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Question for January
8 Replies
kvc33 - February 12

Hi January, I must manage my depression with natural methods as I can not take anti-depressants. The only thing I have been able to stick with is light therapy and now an allergen-free diet. I tried Sam-e many years ago but it was so expensive back then I only took it for a week and didn't see any difference. I took phenylalanine for four months and it helped a bit but then I became allergic to it too. I am now going through drug withdrawal from Requip, a dopamine agonist and the withdrawal is causing severe anxiety, depression and depersonalization. How long did it take for the sam-e to work for you and what else could you recommend for me? I have taken lots of vitamins in the past which didn't seem to do anything and I take fish oil every day. I believe that I have low levels of dopamine, serotonin, and nor-epinephrine as I have all the symptoms of low levels. Any advice? Thank you in advance.

 

January - February 12

Hi kvc - Depression is a very complicated disease. From other posts, you seem to have a good grasp of physiology - so I don't want to blab about things you already know. There are many different neurotransmitters (maybe not all discovered yet) - and there is no definite test to find out what is out of whack. (I just learned this week that most doctors are taught that ALL fibromyalgia patients are depressed! That may be putting the cart before the horse!) I think throwing antidepressants at a patient is a bad idea - it MAY help, and obviously from the posts here, it helps a lot of people. But if your serotonin and norepinephrine levels are OK and you get an SNRI, then you will get abnormally elevated levels - and be thrown off balance and feel terrible. However, it seems to be the "hot" approach. (I won't rant about the FDA….but….)

I read about brain mapping. That might be at least a stab at a solid diagnosis. Before you can treat anything, you need the proper diagnosis (that's how the OLD doctors were) -- nobody has time for that anymore.

So here's what I recommend, and excuse the long post. I hope you get some helpful ideas!

First, try to diagnose yourself exactly. Books I recommend:

(1) Magnificent Mind at Any Age by Dr. Daniel Amen. This will help you figure out what parts of your brain are problematic, and offers natural and medical solutions. You state you have a dopamine problem. For that Dr. Amen recommends a high protein diet; intense aerobic exercise (if you can do that with fibro, let me know! LOL!). He lists supplements, but says only try these ONE AT A TIME, and discuss with your dr. He lists: L-tyrosine; DL-phenylalanine; L-theanine; SAM-e. You said you think you have several neurotransmitters that are low. This book will help you correlate behavioral symptoms with neurotransmitters. Amen is doing great research in this area.

A note about SAM-e. Take a brand that has a STABLE formulation. I tried one that had no effect. Life Extension has tested some, and besides their own brand, they recommend Nature Made - it comes in blister packs to prevent drug degradation - I use it. Take on an empty stomach. I take 400 mg in the AM and 400 mg in the PM, and sometimes 400 mg mid-day. I am NOT SURE, but think I read some people need as much as 1600 mg/day. (It is expensive!) 800mg/day ALONG WITH A STRICT GLUTEN FREE DIET, in my opinion, cured my lifelong depression, along with some supplements I list below. It took about a year to get free of the drugs and learn the diet tricks. After the end of the 2nd year, I really noticed a difference with much less fibro muscle pain, less depression and my extra weight melted off. If I have one slice of bread, I get to start all over again.

(2) I've been watching Brenda Watson on PBS and am looking for her book. She approaches everything from gut health. She recommends high doses (50 billion) of many different strains of probiotics - again, you need a reliable, well-formulated brand. She has a website.

(3) I joined Life Extension, for $75, well worth it. They sent me a HUGE book. Their monthly magazines have great research. You can call 24/7 and arrange to speak with a doctor for free. (I DO NOT recommend listening to the "health care consultants" as their main focus is to sell you stuff, insist on a doctor. They will even consult with YOUR doctor!) I researched my symptoms, and listed the recommendations. (Amazingly, differing symptoms often had similar treatments! So they must be somehow connected in the body.)

(4) I used the Vitamin Shoppe website and researched their database, including symptoms, drugs, interactions, etc. I do not buy their products because they are "gluten free" but NOT wheat free, as far as I can find out.

So, I did a lot of research and formulated a plan that fit my symptoms. I also kept diaries to see how I was doing, and added things one at a time.

Because I have malabsorption issues, I take a ton of supplements, vitamins/ minerals. (For me, 5-HTP and St Johns Wort caused serotonin syndrome. That's funny, since I had been on SSRIs for years. So my serotonin is fine, I guess.)

I'll tell you what has really helped me with my energy level, brain fog and depression. But you have to research everything and see what fits FOR YOU, and what you want to risk, because anything you put in your body has a risk. I also buy the more "expensive" vitamins, because a lot of these supplements are not good quality. (I don't have luxuries, but I have supplements!) I have done well with these brands: Jarrow formula; Source Naturals; Nature Made; some Life Extension (but not their complex formulas - too many variables); Solgar; Solaray - and a few others. Make sure they state no wheat, no gluten…etc.

I take:
DHEA (which is controversial. Some drs. say never take more than 5 mg. Some have used up to 150 mg. I take 10 mg w/ no side effects and it HELPS. It is used for adrenal exhaustion, depression, insulin resistance and high cortisol levels. There is an unproven risk of cancers - this IS a steroidal hormone. John McCain, among others, has been trying to take it off the market because some abuse it. However, for me, it has been an enormous help. I can tell a difference when I don't take it. I will take the risks associated because I feel SO much better. Wikipedia has a good article.)

acetyl-L-carnitine & alpha-lipoic acid
Huperzine
Gotu Kola & Ginseng
Ubiquinol (a better version of Co-Q10)
Bilberry, Gingko Biloba, Eyebright
Phosphatidyl Serine
Phosphatidyl Choline
MSM
Hydraplenish Hyaluronic Acid (for joint pain)

Everyone is different, so I can't prescribe for you. This is the result of my months of research and experimentation on myself. I went through the drug withdrawals just by riding it out. It may take longer than that "2 weeks" they tell you - especially if your liver is overloaded and not breaking down drugs properly. Hang in, it will get better.

Many of the drugs we take (and I still take a few) interfere with liver enzymes; and we may not rid our bodies of drugs easily - adding to the interaction problems - and stretching out withdrawal symptoms. Dextromethorphan (cough syrup) interacts with antidepressants. Tylenol even in small amounts damages the liver. To support my liver I take milk thistle. Glutathione ( for the liver) is not well absorbed; some say take NAC (it's smelly, a sulfur compound, like MSM). I have read that higher levels of Vit. D3 work in your body to increase your glutathione levels - I take at least 5,000 units a day. Also, melatonin helps with sleep, and I think many other things - but the evidence is conflicting, so research it.

Again, I apologize for this very long post. I hope this will give you (and maybe others) some ideas TO RESEARCH. (TO EACH HIS OWN!! PLEASE DO NOT TAKE MY REGIMEN WITHOUT CHECKING WITH YOUR DOCTOR.)

GOOD LUCK TO EVERYONE HERE! I WISH WE COULD ALL GET A GOOD CURE FOR THIS ROTTEN DISEASE!! ...Not shouting, I just love caps for emphasis! :)

 

January - February 12

And PS, yes - I recommend the fish oil too. I take the Nordic brand… the blue and white bottle.

 

kvc33 - February 12

Hi January, Thanks for your thoughtful response. I will refer to it time and again. I have read Dr. Amen's book and that's how I diagnosed the low neurotransmitters. I have tried many of the supplements you listed and couldn't tolerate them but there are some I haven't tried. I took 5-HTP for 18 months and it helped with the brain fog but after that my stomach had had enough of it and it caused stomachaches. Did you know that we have the most serotonin in our guts not our brains? I drink decaf green tea for the theanine and it calms me. I'm not sure if I want to take it as a supplement because knowing me I will develop an intolerance to it. I can't have any sulfur-containing products nor could I tolerate the DHEA. So I guess I have to think long and hard about whether or not I want to try something new and risk a bad reaction. Melatonin made me feel sedated and restless at the same time. I'm a very hard person to treat. Even the probiotics give me diarrhea.

 

January - February 13

Hi kvc- glad you've got Amen's book, it's a great resource. I picked up from your other posts that you can grasp the medical stuff, and have done a lot of your own research. It sounds like you're very sensitive and need to figure out what the underlying problem is. Have you eliminated things like candida, parasites, H. pylori… (B. Watson sounds very intriguing with her approach, which includes hypersensitivities - but I haven't got her book.) Yes, I know about the serotonin. Watson links up the brain and the gut pretty closely.

I'm not sure I should have listed my regimen -- I'm not prescribing it for anyone else, just hoping someone might see something intriguing and research it for themselves. They all helped me.

Sorry your system is so very sensitive! :( Maybe you should start with your gut and see if you can strengthen that up a bit. I used to have a cast iron stomach, and it's still fairly alright.
++++++++++++
PS. Holey moley! I just googled H. Pylori and hit on a site by David Hompes, and he has got quite a list of symptoms linked with H. pylori! I have no idea who he is, but I need to learn more! Check out the LAST half of the list!

Indigestion
Stomach pain
Gnawing feeling in stomach
Acid reflux
Heartburn
Bloating
Belching and Burping
Constipation
Diarrhea
Nausea
Bad breath / halitosis
Pain between shoulder blades
Anxiety
Reactive arthritis
Chronic fatigue
Urticaria
Rosacea
Sleep problems
Headaches
Psoriasis

Depression
Palpitations

Ar
e
we having fun yet?? :) Feel better kvc, good luck to you.

 

January - February 13

kvc - my computer gummed up as I was posting the last note. Google "David A. Hompes" - you asked elsewhere about stool testing. Read over his info, it looks very good.

 

kvc33 - February 13

I did the candida protocol many years ago and it didn't change anything. I'm now on my allergen-free diet which includes no yeast or sugar. I was tested for h.pylori and it can back negative. I haven't been tested for parasites, it's worth a try but more money I don't have. The food allergy testing cost $275.

 

kvc33 - February 13

Oh, I do know that I have too much histamine, just about everything I take makes me very itchy.

 

January - February 13

Did you read over all of David Hompes' info? He says that many tests for H.pylori are done incorrectly. I scanned over all the info there - it was new to me. He recommends a stool test that checks for DNAs. Interesting concept. As I said, I just scanned it, didn't STUDY it. But it's worth a good look just in terms of information. His tests are pricey, and like you, I'm sick of throwing money down a rathole.

It sure sounds like you've got serious allergies and sensitivities - must be a pickle to not be able to tolerate anything! Don't know how you handle the frustration.

 

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