Several other brain-related disorders besides depression are related to low serotonin, including autism, ADHD, bipolar disorder, sleep disorders, and schizophrenia (3).
Do so only if you are working with a knowledgeable health care professional. Tryptophan: Tryptophan might seem like a logical serotonin supplement to try first since tryptophan is a precursor of serotonin.
Together, they can cause too large an increase in serotonin, which can result in a potentially serious condition known as serotonin syndrome. Tryptophan is an amino acid commonly found in protein-rich foods like animal products.
It’s particularly helpful for Parkinson’s and schizophrenia patients who also have depression (14).
SAM-e should not be mixed with drugs that affect serotonin release such as levodopa, Demerol, or Ultram, or the over-the-counter cough remedy Robitussin DM (15).
Tryptophan supplements fell out of favor when a contaminated batch from Japan caused thousands to fall ill in the 1980s.
For decades, manufacturers shied away from selling this supplement, but it’s now readily available and widely known to be safe.
But SSRIs can have serious side effects and don’t work for everyone, possibly up to 40 percent of those who try them (1).
Some research shows they work no better than a placebo (2).
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): Vitamin B6 must be present to facilitate conversion of either 5-HTP or tryptophan into serotonin (17, 18).
Often 5-HTP or tryptophan supplements also contain B6 for this reason.
5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan): 5-HTP could be considered as either an amino acid or herbal supplement.