A mom posted wonderful feedback on a recent blog post on ADHD and 5-HTP, sharing how how tryptophan has helped her daughter in ways that didn’t even realize were an issue. She was shocked to see so many improvements and she called it a miracle experience. Here is the feedback Kathy shared:
We had a “miracle” experience with adding L-Tryptophan 300mg at bedtime for my teenager. I was shocked to see how much it improved my child, especially in ways that I didn’t even realize were an issue.
- The results were like my teenager coming out of a fog, and also like my child was when she was younger.
- She became more engaged with the family and did a lot less isolating.
- She suddenly had interest in activities she had never pursued before. For instance, she wanted to start playing team sports after having played nothing for years. She wanted to do family game night! Before, we couldn’t force her to do it, and now it was her idea.
- Her thoughts seemed to quiet down and were more organized.
- Her OCD [obsessive compulsive disorder] and anxiety symptoms lessened.
- She became more goal oriented and focused on school.
- She laughs and smiles more!
We were most shocked because what we thought was normal teenage development was actually depression that we had no idea was there.
Tryptophan has been the most effective supplement we have ever used, and we have used a lot. We experimented with the dose until we ended up on 3 at bedtime. The brand we used was the Lidtke L-Tryptophan.
This did not cure her ADD [attention deficit disorder], but definitely improved her executive functioning. We tried GABA and saw no improvement with that. We have tinkered with L-Tyrosine, but haven’t been able to get on a steady dose of it yet to see if it will also help.
Thank you for giving us the idea to try!
I thanked Kathy for sharing the wonderful results her daughter has experienced with the Lidtke Tryptophan and how happy I was for both of them! I love all the surprise benefits she saw and appreciate this feedback: “This has been the most effective supplement we have ever used, and we have used a lot.” I hear this a lot – tryptophan and GABA are game-changers for so many of my clients.
I have these questions I posed to this mom and hope to hear back as I feel these answers may be helpful for other parents and practitioners who work with children and teens:
- Did she use 3 x chewable 100mg tryptophan or did they open the 500mg capsule
- What did the trial look like for them to end up with 300mg at night?
- What made her decide to trial tryptophan instead of 5-HTP?
- What made you decide to even trial tryptophan – was it her daughter’s anxiety and OCD?
- Was her daughter willing to trial tryptophan initially or was there resistance?
I’ll report back once I get Kathy’s feedback.
Updated Feb 26, 2021: Kathy’s additional feedback
I read all your blog articles and listened to some of your talks. I made a chart of symptoms and then decided to try GABA Calm first.
Since that didn’t help, the next logical choice for us was Tryptophan. My daughter has a lot of anxiety, intrusive thoughts and other OCD symptoms. The reason I didn’t trial the 5HTP first was because my daughter has some PTSD like startle responses, and since you said it isn’t good if you have high cortisol, I just made the guess that she might due to her startle response.
With the Lidtke brand, we used the [500mg] capsules and I did not open them up. My teen would not have gone for that because she already takes a lot of supplements and medication because she is being treated for Lyme and Bartonella. She is cooperative with taking all the supplements/medication. We started at 1 capsule a night for probably 5 days and saw no difference, then went to two for another 5 days, and then landed on 3 when we noticed the dramatic change.
Even her LLMD [Lyme literate MD] was shocked at how differently she interacted with her in our last appointment.
Normal teenage development or really depression?
I also have to wonder how many other parents would say this after addressing low serotonin levels in their daughters and/or sons: “We were most shocked because what we thought was normal teenage development was actually depression that we had no idea was there.” I suspect the number would be high, especially given the growing incidence of anxiety and depression in teens.
Also, according to the ADAA/Anxiety and Depression Association of America “80 percent of kids with a diagnosable anxiety disorder and 60 percent of kids with diagnosable depression are not getting treatment.”
Nutrition and nutrients like tryptophan have a huge role to play because, according to a 2017 Medscape article, psychotherapy, antidepressants, or a combination of the two show no significant differences in outcomes or remission at 5-year follow-up and most children experience relapse.
Now that Kathy has seen these wonderful changes in her daughter, I’d love to know – if she could go back in time – what questions would she have asked her anxious and depressed daughter so she could help her with solutions sooner?
And what would she suggest to other parents to be looking out for in order to identify anxiety and depression in their children (who often cannot adequately articulate that they do feel anxious and/or depressed)?
If you’re new to tryptophan and low serotonin symptoms
In case you’re new to tryptophan, it is an amino acid that is used as a supplement to support low levels of serotonin. With low serotonin we the worry-in-your-head and ruminating type of anxiety, panic attacks and phobias, lack of confidence, depression, negativity, imposter syndrome, PMS, irritability, anger issues, insomnia and afternoon/evening cravings.
My thoughts on addressing the ADD/inattention issues
Here are my thoughts for her as a starting point for helping to address her daughter’s residual ADD/inattention symptoms:
- When someone does well with tryptophan at night, we often trial 5-HTP in the day too. As I shared in a recent blog, this mom shared how 5-HTP melts helped with ADHD symptoms one of her adopted kids was experiencing. She also called it a miracle!
- A tyrosine trial may also be worth considering because low catecholamines lead to poor focus and feelings of calm focus are reported with tyrosine. However we also see low energy, low motivation and depression with low catecholamines which no longer seem to be an issue – so I’m not sure if tyrosine would help.
- L-theanine may work better than the GABA they tried. Research shows it helps with cognitive function specifically improvements in verbal fluency (especially letter fluency) and improvements in executive function (planning, multi-tasking etc).
- With inattention issues it’s also key to look at low blood sugar, gluten and sugar consumption, low iron, low zinc and low omega-3s.
- If there was hyperactivity with the inattention then we’d look at salicylates in the diet as they can cause behaviour issues. This doesn’t seem to be the issue but a big clue would be red cheeks and ears that are not from the heat.
- Consider the Ayurvedic herb Bacopa monnieri which has been shown to improve “visual perception, impulsivity, and attention” in children and adults.
- Consider the herb saffron (Crocus sativus) which has “memory-enhancing and antidepressant effects” and has been shown to be as effective as Methylphenidate/Ritalin.
I love hearing heartwarming stories like this and I am sharing it here to inspire and offer hope!
Please do share your success story on the blog so we can all learn from each other, as well as inspire and offer hope.
How has tryptophan helped you or your child? What has helped with inattention?
Feel free to post your questions and feedback in the comments below.