Sometimes it is necessary to take medication; however, for people who are going through a difficult time, dealing with some stress, or having mild to moderate depression or anxiety there are many alternatives to medication. For instance, studies show that St. John’s Wort was just as effective as an SSRI for mild to moderate depression. Also, many people find relief of their symptoms by supplementing with the precursers to neurotransmitters, such as 5HTP for serotonin and L-Tyrosine for Dopamine. It is important to have a thorough assessment though, as some herbs and/or amino acids could affect certain conditions adversely. For example, St. John’s Wort should not be taken by someone who may be dealing with Bipolar Disorder, too much serotonin can deplete dopamine, and too much dopamine can deplete serotonin. Having a balanced HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal) axis is a key component of regulation – not just mood, but for energy, digestion, immune function. For this reason, completing a test that measures HPA axis functioning can be an integral part of wholistic biochemistry testing for the goal of targeted amino acid therapy.
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Written by Niloo Dardashti, PsyD, HHP