RSSNovel nutritional strategy for depression

Posted on Mon, 4 Dec 17

Novel nutritional strategy for depression

A nutritional strategy designed to correct deficits in serotonin production and brain bioenergetics was found to help women when anti-depressant drugs couldn’t. 

Women are twice as likely to experience depression when compared to men and are often resistant to treatment with anti-depressant drugs, which is why a new study that tested a novel nutritional approach that may offer an effective treatment alternative. 

In a clinical trial, they tested the effects of creatine monohydrate and 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) in women with major depressive disorder (MDD) who had failed selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) drug therapy. 

Creatine has previously been shown to help women with ‘treatment resistant’ depression or people not responding to drug treatments. Creatine is thought to work by improving brain bioenergetics and function. 5-HTP, in contrast, is a nutritional precursor to serotonin. The study investigators hypothesized that using the two nutrients together may be complementary or synergistic. 

Over an 8-week period the women took 5 g of creatine and 100 mg of 5-HTP twice daily. At the end of the study their depression scores declined from 18.9 down to 7.5, a decrease of 60%. 

This study provides preliminary evidence that combination treatment with 5-HTP and creatine monohydrate may represent effective adjunctive treatment for women with MDD who have responded inadequately to SSRIs or SNRIs for at least 8 weeks,” concluded the study authors. “Given the limitations of this small, open-label trial, future study in randomized, placebo-controlled trials is warranted.”


Kious BM, Sabic H, Sung YH, et al. An Open-Label Pilot Study of Combined Augmentation With Creatine Monohydrate and 5-Hydroxytryptophan for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor- or Serotonin-Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor-Resistant Depression in Adult Women. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2017 Oct;37(5):578-583.

Tags: Depression, Creatine, Tryptophan, Mental Health

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