Anyone who also reads The Scribble Pad will have heard of Wooo's experiments with the herb vitex agnus.... After reading all she had to say about it, and looking up more info for myself, I decided it might be a "fit" for me, too. A lot of the things she supplements fit her issues better than mine and I don't choose to try them, but I discovered long ago that one of my lifelong problems has been a shortage of dopamine. Conclusion -- worth experimenting!
So I got myself a bottle of the encapsulated herb from a good company and gave it a shot. Vitex wasn't a bright-light-on-the-road-to-Damascus like glutathione was, but I felt a perceptible lift to the spirits and better motivation. Success. Vitex is an herb worth keeping around.
I added another herb a couple of weeks later, which is also a keeper -- guggul, of which I wrote awhile ago. When I started to experience a little heart-palpitation occasionally, first I asked Wooo if it could be vitex (and consulted WebMD), then I started eliminating things -- I was concerned it might be the guggul, and I didn't want that to be true! But I stopped the guggul and it didn't help. I stopped SAMe and it didn't help. I stopped phosphatidylserine (which I planned to discontinue anyway, when the bottle was empty) and it didn't help. I stopped the vitex and it helped.
Damn. So a few days after the vitex-cessation and I had a few extra stressors come along ... damn again. I haven't felt depression like that for quite a long time! I took a vitex anyway (what's a little palpitation, compared to feeling like life isn't worth living?), and within hours I started feeling better. And no palpitations.
I suspect that my dosage might simply have been too high. I plan to use vitex every other day instead of daily, and see what happens. Assuming all goes well, i'll try the herb in a less-potent form next time I need to re-stock.
The crux of the matter is, vitex agnus DOES seem to boost dopamine, and it does it more effectively than any of the other herbs I've tried. NOTHING else has done for me, mood-wise, what this herb does.
When you're dopamine-deficient, you tend to feel that it's just not worthwhile to do a lot of things -- the reward you receive doesn't make up for the effort expended. Things that you SHOULD enjoy don't make you feel any better, a tiny bit of discouragement puts your mood in the gutter, and thinking about taking a risk shows you downsides and no up. Dopamine from carby foods make it impossible to stop? HAH. In my case, "I get no kick from ..." ice cream. Or cake. Or potato chips. Food-addiction isn't the reason I was chubby as a child, or in my thirties, etc. If you don't get a thrill out of ANYTHING, food ain't gonna help. The distraction of a good book and the numbing effects of alcohol are the best some people can achieve.
So although vitex is not a romance made in heaven (like methylcobalamin and glutathione have been for me), it's definitely a good thing -- kinda like Bogart and Rains at the end of Casablanca -- an excellent partnership.