Good afternoon clydenyc and thank you for your question.
I have used many different types of anti-depressants in the past
(Paxil, Celexia, Effexor, and Zoloft, to name a few) but decided last
year to live prescription medication free. On the advise of my
doctor, I tried a supplement called SAMe, which can be found at most
stores which sell supplements (Walgreen?s carries this supplement). I
highly recommend this supplement if you are looking for a
non-prescription mood enhancer.
Discovered in 1952, SAMe (pronounce ?sammy?) has hailed nothing but
praise from people all over the world suffering from depression. It
has the ability to ease depression as effectively as prescription
antidepressants. Some also say it works faster than antidepressants
and with virtually no side effects.
SAMe (short for S-adenosylmethionine) is a molecule that the body
continually produces to fuel numerous vital body functions.
1. It helps to maintain desirable levels of glutathione, a major
antioxidant that protects against cell damage from oxygen molecules
called free radicals.
2. Taken as a supplement, SAMe compensates for any deficiencies and
encourages the body to run efficiently.
3. It contributes to the formation of key compounds in the brain,
including the neurotransmitter dopamine and the mood-enhancer
"Several studies indicate that SAMe eases mild to moderately severe
depression. A sweeping review of dozens of small clinical trials
(called a "meta-analysis") testing SAMe for depression concluded that
it appears to work as well as the frequently prescribed tricyclic
antidepressants (imipramine, amitriptyline, desipramine) in easing
depression. Just as importantly, it works faster, often starting to
improve mood within a week. This contrasts significantly with standard
antidepressants, whose effects can take several weeks to become
In a University of California study of 17 severely depressed adults,
62% of the participants who took SAMe for four weeks (1,600 mg daily)
showed significant improvements in symptoms, compared to 50% of those
who used desipramine (a conventional antidepressant).
Unlike many prescription antidepressants, which often cause unpleasant
side effects such as drowsiness, dry mouth, and constipation, SAMe
appears to cause few if any side effects."
( http://www.wholehealthmd.com/refshelf/substances_view/1,1525,818,00.html )
SAMe is also known for help in:
1. Treat chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS);
2. Lessening arthritis-related pain and inflammation;
3. Controlling back pain;
4. Reducing fibromyalgia symptoms;
5. Treating hepatitis and other liver disorders; and
6. Protecting against Alzheimer's and age-related brain disorders.
HOW TO TAKE:
Be sure to take a high-quality vitamin B complex supplement along with
SAMe to avoid a toxic buildup of homocysteine molecules (which are
formed when SAMe breaks down.) Vitamin B complex helps to disarm
homocysteine, which in high concentrations poses the risk of various
health problems including heart attack and stroke. It is recommended
that you take 100 mg of a B complex once a day, regardless of the SAMe
If you're particularly sensitive to medications, start out with half
the recommended daily dosage of SAMe and work up to the full amount
after a week.
Take 400 mg of SAMe twice a day. If symptoms fail to improve after
three weeks, try increasing your dose to 400 mg three times a day.
As with any anti-depressant, don't take SAMe late in the day. Most
people report a mild energy boost with the supplement.
Additionally, this supplement is best absorbed on an empty stomach, so
try to take it about one hour before or two hours after meals. Take it
with plenty of water to prevent nausea or heartburn.
CAUTION: If you suffer from severe depression, don't take SAMe
without consulting your doctor first. This precaution is particularly
important if you have a bipolar disorder because SAMe could trigger or
exacerbate mania (the "up" phase) in such cases.
If you're taking prescription antidepressants, don't discontinue them
or reduce your dosage without consulting your doctor.
= = = = = = = = = = =
Another non-prescription supplement known for its ability to fight
symptoms of depression is St. Johns wort.
"Europeans have used the herb for centuries to calm jangled nerves and
heal wounds, among other ills. And so it's not surprising that North
Americans have recently embraced its use as a treatment for depression
and conditions associated with it. Not only is St. John's wort
effective and relatively free of side effects, it also costs under $20
for a month's supply, about 75% less than the most popular
antidepressant drugs. In Germany, where doctors routinely prescribe
herbal remedies, St. John's wort is the most common form of
antidepressant--more widely used than the drugs Prozac or Zoloft
because it has far fewer side effects."
( http://www.wholehealthmd.com/refshelf/substances_view/1,1525,824,00.html )
Much like SAMe, St. John's wort appears to boost levels of the brain
chemical serotonin, which affects the emotions.
"Different studies of St. John's wort concluded that the herb works
better than a placebo in the treatment of mild to moderate
Source: Linde, K. and Mulrow, C. D. St John's wort for depression.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2000; (2):CD000448.
* * * * *
"Because it helps promote sound sleep, St. John's wort is particularly
beneficial for those who suffer fatigue, low energy, or insomnia as a
result of depression."
Source: Friede, M.; Henneicke von Zepelin, H. H., and Freudenstein,
J. Differential therapy of mild to moderate depressive episodes
(ICD-10 F 32.0; F 32.1) with St. John's wort. Pharmacopsychiatry. 2001
Jul; 34 Suppl 1:S38-41.
* * * * *
"It may also aid in treating depressive elements of chronic fatigue
syndrome and seasonal affective disorder (also known as SAD or
"wintertime blues"), a type of depression linked to the shortage of
daylight in the fall and winter."
Source: Kasper, S. Treatment of seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
with hypericum extract. Pharmacopsychiatry. 1997 Sep; 30 Suppl 2:89-93
* * * * *
St. John?s wort is known to effectively treat the following conditions:
1. Relieves mild to moderate depression;
2. Controls certain PMS and fibromylagia symptoms;
3. Eases anxiety, stress, and chronic pain;
4. Wards off infections; and
5. Relieves hemorrhoids.
HOW TO TAKE:
For depression, take 900 mg a day--either a 300 mg pill three times a
day or a 450 mg pill twice a day.
St. John's wort takes some time to build up in the blood, so allow at
least four weeks to see if it works for you. It can be used long term
Unlike SAMe, St, John wort should be taken with meals to reduce the
risk of stomach irritation.
DO NOT take with conventional antidepressants, such as Prozac and
Zoloft, without consulting your doctor. Although rare, serious
adverse reactions have been reported from the combination.
Because St. John's wort and oral contraceptives are broken down and
used by the body in the same way, the effectiveness of the oral
contraceptives may be compromised.
For a list of drug interactions, please see (
= = = = = = = = = = =
Adderall contains amphetamine and dextroamphetamine, which are
stimulants. It is used to improve attention span, increase the
ability to follow directions, decrease distractibility among children
ages three and older, and decrease impulsivity, stubbornness and
While there are supplements that help with attention span (ginkgo
biloba, which can help mental decline and optimize brain function due
to ginkgo's ability to increase blood flow to the brain and ginseng,
which can help improve concentration) I doubt you will find any
supplement that mimics what amphetamine and dextroamphetamine can do,
such as one that decreases impulsivity, stubbornness and aggression.
Ephedra is typically used to treat colds, asthma, and other
upper-respiratory disorders and has been since 3000 B.C. by the
Chinese. While ephedra helps lessen congestion by dilating (opening
up) bronchial and nasal passages, it also speeds up the heart rate,
raises blood pressure, and has a diuretic effect.
Ephedra contains two active compounds (called alkaloids), ephedrine
and pseudoephedrine. These are powerful stimulants, stronger than
caffeine but weaker than amphetamines or the hormone epinephrine
(adrenaline), which the body releases in anticipation of a stressful
situation (the "fight-or-flight" response).
The use of ephedra has become quite controversial in the past. High
doses of ephedra have been linked to serious health problems,
including heart attack, stroke, and even death. This has happened
primarily with products used for reducing weight, enhancing athletic
performance, and boosting energy.
While some people experience no side effects at all, many people have
serious reactions such as an increased heart rate (even at recommended
doses), nervousness and insomnia (at higher than recommended doses),
high blood pressure, stroke, seizures, as well as sudden death. Among
the less common side effects are dizziness, loss of appetite, nausea
and vomiting, muscle cramps, tingling, headache, kidney stones, and
difficult or painful urination.
I would suggest that you talk to your doctor, or perhaps even a
pharmacist to see what they would suggest in place of adderall.
I hope this answers your question. If you need any further
clarification before rating, please do not hesitate to ask!
( http://www.rxlist.com )
( http://www.healthtouch.com )
( http://www.wholehalthmd.com )
( http://www.webmd.com )
Google Search Strategy & Terms
Supplements similar to adderall
( ://www.google.com/search?hl=en&lr=&q=supplements+similar+to+adderall )
Clarification of Answer by
28 Sep 2005 13:29 PDT
Might I inquire why you are looking for something fast acting? Are
you self-treating depression? Do you need something to help you
concentrate better to cram for a test? Perhaps if I know the
background, I could advise you better. Otherwise, please see they
Another supplement I forgot to mention (and you think I would have as
I drink the tea form all the time!) is Kava Kava. I drink this
because I have aggravated depression and am bipolar. As part of my
medication-free life, I had to find alternatives to help ease my
nerves and this works well for me and is inexpensive.
"Kava Root's effects are often compared to standard sedatives due to
its unique action on the CNS (Central Nervous System). The body
absorbs Kava Kava very quickly, which helps to provide fast-acting
natural sedation, making Kava, along with St. Johns Wort, one of the
most popular anxiety herbs on the market. The initial effects begin
with a relaxed, more sociable state of mind and a heightening of the
A recent meta-analysis of clinical studies found Kava Kava to be more
effective than placebo for helping to relieve anxiety related symptoms
and also indicated that Kava Kava extract was as effective in
relieving generalized anxiety disorder as the popular prescription
Source: The Health Center
( http://www.thehealthcenter.info/alternatives.htm )
"Studies have shown that Kava Root provides fast-acting sedation."
Though I cannot find any study that says for sure that SAMe is the
fastest acting supplement for the treatment of depression (mood
enhancer), I do find many articles stating that it *might* be the
"The results suggest that oral S-adenosylmethionine is a safe,
effective antidepressant with few side effects and a rapid onset of
Source: Entrez PubMed
* * * * * * * * * *
"SAMe's anti-depressant effect begins anywhere from immediately to 5
weeks. Most patients benefit within 4 days, which is faster than most
"Clinical Studies Support Efficacy, Safety and Quick Action - In 1987,
the University of Alabama and the University of Trieste (Italy), along
with BioResearch S.A. (which manufactures SAMe) sponsored a symposium
on SAMe. The purpose of the meeting was to gather all the data
together on using SAMe as a treatment for neuropsychiatric disorders.
Among the papers presented were the results of a study done at the
University of California at Irvine on 18 patients hospitalized for
depression. In this study, intravenous SAMe was compared to oral
imipramine (Tofranil). The researchers found that 67% of the SAMe
patients had 50% or greater improvement by the 14th day of the study,
compared to only 22% of the patients given imipramine.
SAMe has also been compared to desipramine (Norpramin), amitriptyline
(Elavil), and chlorimipramine in placebo-controlled, double-blind
studies. According to one meta-analysis of these studies, 92% of
patients responded to SAMe, compared to 85% for the tricyclics. SAMe
has also been compared to amoxapine (Asendin), maprotiline (Ludiomil),
and trazadone (Desyrel)."
Source: LEF Magazine, April 1997 - S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe) Part
2: Fast-Acting Natural Antidepressant
( http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag97/april-report97.html )
* * * * * * * * * *
"There is evidence that SAM-e may be the fastest acting, safest and
most effective antidepressant available."
Source: Health-Market Place.com
( http://www.health-marketplace.com/SAM-e-400mg.htm )
* * * * * * * * * *
"Has antidepressant action equal to, and faster than FDA-approved
drugs, and is essential for the synthesis of melatonin."
"...faster-acting with fewer side effects than other antidepressants,
and SAMe is safe."
( http://www.health-n-energy.com/same.htm )
* * * * * * * * * *
Having tried SAMe, St. Johns wort and Kava Kava, I would suggest Kava
Kava (tea form) for or SAMe for fast acting. Try both and see how
they compare. Remember, everyone?s body is different thus absorption
and longevity may not be the same in everyone. For instance, I can
take ¼ of any pill and it has the same effect on me that a whole pill
would have on you.
If you choose to research some of this on your own, be aware that
there is a ?personal? study out there on something called
gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB). I would suggest staying away from this
drug as it was banned by the FDA in 1990.
"GHB was sold in health food stores as a performance enhancing
additive in bodybuilding formulas until the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA) banned it in 1990...GHB became a Schedule I
Controlled Substance in March 2000."
Source: Whitehouse Drug Policy
( http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/publications/factsht/gamma/ )
This person?s ?research? states:
"Though it seems it is not yet widely known or accepted (even
scientific research on this aspect of GHB is currently very rare, but
it is there!), it is the most effective and fastest acting
antidepressant so far (!!)
It does not take you weeks of agony before it MAY do 'something' (like
ALL common anti-depressants); instead, it takes effect within half an
hour, and in a way you may not believe until you've tried if/when
you're depressed. First of all, it takes away a huge amount of stress
You can see everything this ?research? has to claim at:
( http://www.a1b2c3.com/drugs/ghb_02.htm )
Please be aware, however, that this person clearly states:
"I am NOT a psychopharmacologist, but I DO have experience with
several (if not many) drugs, I read a lot about them. Consider it a
Just because they read about them does not make them an expert. I
would highly suggest you stay away from it.
I hope this clarification meets your expectations. I would be happy
to search further if you have any other questions.