My Journey with Parkinson’s … A Natural Approach: Post 133 … Be Wary of 5-HTP and L-Tyrosine

amino acidBased on the recommendation of a blog reader, I recently read The Mood Cure, by Julia Ross. It is a book about overcoming depression and other mood disorders resulting from neurotransmitter imbalances by taking amino acid supplements. An example would be, 5-HTP [hydroxy-tryptophan], the amino acid which is converted to serotonin. Another is L-Tyrosine which converts to dopamine.

Reading the book and learning about the miraculous recoveries of patients at Ross’ clinic left me feeling excited about the potential for helping me recover from my own neurotransmitter imbalance [PD], but at the same time, apprehensive. If these supplements lead to such miraculous recoveries, why isn’t every neurologist on the planet recommending them? And I’ve read too many stories about supposed miracle cures that weren’t miracle cures for me.

In any event, I decided to try 5-HTP and L-Tyrosine. I followed the instructions in the book and not only did I not experience any positive effects in 10 minutes or even several days, I actually felt worse [tired, irritable], to the point where I started feeling panicky. So I went off them. Within a day I was feeling better and the panicky feeling went away, so I was pretty sure it was the supplements. To be certain, I decided to try them again a couple of weeks later and almost immediately I felt unwell, so I stopped taking them right away.

I don’t know why I experienced such an adverse reaction. I checked several websites, including one that recommended both supplements for treating the symptoms of PD, but found nothing. There is one possible explanation. According to Russell Blaylock, author of Excitotoxins, head injuries can damage and compromise the blood-brain barrier. The BBB acts as both filter and firewall, preventing harmful substances or excess quantities of friendly substances from entering brain cells. I have had at least three major head injuries, so it’s possible that my BBB isn’t intact and therefore, my neurons were overwhelmed. This also might explain why I have reactions to many other substances, especially sugar. Whatever the reason, the bottom line is, exercise caution if you’re considering taking amino acid supplements.

Otherwise, have an awesomely optimistic day!


38 comments on “My Journey with Parkinson’s … A Natural Approach: Post 133 … Be Wary of 5-HTP and L-Tyrosine

  1. Thanks for the caution, I also, have had several serious head injury episodes, and have often wondered if they were a contributing factor, to my getting PD.

    • Hi Rebecca. There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that head trauma is a contributing factor. Michael J Fox and Muhammad Ali both experienced head trauma as have many blog visitors. That’s why it is so important to minimize stress and eat healthy foods in order to help the brain heal.

      Have a blessed day!

    • I want to comment on Fred’s experience with Amino’s. If you do not take the whole gamut of Amino’s together it’s no wonder you did not experience positively what they can do for you. I have been taking them all together for several years for hormonal and menopausal symptoms of depression, etc., and recently added more Tyrosine to my regimen to help treat the “imbalance” in my brain, that was diagnosed a few months ago. They all work together–just as one needs to take all B vitamins together in order not to get an imbalance in B’s, and so too with Amino’s. I studied nutrition for years and eat a healthy diet along with vitamins, but it was my counselor partner who discovered what Amino’s can do for depression, alcoholism and several other imbalances. Just recently we found out that one of the ingredients in most PD meds is Tyrosine. However not enough to do the real good that it can do along with its siblings the other amino’s.
      I have been inspired by your journey and have also chosen the natural route along with encouragement from my DO and my Holistic nutritional training. My D.O. told me if I had not been so healthy to begin with it would’ve been worse or earlier onset. I am 68 and up to several months ago road my bike 20 miles a day and hiked and all the outdoor stuff I wanted. I completely believe that I will recover and part of it is cuz of my supplements, attitude, spirituality and all the love and support from friends and my partner. I also believe because of your inspiration. But DO get the Amino’s Complete by NOW and start taking them 4–6 a day and increase if needed, but no more than 10 a day. Do you take CoQ10? My D.O. recommends it and 5HTP twice a day–however, 5HTP is better at night cuz it can cause drowsiness. Do you do Qi Gong? I just started and my instructor is paying special attention to me and doing things for me… 🙂
      Keep on keepin’ on, Fred, we can do it!! Thanks for your inspiration!!
      Cynthia Rucryst

      • Thank you so much for all of this information Cynthia! I was very disappointed with the reaction I had to 5-HTP and L-Tyrosine after what I read in The Mood Cure, but I will give Aminos Complete a try and see how I do with it. I do not take CoQ10, although I did try it about a year ago. I practice Chi gong everyday and I love it. I had noticed several benefits already [more energy, stronger, better appetite and I feel great when I’m practicing … almost no symptoms].

        Wishing you an awesome day!

      • Thanks Fred and Cynthia, I have been taking the L-Tyrosine along w/ 5-HTP and NAC (n-acetyl cysteine) but I went ahead and ordered Amino Complete as recommended. Excited to see if there maybe more improvements!

        All the Best,


      • Hi Fred, I hope you’re doing well. So far I’ve been doing Great on the Amino Acids and 5 HTP! I am taking Pure Amino Replete powder along with the Pure 5 HTP, this is a high quality brand that I get through a health professional. I can really tell a difference In how I feel physically and emotionally. I ran out of it recently and it was like night and day! I take 2 scoops of powder one in the am and one pm, I take extra L-Tyrosine with it as well. This and Qigong have had the biggest impact on me so far. Does it get rid of all my symptoms? No, however the pain goes away, rigidity is less, and my mood is considerably elevated, I can manage it better and can function at a higher level throughout the day. Here’s a link:

        All the Best,

      • That’s awesome to hear Nancy! Are you also practicing Qigong and laughing a lot? If not, I would urge you to do so. It might be all you need to do in order to start eliminating the symptoms you are experiencing! Have a blessedly awesome day! Fred

      • Hi Cynthia,
        Could you share how you are doing? How helpful is the protocol you mention, what supplements at what dosages you are using currently and what are your improvements on them?

  2. Hi Fred, I have been reading your blogs for sometime now. I really appreciate your generosity in sharing your experience with PD. I have PD and like you I was doing the raw fruit protocol by Dr. Morse. After 10 months I really saw how it was aggravating my symptoms. The worst being the painful rigidity of muscles which really interfered with sleep. I had heard about the amino acids from John Grey who claims he has reversed symptoms of pd.

    I started taking these around Thanksgiving and noticed it helped with the rigidity and pain and most of all Sleep! I’m still shakey but I feel like my symptoms are more manageable. I take these along with NAC. I was going to recommend you try these but I see you already have 🙂 I understood that you don’t just take them by themselves that you need NAC and some proteins to help assimilate them. I did have a few episodes of irritability as well but subsided after awhile. The irritability was still better to deal with than the rigidity, for me anyway. I must also mention I am doing the Qi Gong too as inspired by Bianca Molle. These 2 new additions have had a positive impact. I am still maintaining a raw food diet as well just not 100 percent fruit. Bless you and thank you for sharing, we can Heal!


    • Hello Nancy. Thank you so much for your message and the link to John Gray’s blog. I wish more people who have recovered from any neurological condition would tell their story. The more we know the better!

      What is NAC?

      Keep practicing Qigong! I love it and I’m really starting to see its benefits and why it was so instrumental in Bianca Molle’s and Howard Shifke’s recoveries.

      Have an awesome day!

    • Hi Fred – I like your site and was excited reading about the positive results on the amino acids trial…evertheless, as a PWP, I am just wondering if there is any drug interactions with the PD meds I am currently taking – Azilect, Mirapex and C/L-DP. Appreciate you or anyone can share this!


      • Thank you for your message Bill. I don’t take medication so I’m afraid I can’t help you with this one. Hopefully, someone else can. For whatever reason, I had a bad reaction to the amino acids, so I’m not an advocate. Cheers! Fred

  3. Thanks for this info Fred. I also had a couple of head traumas.Must say I really enjoy your upbeat blog.Wishing you a swift and complete recovery!!!

  4. Thanks Fred, I really enjoy your blog, and it’s good to know there are others out there who are battling this baffling and frustrating condition, as it can feel like a lonely place sometimes. I try not to envy other people moving effortlessly. Greetings from a glorious summer in New Zealand.

    • Thank you so much again Rebecca! Blogging has far surpassed my expectations as relates to connecting with people and sharing information! Wishing you a fantastic day from the great white north where it was -25 Celsius this morning! Brrrrr!

  5. Hi Fred, thank you for sharing your experiences during this battle with PD. With great interest (being PWP myself) I am following your blog and really enjoy reading your updates. I have read some positive reviews on 5-HTP and L-Tyrosine as suplements used to aleviate PD symptoms, however never bothered to research what these amino acids really duing.
    5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), also known as oxitriptan (INN), is a naturally occurring amino acid and chemical precursor as well as a metabolic intermediate in the biosynthesis of the neurotransmitters serotonin and melatonin from tryptophan.(Wikipedia)
    L-Tyrosine is the precursor of the catecholamines; alterations in the availability of L-tyrosine to the brain can influence the synthesis of both dopamine and norepinephrine in experimental animals and probably in humans. (
    Looks like these amino acids are messing up not only with dopamine but with other neurotransmitters, producing possible negative effects. Make sense…
    Good luck in your journey! Keep us posted…

    • Thank you Natalia! Yes, I agree, PD is the result of far more than just a dopamine imbalance [inflammation, acidosis, weakened immune sys, unhealthy gut, etc], which is why the primary objective of treatment must be to return the body to homeostasis!

      Blessings on your day!

  6. Hi Fred, I have just recently been diagnosed with PD(five mths ago) although i have had the symptoms for two years I,m taking madopar 25mg for the tremors twice a day. but my biggest problem is depression can you or any of your readers offer any help on how to deal with it .I,m from Australia the 40 deg heat we are having at the moment does not help Thank you for sharing your journey it helps to know that they are others out there who understand

    • Hello Kay. Thank you for your message. I understand your condition. The depression you’re experiencing could be caused by one of or a combination of three things: the madopar, the chemical [neurotransmitter] imbalance in your brain or your thoughts. There are a few things you can do to deal with this condition. First, I would urge you to consider discontinuing the madopar [slowly, and under the supervision of your neurologist]. It may be the sole cause of the depression, but you won’t know until you get off of it. There are many other ways to manage and minimize the tremors, including bodywork [osteopathy, reiki or Body Stress Relief], acupuncture and exercise, particularly Qigong. Second, I would recommend taking up Qigong. Bianca Molle and Howard Shifke, who both recovered from parkinson’s, attributed their recovery largely to Qigong. Check out the link below to the blog I recently posted about qigong. Third, practice positive self talk. Say to yourself every day, several times a day, “Bianca Molle recovered from parkinson’s, so I can recover from parkinson’s, god wants me to recover from parkinson’s and I will recover from parkinson’s.” This will help create new neural pathways in your brain which will aid in your recovery.

      I hope this helps Kay and please let me know if I can help you in any other way.
      Best wishes,

      • Thanks Fred, it does help. I was taking 1/2 a madopar three times a day my neurologist said to up it to a whole tablet. well that’s when the fun began if i had had a gun i would have shot myself. My head was dizzy i felt like i couldn’t breath and felt so depressed yes the madopar certainly can cause depression. but in my case the depression started about the same time as the PD symptoms I think a lot of my problems are from thoughts so I do need to work on that.. Have you read the book the wahls protocol and minding my mitochondrica they are my bible Terry wahles cured her secondary progressive multiple sclerosis with diet, if you have read them let me know what you think if you haven’t I highly recommend that you do thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly.
        Good bless

      • In that case, I would recommend checking out Teal Swan on youtube. She is incredibly insightful.

        My diet is very similar to the Wahl’s diet. I agree, I like her approach, although I haven’t read her book!


      • Something else you might want to consider Kay. Journaling! Each day, right down in a journal, ‘What experience or thought is at the root of the depression I’m experiencing?’ Then write down whatever follows. Whatever experience or thought you record, remind yourself that it is just a thought. It is not real! Forgive whomever you need to forgive and modify this mantra to fit the circumstances … ‘To the best of my knowledge, Jesus was happy. So I can be happy. God wants me to be happy. And I will be happy.’

        Again, I hope this helps!

  7. Thanks again for all your help Fred ,I know what has caused all my stress, and I believe the PD. six years ago my husband developed prostate cancer, he had the operation to remove it but after 12mths it came back then two years ago my daughter developed breast cancer so for six years I have been living with this stress. I knew that my immune system would suffer and that I would develop some type of disease the body just can’t keep going for that long under stress. I’m going to take your advice and start Qigong.
    Thanks again

    • That’s awesome that you made the connection with the long-term stress Kay and equally awesome that you are going to be taking up Qigong. Based on what I’ve experienced so far, it is very powerful! Don’t be surprised if there isn’t some unresolved childhood trauma at the root of your condition as well. It certainly was the case for me.

      Have a blessed day!

  8. Once again I emphasize what I commented about on Amino’s in my reply to Fred’s caution with them. Please read it and reconsider, because they DO help!
    Have a great day…

  9. My D.O. recommended CoQ10 for energy and the heart muscles, which I had found to be expensive in previous years, but have found a more reasonably priced one as of late. She recommends 300 mg daily…
    What I have learned is that our “health imbalances” are very different from one another, just as are we, and no two people with the diagnosis will be able to do exactly the same thing. But we just experiment and find what works for us! I am in awe of all of you pioneers, and myself, in not accepting what “they” say and choosing a more natural, alternative route–the road less traveled, as it were. Hoooooooraaaaaaaaaaay for us and keep the faith, babies!!!

    • Yes, that is one of the reasons I stopped taking CoQ10. It is quite expensive, especially considering everything else I’m taking. And yes, I agree, we are all different! It’s all about returning the body to homeostasis using whatever approach works best for each individual. And yes yes, holistic is the way to go!

      Have a blessedly awesome day!

  10. Fred, have you heard of Mucuna Pruriens? It is an Ayurvedic medicine or herb I just found out about. It seems it has been used for a very long time for PD and is a natural form of L-dopa and far less harmful w/nasty side effects! I believe I was led to this info and just want to share. There are sites about it and its efficacy on the net and it does not appear to be very expensive… Keep on keepin’ on and anyone else who has heard about it you can contact me and let me know…!

  11. Hi Fred, I was diagnosed with P.D on April 1, 2014. Im taking carb/levo and the side effects which is called dyskinesia has been debilitating. I would love to try something different. help please! and God bless.

    • I am so sorry to hear that Jodi. Is there any reason why you cannot get off the medication or the very least, reduce your dosage? Have you spoken to your neurologist? Unfortunately, I have no experience taking medication, so I cannot offer you direct guidance. I use meditation, exercise, qigong and a strict diet to minimize the symptoms I experience. I will send you Bianca Molle’s e-mail. She was able to discontinue her medication through an intense qigong practice, so she may be able to help you. I hope this helps and I wish you many blessings! Fred

    • Hi Jodi/Fred, I have had PD for the last 5 years and I’m on no meds. Along with a vegan diet I started doing Targeted Amino Acid Therapy (TAAT). This is a natural option for treating PD symptoms. Carbidopa/Levodopa deplete Serotonin which will lead to symptoms of depression and ultimately dyskinesia. (TAAT) delivers the nutrients your brain is lacking in balanced proportions. Alleviating all symptoms, stopping the progression and sometimes reversing it entirely with no debilitating side effects. There are therapists out there that use Dr. Marty Hinz protocol specifically for PD. The only down side to it is it takes time and can be somewhat costly but the results are worth the effort! I am had wonderful results in the 3 months I’ve been doing it; It’s worth looking into. Here is a youtube video and a link that can give you an idea as to how it works. Best of luck in your journey!

      All the Best, Nancy

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