Inositol powder is one of those supplements you never really hear about.
It is technically not a vitamin but is considered a member of the B vitamin family.
It can be great for anxiety, OCD and insomnia.
Inositol is involved with serotonin pathways which is why some people with depression can benefit from it.
There are many different versions of inositol to choose from and most of them are relatively cheap.
I’ll go over the different variations, what you can expect, and how to take it.
Inositol is sometimes referred to as vitamin B8. In reality, it is a carbohydrate that the body produces from glucose.
Inositol’s main job is to break down fats, help with cholesterol, and assist the liver in it’s job to prevent fatty acids from building up and causing havoc. It is present in your entire body. Neurotransmitters in your brain need inositol to be able to fire properly. If you aren’t producing enough inositol on your own, you’re going to feel an impact on your mood and cognition.
Most people consume around 500 to 1,000 mg of inositol per day on their own. You won’t ever see it on a nutritional label, but it is found in foods such as rice, nuts, legumes, meat, and citrus fruits.
Both choline and inositol are regarded as members of the B vitamin family. Many people believe that taking choline and inositol together provides a synergistic effect. Most people who take choline-inositol are interested in nootropics, which are chemicals intended to enhance your mental abilities. People use nootropics for focus, motivation, learning, memory, etc. Nootropics are often called “smart drugs.”
Choline is necessary for your brain and body to function properly. If you run out of choline, your liver isn’t going to work. It is the precursor to acetylcholine, which affects your ability to learn and remember things.
As you can see, inositol and choline both play a similar role in the liver and your cells. Taking both together can help with fatty acids and with the production of choline so that it can be used to create acetylcholine, increasing your cognitive ability.
For depression and anxiety, regular inositol should do the trick, and the only people I have encountered (so far) using the choline-inositol combination are people interested in smart drugs and enhancing their cognitive focus. You can get choline-inositol in a supplement.
Sometimes shortened to DCI, d-chiro-inositol is referred to as “inositol” but it is questionable as to how closely related they are (kind of like inositol and b vitamins, inositol is a grey area type of guy).
It is known to be important with insulin signal transduction.
D-Chiro-Inositol is primarily used to help with diabetes and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and isn’t closely related to anxiety or depression. It comes in a supplement form as well.
Inositol hexanicotinate (also known as inositol hexaniacinate or inositol nicotinate) is inositol and niacin combined together to eliminate the “flush” that comes when people take niacin. It’s purpose is for people to enjoy the benefits of niacin without having to worry about the side effect of becoming redder than an apple and itching all over.
Inositol hexaphosphate is also known as IP6, myo-inositol hexaphosphate, or phytic acid. As you can see, it appears that the people that named the various forms of inositol are still a bit confused as to all the forms and what inositol actually is.
Anyways, inositol hexaphosphate has been shown to be effective in cancer prevention. When combined with inositol, it has a synergistic effect against a variety of cancer types.
Alright, now that you know the different versions of chemical compounds with the word “inositol” in them, we can talk about plain old boring inositol with nothing else added and attached to it.
Other than the generic benefit of providing an essential nutrient that your whole body and your liver needs, inositol has a big role with mood.
This is because inositol plays a role in the levels of serotonin in your brain. I know everyone reading this knows the effects of serotonin on your brain, whether it’s from taking an antidepressant or doing a quick search on Google.
Taking inositol can have a calming effect due to these effects on serotonin. It has been used and clinically researched for the treatment of panic attacks, ADHD, and depression.
Inositol for Anxiety and Depression
When most people think about fixing anxiety and depression by fixing serotonin levels, they first think of using an SSRI or antidepressant like Celexa or Zoloft. When those things fail, they learn that l-tryptophan and 5-htp can be a natural way to give your brain the natural building blocks that it needs to create more serotonin on its own.
Inositol is one of those things that doesn’t get too much attention but can be just as effective. It is generally safe to take with medications, unlike amino acids which need some more planning before using with antidepressants.
Inositol would be a good idea if you tend to experience things like anxiety and OCD with your depression symptoms.
For people that want to use inositol for general health benefits, 500mg taken twice a day is enough.
The best dosage for most people with insomnia is to take 2 grams of inositol powder in water before bed.
People suffering from OCD or bad anxiety will need to take much more. In some studies, people with OCD had significant improvement from taking 18 grams of an inositol supplement throughout the day and 12 grams of inositol powder was shown to be effective in treating panic disorder.
I had taken inositol in the past to help with anxiety but nothing with any regularity. I don’t really tend towards OCD and the other supplements had a bigger impact for me.
However, one thing that I have struggled with is not being able to sleep because my body is in the “fight-or-flight” mode. I can generally handle the anxiety I experience in the day but when it affects my sleep, that’s when things get bad.
I went and got some inositol powder here and did an experiment by taking a good spoonful before bed. I ate a spoonful of cashew butter and drank my inositol before going to sleep.
The thing with me is I will never just fall asleep randomly. You know the people that can be sitting there mid-conversation and accidentally fall asleep? Or they can turn on the TV and know that eventually their body will produce a tranquilizing amount of melatonin to knock them out and the next thing they know they are waking up in the morning?
That isn’t me. I have to consciously close my eyes, lay back, have no distractions, and decide I am ready to go to sleep and coax myself into it.
This changed when I took the inositol powder.
Usually I’ll watch a few videos on my phone with night shift enabled while I’m laying in bed before I decide its getting too late to carry on my bad habit of using electronics at night. I won’t fall asleep until I set the phone down and decide it’s time.
When I took inositol, guess what happened? All a sudden 6-7 hours later, I’m waking up with my phone still in my hand, meaning that I had fallen asleep without knowing it.
As you can see in the graph (I track my sleep every night, I’ll have a post for that soon), you can see that I slept more deeply than normal.
Deep sleep is really important for physical recovery and, which with my current health issues, is really important for me. I also sometimes only sleep for 7 hours, so getting over 8 hours of sleep was great.
I also noticed that I felt almost this interesting sense of calmness the next day. I took inositol powder for three days and noticed a calmness that I don’t necessarily experience each time.
Inositol powder is one of those compounds that not too many people hear about. It doesn’t get too much attention.
It comes in a bunch of different forms, but just the regular stuff will do the trick for anxiety and depression.
It is an inexpensive and relatively risk free way to possibly help your depression, sleep, anxiety, and OCD.
You can get inositol powder here. That’s an affiliate link, so if you buy it using my link, I make about $0.03 and it helps support the site.
When CBD oil first came out, some people wrote it off as another product intended to get you high without any real benefits.
A lot of people think that marijuana is all about getting stoned.
Then, on U.S. national television, it stopped an epileptic seizure.
Now we have people saying that CBD is a miracle chemical and can help anxiety, depression, and pain.
Does it work?
Can you use CBD oil for anxiety and depression?
Well, yes, depending on if you get a high quality product.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the active cannabinoids in cannabis. It can actually account for up to 40% of the active cannabinoid content.
CBD hemp oil is made from hemp that has high amounts of CBD and low amounts of THC. THC is the cannabinoid that most people are familiar with. It is responsible for the “high” that you get if you take or smoke marijuana.
This means that CBD oil is non-psychoactive. This has allowed CBD oil to be used for a lot of medical purposes because you don’t have to worry about it affecting your mental state.
I don’t know about you, but even if something was really helpful, I wouldn’t be able to function at all if I was stoned all day and night.
CBD oil effects your body by binding to cannabinoid receptors. You have cannabinoid receptors all over your body, including your skin and digestive tract.
CBD oil can also act as a 5-HT1 receptor agonist, meaning it can help with depression and anxiety by playing in a role in the serotonin pathways.
Because CBD oil affects so many aspects of your body, including the endocannabinoid system, it can help with inflammation, mood, memory, immune system, reproduction, pain perception, sleep, and appetite.
The biggest benefits, and why it has gotten so much of the spotlight lately, is that CBD oil has helped people with rare conditions such as Dravet syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy that is hard to treat. People have gone from having multiple seizures per day to being seizure free for an entire week using CBD oil.
One strain of cannabis is called Charlotte’s Web, which has almost no THC in it, and has been used for medical purposes ever since it helped a girl named Charlotte stop having really bad seizures after trying all the other approaches.
CBD oil has clearly proven itself as a therapeutic substance to help a variety of ailments, and it can also play a role in helping anxiety and depression.
There are two primary ways to supplement with CBD oil to help with anxiety and depression. First, you can take pure CBD oil that has no THC. Secondly, you can take CBD oil with THC to get the benefits of both.
Cannabis oil, for example, has high amounts of THC whereas CBD hemp oil is legal and non-psychoactive.
Many people with anxiety and depression can’t use marijuana because of THC’s effects on their mental state. However, it has been found that THC can potentiate the beneficial effects of CBD.
I could never smoke marijuana or consume high amounts of THC because it makes me more anxious and paranoid. In fact, the only panic attack I ever had in my life was when I was younger and under a lot of stress and decided to smoke a joint when it was handed to me.
When I heard about CBD oil and how it doesn’t get you high like THC does, I gave it a try.
Benefits of CBD Oil for Anxiety and Depression
In a 2011 study, they took in 10 people with social anxiety who had never received any treatments for their disorder. They were given either a placebo or 400mg of CBD. The participants who were given CBD oil had successfully improved their anxiety symptoms compared to the placebo.
Why did this happen?
Some research suggests that since THC and CBD affect certain receptors in the amygdala, a part of the brain that engages our fight-or-flight response, taking CBD can make that region of your brain less excitable. This means that the CBD oil can dampen your response to stress and anxiety.
A lot of people with PTSD are also finding tremendous relief by using CBD to help ease their symptoms. It has allowed them to go about their day and get stuff done without any side effects of laziness that can sometimes happen with THC.
CBD oil can inhibit hepatic drug metabolism and activity of some liver enzymes, such as cytochrome P450.
One side effect from taking CBD oil can be having a “dry mouth”, which if you have ever smoked marijuana, you know what this feels like.
At the current moment, it is unclear as to whether or not it positively or negatively affects people with Parkinson’s disease.
However, most studies conducted on CBD oil have shown little to no side effects. This specific review shows that controlled use is safe and non-toxic for humans.
I didn’t experience any side effects when I experimented with CBD oil that had no THC in it.
Here is where CBD oil can get tricky. When I began my journey into supplementing with CBD to see its potential, I ran into a lot of companies where I had no idea what I was getting.
The quality matters, as it would be easy to market something as CBD oil when it has very little CBD in it at all.
Some of the products I tried I felt nothing at all even at high doses, others had weird ingredients, and it wasn’t until I started experimenting with prescription CBD and high quality brands that I started to see benefits from it.
I noticed a slight decrease in anxiety and it helped to ease some of my digestive symptoms. When I took a large amount of the tincture as an experiment it had a significant calming effect.
CBD Tincture, CBD Capsules, & CBD Vape
I tried a tincture, capsules, spray, and a vape. Each of which were different brands.
Depending on how often you want to take it, capsules were by far the easiest method and also the most expensive. With capsules you know exactly how much you are getting each time and it is easy to carry with you if you want to keep dosing throughout the day every few hours or so.
The tincture you would have to carry around and depending on the quality of the cap, it could leak out into your pocket. The tincture would be harder to dose with throughout the day and the dosing wouldn’t be as accurate.
The spray was very easy to use and would be a bit easier to carry around than a tincture, but could still pose problems if you kept it in your pocket because you could accidentally spray some inside your pants.
The vape would be very easy to carry around, but I don’t really enjoy having to inhale something, as it reminds me of when I had a problem with drugs back in the day. You’d also have to use it more often. This could be a great method for you, however, the brand I used was probably low quality and I have no idea if using a better brand would change my opinion on using a vape.
CBD versus CBD Combined with THC
THC and CBD have a synergistic effect, meaning that they both enhance each other’s beneficial properties. Many people believe that it is optimal to take both at the same time.
I am in a state where medical marijuana is legal. I called up a doctor and received my prescription really easily. I used the network that they recommended and got both a spray with very low THC in it and a spray with a slightly higher concentration of THC.
I was told to take two sprays of the low THC concentration every 4 hours throughout the day and then two sprays of the higher THC concentration after dinner and at night as needed to help with sleep.
I noticed after a few days that the higher concentration of THC was actually making my sleep worse and I started to have weird nightmares. I started to lose some motivation and overall didn’t like the feeling at all, so I stopped taking it.
Again, with all things, each person will react differently so you will have to know yourself well and maybe experiment with a few different concentrations to know what is right for you. My friend used an equal ratio of CBD to THC and after just a week, his blood pressure was down, his bowel movements were much more regular, and it helped with his lactose intolerance.
Of all the different brands and products that I tried, the best (and most expensive) was the one that came from the Statewide Collective in California. With them you an get the exact ratio you want, they only have good ingredients, and it delivers right to your door. The best option will most likely be to get CBD oil that comes from medically grown cannabis plants and a controlled process.
The second best option was Elixinol. They also only use good ingredients, have actually had their products tested so you know what you are getting, and I felt beneficial effects from it. Their farmers are 4th generation hemp farmers in Europe.
The rest I got varying results from. The random tinctures I bought at local head shops had unknown effects. It would be hard to know what you are getting if you just drive down and buy the first brand you see.
I wouldn’t particularly recommend ordering from Organabus, as I didn’t feel anything from their vape product and didn’t have any results with anything else on their site. Their site was also a bit confusing and I was unsure of what I was ordering. However, their customer support was great over email.
The others had some interesting ingredients and although not particularly harmful, I like to take only the purest and highest quality ingredients. If you are already purchasing something for its beneficial effects, why waste your money by trying to buy a cheaper product when it doesn’t work for the thing you are trying to do in the first place?
Where to Buy CBD Oil and How To Get a Prescription
If you are looking to take CBD oil with THC to combine both of their beneficial effects or you want the highest quality you can get, if you live in an area where it is legal you can either just buy it from local vendors or get a prescription very easily.
I made a costly mistake of going to a “doctor” that my friend swore by who would prescribe me the “right concoctions” for what I needed. In the end, I wasted $300 for someone to not even listen to my health problems and just assure me that I needed marijuana and gave me a prescription.
If you live in an area where you can get a prescription, it is much faster and more cost effective to get on Skype with a doctor for 10 minutes and get your prescription within the hour. One such place is Hello MD but I’ve heard of others that are extremely easy. My friend got on Skype and got his prescription in 45 minutes and I think only paid $40.
In the state of California, once you have your prescription you can order the best products from the places that you need a prescription. One that I used is www.statewidecollective.org.
If you don’t live in a place where you can get a prescription (or even if you can get a prescription), Elixinol was the best brand that I found that anyone can order from and be able to benefit from CBD oil. They offer capsules, sprays, etc.
You can enter the coupon code 10off422 on Elixinol’s checkout page to get 10% off or you can order at already discounted prices here.
CBD oil is virtually a risk free way to potentially help you with health problems like digestive issues and things such as anxiety and depression. If you suffer from insomnia, anxiety, or stress I would order some CBD oil and see if it works for you.
The main thing you want to look out for is making sure you are using a high quality brand as there is a lot of spam out there in the CBD oil marketplace.
The best CBD oil in my experience is ordering from pharmacies where you need a prescription or through a high quality brand like Elixinol.
It always amazes me how complex depression is.
It also always amazes me when someone simply has one vitamin deficiency and once that is fixed, all symptoms go away.
Depression is tricky yet simple. On the one hand, it can be hard to figure out what the root cause of your own depression is.
It also is especially hard when you’re already depressed in the first place and have a foggy head, no energy, feel faint, and trying to figure out how to cure yourself all at the same time.
On the other hand, with a simple diagnosis of symptoms, it can be very straightforward.
On the spectrum of amazingly simple, a B12 deficiency is quite common. When this is the case, all it can take is one supplement to fix your depression.
Read on to find out what the best b12 supplement to take is and to see a reader’s story of finding relief in 5 days.
Vitamin B 12 also goes by the name cobalamin. According to Wikipedia, it is involved in in every single cell of the human body. It affects the creation of DNA, fatty acids, and producing energy.
No plant or human alive is capable of producing Vitamin B12. It can only be produced by humans using bacteria. The reason I recommend eating lots of healthy foods, including healthy meats, is if you aren’t getting enough Vitamin B12, you are going to be depressed.
Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms
One of the most common symptoms of Vit B12 deficiency is, you guessed it, depression. Any B Vitamin deficiency will result in depression. B Vitamins are crucial to every step in creating neurotransmitters and overall mood.
If you’ve been stressed out for a long time or suffered from trauma It is likely that you are deficient in B Vitamins one way or another. Sugar also depletes B Vitamins. If you’ve been stressed and eating sugary foods to ease your pain, then B Vitamins become even more important.
Low Vitamin B12 symptoms can include or mimic:
Yes, cancer. Don’t mess around with B Vitamin deficiencies. Especially Vitamin B12.
B12 deficiency if far more common than you might think. Data from the Tufts University Framingham Offspring Study shows that 40% of people in the age range of 26 to 83 have plasma B12 levels in the lower ranges.
If any of those symptoms above sound like what you are experiencing, try supplementing with B12 for a few days to see the results.
Who Is Most Likely To Benefit From Taking A B12 Supplement?
Vitamin B12 is more complex than just simply eating the right foods. If you have any problems with your digestive system, have leaky gut or gut inflammation, drink a lot of alcohol, or take medications your ability to absorb and utilize B12 can suffer.
Even if you are eating plenty of healthy food and animal products, if your digestive system is off, you are going to have a hard time getting enough B12 to feel the best that you can.
Vegetarians and vegans are the most suspect to having a B12 deficiency. A lot of plant sources don’t contain actual B12, just B12 analogs. 80% of vegans are shown to be deficient in B12. All vegans and pretty much all vegetarians should supplement with B12.
If you truly want to know for sure whether or not you are deficient in Vitamin B12, most insurance companies will cover the cost if you go to a doctor. If not, you can order a simple test from a place like DirectLabs for around $65.
Benefits of Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is essential for healthy skin. Without it, you cannot properly renew the skin cells. Benefits of B12 also includes converting carbohydrates into energy. Experiencing severe fatigue is another sign you may be deficient in B12.
Vitamin B12 helps protect against cancer, stroke, high blood pressure and heart disease. It helps maintain a healthy digestive system.
Last but not least, it helps regulate the nervous system. Vitamin B12 benefits include preventing depression, stress, and brain shrinkage.
Sources of Vitamin B12
The top Vitamin B12 sources are shellfish, beef liver, fish, crab, tofu (although I recommend being careful eating soy), red meat, dairy (check for allergies first), cheese, and eggs. As you can see, vegans and vegetarians are at risk for not getting these foods rich in vitamin B12 in their diets.
Vitamin B12 is made in the gut. If you are eating enough healthy foods and your digestion works properly, you should be getting enough Vitamin B12. If you are taking a Vitamin B Complex on top of it all you shouldn’t have any problems.
However, you may need to take extra B12 if you find yourself with low energy, depression, anxiety, and have responded well to B Vitamins in the past. Try taking B12 especially if you are depressed and tend to stay away from eating meat, or if you are experiencing feelings of faintness or serious fatigue.
Vitamin B12 Side Effects
Severe allergic reactions can occur if your body can’t tolerate B12 supplements. This can include getting a rash, hives, having difficulty breathing, having tightness in your chest, or swelling in your mouth.
However, according to Drugs.com there are no commonly reported side effects by taking Vitamin B12.
Vitamin B12 Overdose
Symptoms of taking too much Vitamin B12 can include itchiness, improper heart functioning, giddiness, and regular headaches.
Again, this is very rare. Just be careful if you are the very rare minority that begins to feel any of those symptoms.
The best B12 supplement for absorption is sublingual B12 or taking injections.
The most common form of Vit B12 is called cyanaocobalamin. Methylcobalamin has recently been shown to be a better choice. Japanese studies show that it is better absorbed because it bypasses a few problems that can occur in the B12 absorption cycle. It also provides methyl groups to the body, which are important for overall health and mood.
Many people believe that Jarrow Formulas Methylcobalamin is the best B12 supplement on the market. It can be placed under the tongue for maximum absorption. Supplements don’t have many restrictions and regulations to ensure quality, but Jarrow Formulas is a brand I know that I can always trust.
A bottle of 60 lozenges at 5,000mcg from Jarrow Formulas is priced right around $15. On Amazon.com, it is the best seller out of all the B12 supplements
Nature’s Bounty comes in a close second place to Jarrow Formulas. The price is significantly lower. At 250 microlozenges and 2500mcg, the price is $15. Jarrow Formulas is about twice the price of Nature’s Bounty if you factor in the dosing difference.
Nature’s Bounty is sublingual also and can be placed under the tongue for absorption. It is the same cherry flavor as Jarrow Formulas.
The one thing I don’t like about Nature’s Bounty is it contains mannitol. Some people can have issues digesting this artificial sugar and others are allergic to it. Jarrow Formulas uses xylitol as a sweetener, which most people are able to handle.
My personal recommendation is to go with Jarrow Formulas unless you are really struggling financially, then Nature’s Bounty would be an option.
B12 Dosage can vary, but most people who are deficient find that 5,000 mcg is an effective dose.
Don’t take a B12 supplement too close to bedtime as Vitamin B12 can be stimulating and cause insomnia. We all know what insomnia can do to our moods.
When taking a sublingual lozenge, it is important to let the tablet dissolve as slowly as possible under the tongue. Sublingual B12 can be taken at any time. You don’t have to take it with food or not, although many people report that taking it right after a meal has positive effects.
One reader was emailing me and his symptoms indicated he may be deficient in B12 the more I talked with him. I simply told him to take the brand I recommended to you above, Jarrow Formulas Methylcobalamin, and he experienced relief in only a few days.
From not being able to work from dizziness, severe fatigue, and feeling faint, he found himself finally being able to function from taking one supplement.
With depression, it is important to go deep and find your own root cause for why your experiencing these awful symptoms of despair. People always ask me if it is possible to beat depression. My answer always is the same and can be found in the linked article.
To learn more about vitamin B supplements, amino acid supplements, antioxidant supplements, methylcobalamin b12, or the best vitamin brands, make sure to check out the supplements for depression master page.
If you want a proven depression relief system that takes what symptoms you are currently experiencing and shows you the best route and action steps to take for your own individual depression type, check out the course here.
If you simply want free, actionable daily emails that get you one step closer to finding your root cause and moving towards recovery, sign up here for the email list.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was just serotonin pills we could take and feel better?
Especially if it was natural?
And didn’t cause dependency?
If you’ve been depressed for a while, chances are you’ve heard the news about serotonin.
Depression, anxiety, insomnia, and low self-esteem are symptoms of low serotonin.
In other words – not having enough serotonin makes life miserable.
Serotonin is made by converting L-Tryptophan into 5-HTP (hydroxytryptophan) and then into 5-HT (serotonin).
Most people are able to get enough tryptophan and B vitamins in their diets to produce sufficient serotonin.
However, if you are depressed, you can jump start that process to get your brain back quicker.
Read on to learn about the uses of 5-HTP and the best brand to take.
5htp is made from griffonia simplicifolia. Seeds from this african plant are harvested in order to producue 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP). In fact, many vendors sell griffonia seed extract for the same effects of taking a 5 htp supplement.
5-HTP is well known for its quick effects when taken on an empty stomach. According to Julia Ross and her clinic, 5-HTP can raise your serotonin levels by 540%. That is compared to Prozac’s 150%-250%.
By taking a 5-htp supplement you are stepping in halfway in the process of making serotonin. 5-HTP works for around 80% of people who try it for depression. Others, like myself, tend to respond to L-Tryptophan better.
5 htp uses range from using it to combat depression and anxiety, help you sleep better at night, fix irritability, or some people get a 5 htp high by taking large amounts of it. There is also a big community of people who get high off MDMA (ecstasy) and use 5-HTP to lessen their withdrawal symptoms.
5 htp Weight Loss
I would be surprised if you haven’t heard of 5-htp before. The biggest marketing pitch for 5-htp is for weight loss.
One research study took two groups of overweight women. One group had 5 htp 200mg before each meal. The other group took a placebo before each meal. The women who took the actual 5-htp ate 1,084 fewer calories per day and felt less hungry.
Another research study found that women who took a 5-HTP supplement lost 10.3 pounds in 3 months. The placebo group only lost 2.2 pounds.
Why does this happen? You crave food when you have low serotonin. You especially crave carbs when you have low serotonin. If you are suffering from depression and find that you tend to binge on carb rich foods like candy, bread, starches, and treats then 5-HTP might be something to look into.
5 htp Insomnia
Many people use 5 htp for sleep. Your body produces melatonin from the extra serotonin left over at the end of the day. That is why, if you are like me, you find it so frustrating that when you are depressed and need sleep, you don’t sleep!
People find it bizarre that when I become sleep deprived and depressed I tend to have a harder time sleeping.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, people who took 5-htp went to sleep quicker and slept more deeply than those that were given a placebo.
5 htp Anxiety
Using 5 htp for anxiety is recommended for those people that are suffering from both depression and anxiety. Many people that suffer from social anxiety have found relief by taking 50 mg of 5-htp everyday for 3-4 days.
One user on a social anxiety forum said that he found that he increasingly talked to his family members, reconnected with old friends, and slept better after taking 5 htp for a few days.
5 htp Depression
If you are reading this site chances are you’ve been waiting to hear all about using 5 htp for depression. 5 htp effects have been described as calming, uplifting, soothing, and has an anti-depressive effect.
Like you saw earlier, there have been studies that have shown that 5-htp effectively raises serotonin more than popular antidepressants do. Not only that, but the dreaded side effects of traditional antidepressants aren’t seen with 5-htp.
Antidepressants have around a 50%-70% chance of giving someone sexual side effects and dysfunction. 5-HTP has never produced sexual dysfunction in people who have taken it.
Here’s the kicker. Antidepressants only make existing serotonin more available. They do not produce more serotonin. They also don’t increase 5HIAA which is essential for your mood.
This means that this serotonin can’t move on to perform other functions. Serotonin is used to make melatonin or 5HIAA. Many people on antidepressants have messed up sleep patterns. Not sleeping defeats the whole purpose of taking an antidepressant.
5HIAA might be just as essential to your mood and well-being as serotonin itself. There have been several court cases involving violence where the criminal was shown to have lower levels of 5HIAA. Not allowing serotonin to move on and produce 5HIAA can have bad effects long-term on your mental well-being.
The good news about using a supplement like 5-HTP is that you are producing more serotonin. Not just reusing the existing serotonin in your brain.
The best way to find out what 5 htp dose you need is to always start with a low dose. 5htp dosage can vary from person to person. You should always start out with the smallest amount you can find (typically 50mg) and move up from there.
The 5 htp dosage for depression I would recommend is start out with 1 capsule of 50 milligrams for a few days. Take the capsule on an empty stomach.
If you don’t feel any weird effects at that dose, try raising it all the way up to 200mg a day. Take 2 capsules of 50 mg each once in the afternoon meals and another 2 capsules before you go to bed.
Do this for a week, and see how it affects your mood.
After a while of taking 5htp and having it help you feel better, always try at the end of each bottle to see if you can stop taking it. A lot of the time you will have restored your serotonin naturally. You can stop taking 5htp and still feel good.
If you ever start to feel bad again, you can use 5htp to get yourself back quickly. 5 htp half life is short and acts very quickly, so you should begin to feel results almost immediately.
If you want to learn more about taking amino acids, which schedules to follow, printable guides, videos and instruction on how to tackle boosting your serotonin back up make sure to check out my course here.
Side effects of 5 htp include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. These typically occur only at very high amounts. As I mentioned before, start with the lowest dose possible for a few days to see hot it affects you. Then, and only then, move on to taking larger amounts to avoid these side effects.
5 htp Safety
If you are taking St. John’s Wort, antidepressants, or other medications, make sure to speak to a doctor before trying out 5-htp. Combining it with other herbs and drugs, or a 5 htp overdose, can possibly cause a problem called serotonin syndrome.
Serotonin syndrome can produce suicidal thoughts, depression, anxiety, and basically resemble not having enough serotonin.
5 htp Drug Interactions
The biggest drugs to be careful combining with 5htp is other antidepressants. Because of the effects both 5htp and antidepressants have on serotonin, you have to start out very small and work closely with your doctor. Many psychiatrists are now combining 5htp with antidepressant drugs safely.
5 htp Alcohol
You should be careful combining 5 htp and alcohol. Many people have reported strong reactions such as seizures, blacking out, being really drowsy, or having a bad experience.
You should allow at least 6 or so hours after taking 5 htp to drink alcohol.
However, if you want to help ease your alchohol withdrawal, 5 htp can help. A study done in 2006 showed that 5-HTP helped reduce alcohol withdrawal in rats.
5 htp and Melatonin
People who are taking melatonin might find they like taking 5 htp better. There aren’t any real harmful interactions between taking them both at the same time that we know of.
Many people that take melatonin and suffer from depression find that melatonin can make them feel worse (this is what happens to me). Also, melatonin shouldn’t be taken more than 1 or 2 weeks straight.
5-HTP raises melatonin levels by making serotonin. This extra serotonin can be used to produce more melatonin.
You can enjoy the same benefits of melatonin by taking 5HTP. You will also be getting the other benefits from increased serotonin levels that you don’t get by taking melatonin alone.
Try experimenting with one or the other to see which one affects you the best.
5 htp reviews are confusing to navigate. Searching “5htp reviews” in Google brings up nothing but random generic websites.
The biggest and most popular are NOW 5-HTP and Natrol 5-HTP.
However, in my research on supplement brands and personal experience, Jarrow Formulas 5-HTP should be your first choice.
Jarrow Formulas 5-htp Dietary Supplement
Jarrow products are known for their high quality. The only problem is that their products are usually a little more expensive. I typically take Jarrow Formulas when that is the only brand that I have used that I have felt any effects.
I take other brands if they work due to their lower cost. Jarrow B Right is an excellent product for people who need B Vitamins that absorb easier on the stomach, for example.
Jarrow Formulas reviews are typically very high. You can learn more about Jarrow vitamins at Jarrow.com.
I have tried other 5 htp pills and never really felt anything. I thought that 5-HTP simply didn’t work for me but decided to keep searching to find the best 5 htp. When I tried out Jarrow Formulas 5 htp 50 mg I felt the effects of 5htp for the first time.
The only ingredient in Jarrow Formulas 5-HTP is 5-Hydroxytryptophan.
This is the one warning I have with Jarrow Formulas 5-HTP: There are a few reviews on there that say one bottle for them worked while another bottle didn’t.
As far as everything I have tried, Jarrow Formulas products always work. I haven’t had the 5-HTP I bought from Jarrow not work for me, but I have only bought 2 bottles of the stuff.
People who have subscribed to a monthly delivery of it have said that sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. However, the vast majority of reviews appear to be positive.
The positive reviews range from “I’m finally sleeping!” to “This changed my life.”
With Jarrow Formulas 5-HTP, if you get a good bottle (which is most likely) it will work really well. There might be a small chance that you get a bad bottle, however.
A bottle of Jarrow Formulas 5-HTP 50mg 90 capsules goes for around $12.29 a bottle.
This is the 5-HTP you will see at Costco. It is one of the most popular brands that is often marketed for weight loss. It has more reviews than Jarrow Formulas 5-HTP and has sold much more.
Price comparison wise, you can get a bottle with 150 tablets of 100mg Natrol 5-HTP for $22.89. It is cheaper than Jarrow Formulas.
The Jarrow Formulas 5-HTP comes in capsules, which offers better absorption. I also prefer the 50mg version of Jarrow Formulas as mentioned in the side effects and warnings of taking too much 5-HTP above.
A few reviewers say that this brand is a little on the weak side and only slightly sedative. That is with a higher dose of 100mg (there is a Jarrow Formulas 5 htp 100 mg version, but again, I’d recommend sticking with 50mg first).
However, if these work for you, they might be a better option because of the price difference. You could simply cut the tablet in half to test it at the low dose of 50mg. I have just personally taken these and not felt much.
NOW Foods is one of my favorite supplement companies. However, for some reason, NOW Foods version of 5-HTP didn’t click with me. I might have gotten a bad bottle from them and need to try it again, but I just didn’t feel much.
NOW Foods 5-HTP is cheaper than Jarrow Formulas. You can get the NOW Foods 5-HTP 50mg 90 capsules version for $9.50 on Amazon.com.
NOW Foods 5-HTP also has more negative reviews than the other brands. It seemed to have a lot of mixed results with people finding it a lifesaver, having it only “kind of” work, and other people saying it didn’t work at all or it made their situation worse.
Basically with NOW Foods 5-HTP, your mileage may vary.
The best place to buy 5-htp is Amazon.com or iHerb.com. If you use iHerb.com, the Rewards Code GVH528 will give you $10 off. Sometimes the price on Amazon.com can be cheaper than iHerb.com and vice versa.
If you want to learn more about serotonin supplements and supplements that work for depression, make sure to check out my master page of which supplements have been proven to work.
Want a vitamin that makes you relaxed, calm, sleep better, and fixes your depression?
A vitamin that only costs $0.06 per capsule?
One that has even been shown to cure schizophrenia?
Is extremely safe, water soluble, and easy to try?
Read on to find out how to take this vitamin, what to do if “flushing” occurs, and where to buy the best niacin out there for the lowest price.
Niacin is something I wish I would have tried earlier.
Nicotinic acid, which is niacin, is a common name for vitamin B3. Getting enough B3 vitamin in your diet is necessary to break down fats, proteins, and to help process carbohydrates to use for energy.
Niacin can be confusing. There are two forms – nicotinamide (also called niacinamide) and inositol hexanicotinate.
Niacin causes flushing, whereas products labeled no flush niacin typically contain inositol hexanicotinate.
Read on to find out more about how these different forms work and which one you should take for depression.
Many people do a niacin cleanse to flush toxins out of their body. If you search Google you will find tons of people using Niacin to flush drugs out of their system before a drug test.
Supposedly, niacin opens the capillaries when you get the “flush” effect causing blood to flow closer to the surface of the skin. This causes your body to release histamines. This increase in histamines tells the body to send more blood in order to remove excess toxins.
However, there has been no documented studies showing that it will help flush out marijuana quicker for your drug test. If you’re worried about that, just ask me to send you a clean pee sample and I got you covered. Just kidding, that is illegal.
Niacin to Lower Cholesterol
One of the major niacin uses is to use niacin for cholesterol. You won’t be able to use the flush-free version. Sorry cholesterol sufferers, but you are going to have to experience the dreaded flush. Niacin can lower two types of your bad cholesterol while it increases your levels of good cholesterol. Crazy thing is, it has even been shown to increase HDL more than medications.
No-flush niacin is basically inositol hexanicotinate. It works great for energy and helping your nervous system, but hasn’t been shown to affect cholesterol levels.
If you’re looking to lower cholesterol while improving your mood, stick with the regular niacin.
Niacin Weight Loss
Among the list of niacin benefits is weight loss. Niacin slows down the production of cortisol. Cortisol is the hormone that is released in response to stress. If you have too much cortisol, your body won’t be able to burn fat. You will be storing all that food in the fat cells on your body.
Vitamin b 3 helps convert the food you eat into energy. It helps your body make L-Carnitine, which is an amino acid that helps burn fat.
Niacin and Blood Pressure
According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information Niacin B3 caused short-term lowered blood pressure. Larger studies show that prescription niacin and extended release niacin have a blood pressure lowering effect over the long-term. Many people list lowering blood pressure and bad cholesterol as the main vitamin B3 benefits. But, obviously, I had other plans in mind when I took it.
Why I became interested in niacin benefits was obviously for depression. My first experience taking a niacin pill was after buying Twinlab niacin caps off the internet.
What was weird was how relaxed I felt after I took it. I literally felt like a warm blanket was placed over me. After I took one Twinlab Niacin 500 mg capsule I had that “Everything is going to be okay” type of feeling. I liked niacin so much I wanted to create a site purely for niacin reviews.
I gave my brother some, and he loved it so much it almost looked like he was taking a drug. He took it every night for about a month. I almost thought he needed to go to Niacin Anonymous from all the flushing he was doing.
There is a lot of debate around B Vitamins and curing not just depression, but schizophrenia as well. Andrew Saul had a patient that had been hospitalized for schizophrenia and was extremely hyperactive at night, unable to sleep. Using 3,000mg of niacin and 1,000mg of Vitamin C each day, he suddenly slept 18 hours a day and was normal in a few days.
What is the deal with niacin therapy? Do we all have a niacin deficiency?
Dr. Hoffer, a leading doctor in orthomolecular therapy that uses vitamins to cure people, explains a few key points about niacin:
What I didn’t know for a long time was that flushing meant you were saturated with enough niacin. In other words, if you flush beet red from niacin, you’ve taken plenty (if not a little too much).
This is particularly interesting, because there have been a few times where I took a Twinlab Niacin B-3 capsule and literally didn’t flush at all. Now I know that that meant I needed all that niacin and it was being absorbed into my body.
You want to take just enough so that you have a slight flush. This means a little bit of pinkness visible on your skin. If you are turning beet red like you’ve been living on the sun for a few says and this lasts a half hour or longer, this means you’ve taken too much.
Niacin should be taken right after you eat a meal. If you take it on an empty stomach, a niacin flush can occur within 20 minutes. If you take it after a meal, it can appear in an hour or two. If you start to flush red, just remember that you took niacin that day!
Many people suggest taking a small dose, around 50mg to 100mg, after each meal over the course of one day. I would suggest trying to take one half of the Twinlab Niacin (b-3) 500mg 100 Capsules and see what happens. If you don’t flush at all, take a whole capsule the next time. If you flush too much, try taking it with food or even a smaller dose.
It would be wise to take niacin along with a b complex and other B Vitamins throughout the day. B Vitamins work together, and a B Complex is one of the best vitamins you can take for fixing depression. To learn more about which B Complex vitamins I recommend, check out my Supplements for Depression page.
The biggest side effect you will find taking Twinlab Niacin B-3 caps is the “flush.” Niacin flushing can be described as burning, tingling, itching all over, redness of the body, and even headaches.
Other side effects can include stomach upset, intestinal gas, and dizziness. If you experience anything like this, than you have definitely taken too much.
If the main side effect of niacin is simply the flushing, why not just the buy no flush niacin?
To flush or not to flush, that is the question. Why would someone take flushing niacin when non flush niacin forms exist?
There is nothing wrong with taking the non flush version. However, it is less effective in inducing relaxation and calming effects. It also doesn’t do much to lower cholesterol.
I have talked to people that say they took large amounts of flush free niacin and significantly reduced their depression. I have tried it myself, and personally felt nothing. With regular flushing niacin, I can definitely feel the effects.
There is also a sustained release niacin. It is often advertised as another niacin flush free product. It is supposed to not cause a flush while still keeping all the cholesterol lowering and calming effects of regular niacin. However, the flush can simply just happen hours later. This makes it harder to tell if you are properly saturated with niacin and how to adjust your dose. They can also cost a lot more (Twinlabs Niacin B3 is extremely cheap).
Twinlab niacin B-3 500mg capsules simply contain Niacin. The picture above shows the Twinlab Niacin 1000 mg version. I’d personally recommend getting the niacin 500 mg version (links below). Taking niacin 1000mg is almost guaranteed to cause a pretty intense flush.
Other ingredients are gelatin, purified water, and MCT.
Why twinlab niacin?
Twinlab vitamins are known for their high quality, pure ingredients, and amazing reviews. Their version of niacin is also some of the cheapest niacin I have ever seen in comparison to other brands such as nature made vitamins. You can currently buy Twinlab Niacin off of Amazon.com for $0.06 a capsule.
My favorite place to buy niacin supplements and niacin pills is Amazon.com. Some people like iHerb.com better because Amazon supplements can sit on the shelf for a while. I’ve never received an expired niacin vitamin bottle from Amazon.com before, but iHerb is a great vendor to choose from as well with comparable prices.
Twinlab Niacin B 3 500mg – This is the “internet bottle.” It is break resistant, ships easier, and is only $7 dollars for 120 capsules when you order it with any order over $25.
Twinlab Niacin B 3 1000mg – Same as above, except the 1000mg mega dose. Costs $11 dollars. I would recommend sticking with 500mg for first time users of niacin.
Twinlab Niacin No Flush isn’t typically reviewed very well. I would recommend going with another brand if you decide to opt for the no flush route (I would urge you to try using regular niacin!)
Life Extension No Flush Niacin 800 Mg , 100 Capsules – This goes for around $13 dollars and contains the special form of niacin (inositol hexanicotinate) that I talked about in the intro that doesn’t cause flushing.
Can taking fish oil have an almost immediate effect on your mental well-being?
Are all fish oils created equal?
Did you know that some fish oil is contaminated with toxic metals like mercury?
That some fish oil doesn’t break down in your stomach properly for digestion?
Read the article below to learn some secrets on fish oil and get the low-down on various fish oil supplements and why Carlson Labs comes out as a top brand for fish oil.
The benefits of fish oil supplements have been hammered into our heads for many years now. You may have heard advertisements about fish oil and weight loss, fish oil Vitamin D, Fish Oil Anti Inflammatory, and Fish Oil Cholesterol benefits.
But what is fish oil for?
Our brains are made up mostly of fatty acids. This fatty acid balance is delicate. When it is properly working, your brain will be firing on all cylinders.
Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio is completely messed up in most people’s diets. Most people have way too many Omega-6 fats and not enough Omega-3 fats.
Without enough Omega-3 fats, you are more prone to inflammation, your neurotransmitters won’t be produced as efficiently, your cholesterol will be higher, and your fatty acid balance will be out of whack.
Fish Oil works to prevent artery disease, namely heart disease and strokes.
Most people take fish oil liquid or fish oil pills purely for the health benefits of fish oil. If you aren’t taking it for just that, you should. However, the main reason why I started taking it (and you should too if you’re reading this site) is for depression.
According to Julia Ross in her book The Mood Cure, eating more fish and getting more omega-3 fats by taking fish oil, you can raise the amount of neurotransmitters responsible for attention and focus by 40%!
You can also feel the effects quite quickly. Many people who have serious issues with this fatty acid imbalance report that they are suddenly feeling energized for the first time in years once they start taking fish oil.
Fish Oil EPA DHA
Fish oil contains EPA and DHA. These are omega-3 fats that are best used in the brain. You want DHA and EPA if you are depressed. Flaxseed also contains omega-3 fats, but many people cannot convert those fats into DHA and EPA efficiently.
The reason is because flaxseed contains ALA, or alpha linolenic acid. This has to be converted into DHA and EPA. It has been shown that about 66% of people cannot properly break down ALA and our ability to do also declines with age. Aim to get high quality fish oil instead.
EPA and DHA act as an MAO inhibitor. This means that fish oil literally slows down the enzymes in your brain that destroy dopamin and serotonin.
If you start taking more fish oil and getting more Omega-3 fats, your brain will have more feel good neurotransmitters such as catecholamines and serotonin.
If you are suffering from depression, you should start taking around 2 grams per day of combined DHA and EPA. You can see on the label of fish oil how much DHA and EPA each serving contains. If you decide to just eat fish instead, that would be about eating a one-quarter pound of salmon.
Fish oil can also be overstimulating to many people. If you take too much fish oil and you find yourself suddenly starting to wake up at 4am with too much energy, you might need to cut back a bit.
You want to find pure fish oil so that you can avoid toxic metals such as mercury in certain fish oil brands. You also want high EPA fish oil. You can check out fish oil ratings. A 5-star rating means that the fish oil has greater than or equal to 60% concentration of EPA and DHA per gram of fish oil.
If you are depressed and correcting fatty acid imbalances, I would recommend taking a serving of fish oil at breakfast, lunch and dinner. Make the total amount for the day equal 2 grams of combined DHA and EPA.
I also like taking fish oil with vitamins that are fat soluble, such as Vitamin D, as taking those vitamins with a source of fat will increase their absorption.
For a few months you might need to take even more fish oil than that. You will know you have taken too much if a higher dose overstimulates you.
People suffering from bipolar have found relief with using fish oil alone by taking up to 9 grams per day.
Carlson Labs Very Finest Liquid Fish oil is one of the best fish oil supplements out there in my personal opinion. Many people think that Carlson Labs is the best fish oil brand due to its high quality and manufacturing standards. You can get more information on this family owned business at Carlsonlabs.com.
Julia Ross lists Carlson Labs as one her first recommendations for fish oil in her well researched book.
Many people prefer to take fish oil in capsules, but I think liquid fish oil is far superior. It absorbs better, can take a spoonful of it easily, and you know that it is fresh. Fish oil in capsule form can be hard to tell if it has gone rancid. When fish oil is in liquid form, you’re forced to notice if it’s rancid.
The only issue is you have to keep it in the fridge, which can cause problems if you want to take Carlson Fish Oil liquid while at work.
Carlson Fish Oil shows almost 500 reviews on Amazon.com.
Carlson Labs Very Finest Liquid Fish Oil by Carlson has the right concentration of EPA/DHA of 1.3g/teaspoon. This stuff also tastes good. It has extra Vitamin E in it as well. Carlson Labs Very Finest Liquid Fish Oil Lemon 500ml is usually priced right around $30. This is a price effective choice for fish oil as 500ml is quite a lot and will last you a while.
I actually like this liquid fish oil so much, I had my sister buy it for me as my Christmas present.
Carlson Fish Oil Review Consumer Labs
ConsumerLab.com is a leading provider of information for supplements. They independently test products in the health and nutrition industry.
Consumerlab.com’s suvery rated Carlson Laboratories as a #1 Fish Oil Brand on 4/30/2013. The results were based on the consumer satisfaction from over 10,000 subscribers to ConsumerLab.com.
Carlson Labs Very Finest Liquid Fish Oil Ingredients
You can see above in Carlson Labs Very Finest Liquid Fish Oil Label that there is a high amount of EPA and DHA per serving. Just one teaspoonful will get you 1,600mg of omega-3 fatty acids!
Carlson Labs Fish Oil Soy
Carlson Labs Fish oil has been tested for soy and does not contain soy. If you are allergic or have problems with soy, you are safe taking this fish oil supplement.
Carlson Labs Fish Oil Mercury
Carlson Labs Very Finest Fish Oil is regularly tested, using AOAC international protocols, for freshness, potency, and purity. It has been determined by a FDA-registerd laboratory to be fresh, fully potent, and free of detrimental levels of mercury, cadmium, lead, PCB’s, and 28 other contaminants.
You know by taking Carlson Labs Fish Oil that you aren’t harming yourself with other contaminants. Carlson labs fish oil purity is of the highest standard.
Carlson Labs Liquid Fish Oil vs Nordic Naturals Fish Oil
Nordic Natural Ultimate Omega Fish Oil has been one of the biggest fish oil supplements on the market. They are known for high quality products and get plenty of great reviews.
They are typically higher cost, as a bottle with 180 softgels costs $45.
I have never taken them myself personally, but I have heard of people getting good results with it.
According to testing done, Nordic Naturals was a clean product. It is rated 5 stars as a fish oil supplement, is soy free, GMO free, mercury free, and the price is OK.
On the other hand, it contains cholesterol, it is not enteric coated, it is not vegetarian, it is not certified Kosher, and it has a relatively low omega-3 potency. Some people have reported the taste of their other products isn’t quite as good as Carlson Labs either.
Carlson Labs Very Finest Liquid Fish Oil 16.9 vs Barleans Fish Oil
Barleans Omega Swirl Fish Oil is another popular fish oil product. It supposedly tastes amazing, is a 5-start rated fish oil supplement, has one of the highest omega-3 potencies on the market, is molecularly distilled, soy free, GMO free, mercury free, and cholesterol free.
On the other hand it is not enteric coated, is not vegetarian, is not certified Kosher, and can be more on the expensive side.
This is a good product to try if you aren’t a fan of the taste of Carlson Labs Very Finest Liquid Fish Oil for some reason and are willing to spend a little extra money for the taste and high Omega-3 potency of Barleans.
Carlson Labs Very Finest Liquid Fish Oil vs Kirkland Fish Oil
Kirkland Signature Omega-3 Fish Oil is one of the cheapest sources of fish oil you will find. A bottle of 400 softgels costs less than $14 on Amazon.com and you can find it at Costco for sometimes cheaper.
There are mixed opinions on this brand of fish oil. On the one end, Consumerlabs.com (and even Julia Ross) recommend it as a fish oil supplement. On the other end, there are many negative reviews of Kirkland Fish Oil being rancid, having gone bad, or not being potent.
According to a report by WebMD.com, two of three samples of Kirkland Signature Fish Oil Supplements had an enteric coating (used to prevent a fishy aftertaste) which did not dissolve properly.
This means that the coating might break up in the stomach rather than in the small intestine. This fish oil might not be the best for proper absorption in the body.
Many fish oil supplements passed the test (including Carlson Super Omega-3 Gems and Barlean’s Organic Oils EPA-DHA) but Kirkland Signature Fish Oil did not pass.
I recommend people buy top fish oil supplements on Amazon.com. I have seen Carlson Labs Very Finest Liquid Fish Oil in local stores and the price has usually been a lot higher than what you can get it for online. Whole foods fish oil in particular seems to cost way more than Amazon.com’s prices.
Calson Labs Fish Oil Amazon:
Other Choices of Fish Oil
For more information on other supplements that have been shown to alleviate depression, check out the master page: Supplements for Depression
Did you know that something simple like being deficient in Vitamin D can result in depression?
Getting your Vitamin D levels tested is cheap and easy?
You can take inexpensive supplements to get your Vitamin D levels in the optimal range, which affects many aspects of your well-being?
But there are supplements out there that simply don’t work.
And you should avoid them, unless you like wasting money.
I supplemented for a year with Vitamin D by taking Nutrigold Vitamin D3 5000 IU and didn’t get any results. The product had over 300 5-star reviews on Amazon.com so I thought it must be a good product.
My blood test revealed no big difference in my Vitamin D levels.
Most of the reviews for Nutrigold are fake and part of a good marketing plan. They fooled me. Not all amazon reviews can be trusted.
After talking with a doctor about high quality brands, she told me about Thorne Research Vitamin D/K2. Researching Thorne Research and seeing that the brand seemed to be of exceptional quality, I decided to put the product Thorne Research – Vitamin d (d3) liquid – 1 oz to the test.
You can buy Thorne Research Vitamin D Capsules but putting a few drops of Vitamin D liquid on your tongue is supposed to absorb better. The only problem you can experience with the liquid form is it is much harder to carry around. With other supplements, I always like to throw them in a zip-lock bag and take them with me throughout the day.
I tried carrying around the little vial of Thorne Research Vitamin D drops with me in my pocket but that didn’t really work out. Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin. It is best to take Vitamin D with food and after eating a good source of fat for maximum absorption.
Instead of taking small amounts throughout the day, I took my dose in the morning after eating breakfast and at night before going to bed after eating a handful of almonds.
I took Nutrigold Vitamin D for a year and my blood test showed that my Vitamin D levels were still in the lower range at 34 nd/mL. That is OK, but it is best to get your levels more in the range of 60-80.
After taking that for a year, I wondered why my levels were still slightly low. Did I need even more Vitamin D? I was taking 5,000 IU of Vitamin D every day!
The doctor I mentioned earlier told me that she only uses Thorne Research products. I bought a vial of liquid Vitamin D3 the next day.
After taking Thorne Research Vitamin D3 for 3 months, my Vitamin D levels went from 34 nd/mL to 66.34 nd/mL. I took basically the same dose of Thorne Research Vitamin D3 (6,000 IU) per day as I did Nutrigold Vitamin D (5,000 IU).
I took one vial of Thorne Research Vitamin D liquid (one fluid ounce) and successfully raised my Vitamin D levels from 34 nd/mL to 66.34 nd/mL in 3 months.
As of this writing I am feeling about the best I have ever felt. Getting your Vitamin D levels in the appropriate range is critical for optimal health and overcoming depression.
Let me know if you know of any other good and bad brands out there when it comes to Vitamin D. When it comes to supplements and messing with our delicate brain, quality is important. And if you haven’t yet gotten yourself tested, go do that now!
You can buy Thorne Research – Vitamin D (d3) Liquid on Amazon.com or other supplement retailers like iHerb.com.
It has now been shown in studies that combining vitamins D and K can provide better elasticity for your arteries and health when compared to people who only receive vitamin D. We also know that vitamin K2 protects against vitamin D toxicity.
I now recommend taking Thorne Research Vitamin D/K2 liquid instead of just the regular version containing only vitamin D.
Combining vitamins D with K can provide better artery elasticity and health when compared to people who only receive vitamin D.
Did you now that the average person is deficient in B Vitamins?
Many people can find relief from depression just by taking B Vitamins?
That B Vitamins are involved in making serotonin?
If you are struggling with depression this is important.
I believe that TwinLab Stress B Complex caps with Vitamin C is one of the best b complex vitamin brand out there if you don’t get the coenzymate form.
You can take B Vitamins for a few months until you are back on track. You can then put them on the shelf until you are under more stress and feel you need them again.
Stress uses up B Vitamins. One of the benefits of B Complex vitamins is people often report they get a midafternoon “lift” when they take it with lunch. Some people report they use B Complex for anxiety and it calms them down – others say taking B Vitamins gives them their energy back.
Without enough niacin, your brain will convert tryptophan into niacin instead of 5-HTP. If you don’t have enough vitamin B6, your brain won’t be able to effectively convert 5-HTP into serotonin.
A lot of people have taken a Vitamin B12 supplement and found quick relief from their depression, but it is best to take all of the B Vitamins together.
Twinlab Stress B Complex has 250 mcg of Vit B 12, 100mg of niacin, and 250 mg of pantothenic acid. This B complex with Vitamin C has 1000mg of Vitamin C per serving. The B complex dosage is two capsules.
The Twinlab Stress B Complex Caps Label also shows PABA, choline bitartrate, and inositol.
Twinlab’s manufacturing plant is in American Fork, Utah. It is a GMP registered facility. The NSF has verified that the manufacturing plant meets the stringent independent registration process guidelines. You can visit www.Twinlab.com if you are curious.
In other words, facilities registered GMP by NSF means that they have to conform to the highest verification process. This means that you are putting in high quality ingredients into your body and not getting other harmful ingredients in your supplement.
Any B complex supplement can have side effects. Although B Complex vitamins are natural supplements and healthy products they can have undesirable side effects for a small minority of individuals.
B Complex vitamins are water soluble so you don’t have to worry too much about the toxic effects of overdosing like you do with fat soluble vitamins.
Taking too much niacin can produce the “niacin flush” – a reddening and itchiness of the skin.
Sometimes taking B Complex Vitamins can upset your stomach. In that case it is better to take a coenzymate form of the vitamin B complex. An example of a Coenzyme B Complex is Jarrow Formulas B-Right.
Many people like to buy their vitamins online and Amazon is one of the top resellers of supplements. On their site, TwinLab stress b-complex 250 Caps has over 115 reviews as of this writing.
Some of the bad reviews are about Amazon in general and shipping, not the actual product itself.
My experience with TwinLab Stress B Complex Caps has been positive. By taking two of them everyday, I have noticed I feel better and I feel more effects from the amino acids that I take. That probably has to do with the fact that you need enough B Vitamins for Tryptophan to convert into serotonin. If you don’t have enough niacin, the tryptophan you take will convert into niacin instead.
Many of the top doctors and researchers suggest that people try the coenzymate form of B Vitamins for more serious cases of depression. If you think a lack of B Vitamins is a major issue, I’d suggest taking the coenzymate form. I link to Jarrow Formulas B Right above, which is an example of a B Complex in coenzymate form.
If you have had success with regular B Vitamins and don’t like the price of the B Complex supplements in coenzymate form, give TwinLab B Stress Complex caps a try.
You can check them out here: Amazon Twinlab Stress B Complex.
I wish I would have discovered L-Tryptophan much sooner. I had tried various sources when I first learned about the l-tryptophan supplement and many of them were good. When I came across the NOW Foods Brand they were slightly cheaper so I didn’t know if they would work. Choosing high quality when it comes to supplements is important, especially when you are overcoming depression. You want to know if a particular amino acid works for you or not. A bad quality supplement will mess up that trial-and-error process.
After learning more about NOW Brand supplements, reading a NOW Foods review, and seeing how some of my favorite people, like Julia Ross, were fans of NOW products, I decided to give them a try.
One of the first supplements I tried was NOW Foods L-Tryptophan.
According to NOW Foods website, they use good manufacturing practices to make sure there is no contamination in their amino acid supplements. If you are anything like me when I was first experimenting with supplements on my biology, I used to take a lot of different supplements. One of the things that I always worried about was if I was putting other things in my body that weren’t listed in the ingredients on the bottle.
With the research they do in clinical trials, adhering to standards for ingredient substitution, and their emphasis on making sure all their products are as natural as possible, NOW Foods Supplements is the perfect middle ground for quality and not spending your whole week’s paycheck on l-tryptophan supplements.
When choosing a tryptophan supplement (or any amino acid supplement) you should always start with the lowest possible dose first. When messing with your brain chemistry, it is always smart to err on taking too little than too much at first.
That’s why I will always recommend that people choose the smallest possible dose they can find and work up from there. This is for two main reasons:
The biggest benefit to taking L-Tryptophan is the effects it has on sleep. When I was suffering from insomnia, L-Tryptophan is what saved me. One of the most popular articles on this website is my article on curing insomnia. One reader even fixed his year-long Xanax addiction by using Tryptophan.
L-Tryptophan is an amino acid that the brain uses to produce niacin and serotonin. With the use of B Vitamins, L-Tryptophan is converted into 5-HTP and then 5-HT (serotonin). This boosts your natural stores of serotonin without having to resort to the use of antidepressant drugs. Leftover serotonin is used to produce melatonin, which helps you sleep.
What I have noticed is that when I take NOW Foods L-Trytophan at night I will still feel the effects the following day. When I can feel that I am starting to get a little depressed, start having lower self-esteem, reduced enjoyment in life, and stop sleeping good I will even take L-Tryptophan in the day.
Tryptophan can also aid in reducing anxiety. A lack of serotonin can produce anxiety in numerous people. Taking an L-Tryptophan supplement can fix the issue.
My Honest Comparison to Other Brands
I have tried and used other brands of L-Tryptophan before. Some didn’t affect me as much as NOW Foods brand does and others have affected me more.
Source Naturals L-Tryptophan affected me more than NOW Foods L-Tryptophan. When taking Source Naturals L-Tryptophan, I felt it “hit me harder” and quicker than NOW Foods. It wasn’t a massively huge difference, but definitely noticeable when it came to falling asleep and feeling good. Sometimes when I took Source Naturals L-Tryptophan I almost even felt like I felt a little too good.
NOW Foods Tryptophan feels more subtle and gentle than Source Naturals does. I buy NOW Foods brand right now because it is slightly cheaper and I don’t need a stronger effect anymore. I can take NOW Foods L-Tryptophan and fall asleep and slightly boost my serotonin to where it needs to be.
Sometimes the Source Naturals brand is actually cheaper than NOW Foods on Amazon.com. If Source Naturals is cheaper, I’d go with Source Naturals L-Tryptophan.
Some People Respond to 5-HTP Better
Most people respond to 5-HTP better than L-Tryptophan. In my course, I recommend that people try 5-HTP before trying L-Tryptophan. If your body doesn’t have enough niacin it will often convert L-Tryptophan into niacin instead of serotonin. If you are suffering from depression, you should be supplementing with a B Vitamin supplement everyday to ensure your brain can produce the neurotransmitters for you to feel good.
Taking 5-HTP can be a more direct route to serotonin production than L-Tryptophan. Some people respond to 5-HTP better while others respond to L-Tryptophan better. I personally feel more energetic when I take 5-HTP and 5-HTP is shorter lasting, so it doesn’t work for helping me sleep or producing longer lasting effects. Naturally I am inclined to recommend L-Tryptophan first, but the research shows that 5-HTP is effective for most people.
Side Effects and Complications
If you take too much L-Tryptophan it can make you sleepy. This usually means that you have enough serotonin stores in your brain and don’t need to take any more tryptophan supplements. I recommend that people take L-Tryptophan in the late afternoon and evening when first trying it out to avoid this situation and to not take it during work if you are taking it for the first time.
According to WebMD.com, other side effects of L-Tryptophan includes heartburn, stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite, headaches, lightheadedness, drowsiness, dry mouth, and sexual problems. I haven’t heard of anyone having these more serious issues taking L-Tryptophan, but again, you should start with the lowest possible dose first to avoid having those experiences if you are one of the unlucky few that won’t react well.
I choose to buy L-Tryptophan and other NOW Foods supplements from Amazon.com. I have never had an issue with supplements ordered from Amazon.com. Many people prefer to purchase supplements from iHerb.com because Amazon.com has been known to keep supplements on the shelf longer than iHerb.com does.
Another great feature of iHerb.com is if you are traveling and need to order some extra supplements. I needed to buy a supplement in Thailand and iHerb.com was able to get it to me in a couple weeks.
You can buy these supplements from a local store, but nine times out of ten you will get it cheaper online. I’d go with Amazon and buy a few supplements at once to get free shipping and check the expiration date when the supplements arrive. Amazon.com can be $5-$6 dollars cheaper with supplements than iHerb.com.
You can buy L-Tryptophan through the links below. Disclaimer: I make about $0.12 when you purchase through my link.
I would try NOW Foods L-Tryptophan 500mg first. Take it on an empty stomach in the late afternoon or in the evening. If you don’t feel any effects, gradually increase your dose. Buy it from Amazon.com.
If you are more worried about quality than price, buy Source Naturals L-Tryptophan from iHerb.com if the price is right. If you are looking to learn more about other supplements in overcoming depression, you can see the master list here.
0:20 – What is GABA?
1:02 – Valium and Other Benzodiazepines Mimic GABA
1:48 – Blood-Brain Barrier Conflicting Research
2:55 – GABA Might Be a Little More Complex
3:15 – Should You Try Other Amino Acids First?
4:18 – My Honest Experience With GABA’s Effects
GABA is said to be ineffective yet so many people have benefited from it. We’ll dive deeper into why this is a little later, but in case you are a little unfamiliar with this amino acid, let’s review the facts.
The body makes GABA from glutamine. GABA is the most abundant neurotransmitter in the body that calms you down. It inhibits activity in the brain and therefore calms you down. Things like valium mimic GABA in the brain and central nervous system. GABA calms down the hypothalamus and amygdala which can help lift your depression and calm down your anxiety.
If you don’t have enough GABA, you will also have a hard time sleeping. The body makes gamm-hydroxybutyrate, otherwise known as GHG, from GABA. Hibernating animals have higher levels of GABA. GABA can control aggression, help patients not just with depression and anxiety but also suffering from schizophrenia, and too little GABA has been shown to result in “mental inflexibility.”
An imbalance of GABA has been shown to be common in people suffering from seizures. It also has been shown to be lowered in autistic individuals.
A GABA deficiency will result in a low level of anxiety. It might not be crippling anxiety, but an overall sense of stress and inability to relax. Not having enough GABA can also result in other poor moods such as depression. Many people who have found relief by taking a GABA supplement feel “uneasy” all the time. Nothing feels as if it is alright even if external conditions are normal.
A deficiency can also result in a lack of patience. GABA keeps you calm and if you don’t have enough it can present itself like ADHD.
More general symptoms include:
Throughout my own struggle in overcoming depression, I could never turn off my fight or flight response. I always felt a little tense and nervous everywhere I went. The build up of stress would eventually wear me down. I had social anxiety, feared public speaking (a little fear is OK but I was terrified like I was going to die), everything from school to basic tasks that needed to be completed stressed me out, and every day seemed to be filled with terrifying situations.
Naturally, GABA was something I wanted to try and NOW Foods GABA because the company typically makes products that work for me. I bought a bottle of GABA for $15 and tried it out.
I never really felt any effect. I couldn’t tell if it was making me relaxed or not. With other amino acids, I could literally feel the effects within a half hour. If I took L-Tyrosine, I’d start to get edgy and a little angry. If I took L-Phenylalanine, I would feel excited about the day and feel as if everything was a little more pleasurable. If I took L-Tryptophan I’d feel confident and happy.
With GABA, I didn’t feel anything, despite wanting to. Unfortunately, I didn’t even get a placebo effect from it. It didn’t seem to help with stress levels during the day or with sleeping at night.
For many people that are depressed, my guess is that you also have issues with serotonin production. My first recommendation would be to try something like L-Tryptophan or L-Theanine for stress and calming yourself down. It seems as if GABA has a lot of mixed reviews. Also, GABA has been reported to be unable to cross the blood-brain barrier in the brain.
People in the study might have had effects from GABA because the people that would need these effects could have a weakened blood-brain barrier due to inflammation. If their blood-brain barrier is messed up due to inflammation that person is likely going to be depressed and anxious.
Even with all the confusing information on GABA and crossing the blood-brain barrier, it also has other effects on the body that might be the result for why people have lowered anxiety when taking it as a supplement.
GABA is found in the adrenal glands, pituitary, pancreas, uterus, ovaries, and testis. It is involved with issues concerning reproductive systems and the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are what produce your fight or flight hormones. If your reproductive systems are out of whack it can cause some serious issues with anxiety.
Other than affecting your adrenal glands and reproductive systems, GABA is also anti-inflammatory. GABA can be found in immune cells. This means that if you don’t have enough GABA, you can have issues with inflammation. Inflammation causes all sorts of problems in the body and can lead to anxiety as a result. Inflammation is higher metabolic activity which increases the activity in the brain. If you have inflammation issues long-term, you will have problems not just with anxiety.
In other words, we aren’t quite sure why taking GABA in supplement form gives some people great effects. It could either be from those people having weakened blood-brain barriers or from the other effects that GABA has on the rest of the bodily systems.
The kind of GABA that I tried was NOW Foods GABA 500 mg with Vitamin B-6. Vitamin B-6 is involved in numerous interactions in the brain and a lack of Vitamin B-6 can make it hard for you to process amino acids effectively. I chose 500mg over 250mg or NOW Foods GABA 750mg because with the conflicting research on GABA I figured I could try the middle dose and not worry about it too much.
Even taking several of these capsules, I never really felt much of an affect myself. However, I still can’t deny that GABA appears in almost every book I read on using nutrient therapy to overcome mood disorders and there are 39 4-star and 5-star reviews on the product. And there still might be effects from the other ways in which GABA interacts with the body.
For everyone that doesn’t want to take GABA as a supplement and hate swallowing pills, you can always get the chewable kind. The people that have tried the Orange Flavor Chewable of NOW Foods GABA report that it works for them and is especially useful if you want to give it to your children.
If the only thing holding you back from trying out amino acids in becoming depression free is you hate swallowing pills, I always advise people to try liquid forms or chewable versions of the supplement.
If you don’t like pills and even hate chewing tablets you can always get the powder version. Some people even report that taking a scoop of the powder is more effective than taking it as a supplement. Many people need to take high doses of GABA in order to feel anything and the powder allows them to do so.
If stress and turning off your fight-or-flight response is a major issue for you and other things don’t work and you are ready to give GABA a try, you can get the powder version to make sure you can take higher doses. Some people need a few grams at a time to feel anything.
If you are burnt out and seriously need some help, consider getting the powder and taking some higher doses to see if you can get GABA through your blood-brain barrier and have the beneficial affects on the rest of your body.
With all the confusing research out there yet so many people that have benefited from taking GABA, it seems as if GABA does cross the blood-brain barrier, but just not that much. Even if it does not effectively cross the blood brain barrier, it may cross the blood brain barrier more easily in the people that are suffering from things such as anxiety and inflammation because their blood brain barriers will be weakened. If it still doesn’t cross the blood brain barrier, then the effects it has on the rest of the body, such as the adrenal glands, may be the result in its anti-anxiety effects.
If it is something you need or have been thinking of trying, just try it. If it doesn’t work, something like L-Theanine, L-Tryptophan or glycine may work better in dialing down the stress in your life. You can look at the master list of other supplements in helping depression if you are lost.
When it comes to deciding whether or not to try GABA (and symptoms of low GABA is the main factor in your problems) think of it this way: Best case scenario is you just found something that helps you in life immensely. Worst case scenario is that it does nothing and you lose a few dollars. When it comes to something as important as your well-being and mood, if you are constantly stressed out and on edge, give GABA a try and see if it is something you benefit from if you haven’t already tried serotonin boosting supplements like L-Tryptophan or 5-HTP and supplements like L-Theanine. I’d rather try something and risk losing a couple dollars then stay stressed and unhappy all the time because I am unwilling to try new things.