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Old 08-22-2008, 06:11 AM   #1
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5-htp versus Sam-E - what's the difference?

I'm thinking of trying one of these to help with my anxiety. It's not bad enough to go on antidepressants or even take Xanax (which make me unmotivated). So I thought I'd try something natural. 5-htp and SAM-E seem to be kind of the same thing. Which one should I try?
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Old 08-22-2008, 07:56 AM   #2
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I don't know. I haven't heard of SAM-E. I have started taking the 5-htp along with the Wellbrutrin I take and it seems to help. I am like you.....the Xanax makes me not care. I could eat a candy bar and think nothing of it!
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Old 08-22-2008, 07:59 AM   #3
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I know what you mean about the candy bar. When I was using Xanax last year I couldn't figure out why I would blow my diet many times per week - 'a large helping of chinese food?, eh..why not?'
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Old 08-22-2008, 08:02 AM   #4
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Things have to get really bad for me to use my Xanax. Sometimes I have taken it before bedtime so that I won't be awake while on it. The Wellbrutrin has really helped and doesn't effect my weight. Many say they lose at first when they start taking it. If you end up having to take something, ask for this medicine.
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Old 08-22-2008, 08:13 AM   #5
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Thanks. Yes I will ask for Wellbutrin if things get too bad. I've tried it in the past and it worked well with mininmal/no side-effects. I guess I don't think my problem is severe enough at this point but if some of these natural things don't work I'll speak to my doctor about it.
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Old 08-22-2008, 08:14 AM   #6
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[COLOR=Black]I could not take Welbutrin because it acts as a norepinephrine and dopamine reuptake inhibitor which only increased my anxiety.
I am doing great on Lexapro which is a seratonin reuptake inhibitor.
Guess it depends on the induvidual.
Also Xanax is highly addictive too, missing a dose or stopping suddenly can cause a stroke! VERY scary long for term use.
I am going to look into some natural alternatives to supplement my current regime as well.[/COLOR]
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Old 08-22-2008, 08:24 AM   #7
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I tried Lexapro and I felt completely crazy - so wound up and agitated. Wellbutrin and Effexor are the only antidepressants that work for me when things get bad. My doc has said that in my case it's got to be my dopamine and/or norepinephrine that gets out of whack because those the two that Effexor and Wellbutrin work on. I was so calm when I was on Wellbutrin that it felt like I had a warm blanket wrapped around me (yeah, I know that sounds weird but that's the best analogy I can think of).

I wonder if 5htp or Sam-E works on Dopamine or norepinephrine or just seratonin?
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Old 08-22-2008, 08:24 AM   #8
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Heres a link for Sam-E

5HTP- is a precurser to seratonin, which makes you feel good, seratonin is the precurser to Melatonin, which helps you sleep. Sounds like a good combo. If you do go the 5htp, start slowly with a small dose like 50g in the morning, some people find that higher doses either cause sleepiness (if you are sleep deprived already) and active dreams when take at night.

I would take 50 in the morning and 100 at night with magnesium to help me sleep. I felt better after a few weeks of consistently taking the morning dose. but I stopped. I need to get back to it.

I don't know much about Sam-E except it is the same as some kind of lipid in the brain that is necessary for cognition. (?) check the link it has more details. 5htp is cheaper.
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Old 08-22-2008, 08:37 AM   #9
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Although SSRI drugs are now the most popular antidepressants, not all patients respond to them, and the same will be true of 5HTP.
A combination with other amino acids, particularly tyrosine which the body uses to make dopamine and norepinephrine,
or with St John's Wort which can help raise brain serotonin levels, may be more effective in some cases.

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Old 08-22-2008, 08:46 AM   #10
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Good info everyone. Thanks so much!
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Old 08-22-2008, 04:34 PM   #11
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Although SSRI drugs are now the most popular antidepressants, not all patients respond to them, and the same will be true of 5HTP.
A combination with other amino acids, particularly tyrosine which the body uses to make dopamine and norepinephrine,
or with St John's Wort which can help raise brain serotonin levels, may be more effective in some cases.
Yet 5htp is not an SSRI it is a precursr to serotonin. If a person doesn't respond to 5htp it is not because of its relationship to SSRI's. An SSRI would not be helpful if there is little serotonin available to begin with. 5htp gives the person the raw material to make it. If a person has issues with converting it, then they may not respond to 5htp.

Tyrosine, is a nice complement, Yet I think it could be iffy to start a regiment of multiples as you won't be able to tell which is working and which is not.

It would be better to try one thing until you can notice or not notice it's effects and tweak it from that baseline. If you start taking 3 or 4 new things at once you may end up wasting money if only one thing is affecting change but the other three are duds,

St. Johns sides effects of photosenstivity and headaches is what turned me off, as well as the fact that it takes so long to feel positive effects. Made me give that up as an option. I don't think my eyes ever recovered from that experiment.
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Old 08-22-2008, 05:03 PM   #12
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I take SAM-e daily, one 200mg tablet. It keeps me from being depressed but it does not fix my anxiety issues.
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Old 08-22-2008, 05:53 PM   #13
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Ever heard of Theanine?
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Old 08-22-2008, 06:30 PM   #14
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Yah, Zanax made me eat too! And Lexapro gave me headaches.

I like my Effexor. A lot. It's my "happy" pill.

And for occasional anxiety, Ativan. Much milder than Zanax. Does not "hit" as hard and lasts longer.

Get 'em in 1mg so you can take what you need (up to 5g).
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Old 08-22-2008, 06:38 PM   #15
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I take SAM-e daily, one 200mg tablet. It keeps me from being depressed but it does not fix my anxiety issues.
Drink some Tea!

From Wiki: Theanine
Quote:
Theanine is an amino acid commonly found in tea (infusions of Camellia sinensis). In 1950 the Tea laboratory of Kyoto successfully separated Theanine from Gyokuro leaf, which has the most Theanine content among all teas. Theanine is related to glutamine, and can cross the blood-brain barrier.[1] Because it can enter the brain, theanine has psychoactive properties.[2] Theanine has been shown to reduce mental and physical stress[3], may produce feelings of relaxation[4] and improves cognition and mood when taken in combination with caffeine.[5]
I take it on any morning when I feel I'm gonna have a freak out at work. It works for me. only thing is I drink decaff, so I wonder if I'm not getting the full effect, . . .hey but I eat cocoa bark, that has caffeine!
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Old 08-22-2008, 06:52 PM   #16
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I take SAM-e daily, one 200mg tablet. It keeps me from being depressed but it does not fix my anxiety issues.
I don't have depression - my mood is just fine except for a couple of hours, not every day but several days per week, when I have this anxiety. Otherwise I feel completely fine.

metqa - I might just start by trying that tea. Perhaps Whole Foods would have it?

Xanax is so good at releiving the anxiety, but not only does it make me lose all willpower with food, it also makes me dumber - like having trouble following the plot of a movie. I'll ask about Ativan.

When I decide to try something I'll be sure to try one at a time so I can see what's working.
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Old 08-22-2008, 08:07 PM   #17
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I know it's not quite what you were asking about, but I would suggest some short-term counseling in addition to any natural supplements or md-prescribed drugs. The type of anxiety you describe is characteristic of generalized anxiety disorder which responds extremely well to a combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy and pharmaceutical intervention. The combination allows a person to feel some immediate relief while working on the skills and techniques that allow you to bring your anxiety to a healthy level. Many people find that they are able to lessen or eliminate the medication (or supplementation) piece at some point. If you are employed, you may even be able to get some short-term counseling through you EAP.

I'm a highly anxious person, myself...and I'm a psychologist. If you have any questions feel free to PM me...But overall, I wish you good luck in finding something that works for you!!!!!
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Old 08-22-2008, 08:12 PM   #18
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Sam-E is great for panic attacks and anxiety. When I started perimenopause I started having panic attacks and of course the doc prescribed an antidepressant for me-didn't work and gained weight. Started Sam-E and it was great-stopped them and also helped my arthritis. I cant' take 5HTP-I am a migraine sufferer and these trigger migraines for me. I also take triptans for my migraines and they have bad interactions with 5HTP.
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Old 08-22-2008, 08:14 PM   #19
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this is GREAT to know. do you buy the NOW brand thru Netrition or some other brand? how do you determine dosage? do you take every day or just when you feel anxiety?

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Sam-E is great for panic attacks and anxiety. When I started perimenopause I started having panic attacks and of course the doc prescribed an antidepressant for me-didn't work and gained weight. Started Sam-E and it was great-stopped them and also helped my arthritis. I cant' take 5HTP-I am a migraine sufferer and these trigger migraines for me. I also take triptans for my migraines and they have bad interactions with 5HTP.
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Old 08-22-2008, 08:16 PM   #20
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this is GREAT to know. do you buy the NOW brand thru Netrition or some other brand? how do you determine dosage? do you take every day or just when you feel anxiety?
I bought mine from Walgreens. I tend to stay away from the NOW brands. I started with 400 mg and you can go higher. I am going to start again for my arthritis-my knees are a creakin'!
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Old 08-22-2008, 08:18 PM   #21
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why do yo stay away from NOW?

so 400 mg (every day) would be a good place to start? AM or PM?


Quote:
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I bought mine from Walgreens. I tend to stay away from the NOW brands. I started with 400 mg and you can go higher. I am going to start again for my arthritis-my knees are a creakin'!
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Old 08-22-2008, 08:19 PM   #22
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I bought mine from Walgreens. I tend to stay away from the NOW brands. I started with 400 mg and you can go higher. I am going to start again for my arthritis-my knees are a creakin'!
Sorry, a little thread jack . . .

Lisa, do you believe the Sam-E is preventative for arthritis or only affective after you already have symptoms?
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Old 08-22-2008, 08:20 PM   #23
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this is what comes up when you click on Sam-E

SAMe

S-adenosyl-L-methionine

Enteric Coated

SAMe is a supplement formed in the body by an enzymatic reaction between adenosine-triphosphate (ATP) and methionine. It was discovered in 1952 in Italy and has been researched and manufactured there. SAMe works closely with folic acid and vitamin B-12

SAMe appears to raise levels of dopamine, an important neurotransmitter in mood regulation. [COLOR="Red"]SAMe also possesses anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and tissue-healing properties that may support healthy joints.[/COLOR]
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Old 08-22-2008, 08:21 PM   #24
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Sorry, a little thread jack . . .

Lisa, do you believe the Sam-E is preventative for arthritis or only affective after you already have symptoms?
I really dunno-I only took it after I had arthritis. Interesing-something new to research!
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Old 08-22-2008, 08:23 PM   #25
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Hmm this article says the Arthritis Foundation is studying its affects on joint health but that is does help with pain.

SAMe article
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Old 08-22-2008, 09:13 PM   #26
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Groovy Cool, Thanks!
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Old 08-23-2008, 12:39 AM   #27
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Had to jump in on this one!

I was diagnosed with major depressive episodes about 25 years ago (when I was 20) even though I was told I'd probably had them for about 35 years. (My dad had committed suicide around that time so it was partly situational and partly an inherited biochemical thing.)

I've been on a list of pharmaceuticals that would make your head spin...some of them certainly made my head spin! Some of them certainly helped -- and kept me alive, but it took a lot of hard work in therapy to get everything to level out.

I was off them for a bit in 2000 when I started to feel the impending, "uh ohhhh" coming. I really, really HATE taking prescription meds since they effect my ability to do my job. (I'm an actress - feeling "flat" is not good in my line of work.) That's when my mother gave me a book about SAM-e. I had already tried 5-HTP and St. John's Wort. They worked for a while but, like all of the meds I had taken before, they stopped working. Since my situation hadn't reached "critical mass" yet, I decided to give it a try. I started with 200 mg./day and upped to 400 mg. after about 2 weeks. It was around a month later that I realized that things looked brighter. I think it caught me unaware because there had been none of the major side effects I had before when starting a new med. (Gee, what will it be this time? Weight gain? Nerves? Cotton mouth? Total disinterest in sex? Flat emotions? No emotions? I could go on...)

Occasionally, I'll notice that things are getting a bit "dark" and I'll up to 800 mg./day. When I pick back up, I drop back down to 400 mg.

I've been using SAM-e for 8 years now and am keeping my fingers crossed that I will never, ever have to go back on Rx meds.

That said, SAM-e tends to help me through "sad" or "dark" moods. It wasn't really helping the "edginess" I would get on occasion...and would hang on for weeks. You know the one: Where you feel like you're going to "snap?" For that, I found L-Tyrosene to be extremely helpful -- and the results were almost immediate (about two days!) Usually, when I find those moods hanging around for more than a couple of days, I'll supplement with the L-Tyro for a couple of weeks.

Just a note/disclaimer: Be sure to research before you try any of this stuff!! You want to be sure you're not taking anything else that will interact/counteract anything else you're taking. IT IS ALSO IMPERATIVE that you mention ANY supplements to your doctor. THIS IS ESSENTIAL if you are going to have surgery -- my doctors have never had a problem with SAM-e or L-Tyro, but St. John's, in particular, should not be taken with a laundry list of other meds and it must be discontinued for a while before surgery.

I'm sorry this is so long winded, but I hope it is helpful.
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Old 08-23-2008, 01:11 AM   #28
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Oh yes, SAM-e does help my knees feel better. That's a lovely "side effect".

If I take the standard dose of 400mg a day, I feel irritable instead of happy.

It does work better if taken with vitamin B.

I take it in the morning. If I have it at night it can interfer with my sleep.

If anybody wants to try SAM-e I'd be happy to send you a $3 coupon for the Nature Made brand.
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Old 08-23-2008, 06:12 AM   #29
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Interesting thread. I have been taking 1 mg of ATIVAN for a few years now, once a day.

It is a medication for anxiety. It has calmed me down to the point of functionality. I DID recently start getting some anxiety issues (now that Im in the lovely PERI0MENOPAUSE phase of life!!) I bought some SAM-E at Walmart. Have been taking it for about 2 weeks.

Not sure if Ive noticed any changes...(I still get snappy and irritable sometimes). I dont get depressed but I do get anxious.

For those of you who are using it and like it, how long did it take for you to notice positive effects??

Im giving it ONE MONTH since its so darn expensive ...to see if it will work. (It cost about a dollar a pill or $34.00 for a 30 day supply).

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Old 08-23-2008, 07:39 AM   #30
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Interesting thread. I have been taking 1 mg of ATIVAN for a few years now, once a day.

It is a medication for anxiety. It has calmed me down to the point of functionality. I DID recently start getting some anxiety issues (now that Im in the lovely PERI0MENOPAUSE phase of life!!) I bought some SAM-E at Walmart. Have been taking it for about 2 weeks.

Not sure if Ive noticed any changes...(I still get snappy and irritable sometimes). I dont get depressed but I do get anxious.

For those of you who are using it and like it, how long did it take for you to notice positive effects??

Im giving it ONE MONTH since its so darn expensive ...to see if it will work. (It cost about a dollar a pill or $34.00 for a 30 day supply).
It sounds like you need to up your dosage-I found relief in about a month. It will not calm you like Ativan though-you don't get a sedated feeling.
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