Mood Disorders Expert Forum
Serotonin
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Welcome to the Mood Disorders Forum. Questions in this forum are being answered by Peter Forster, MD and topics covered are anxiety, bipolar, depression, panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder and stress.

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Serotonin

I'm a 55 year old transsexual female. I suffer really bad mood swings and feelings that the world hates me. I know that I suffer from very low serotonin levels. I've been on anti-depressants which are supposed to boost serotonin but they lowered my libido to zero which has upset me even more. What can I do to increase serotonin with out taking more proscription drugs
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Serotonin levels in the brain can be affected two primary ways -
Diet modification
- An increase in the ratio of tryptophan to phenylalanine and leucine in your diet will increase serotonin levels.
Supplements
-  tryptophan and its metabolite 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) are available as dietary supplements.
- According to ConsumerLabs, which is the only reliable source of information about the quality of supplements available in the United States, one has to be particularly cautious about purchasing 5HTP because it is expensive and difficult to make and therefore manufacturers may be tempted to cut costs.
In my experience the changes in libido associated with serotonin reuptake inhibitors appear to be intrinsic to the medication's effects on serotonin so I would wonder if dietary manipulations that boost serotonin might not have similar effects.
Other strategies to consider - taking lower doses of serotonin boosting medications, combining a serotonin agent with a non-serotonin agent (such as bupropion), or a medication that affects serotonin and norepinephrine (such as mirtazapine).
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