5-HTP and St Johns Wort

5-HTP and St Johns Wort – Do They Work Together?
5-HTP and St Johns wort, both are dietary supplements, sold as treatment for depression. Individually both the compounds serve well as antidepressant medication. However, numerous studies have been conducted on the dosage that includes both the compounds. They are sold as dietary supplements because both medicine are obtained from a shrub like plant and is considered an herbal remedy in contrast to a conventional drug. The medicines are easily available as over the counter medicines.
What is 5-HTP and St Johns Wort?
St Johns wort is a perennial plant that grows in temperate climate. The yellow color flower and leaves of the plant contain compounds like Hypericin, Hyperiforin, xanthones and bioflavonoids that has medicinal value. It belongs to the hypericum genus. It is differentiated by the technical name hypericum perforatum. Hypericin and Hyperiforin elements have an antidepressants effect on the nervous system (neurotransmitters). Although they cannot cross the blood brain barrier, they utilize certain chemical mediators to enter the cerebrospinal fluid and affect the neurotransmitters.
5-HTP is a type of amino acid that is obtained from a plant called Griffonia simplicifolia. The climber plant is particular grown in Central and West Africa. 5-HTP is obtained from the seed of the plant. It bears greenish color flowers with black color pods extending forward. 5-hydroxytryptophan works as a chemical precursor in the biosynthesis process of the neurotransmitters melatonin, serotonin and tryptophan.
5-HTP can enter the blood brain barrier but cannot directly influence the neurotransmitters. 5-HTP aids in the process of biosynthesis (a process catalyzed by enzymes in the cells of living organism that help convert substrates into complex substance) of serotonin. Hence, it requires mediators like vitamin B6 and aromatic L amino acid decarboxylase to decarboxylate into serotonin, which then has an antidepressant effect.
Comparison 5-HTP and St Johns Wort
5-HTP and St Johns wort are known to treat mild to moderate depression. Individually they are not effective in treating severe depression cases. Therefore, a combination of both may provide a boost and can be a good herbal supplement to conventional drugs that cause major side effects. However, overdose of the same can result in fatal serotonin syndrome. Serotonin syndrome develops when 5-HTA1 and 2A brainstems becomes overactive.
5-HTP causes the serotonin level to increase. Along with serotonin, endorphins in the body are also increased. This helps improve symptoms like depression, anxiety, weight loss, fibromyalgia, premenstrual syndrome, insomnia, headaches etc.
Similarly, St Johns wort also aids in curing depression, headaches, premenstrual syndrome, anxiety etc via the same cytochrome P450 metabolic trail. Hence, there is possibility that both the supplements might interact with drugs like anticoagulant, HIV drugs and anti-convulsants. However, overindulgence or intake of multiple antidepressants can cause unwarranted increase in the activity of neurotransmitters that could lead to issues like confusion, blood pressure, tachycardia and neuromuscular abnormalities as hyperreflexia.
Certain controlled studies have revealed that 5-HTP and St Johns wort work better compared to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or placebo. Individual research shows that to avoid or control the side effects of taking 5-HTP and St Johns wort together. Intake of both the dietary supplements alternatively is more effective and has fewer or no side effects. St Johns wort pills are usually available in 300mg dosage and 5HTP is available in 50 to 100 mg dosage. Therefore, taking St Johns wort dosage on one day and alternating 5HTP on the next day shows faster improvements in depression and anxiety symptoms.
Factors like present medical condition and current medicinal prescriptions should be considered before starting the dietary supplements. Although the supplement can be taken as a home remedy, it is recommended that a medical advice be taken if both, 5-HTP and St Johns wort are to be taken together.
Meta Description: The article considers the implication of 5-HTP and St Johns wort dosage. It provides a detailed definition and comparison of both the drugs.