that kanna is more effective than St. John's Wort as well, although I don't know if it compares well to SSRIs in general (and like SJW, can't be used alongside any due to the potential of inflicting serotonin syndrome upon oneself). Not sure about Bacopa's effectiveness; but it should be avoided if one has thyroid issues because it can cause thyroid levels in general to be elevated, IIRC (and I don't think it's considered effective in treating hypothyroidism, despite what one would think).

Also, good luck finding any SSRE anti-depressants (tianeptine or otherwise) in North America; they've generally been frowned upon by the FDA/Health Canada due to potential abuse issues.

Edited by robcypher, 14 April 2013 - 06:51 PM.


#16 robcypher

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Posted 14 April 2013 - 06:54 PM

Thanks to all for the ideas and feedback !!!

@Guardian - interesting list (thanks for taking the time to list them all along with your experiences on them), and even more interesting what you said about magnesium - because when I take mag regularly, my legs start to bother me at night (RLS) which is the same issue I had when on anti depressants (higher serotonin = lower dopamine)... SO will definitely reduce the mag...

I believe that I have raised my serotonin levels lately with omega3, bacopa, turmeric, magnesium, etc (the proof is in my legs so to speak, and my reduced anxiety)... but also want to keep my DA in check (along with all the other NTs) or I end up too tired and with RLS etc...
Such a balancing act...

Sorry to go off topic here - but any recommendations to offset the lower DA and increase it ?? Maybe from your stack ??

Thanks again


Mirapex and certain other drugs normally used to treat Parkinson's work well for it (especially because it can make one sleepy as well, which is a good synergy if you're using it for RLS in the first place). Nausea can be a definite issue with those drugs, though.

Edited by robcypher, 14 April 2013 - 06:54 PM.


#17 moleface

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Posted 17 April 2013 - 09:32 AM

Kanna/sceletium stacked with St John's Wort is the most effective drug intervention I've found for depression, besides Paxil - which did wonders for my mood but made me ridiculously agitated and mentally numb.

I also take 5-HTP and inositol(which apparently sensitizes serotonin receptors). The 5-HTP probably isn't necessary, since providing the building blocks for serotonin isn't going to trigger any extra serotonin activity unless you're already suffering from a tryptophan deficiency or you've been taking a drug that's depleted your stores of the neurotransmitter, but in bulk form it's dirt cheap and I figure that it doesn't hurt.

I've also been on Lexapro, Zoloft, Prozac, and Remeron, and sceletium alone is just as effective for me as any of them.

Not sure about the actual safety of taking an MAOI concurrently with an SSRI like sceletium, though I personally haven't experienced any troubling symptoms whatsoever. If you try this combination, definitely keep a close watch on your blood pressure and any symptoms of serotonin syndrome.

The main problem I've had with sceletium is that it doesn't seem to be very effective when taken orally or sublingually, which leaves you with the option of either insufflating or smoking the stuff. I hate walking around with a constant runny nose, so I've decided to smoke it instead - it's a lesser of two evils sort of situation. Out of a water pipe it's not too hard on the lungs, and the relatively tiny amounts I have to smoke make it a pretty negligible carcinogen risk.

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#18 Strelok

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Posted 18 April 2013 - 01:27 AM

I also take 5-HTP and inositol(which apparently sensitizes serotonin receptors).


Hmm, that interesting. I am looking for ways to either upregulate serotonin receptors or sensitize them. Do you (or does anybody else) know of any effective (non-prescription) methods to go about this?





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