GERD (Acid Reflux) Community
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Avatar universal

GERD and the Serotonin/Melatonin connection - Help please!

I have question that is really confusing me and I find difficult to heal my problems and need to get find out what is actually going on with body and take steps to healing/curing myself of my main 2 problems, GERD and Anxiety/Depression.

I was prescribed Seroxat (Paxil) and shortly after Losec (Prilosec) 15years ago and have been on the lovely rollercoaster ride from hell trying to come off these 2 medications, which actually do what they say they'll do, the Seroxat works great for me for anxiety and depression and the Losec does stop acid very well, but I have been on them for one and a half decades and so now I trying to slowly taper, with the seroxat you can slowly taper and the withdrawal comes slowly but the Losec taper gives immediate acid problems.

Seroxat is an SSRI, which in my low level knowledge on meds means this drug kind of stops serotonin from leaking out and kind of manages serotonin, kind of re-cycles it - if that what inhibiting the re-uptake means and so there is more serotonin available for the brain?

Many people think that SSRI's and other antidepressants increase your serotonin level, but what they seem to do is increase the availability of the serotonin already there, anyway a study I saw online said that chocolate increases the LES relaxing and so gives you reflux, they found that when chocolate was taking the gut released lot of serotonin and serotonin seemed to be the culprit, now I am thinking if the problem is serotonin and I am taking something that also deals with the re-cycling of serotonin or whatever SSRI's actually do, then I am thinking is there a link between me taking Seroxat and me HAVING to take Losec in order for me to manage GERD???

It seems that the two are linked, I did know a guy who was taking meds for schizophrenia and was told after about 5yr that he had to also to Losec for life, many people I know (over 50's) are on Losec in the UK.

Some say to me if is working don't mess with it, bet they aren't the ones who's liver had to filter all this stuff or worry about Paxil pooping out (not working after many years) that many have warned me about, some of the side effects of the meds are like liver death for Losec, so these kind of things play on the mind even though you have totake the meds. Most people take Losec for a month and that's it, Seroxat for a few months - so I am kind of concerned to say the least and trying to taper off the drugs.

The Seroxat I have tapered to almost zero, but after 2 weeks my anxiety/depression reaaly got to intolerable levels, life just doesn't have the same appeal anymore, people  make me angry, feel like crying, frustration, rage, real low feelings, palpitations and heart in my throat feelings etc, then I took about 5mg of seroxat and the depression liften within a few hrs and felt great, almost manic, super happy, talkative and smiling and fun to be around.

The Losec isn't te same, 20mg is my current dose and can't see my way round this one, although I am overweight and need to lose weight and am exercising daily, I see other fat people who don't have reflux and think that maybe it's not just my weight problem, but still have weightloss as my goal, I have a sliding Hiatus Hernia and a bit of a beer belly (Distention) so I really need to lose weight, my last endoscopy here in Beijing/China showed inflammation of the esophagus and so was put on Nexium and another chinese herb to deal with bile reflux for a month, I had pain in the throat/esophagus and so this is why I went for the endoscopy but now now pain and watching what I eat, but as I said really need to work and AM working on weightloss and getting down to my idea weight.

I came across a brazilian study whereby peope were taking Melatonin and B vitamins, tryptophan and some other nutrients and were abe to come off their PPI medication, now I was thinking Tryptophan becomes serotonin which becomes melotonin in the human body, right? I may be slightly off but this is the general idea I think. The idea in the study is that there are many melatonin receptor in the gut and this helps to lessen the LES's relaxations and so aid in lessening reflux, but hang on, I thought there were 90 or 95% serotonin receptors in the digestive system (The Enteric nervous system), what is it? Both? So our gut is lined with Melatonin and Serotonin receptors, increase Melatonin and LES functions better, increase serotonin and your brain feels better and everything is heaven right, your gut especially.

Seems that in some RAT study long term use of Seroxat actually decreses serotonin by 60% so maybe Seroxat by recycling serotonin in the way that it does, somehow decrease the overall serotonin availabilty in the body? This may be the reason why after a while my gut malfunctioned, LES relaxes too much it seems and need Losec to stop the production of acid lest I get Barratts and then real trouble.

So what does one do? What can I do? I am trying to understand what could be going on so I can choose an approach that may work in actually healing my body and mind, I've tried taking Apple Cider Vinegar for GERD, I had the most severe reflux to date cause of this 'cure', low carb, high carb, this and that and all only work alongside Losec, basically - take that ingredient away and you have collapse, add that and everything works, low carb - cool, eat what you want - cool, raw - cool, I think you get the idea here.

Tried chinese herbal medicine in the past but didn't work, but wil try again soon, this time I will see one doc that uses poisonous insects like scorpions and poison centipedes as they are supposed to heal the liver or help theliver and this is were we get our mental problems from (according to chinese medicine)

Was also thinking about one autho who wrote 'potataoes not prozac', I think she says to eat potatoes and protein at meals as they work together to introduce tryptophan - serotonin to the brain, so I wonder whether this will help me to introduce more serotonin into my system, I really don't know, please help anyone, thankyou for reading my post, please correct me on any errors I may have made to theory on how serotonin/melotonin are related to GERD and the LES, thanks again

10 Responses
620923 tn?1452919248

  Hi Gerald...I sent u an article that is quite long on serotonin diets for stress reducing....

As for the LES, dairy products can affect the motility if u already have a motility issue.,...did ur Dr ever tell u y u had GERD?...Do u have a hiatal herian...etc...

Check out the info I sent and see if it can help : )

Avatar universal
email me at **********" yahoo,,,....

Cant post the email but thats the id name
Im doing the that study you mentioned
707563 tn?1553635552
Please do not post your email.  If you'd like someone to email you, you should send them your email in a private message. It's important to remember that while we work hard to keep MedHelp safe, this is still public on the internet for anyone to see.


Avatar universal
Thanks Guys,

Thankyou for the PM's.

SelmaS - I had an endoscopy a few months back and doc here in Beijing said I had inflammation of the esophagus and SLIDING HIATUS HERNIA, I do have distention of the belly, a bit of a beer belly so this may contribute to stretching the LES or a pushing up pressure when I sit and the belly has nowhere to go if you know what I mean. Yeah, in the UK, London the docs told me I had GERD and told me the usual, no chillies, no coffee, no acid friuts, no vinegar, fried foods, chocolate, greasy foods or fat, fizzy drinks like coke/fanta etc, no stress, bricks to raise the bed level so you sleep on an incline, basically to eat bland foods, oh and lose weight. This is the thing that I haven't done so far, from 107kg I have gone down to 105kg but my ideal weight is 73kg.

Nickles66 - I had to stop the Melatonin experiment after about a week as my depression got worse, I had to taper off from Seroxat (Paxil) in order to take the Melatonin but my anger/frustration/anxiety etc came back with a vengence and so I was reluctant to take both Paxil an SSRI and Melatonin, it may just be okay but don't want to risk it. Also Melatonin may effect an auto immune disease that a person may have like Lupus/Arthritis etc, I did read about another guy who did 'cure' his GERD but gained a thyroid disease and has to take meds for it and he says it's cause of the Melatonin intake, but I am not sure, I think the Melatonin could work though, just that I choose at this present time to avoid whilst I am still taking a little Paxil.

One thing I wanted to say and this is a general observation, I went to see a chinese doc (TCM), he seems ok, he said he could fix my problem, but my observation is that the two models are so different, I mean I could on about how chocolate stimulates serotonin receptors in the gut which in turn allow the LES to relax but he would smile and just kind of give e the non verbal vibe of 'no that's not it', sometime we in the west over analize things, could be. I mean chocolate may stimulate serotonin receptors but it could be something else that triggers the LES to relax as well, anyway if chocolate caused havoc on everybody's LES then it wouldn't be as appealing as it is, I mean not all chocolate lovers get acid reflux right?

Anyway he is given e some concotion to fix my liver Qi or the circulation of Liver Qi (Energy) is stagnant, some of the ingredients I saw and know of, chamomile, Licorice, Cang Zhu (A kind of Attractylis, a root herb) and many other herbs that I didn't know. Oh, the interesting thing is that he uses on occasion POISON ingredients, which in the UK and Europe and maybe US are illegal or banned, the idea is to use one poison to kill another poison (I also don't get it, but this is what I friend said) THe liver whcih is connected to the mental anxiety/depression in the TCM model is beefed up or made healthy and strong again and many herbs are used but this guy make use of Scorpion, Poison centipede, poison lizard, and another two couldbe snake and toad, anyway they are the 5 poisons that have talked about since ancient times in Chinese ancient texts.

I think this is BS but so many people come to the pharmacy and it has a western medicine section which many use today and the TCM section, same thing in hospitals here there are western medicine and TCM sections working side by side, strange.

So my observation is that this guy just takes some herbs, scorpion etc to effect a system and treat it holistically and using an 'outdated medical model' but people get better, not sure if it surpases the up to 35% placebo figure but we'll see, I have tried TCM doc here before for 5 months, spent loads of mony and no effect, so I tentatively am trying this doctor cause he uses poison, and not many use poison protein (Scorpion, Centipede).

Actually the centipede is worse than the scorpion here in China, an elderly man was bitten by one of those in the leg and his leg swole up like small football!!!! The idea of using poison is not as drastic as it sounds, the 'poisons' (DU - i think is the term) is from a scorpion that is in no way as deadly as any scoprion from africa or another country so the species is important. One last thing, and this is a bit nasty, whilst in London I tried an experiment or a concoction that make me want to throw up 'till this day, an old chinese concoction for esophageal inflamation and GERD, get 50 spiders (you see even spiders have 'poison' to tranquilise their prey right?)sesame oil and walnut ground to a paste, fry spiders in sesame oil, immedately mix into walnut paste and voila, bonna petit. Actually they tased nice but the thought put me off, a bit like crunchy peanut butter. Yuk!
Avatar universal
Forgive the spelling mistakes, just had a look, just shows that I was in a hurry, my spelling mistakes are painful to read, sorry about that. Should remember to go over and check my posts before sending them.

620923 tn?1452919248

   I understand ur frustration at the Western med system...verses the more holistic approach....if it 's not broke y fix it...hmmmmm

As for chocolate lovers like myself...I really feel we would have to eat quite a bit for it to affect the LES...I eat dark chocolate and not daily or nething like that so I am sure that would not be the first thing to worry about unless u ate it in large amounts....whereas dairy is generally eaten several times a day and can in fact slow the LES so to me, limiting when u ate the dairy may help.

I too have a hiatal hernia, however mine does not slide.The fact u like the more holistic approach, have u looked into diff ways to manipulate ur hernia? I know not all agree with the method...but it may work for some....and may be worth the try...there r some chiropractors that can do manipulations to move the hernia so it is not as bothersome....I have no idea how long the manipulation lasts....but, if in a position to try it or have surgery, I would try it first....surgery will always be my last resort...I have had too many already.

I am not liking ur crunchy peanut butter recipe,.....lol....yuck  : P

681148 tn?1437665191
I understand what you mean.  I have at least been able to stop the PPI meds most of the time.  And, I definitely do the natural stuff first.  I so still have to use an antihistamine to help with the GERD--sometimes.  Still, it's the lesser evil of the two kinds of pharmaceuticals.  Discovering one's food sensitivities beyond the usual things we're told to avoid from the conventional GI's definitely helps a lot.

I have noticed that the magnesium I use for other health conditions helps the GERD, too.  Guess what?  This is something most of us need more of anyway!  Magnesium is used for neurological stuff, such as the migraines, and it's used for the other end of the GI tract, so it makes sense that there is some improvement in the upper GI tract from the magnesium, too.  I've been learning that most of us are deficient in magnesium, so  this is a good thing to tell people.

Since I'm seeing a neurologist, too:  He tells me to take the magnesium supplement in the morning and to be sure to take the calcium supplement at a separate time.  I've been learning that choosing bed time for calcium is what other fields of natural medicine suggest, too.  So, the neurologist--a conventional doctor at that--is definitely onto something.  And, I'm grateful that he wants to choose natural before using the harsher pharmaceuticals.  Especially since I'm particularly sensitive to so many things.

Anyway, I think it's a safe thing to suggest that people can supplement with magnesium to see if it helps with the GERD.
Avatar universal
You seem to have a condition similar to my own.

I've been on and off SSRI medication ('escitalopram') to manage my GERD symptoms, since PPIs just don't work very long and my endoscopies showed bile reflux.
Chocolate also gives me terrible reflux and so does ACV and Betaine HCl capsules. The only other substance that works for me is 'sulpiride' which, as I understand it, blocks dopamine receptors.
I hate the side effects of both these pharmaceuticals and have been searching for years for either a cure or a substitute with no side effects (apathy, lack of interest in things and energy).

If you find a solution, please post some info. :)
Avatar universal
I have heard that using only PPIs is not be good when you have bile reflux. They also do not work. If you have both acid and bile reflux, ... ummm, not sure... things can be different... Ask your doctor if he can give you Domperidone, Ursodeoxycholic acid or other drugs for your bile reflux. Yet I'm not sure. By the way do not give up on drugs because of side effects such as apathy, etc. The effect they give is more important. Bile reflux is not good.
Avatar universal
I have heard that using only PPIs is not be good when you have bile reflux. They also do not work. If you have both acid and bile reflux, ... ummm, not sure... things can be different... Ask your doctor if he can give you Domperidone, Ursodeoxycholic acid or other drugs for your bile reflux. Yet I'm not sure. By the way do not give up on drugs because of side effects such as apathy, etc. The effect they give is more important. Bile reflux is not good.
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