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Cassie

Evidence-based natural supplements

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I have access to a lot of high quality medical databases through work, and one of them focuses on evidence-based research for natural herbs and supplements. I thought I would post a list of natural supplements that have been proven effective through clinical trials to treat some of the side effects of Adderall withdrawal, for any scienc-y types out there who want to take a natural approach to health. :)

Note that 'natural' doesn't mean 'safer', that there are no reported side effects, or that you should take it every day for a long period of time. In general, these supplements are safe when taken for short periods of time at a proper dose, providing you don't have an allergy or sensitivity to the substance, or it doesn't interfere with something else (for example, I don't take St. John's Wort because it can lower the efficacy of birth control pills). If you have questions about side effects of a supp, specific brands, interactions with other meds, etc. let me know and I can look it up for you in this professional database. You can also look for products that contain these supplements. Nature's Way makes a lot of them. Also note that most of these have been used for centuries, long before there were pharmaceuticals.

There may be supplements that work for you that aren't on this list - this list is simply supps that have undergone clincal trials and have been shown to be more effective than a placebo. The rating "A" means >2 statistically significant clinical trials have shown supp to be effective (this is the same criteria for a drug to be approved by the FDA). "B" means 1-2 statistically significant clinical trials have shown supp to be effective. I only put As and Bs on here. "C" would mean there's conflicting studies or unclear evidence, "D" that there's some negative evidence and "F" a lot of negative evidence. Here we go:

Cognitive performance

A - caffeine

B - ginseng

Weight loss/appetite suppressant

A - ephedra

B - 5-HTP

B - chitosan

B - conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)

B - DHEA

B - hydroxycitric acid

B - konjac glucomannan

B - Korean pine

B - mango seed fiber

B - salatrim

B - whey protein

Constipation

A - konjac glucomannan

A - phosphorus, phosphate

B - aloe

B - flaxseed

B - psylium

Anxiety

A - kava

B - massage

B - meditation

B - yoga

Depression

A - St. John's Wort

B - DHEA

B - phenylalanine

B - yoga

ADHD

B - zinc

Pain/headaches

A - acupuncture

A - marijuana

B - chiropractic

B - guided imagery

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If something can't be proven with a clinical trial it isn't science-based. Gotta have that kind of proof to be believable. I assume that all the supps with a "B" rating simply have not had as many clinical trials as the "A" rated supps, but they are nevertheless proven to be effective, right? Thanks for posting this Cassie, it is good info.

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Hi quit-once,

You can view the grading system here: http://www.naturalstandard.com/grading.asp

The database is called Natural Standard.

The "B" ones haven't necessarily had less clinical trials than the "A"s. They could have multiple smaller studies showing positive effects, but the small sample size or study design doesn't render it statistically significant. Basically "A" means 'strong scientific evidence' and "B" means 'good scientific evidence.'

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Cassie, what do you know of 5 HTP? I've seen several people on here are taking it and I've not used any. I looked it up online and Web MD said it was potentially unsafe but didn't say why. I want to try it but wanted some more feedback on it first. It's got a B rating as a supplement so I'm guessing it's ok. I just haven't seen a website acknowledge before something being potentially unsafe and it kind of made me stop for a minute before I run out to GNC and buy it.

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5-HTP is a precursor to seratonin. The 'B' rating is the effectiveness, not the safety rating. This is what Natural Standard says about it regarding safety. If you take it I would make it your only supplement as it has the potential to interact with other meds and things.

General: 5-HTP when taken orally is generally well tolerated (71). Mild gastrointestinal side effects have been reported in many trials (17;​18;​19;​20;​23;​24;​25;​26;​30;​32;​33;​34;​35;​36;​38;​51;​55;​72;​73;​74;​75;​76;​77;​78;​79). Tolerability has been noted at doses as high as 1,600mg daily (46) and 16mg/kg daily over 12 months (16). Although 5-HTP appears to be generally well tolerated, due to potential serious adverse effects, such as EMS and status epilepticus, a physician should supervise use of 5-HTP.

Possibly Safe: When used orally and short-term (up to one year) in recommended doses for cerebellar disorders (16) or depression (17). When used orally and short-term (up to 90 days) in recommended doses for fibromyalgia (18); up to four months in recommended doses for headache (19); up to 12 weeks in recommended doses for obesity (20); and up to 12 weeks in recommended doses for psychiatric disorders (21). When 5-HTP 4.5mg/kg daily is used in children for up to four months for headache (22).

Possibly Unsafe: When used orally in certain patient populations. 5-HTP may worsen symptoms of existing gastrointestinal disorders, based on numerous reports of gastrointestinal adverse effects, primarily with intravenous administration (23;​24;​25;​26). When used in patients with HIV/AIDS, particularly HIV-1 infection (27). When used in patients with seizure disorders or those using agents that lower the seizure threshold (28;​39;​94). When used in patients with a history of mental disorders (24;​29;​30), including schizophrenia (31). When used in patients using CNS depressants (24;​26;​32;​33;​34;​35;​36). When used concurrently with antihypertensives (37). When used in patients taking decarboxylase inhibitors (81;​82;​83;​110;​111;​112) and in patients also with bradycardia (45).

Likely Unsafe: When used in patients with eosinophilia syndromes (40) or mitochondrial encephalomyopathy (38), or in infants with Down syndrome (39). When used in patients with suicidal ideation (41). When used in individuals using "party pills" (benzylpiperazine and trifluoromethylphenylpiperazine) (42). When used in patients taking antidepressant medications (TCAs, MAOIs, SSRIs, nefazodone, trazodone, venlafaxine, mirtazapine, bupropion) or any other medications that may affect serotonin (43).

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Not sure if you're looking at the 5-HTP for weight loss or depression, but for weight loss you can try glucomannan. It's a fiber that makes you feel full. I've heard good things about it - I know Nature's Way makes it in capsules. Maybe GNC makes it too, I'm not sure.

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Also, just a tip for looking up supplement info or any other medical info on the Internet: use Medline Plus http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/

WebMD has ties to the pharmaceutical companies and is therefore a less trustworthy source.

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