Here is some information and links for you re L-theanine, glycine, and 5-HTP (I'm thinking that we talked about theanine and 5-HTP, but glycine might be interesting to you too.)
1. L-theanine for Insomnia Relief
L-theanine is a non-protein amino acid. It can be effective for reducing anxiety and also for improving sleep.
Dosage according to doctors Mark Stengler, James Balch, and Robin Young Balch in Prescription for Natural Cures:
- 200–250 mg 2x/day for anxiety (2)
- 200–500 mg for sleep (half-hour before bedtime) (3)
Look for supplements that say they contain L-theanine (not D-theanine).
Here's a couple of sources for L-theanine.
Sports Reseach Suntheanine 200mg capsules
2. Glycine for Insomnia Relief
Glycine is a calming neurotransmitter. Supplementing with glycine can reduce anxiety and improve sleep.
Authors of a glycine/sleep article in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology begin their report of research with this statement (4):
"The use of glycine as a therapeutic option for improving sleep quality is a novel and safe approach."
Dosage recommended by Dr. Darley, ND (1):
- 3 g before bed
For example, you would take 3 capsules of Thorne 1000 mg (1 gram) Glycine
5-HTP is one step in the chemical sequence that creates the feel-good neurotransmitter serotonin. Increasing 5-HTP appears to increase serotonin.
Dr. Timothy Birdsall, ND’s review of 5-HTP research details many relevant studies including:
- several studies in the 1980s and ’90s that found 5-HTP to be as good as pharmaceutical medications for reducing depression, and
- a placebo-controlled study of fifty fibromyalgia patients showing that those given 5-HTP had significantly better improvements in all parameters examined, including pain, sleep, and anxiety.
CAUTION: 5-HTP is contraindicated with some medications.
5-HTP supplements may create an unhealthy doubling-down if combined with antidepressant, pain, or migraine pharmaceutical medications (especially SSRI or MAOI antidepressants like Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Nardil, or Parnate). Creating too much serotonin by combining 5-HTP with these medications/supplements is theorized to possibly cause Serotonin Syndrome with symptoms of agitation, confusion, rapid heart rate, and blood pressure fluctuations. Drugs.com has a more complete description of these potential interactions.
5-HTP is said to help with migraines, which are throbbing headaches that are often accompanied by nausea or disturbed vision.
While their exact cause is debated, some researchers believe they are triggered by low serotonin levels
One study in 124 people compared the ability of 5-HTP and methysergide, a common migraine medication, to prevent migraines
It found that supplementing with 5-HTP daily for six months prevented or significantly decreased the number of migraine attacks in 71% of participants
In another study in 48 students, 5-HTP produced a 70% decrease in headache frequency, compared to an 11% decrease in the placebo group
Similarly, many other studies have found that 5-HTP may be an effective treatment option for people with migraines
5-HTP Supplements Dosage
The Prescription for Natural Cures says to take 50 to 100 mg three times per day for fibromyalgia. (page 301)
Nutrition Essentials for Mental Health says 50 to 100 mg once per day for depression.
The recommended dose for 5-HTP depends on your reason for taking it.
Here are some general guidelines to get you started:
- Weight management: 250–300 mg, 30 minutes prior to a meal
- Mood enhancement: 50–100 mg, 3 times per day with meals. Use for at least one week to notice a beneficial effect
- Fibromyalgia symptom relief: 100 mg, 3–4 times per day with meals. Use for at least two weeks to notice a beneficial effect
- Migraines: 100–200 mg, 2–3 times per day with meals. Use for two to three weeks to notice a beneficial effect
- Sleep aid: 100–300 mg, 30–45 minutes before bed.
Here's a couple of examples (both talk about it helping with sleep :