No more 5-HTP for me (sleep paralysis and lucid dreaming)

When it comes to supplementation for symptom management, you have to listen to your body. 

I started 5-HTP after the advisement of a friend, when my surgical menopause symptoms included insomnia, anxiety, depression and mood swings. The anxiety and depression part were helped by cod liver oil for the most part, but insomnia was fixed by 5-HTP and I couldn't be happier.

The first time I started 5-HTP was an expensive brand with a dose of 100mg a day. That led to feeling drowsy all day long, so I changed it to a smaller dosage of just 25mg a day with a cheaper alternative, and that worked wonders. I was getting quality sleep, while still being able to wake up refreshed and ready to hit my workouts at 3 or 4 am. And it went ok for the 1-2 years I was taking this supplement.

Lately though, I've started feeling drowsy during the day again, but most importantly, the sleep paralysis and lucid dreaming returned with a vengeance (I used to have them on rare occasions when I was sick, overtrained or undereating). And I was having these scary wake up calls often. Needless to say, I wasn't feeling refreshed at all the next morning. I was outright exhausted. 

Now a small search led me to a subreddit where people would take high dosages of 5-HTP to get the lucid dreaming on purpose (why would you do that????). So I was like ok, let's stop it for a few weeks and see where my insomnia is at. 

I can sleep without it now and without the sleep paralysis (that even woke up my husband from time to time, because I would have heavy breathing and chest pains when I was trying to move myself or talk and wasn't able to before the paralysis went away). 

So, I think, along with treating the rest of my menopausal symptoms, I must now successfully have my body producing enough 5-HTP through tryptophan on its own without the need for supplementation. Which is great, because I'm all about living as naturally as possible. 

So what I do I still supplement with? Maca root (organic powder added to my kefir shake, can't find the real vegetable here, and maca root capsules have maltodextrin which suppresses the gut's probiotic bacteria as well as raising blood sugar and insulin, so trying to avoid that as much as I can) and cod liver oil. 

As I've mentioned, cod liver oil helps with depression and mood swings, and even brain fog (I still have the short-term memory loss though, will work on that). And maca root helps with non-existent libido, which was the first symptom I had after my hysterectomy. If I had to guess, I would say my testosterone levels dropped significantly after the surgery (even my lifelong hirsutism is gone!) and maca root helps to boost both testosterone and estrogen a little (which means, if you want a natural testosterone boost to build muscle, maca root is a safe bet).

That's the only stuff I take these days for menopause symptom management. I wish I could cut them out too, because both the cod liver oil and the maca root don't come cheap, but I feel I still need them for the time being (especially the cod liver oil, despite eating fish once-twice a week and getting my omega 3s daily from other sources too, like flaxseed, nuts etc).

I am NOT a doctor, personal trainer, registered dietician, nutritionist, athlete, influencer, nor at the end of my fitness journey. The content of this blog is based on what worked for me and is for informational purposes only, not a replacement for medical advice from a professional. Furthermore, we and our bodies are unique, so everybody is different. My results may not reflect your own. Any action you take upon the information provided by ZenGainz is strictly at your own risk.