‘If I take too much 5 HTP will it deplete my Dopamine levels?’

Key Enzyme: aromatic amino acid decarboxylase

Long Version:
Should I Take L-Tyrosine and 5-HTP Together? (Serotonin and Dopamine Balance?)

The Benefits of 5-HTP

The Benefits of SAMe?

Are you questioning whether you need to take L-Tyrosine and 5-htp together? Some people are saying that if you take 5 HTP for depression, that you’ll make your symptoms worse if you don’t take 5-HTP and L-Tyrosine together.

Both 5-HTP and L-tyrosine work in the brain in ways that may enhance established treatments for certain brain-based conditions. L-tyrosine is a main ingredient of dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine, and 5-HTP triggers increased serotonin production. Serotonin is one of the main chemicals that produce feelings of happiness and well-being in the brain, and also helps regulate the appetite and control moods and sleep patterns. Dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine are chemicals called catecholamines that are responsible for the fight-or-flight response triggered by immediate danger or central nervous system stimulation. Low catecholamine levels have been linked to depression.

As encouraging as the partnership between these two chemicals may seem at this point, they come with some risk. L-tyrosine can trigger migraines and increase thyroid hormone production, and may increase the risk of blood-pressure-related complications in people taking MAOIs. At this time, people taking MAOIs or L-dopa refrain from taking L-tyrosine. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should not take 5-HTP, which can also cause seizures in those with Down syndrome. Typical 5-HTP side effects include drowsiness, heartburn, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting. The supplement should not be taken with MAOIs or other depression medication, or any medication that affects serotonin levels. It may also interact with St. John’s Wort, SAMe, and L-tryptophan.

Mucuna Pruriens is an extract of the velvet bean plant that grows 3 – 18 meters in height. L-DOPA (levodopa) is usually synthetic and made in the lab.

The natural version of L-DOPA from Mucuna Pruriens is generally well-tolerated by most people. And the compounds in the plant are bio-identical to those chemicals naturally made in your body. Not so with synthetic L-DOPA.

Synthetic L-DOPA is metabolized into dopamine in your body by an enzyme called aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase (AADC). And the majority of synthetic L-DOPA will be converted peripherally (not in the central nervous system and brain). This can cause problems.

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Dr. Jawad is a board certified chiropractic neurologist and acupuncturist. He also is a diplomat for the American Chiropractic Neurology Board, Fellow of the American College of Functional Neurology as well as Fellow of the International Academy of Medical Acupuncture. He is a Certified Functional Medicine Practitioner.

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