If you have trouble sleeping through the night (or even have anxiety or panic attacks), finding the nutritional/biochemical root causes and addressing them is going to provide relief but it’s not always straightforward to find your root cause or causes (there are often more than one). Also, what works for you today may not work for you in 2 years time and may not work for your friend who has similar symptoms. You have to be a detective yourself and/or work with a health professional who can put all the puzzle pieces together.
I recently read a Facebook comment where someone was really frustrated about all the trial and error work that may be involved:
I’m just so tired of all this trial and error work trying to figure out why I’m anxious and depressed can’t sleep more than 4 hours a night. It’s been going on way too long I just want answers and a solution to all this. Enough already!
While I feel for this woman, I do acknowledge that it can sometimes be challenging to put all the puzzle pieces together. Other times we are able to figure things out very quickly. I’d like to share some feedback from Lorraine on the tryptophan-PMS-anxiety blog to illustrate how one small change made a big difference for her and it was a matter of trial and error.
Lorraine shares her great results with this Tryptophan Complete tweak for her insomnia:
Trudy, after listening to your talks about Lidtke Tryptophan I decided to give the Tryptophan Complete a try. I’ve taken one capsule each on the last two nights instead of two of the Tryptophan 500mg caps. Both nights I slept straight through all night and had a hard time waking up in the morning. I’ve struggled with insomnia for many, many years. The 500mg Lidtke Tryptophan supplements were helping but I was still waking up during the night. For me to sleep all night is almost miraculous.
I’ve been also taking Progesterone (low on testing), Magnesium, L-Theanine and Melatonin.
I recently added phosphatidylserine, and Holy Basil because saliva testing showed high cortisol at bedtime and off the charts high in the morning. I’m hoping to start eliminating some of those other supplements now that I’m sleeping so well.
I want to thank you for the Anxiety Summits and your book and updates on Facebook and newsletters. I have learned so much from you!
I’ve blogged about which product to use for boosting serotonin: Tryptophan 500mg or Tryptophan Complete (by Lidtke)?. I share this
- I like to have my clients do a trial of the amino acidsso they can find the ideal dose for their needs and right now I still feel this would still be the best approach to take – using 500mg tryptophan. Once you have figured out you do well with tryptophan-only product and have your dose, then consider reducing it slightly after about 2-3 weeks and adding in additional Tryptophan Complete.
- The other option is this: if you don’t get the expected results with Tryptophan 500mg, then try the Tryptophan Complete. You may need the other ingredients for it to work well for you.
Lorraine chose to do the latter – switching to Tryptophan Complete – since she didn’t get ideal results with Tryptophan 500mg and it worked for her. I will add that even though she slept straight through all night, I don’t like that she had a hard time waking up in the morning and when that happens, I recommend less tryptophan. It’s very possible that the ideal combination would be 1 x Tryptophan 500mg and 1 x Tryptophan Complete (my first suggestion).
Here is my quick commentary on the other products she’s using for her insomnia:
- Progesterone and theanine: Testing progesterone levels are important before using progesterone. Both theanine and GABA support GABA production and when GABA is low, we often see low progesterone. With both low GABA and low progesterone, sleep and anxiety can be worse.
- Magnesium: This mineral is commonly low and is needed to make both serotonin and GABA.
- Melatonin: This is made in the body when there is sufficient serotonin and may not be needed long-term once she has good levels of serotonin (which the tryptophan product/s are helping her make).
- Phosphatidylserine and holy basil: High cortisol is a common root cause of both insomnia and anxiety and saliva testing is an excellent way to confirm this. Phosphatidylserine can be used to lower high cortisol although I have found even better results with a phosphorylated serine product called Seriphos. Holy basil or tulsi is an adaptogenic herbal product that provides adrenal support helping with sleep problems and easing anxiety and stress.
In Lorraine’s case, her insomnia was caused by low serotonin (hence the need for tryptophan, melatonin and magnesium), low GABA/low progesterone (hence the need for progesterone, theanine and magnesium) and high cortisol (hence the need for phosphatidylserine and holy basil).
She shares she’s hoping to start eliminating some of these other supplements now that she’s sleeping so well. So, this would be another trial and error approach, stopping and/or reducing one at a time and seeing how she does. Or she may well find she needs to continue with everything for some time.
As you can see, for Lorraine it was a matter of trial and error to find her solution, but it was well worth it to get the “miraculous results” she experienced: sleeping though the night for the first time in many years!
Some of these products may work for you but it’s going to be a matter of trial and error to find your root cause/s and solution.
In case they are relevant for you, these products mentioned in this blog can all be found in my online Fullscript store:
- Lidtke 500mg Tryptophan (with additional information here)
- Lidtke Tryptophan Complete (with additional information here)
- Melatonin (with additional information here)
- Holy basil /tulsi (with additional information here)
- Interplexus Seriphos (with additional information here)
I’d love to hear how you’ve used a trial and error approach either on your own or with the help of your practitioner to find the nutritional solution for your insomnia and/or anxiety?
If you’re a practitioner, please do share an example of how you’ve used this approach with a client or patient.
If you’ve had frustrations with this trial and error approach, please share them too.
Feel free to post your questions here too.
Additional Anxiety Resources