I am wondering if I can take 5HTP if I am also taking methylfolate? I am tapering off lexapro…was on 10mg and tapering very slowly, now on just 1mg everyday. I take 400mcg of methylfolate three times daily, so 1,200 mcg total per 24 hours. Can I add 5HTP to this while completing my taper and taking the methylfolate? The methylfolate has been really helping but I notice a little breakthrough depression and am wondering about adding the 5HPT or tryptophan?
You are on the right track! Many people suffering from depression have a “methylation defect,” which makes it difficult to manufacture ‘happy’ neurotransmitters such as serotonin. To correct this, you are using methylfolate to provide a methyl group. Be sure to also take B12 lozenges at least 1000 mcg daily since that is often low too. You also need 5-HTP or tryptophan to make serotonin, so adding either would be useful. Be careful not to take it too close to the medication – separated by at least 3 hours – since there is a theoretical possibility of too much serotonin called “serotonin syndrome.” Bottom line: I have had many patients successfully wean off SSRIs like Lexapro using this program of nutritional support. I discuss getting off medication in The Addicted Brain and How to Break Free. For a more general look at neurotransmitters and how they are made and operate in the brain, see my free ebook, Reclaim Your Brain