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5 HTP
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5 HTP

I am a type 2 Diabetic taking metformin and gliclazide.
I believe I have low serotonin levels and would like to start taking 5HTP rather than start taking antidepressants.

First of all, is this safe for me to take?  How much is a safe dosage?

Secondly, is this supplement effective?

Thanks!
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First, levels of serotonin have little to do with mental health, as far as we know.  There is no scientific evidence people with depression or anxiety have different levels of serotonin than anyone else.  Now, some people might test low for serotonin, but that wouldn't necessarily mean they had mental problems -- there's far more serotonin in the digestive tract and the blood vessels than in the brain.  Anti-depressants don't work by elevating serotonin, they work by preventing its breakdown and targeting it to particular receptors (causing other receptors to shut down until discontinuation).  5-htp is a metabolite of tryptophan, which, together with cofactors such as B6, manufactures serotonin naturally in the body.  When 5-htp works, it probably does so by maximizing the efficiency of the body's uptake of serotonin.  Whether it helps you or not depends on whether your body sees a need for it, and how you individually metabolize it.  As with medication, it's very individual.  The dosage will be on the label, but we do vary in our needs sometimes.  It depends on how much is in the capsule.  Some will put a day's worth in one capsule, some will divide it into two or three doses.  Depends on the product.  Safety is also individual -- some people are helped, some feel nothing, and some get unwanted side effects, such as increased anxiety, as with any medicine whether natural or not.  The good thing is, if you don't like it, you can just stop taking it, a dangerous thing to do with anti-depressants.  But also keep in mind Type 2 diabetes is a dietary disease, and if the blood sugar problems are causing your mental problems, dietary treatment and therapeutic techniques might get you to the same place.  Also, natural remedies are usually used in combinations, not singly, holistically.  Something to keep in mind for your future research.  Good luck.
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