PMS & Depression: There is help!
Research has now discovered that many women have serotonin levels that are lower than usual in the two weeks prior to her menstrual cycle. Of course, doctors often prescribe antidepressants for these symptoms, BUT there are natural herbs for PMS that may relieve mild to moderate symptoms of depression! Note: Do not use these along with prescription antidepressants without your doctor's supervision.
What has been found: A severe form of PMS with accompanying depression affects about 10% of all menstruating women. For these women, their levels of serotonin circulating in the blood stream are lower than normal.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter. It transmits important signals between nerve endings in the brain and the body. Serotonin is very crucial in regulating mood. It is also crucial to keeping appetite normal and the regulation of sleep cycles. People with low levels will commonly suffer from depression.
What can be done to raise serotonin? There is a natural product created from the seeds of an African plant that contains an element found to be a precursor to serotonin. The body can actually use it to create serotonin. It is called 5-HTP and is available over the counter as a dietary supplement. You can combine 5-HTP with other natural products known to help relieve PMS symptoms. These include: Black cohosh, chasteberry (also known as Vitex), and red clover.
Is this you?? Unexplained sadness or crying, sleep disorders, loss of your zest or interest in life and enjoyable activities? If your depression occurs in the 2 weeks leading up to your menstrual cycle and are usually relieved when you begin to menstruate, then it is most likely caused by the changing hormonal levels that we associate with PMS. (If these symptoms persist throughout the month without any seeming relation to your menstrual cycle, then it is not classified as PMS depression.)
Experts do not believe that using natural herbs for PMS relief will interfere with any prescription medications. However, do not mix 5-HTP with antidepressants as this can lead to a condition called serotonin toxicity. Antidepressants do not raise serotonin per se, but rather they keep the small amount of the serotonin you are making circulating over and over in your body without being discarded. If you raise your serotonin levels using 5-HTP, all of this serotonin will keep circulating rather than being discarded and serotonin poisoning could possibly occur. By the way, this is why antidepressants really do not “work” in my viewpoint. They are NOT raising serotonin. That is why when you discontinue them, you go back to Ground Zero and feel just as bad as when you started. So….you go back on them. I strongly encourage you to give 5-HTP a try!