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Natural Alternatives to Anti-depressants

The base of treatment is making sure your food/fluid intake is supporting your body and brain chemicals optimally along with appropriate stress management.   If you have not yet been prescribed a pharmaceutical drug there a variety of amino acids, herbs and vitamins that can provide building blocks for making more serotonin, GABA, and other neurotransmitters (brain chemicals that affect your moods).   Some common examples of these amino acids are Taurine, L-theanine, 5 HTP, and  phosphatidyl serine.  If you are on pharmaceuticals already, you must be careful with using these alternative therapies and talk to a practitioner that is familiar with using them first.  There is also testing available (usually through urine) that can help guide your practitioner to choose the appropriate combination of amino acids and herbs to balance your specific neurotransmitter ratios.

This Post Has 9 Comments
    1. I have recommended both of these products together in certain circumstances. I typically use 5HTP much more often and rarely combine it with SJW (St. John’s Wort). There is a very small risk of promoting serotonin syndrome which can be a very serious condition. I worry about this syndrome much more when a patient is using an SSRI or some other anti-depressants/anti-anxiety medication. It is very important to speak with a medical professional about combining any medications and/or natural supplements together before doing so. I recommend you do not take these together until you discuss all vitamins, herbs, and medications you are taking with your practitioner.
      -Dr. Karli

    1. Alcohol causes a small, transient increase in serotonin. Using 5-HTP at recommended doses is not generally contraindicated with small amounts of alcohol intake. Because 5-HTP helps increase serotonin in the brain as well, there has been some speculation that 5-HTP intake can help decrease a person’s desire for alcohol.

    1. Hello Eileen. I do see children. I do not work much with infants and I generally like there to be a good working relationship with a pediatrician for younger children. If you would like to ask me more direct questions about whether I would be a good fit for the child you have in mind, please do not hesitate to call the office. Let Shawn at the front desk know your name when you call. Thank you for your interest. Happy Holidays. In health, Azure Karli, ND 541-389-9750

  1. If one is currently taking conventional antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications, what it the protocol? Is one weened from those to the treatments mentioned above?

    1. There is not one particular protocol. Methods of weening off medications differ based on the medications, the reasons for taking them, past experiences with trying to stop or reduce them, other lifestyle factors like diet/exercise/hydration/stress management, and the ability to take other forms of supplemental support. It is a good idea to always check in with the doctor prescribing the medications to get their opinion/experience with weening off the particular medications you are on, so we can all work as a team with helping you achieve your health goals.

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