Does anyone else with severely low serotonin (based on symptoms and genetic test results including 5HT and SERT mutations) have strange reactions to ashwagandha?
I started taking ashwagandha (600 mg per day) to raise my non-existent testosterone (I’m a 30-something female) because, with MTHFR C677TT, my endocrinologist will not approve pellet therapy due to the risk of blood clots.
Ashwagandha makes me very relaxed. Unfortunately, it also causes depression and extreme hunger along with weight gain. I have been unable to find any source that explains the mechanism. I can’t even find a source that talks about side effects. Everyone whose comments I’ve read says ashwagandha is a miracle supplement, and they feel fabulous after taking it. I do take 5-HTP, which works wonderfully for the symptoms of low serotonin, but again, I can’t find anything that indicates they interact with each other.
I don’t believe I have low serotonin, but Ashwaganda does make me very sleepy and depressed, I don’t recall if it increased my appetite… 5-htp makes me hyper active , so much so I can’t think clearly, which is paradoxical as far as thats concerned from what i read. If you’re having issues with Ashwaganda, maybe you could try Mucuna Pruriens?.. it raises testosterone as well. Though it works more on dopamine and epinephrine than it does on serotonin.
I don’t have a paradoxical reaction to ashwagandha specifically, but I’ve had such reactions to other supplements, including CoQ10, MSM, and Vitamin D3.
In my experience, paradoxical reactions often occur when you’re missing cofactors. In the case of CoQ10, I needed to increase my lecithin intake. For MSM, I needed to take more vitamin C. For D3, I was deficient in Vitamin A. (I tried to explain to several doctors that Vitamin D3 caused severe whole-body flushing, but my levels were dangerously low when I started supplementation, so I reduced my dose and tried to cope. They had never heard of a reaction to Vitamin D before, and I was not allergic to any of the inactive ingredients.) I discovered that natural sources of vitamin D also have Vitamin A, and the lightbulb when on in my head. I have a mutation that prevents beta carotene from being turned into Vitamin A, and I’m allergic to fish. When I added small doses of “real” vitamin A, the flushing stopped.
I haven’t been able to determine what the cofactors are for ashwagandha. It may also be that you have a CYP450 mutation that affects ashwagandha metabolism, or you may be taking another supplement or drug that affects ashwagandha metabolism. If you have a thyroid issue, it may also cause issues with ashwagandha. Have you been tested for hypothyroidism?
When I take ashwagandha, it makes my insatiably hungry. I could suddenly eat a horse. I find it odd, since this herb is supposed to cause weight loss. For that reason, I only take it when I’m coming down with something, like a cold.
I know exactly what you are saying. I can take either licorice, ashwagandha, cordyceps, ginseng, vitamin C, magnesium glycinate, etc. early in the morning and it will make my mind race (as well as body) all night long. I seem to have a paradoxical reaction to everything. Even fasting makes my blood sugar go up (cortisol response to low blood sugar). Even vitamin D gives me anxiety.