Thursday, October 07, 2004


I am contemplating posting this....I wasn't going to, but since it's just my own analysis...let me just start with a disclaimer.

Disclaimer: I am not advocating to anybody the use of this product. Discuss with a doctor first.
Or, you can come see me at my school while an attending clinician is present.

I was blog surfing the other day and came across a girl who tried to kill herself. It was so sad to see someone going through so much that she thought the only way out was to end her life. Anyways, I started thinking about how they're researching the connection between Prozac and suicide. I'm interested to hear the results of that research. I then started to think about my pharmacology class. My professor is a pharmacist and a chiropractor. He mentioned how in the past, doctors used to prescribe serotonin for patients with depression and it was far superior.

Let me insert a second disclaimer to re-emphasize here that I am NOT recommending anyone go out and purchase a bottle of 5HTP. Consult with your doctor first.

Serotonin is one of the body's own neurotransmitter. Once released, it can be absorbed rather quickly. That's why certain drugs (serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are prescribed for various psychiatric problems like depression. Their purpose is to inhibit the "reabsorption" of serotonin. Serotonin helps modulate brain activity. Since he couldn't prescribe controlled medications, he recommended to one of his patients 5HTP (5-hydroxytryptamine). This can be purchased Over The Counter. The mechansims goes that 5HTP is converted to tryptophan (the stuff that makes you sleepy after eating turkey), so it's also great for insomnia. Tryptophan is converted to serotonin. After some time, brain activity is regulated. Neurological symptoms like depression is improved. Of course like most other psychiatric meds, it takes time to take affect. Some say it takes about 8 weeks.

There is another obstacle. Unfortunately, unlike controlled medications in this country, vitamins, herbals, etc. are not regulated by the FDA. Let me give you an example. Saw Palmetto has benefits as long as you use the berries. Some companies take the twigs, leaves, etc. grind it up and call it Saw Palmetto. Technically, it's true...but, the only person it's going to help is the company that managed to get the "trash" from legitimate companies that know how to correctly isolate the beneficial properties of Saw Palmetto. So, be careful with what you purchase.

They stopped the the flow of artificial serotonin in this country because a while back, some contaminated serotonin from Japan arrived and created lots of problems. Even though investigations revealed that it was a contaminated source, the damage was done. We can't get serotonin here. I'm curious to know how MD's would feel about this from a physiological stand point. Afterall, I'm just an intern. (So, Please don't take this as medical advice).