Supplements that cause depression

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by LadyCarol, Apr 2, 2013.

  1. LadyCarol

    LadyCarol Member

    I've been taking Valerian for sleep for a while, but now it's started to give me depression during the day so I've stopped taking it. So now I have the prospect of having to go back to a sleep med and dealing with depression (yet again) which are the last things I need right now.

    Has anyone else encountered this with Valerian ?

    Are there any other supplements you have found that trigger depression ?

    What do you use that works to deal with both insomnia and depression ?
  2. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    I've had good results with both l-theanine and 5-htp, like Leah.

    5-htp is an amino acid which helps the brain produce serotonin, which can help with both sleep and depression and has none of the side effects of prescription ADs. l-tryptophan is also supposed to be very good and do the same thing. I take 100 mg. of 5-htp 2 hours before bed.

    You should not take 5-htp or l-tryptophan if you're on an SSRI as you may develop serotonin syndrome (too much serotonin) which can be dangerous.

    l-theanine is calming to the brain. It helps the brain produce GABA. You can even take it during the day but I take it at night a couple of hours before sleep.

    I also take melatonin, 3 mg. 2 hours before bed.

    Glycine, another amino acid, is also very helpful for calming the brain and helping with sleep and I take 2,000 mg. before bed. Plain gelatin is high in glycine and I was taking one plain gelatin packet at night (dissolved in a little water) but now just take plain glycine. I also take more glycine in the middle of the night if I have trouble sleeping.

    None of these trigger depression in me.

    Also omega 3 fatty acids are very important for brain and emotional health. People who are depressed tend to be deficient in omega 3s. Fish oil and flaxseed are very good sources of omega 3's. The typical American diet tends to be deficient in omega 3's.

    Hops and chamomile are calming herbs you might try as well. Also catnip, believe it or not!

    One more thing - have you had your cortisol levels checked? If they are high at night it can cause insomnia, which almost nothing will help unless you get your levels lowered. A good test for cortisol is the Adrenal Stress Index test, a saliva test using 4 samples taken during the day/evening which gives a good picture of the rise and fall of cortisol. Most docs order a standard blood test for this which only gives the level at the time the blood is drawn.

    Sleep is huge for most of us - I hope this helps -

  3. LadyCarol

    LadyCarol Member

    Thank you everyone for your replies, very encouraging.

    I notice that when I take over 500 mg of Valerian I get depression within days, less than that amount and I seem ok for a few months but then eventually depression hits. The lower dose isn't as good at helping address the insomnia.

    I'll leave off Valerian from now on and look into finding something else.

    I'm not taking any AD at the moment; I tend to get adverse side effects from them as I'm so sensitive to many of them. I have found some help with depression & sleep but I then have to come off them due to serious side effects, shame really as for a while some have helped.

    I haven't had cortisol levels checked for a while, they were ok last time, I need to look into that one.

    I have taken 5-htp many years ago but didn't find it help, but then again I was so ill at the time nothing was helping.

    What dose of l-Theanine seems to work to help with sleep ?
    Has anyone found GABA noticeably helps with depression and/or insomnia ?
    What dose helps and when do you take it ?

    I'm definitely interested in Melatonin and have posted some questions in the Melatonin thread.

    As for my thyroid, I'm going to look into upping my levels.
  4. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    I can't tolerate ADs either, but do just fine with 5-htp. I take 100 mg. in the evening on an empty stomach. Because it's an amino acid, it's important to take on an empty stomach for best absorption. So you might give it another try. You can take more but I do okay with this dose.

    200 mg. of l-theanine helps calm my brain so helps with sleep. It helps the brain produce GABA. from what I've read, l-theanine crosses the blood-brain barrier more easily than regular GABA, but some people have good results with GABA too. I don't think it helps noticeably with depression, but definitely is calming. You can take it during the day too. I take it aobut 2 hours before bed.

    glycine is very good also for helping with sleep. Again, best taken on an empty stomach. I've only been taking this a short while but like it a lot. I'm very sensitive to most meds and supps and tolerate this very well.

    Here are a couple of articles about omega 3s and how they can help with depression. It seems to be a major effect, which is overlooked by the medical profession in general:

    This article states that the effectiveness of omega 3s is comparable to a prescription AD in person with major depression without anxiety disorder.
    This was based on a clinical trial.

    Here's another article:

    I don't think it's a coincidence that America has so many people on ADs when our diets tend to be so low in omega 3s and high in other fats.

    Low thyroid also definitely can be a contributing factor in depression and it's good you're looking into this.

    Also - do you take B12? Very important for the brain and energy in general, and most of us seem to be deficient in it.

    Good luck -

  5. LadyCarol

    LadyCarol Member

    Thanks Mary, that's really helpful info.

    I checked with my doctor and they want me to try Levothyroxine rather than Armour to see how I get on with it. I had a few problems with Levo some years ago but since then the Levo produced by various companies has been made more consistent and some supplies have merged and are providing Levo from a single source, which is good news for all those who were super sensitive to different brands as I use to be.

    If I get many problems with Levo then Armour (or similar) will be tried. The plan is to focus on getting my thyroid levels up to see if that helps with the depression and sleep, but have to be careful I don't go into Hyperthyroidism as that is difficult to control due to limited med options and previously I had huge adverse reactions so don't want to go there again.

    Interesting you mentioned omega-3. I had to give up taking omega-3 some time ago due to bad reactions, but I've managed to restart taking omega-3 once per day and so far no reactions. In time I will increase the dose and see if I can get closer to the levels mentioned in those articles. However, I have to be careful of any impact it has of my blood platelets as omega-3 can cause them to drop and I’m low on platelets.

    I've recently had a B-12 test and I've got a very good stock inside me so no problems there.[This Message was Edited on 04/04/2013]
  6. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    Hi Ladycarol - I was just looking up something else when I saw this, about a possible link between low platelet count and gluten intolerance. It also mentions that gluten intolerance can cause depression, among other symptoms.

    I didn't know if this would be applicable to you, but thought I would pass it on -

    Best wishes,

  7. LadyCarol

    LadyCarol Member

    My vitamin D3 levels are around the optimal range so no worries there.
    I supplement on average 400 IU D3 per day and the rest comes from food. Even after the winter I have good levels as a recent blood test confirms.