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Depression, Prozac, And Neurotransmitter Precursor Questions

Written by Wellness Club on October 7, 2009 – 1:51 pm -

Depression, Prozac, And Neurotransmitter Precursor Questions

By Nurse Mark


Neurotransmitter, neurotransmitter balance, and “what herb should I take if I’m depressed?” are common subjects for those who contact us here at The Wellness Club. Unfortunately, though it all looks like it should be fairly simple it really isn’t – the hormones that regulate and control our thoughts and moods are many, with complex inter-relations and balancing mechanisms. Too much, too little, or the wrong ratio of any one neurotransmitter (brain hormone) to another and our mood can be seriously altered or our thought processes badly deranged.

Despite the fact that our brains and the electrical and chemical circuitry that affects, guides, and regulates everything that we do is far more complex than even the largest super-computer many folks feel they have no alternative but to fiddle with these delicate balances themselves; trying this herb or that with little more to guide them than medical urban legend and suggestions from well-meaning friends: “My aunt Effie’s next door neighbor’s husband was depressed so he took St. John’s wort and that fixed him right up!”

Were it only so easy… Here is an example of the sort of questions we receive:

Kimberly writes:

I am slightly confused. I was on Prozac for a few months and it was like a miracle drug for me. I moved and don’t have a PCP, so I started taking 250 mg L-5-HTP and 500mg L-Tyrosine (after HTP didn’t seem to work). Neither the combination or HTP alone seemed to have any effect (battling severe depression). Doctors in FL surprisingly aren’t up for prescribing Prozac for me again, so I just wondered if you had any suggestions or ideas. Thanks!

Prozac, and other SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) drugs can indeed seem to provide miraculous relief for depressive symptoms – for a while. Unfortunately, since they do not address the cause of the problem, a lack of the “feel-good” neurotransmitter serotonin (or other neurotransmitters), and because they actually cause further depletion of serotonin and launch many people into a miserable spiral of depression, drugs, returned depression, more drugs, worse depression, stronger drugs, and so on. While this is great for the drug companies, it is a terrible existence for the poor victim who is left to wonder if they will ever be normal and happy again.

To answer Kimberly’s question – yes, Prozac undoubtedly did offer great relief for those few months. This is good news as it gives you some very strong clues to how you might find more permanent, non-drug relief. It is also good news that no one seems willing to prescribe this drug for you again since this means that you will not be further depleting what must be a limited supply of neurotransmitters. While L-5-HTP and L-Tyrosine  are indeed neurotransmitter precursors that the body may use to rebuild it’s supply of neurotransmitters it is difficult to say if these are the right precursors for someone without knowing more about their Neurotransmitter status and balance – this can only be accurately determined by Neurotransmitter testing. Using this information a skilled and experienced practitioner can make effective recommendations and provide prompt and welcome relief.

Here is my suggestion Kimberly: Please read through our information about restoring neurotransmitters. When you have read through all of this information you will probably know more about neurotransmitters and how conventional “head-meds” and how natural neurotransmitter precursor supplements work than many conventional doctors! You will certainly be in a much better position to knowledgeably decide what is best for you.

Then, for more concrete suggestions with which you can develop your own protocol for overcoming your depression please see our page discussing Mental Health and then our page discussing Depression specifically.

If you still have questions or need more specific guidance, consider a Brief Telephone Consultation with Dr. Myatt – the 15 minutes you’ll spend with Dr. Myatt could well be life-changing, and certainly the best money you’ve ever spent!

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