Under a lot of stress

by CC
(Florida)

Dear Wray, first I would like to thank you for all of this helpful information and great advice that you provide. Recently, I have been under a lot of stress which has turned into anxiety and even severe depresion at times. I am not sure if this is related to my horomones or if I just have an anxiety disorder (which I have been diagnosed with).

Five years ago I was also dealing with a lot of stress and I had my first full blown panic attack and was sure I was going to die. I went to the hospital and they assured me that it was indeed a panic attack and told me to talk to my doctor about antidepressants/anti-anxiety meds. After trying Zoloft I was thrown into the worst depression that I have ever experienced in my life. I immediatly stopped and refused to take anything like that again. Months (seemed like years) had passed and while I was going to therapy, I still couldn't shake the debilitating anxiety and depression. I went from 105lbs to 89lbs and decided to give the medication another try because I felt like I couldn't possibly get any worse than I was at that moment.

I took Lexapro sucessfully for about 2 years. It made a world of difference to me and I felt like myself again. I wasn't depressed or anxious and I did manage to get back up to my original weight but unfortunately, gained an additional 40lbs which looks aweful on a 5'1" 22 year old at the time (everyone kept asking me when I was due). Anyway, after so long I was able to get off of the Lexapro and had been doing fine for the past few years up until a few months ago. I am reluctant to get back on the medication because of the weight gain and also it has become rather expensive since there is no generic version of it.

However, as my symptoms are getting worse, I'm getting desperate for help. I can't afford to experience what I went through before. I was wondering if you think my recurring anxiety could be helped with the Natpro. I keep reading about the havoc that stress does to your horomones and body and was wondering if this could all be related or should I just stick with the Lexapro?

Lastly, I am only 26 years old and have about 30 - 35% grey hair. My mom and her brother both began to grey prematurely. Do you think this is just genetic or is it a horomone thing?

Sorry to ramble but I wanted to give you the entire picture. Any input or advice would be greatly appreciated. Sincerely.

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May 11, 2010
Under a lot of stress
by: Wray

Hi CC. Firstly I don't believe there is such a thing as 'anxiety disorder' normally referred to as GAD or generalised anxiety disorder. There is always an underlying cause, and one of the major factors is stress of any kind. Whether it?s mental, emotional or physical, from environmental poisons, toxic skin care, processed food or drink, or malnutrition, stress causes the body to react in the same way.

It causes the hormones cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline to be released. These three hormones cause the body to shut down, to go on hold, apart from the heart and major muscles, until all 'danger' has been dealt with. So neurotransmitter levels drop, hormone levels drop, the immune system is suppressed and digestion slows down, sometimes stops. Antidepressants recycle serotonin, which is why they can sometimes help. However, its far better to take the amino acid tryptophan to do this naturally. Sugar is another major factor in anxiety, too much in any form causes blood glucose to rise and then crash, causing depression, anxiety, hot flushes, cold sweats, panic attacks and more. Progesterone does help to stabilise blood glucose, so does tryptophan, and taurine too, another amino acid which is also very calming. Also the B vitamin inositol. We do have a web page on anxiety, please have a look at it here. It gives a list of all the nutrients which help. Progesterone is very calming too, plus it raises serotonin levels, so I'm sure it would help. You would probably need a high amount to begin with, I suggest you try 200mg/day, reducing once symptoms have reduced. You might experience symptoms of oestrogen excess, for more info please see here.

Hair colour is determined by genetics. Melanin is made by melanocytes found in the skin and at the base of the hair follicle, melanin itself is made from the amino acid tyrosine. When melanocytes die the resulting hair has no colour, but why they should die no one knows. It's quite possible stress would play a role. Take care, Wray

May 13, 2010
Thank you!
by: CC

Dear Wray, thank you so much for your advise! I will certainly use it all to find what works best for me.

Regarding the 5HTP, I recently tried it and I was on it for about a month. I noticed that I was beginning to have vivid dreams that I could remember with great detail when woke up and I didn't seem to get much better. I also probably over researched it which caused me to have a little more anxiety, especially after reading people's negative side effects. Also, I found a ton of conflicting information regarding the dosage, when to take it, etc. Some say to take it at least 1 hour before or after food and around bed time but the bottle says to take with food. I tried it one evening about 3 hours after dinner and did not like the way I felt (tired and anxious at the same time). Some say 200mg is a high dosage and I've seen others say to take up tp 1200mg! I will give it another try and just use it according to the directions on the bottle and see how I feel. I'll also check out some of the other vitamens and natural remedies that you suggested.

Lastly, I'm going to have blood work done this month on the 19th, 20th or 21st day of my cycle to have all of my horomones checked out. Hopefully this will give some insight as to why I feel this way as I have noticed that my moods and physical symptoms are changing around my menstral cycle from what they used to be.

Again, thank you so much for your help! I'll let you know how I make out. Sincerely.



May 14, 2010
Thank you!
by: Wray

Hi CC. I find 5HTP does not work as well as tryptophan, as you can take too much. Tryptophan is an amino acid, in other words it's found in our food, 5HTP is the second step from tryp to serotonin, which normally occurs in the body naturally. If you can do get the tryp rather, and follow what I've written about it on the anxiety page. It really should be taken away from all other amino acids, as they shunt it to one side. Fine if taken with a carb only meal, but these in themselves are not good as they increase blood glucose too much. Far better to take it with a small amount of carb as I suggest, as this is sufficient to get the tryp into the brain.

A lack of tryp causes one to not remember dreams, so the 5HTP was working to some extent! One girl is taking 1tsp inositol (±3000mg) plus 1 1/2 tsp tryp (±1500mg), not 5HTP, just before she goes to bed and she's now sleeping through the night. Took about a month before they 'kicked' in. Do you have a 28 day cycle? As the 19th, 20th or 21st day would be fine, but if your cycle is longer or shorter, it's not. The test should be done ±7 days before you bleed. So a 21 day cycle would be day 14, and a 36 day cycle would be day 29. Please make sure it's done on the right day. Take care, Wray

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