Dic Carlson, Here is why tryptophan i... - Restless Legs Syn...

Restless Legs Syndrome
12,052 members7,624 posts

Dic Carlson, Here is why tryptophan is better than 5-HTP

Just in case you look into Julia Ross's book The Mood Cure, and just in case you decide to give 5-HTP a try - I am including an update, as it were, by Julia Ross herself. In her book, published 2002, she recommends 5 HTP quite a bit, tho she does say that for some people it is stimulating and leads to sleeplessness (tho she does not explain why), in which case she advises tryptophan. I have come up with 2 articles by her, which were written more recently, that explain why. She says the 5 HTP raises cortisol, whereas tryptophan does not, so that in a person with high cortisol in the middle of the night, 5 HTP is not the thing to take. Here is one, from 2011. www.juliarosscures Eliminating the Top Causes of Insomnia

Now I myself understand why sometimes 5 HTP backfired and kept me awake most of the night. Tryptophan is much better.

Just thought I should pass on this info in case you decide to give any of this a try.

6 Replies

Thanks, Lauraflora - I have tried both 5HTP and Tryptophan - not really any help for me. I keep going back to the beginning, iron dysfunction in the brain and it's the relation to electrolytes and Glutamate/GABA balance.


I found I had to take about double the amounts recommended. I mention this as, if I had not taken more (and kept this up for a few weeks,) it would not have worked. But then it did work and I was sleeping very well and able to cut down to only one or two (until trouble in the form of that sciatic nerve set in.) So that is what I am doing again, and while it is slow going, it seems to be working.


Upon seeing this suggestion, I very recently added Tryptophan 1,000 mg 2/3 times in evening/night along with a very low .44 dose of pramipexole and it does seems to settle the legs/back pain along with helping me to sleep with no side effects. Hoping this might help anyone searching for some relief.


I suggest that you also read more specifically about tryptophan and how to take it safely. It (as well as 5HTP and St.John's Wort) should not be taken with drugs that are for SSRIs, as they can together cause serotonin syndrome, meaning too much serotonin which can be a very serious hazard. I don't know about pramiprexole, as I do not take any drugs from my RLS. so you should find this out. I think, for safety sake) it is an either/or thing, maybe not both, at least if one is doing this themselves. I would hate for any of my info to steer anyone wrong. There is a chapter in Julia Ross's book The Mood Cure that addresses the subject of combining SSRIs with the amino acids she uses (tryptophan being one of them) preferably with a doctor, and about excess serotonin.

The other thing to keep in mind is that in replenishing one's serotonin level, one will be able to cut down taking tryptophan (or other) after a while - could be a few days, a week, or longer, depending. One would not take it continuously. She writes about that and how one can determine when.

I really suggest you do this with more official info to refer to, not just with my recommendation. Her book is available on Amazon; as well, she has info on line. Please look into this.

I have found her book and the protocol she recommends quite useful and very helpful, so I am not at all saying that it is particularly dangerous - just that you should get all the information so you will be informed.


Thank you for this info. I will check this out. I have cut it down to 500 only as needed when my legs/low back are bad. It has helped my legs/back to relax at night and lessen the pain to allow sleep. My GP said Tramadol also increases SSRI and should not be combined with a low dose of antidepressant because of serotonin overload. I can assure I will only proceed after I carefully check this out.


Thanks for your reply, and good luck. The better informed one is, the better the outcome.

1 like

You may also like...