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Neurotransmitter Supps

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    Anyone have thoughts on the various supplements for neurotransmitter issues? My serotonin and GABA are low, glutamate is high. Doc wants me to take various supplements.
    The first, Travacor, has some vitamins and also l-theanine and 5-htp. I think I’ve taken both before- don’t remember any major effects from them. Not sure I want to add more pills to my belly… but also I’m concerned about increasing serotonin because of Ray Peat’s work.

    Doc also wants me to take Calm CP which is supposed to help lower my nighttime cortisol. Calm CP has Banaba leaf extract (standardized to 2% corosolic acid). My cortisol at night isn’t even that high, and my cortisol throughout the day is lower than normal… so not sure how helpful this one would be.

    As an FYI, my dopamine and DOPAC are also high, and my epinephrine is low– but based on what the doc said, I don’t think the supplements are meant to target those at this time.

    Any thoughts on these particular supplements, or just messing with my neurotransmitters in general?

    • This topic was modified 10 years, 8 months ago by AnnaB.

    How exactly did he determine your serotonin and GABA levels are low? From what I understand the only way to reliably get a proper idea of your neurotransmitters is to test the cerebral-spinal fluid. It’s quite a painful process and that only gives you a picture of the levels at one instant in time. If it was a blood test I personally wouldn’t put much stock in it. If it was by a checklist, I’d put even less stock in it.

    Is this a proper doctor, a psychiatrist, a naturopath? I’ve been to many psychiatrists and the only blood tests I had, were to test for potential drug interactions and health problems that might cause depression (like hypothyroidism). To my knowledge I’ve never had any tests done for neurotransmitters. Every time I was placed on a new drug, the decision was made after a short interview. Psychiatry might be the only medical discipline where they don’t do any lab work before administering a drug. It’s all trial and error. Apparently there are no such tests. If there were I’m sure they’d use them. Those most diagnostics they do is hand you a checklist. So when someone says your serotonin levels are low it should be met with skepticism.

    I think the most important question is “Are you having any symptoms?” If you’re not, it’s probably not wise to supplement. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Who cares if your serotonin levels don’t fall within statistical averages?

    If you are experiencing symptoms, you’ll have to do what the professional psychiatrists do: throw s**t at the wall and see what sticks. It’s a crude method but if the pros can’t better it, a layperson probably can’t do better.

    I’ve had plenty of experience with serotonergic drugs and it’s been all negative but that doesn’t mean I’m going to go all Tom Cruise and insist nobody take them. Some people really swear by it. Who am I to tell them they’re wrong? You might be one of them, or you might not. There’s only one way to find out. However, it is possible you might experience adverse effects also. I guess you have to decide if your symptoms are bad enough that you want to try medication.

    I used to take Relora for lowering cortisol. Did nothing for me. I would try Eat For Heat first. For me salt is at least as effective.


    Thanks for the response. He’s an MD that practices integrative medicine. Urine sample is how we got the neurotransmitter results, and saliva sample gave the cortisol results.

    It’s not for mood issues, just for fatigue (and immune issues probably related to the fatigue). I’m not exactly sure why increasing my serotonin and GABA will give me more energy.

    I’m all about the eat for heat, but I’m not seeing any relief of my symptoms with it. I definitely would not supplement if I didn’t have symptoms.


    Anna, Sa230e has a valid point with regard to the testing. I have been on serotenergic drugs (SSRIs) on and off for 14 years, and desperately want to get off. I looked into the neurotransmitter testing and found that there is scant evidence to support anything other than the spinal tap method, and even that is just a snapshot in time (no way to know what your levels have been before, history of fluctuation and such). I would be wary of messing with your serotonin and GABA, as it can result in downregulation of the receptors, and create rebound problems after you discontinue the supplements. The best thing you can do, in my humble opinion of course, is exercise regularly (30 mins / day of moderate intensity cardio) and eat in accordance with Matt’s suggestions. I know it is hard to exercise when you are fatigued, but it helps regulate everything.

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