TMAU and Depression


I have had symptoms of TMAU since I was a child, tested positive at 17, and symptoms got much better after age 21. For the last 18 years, I have been mostly symptom-free.

My question has to do with depression. It seems like I have always been depressed. Not sure if it is because of the fish odor symptoms during my early years, or if it is actually a symptom of TMAU. It's like a chicken and the egg issue - what came first?

I've seen a couple of therapists to try to improve my moods. The first one diagnosed depression and put me on various antidepressants, none of which seemed to work. One even made me want to kill everyone else, instead of myself. My current therapist has diagnosed me with Bipolar 2. The Lithium she prescribed for me has taken away the suicidal thoughts (which I thought would NEVER go away.) The 2 other drugs are supposed to improve my moods, but they also seem to do nothing.

Has anyone else had this experience? Is there any research documenting reasons why TMAU patients may be more susceptible to suicide or depression? Particularly, does this research give a "plan of attack" that I can give to my doctors or therapist to get some relief from the depression?

Thank you for any assistance or advice you can share.


created Jan 16 '09

2 replies


Hi Dan
Hope someone has responded to you before now.I think many of us must have been through depression, and GP's suspecting we're paranoid - because we go to see GP & tell them about the very bad smells that engulf us all of a sudden & we've not had flatulence that we've felt, not wet ouselves or soiled ourselves. Then they cannot smell anything wrong & detect anything so they think we're imagining/exagerating the smells, and feeling overly sensitive about overhearing other people complain about us. I also have IBS & gastro specialist said we can all get flatulence upto 40 times a day, so think its no big deal, but if it was just flatulence we'd have the chance to try & hold it in til we go to toilet at work etc.! If TMAU has been diagnosed/recognised for years how come many doctors are just blind to the fact, and fail to realise the patient really is suffering & certainly not imagining that colleagues at work shun & dislike them because of a smell. It really is a nightmare situation, and more publicity of TMAU is needed. Smelling things that 'are'nt there' can be your mind playing tricks on you, so if the doctors can't smell anything they think you're imagination is playing tricks on you. Of course when you get to see GP you can go after work & you've suffered a strong smell event there, but nothing happens whilst in his surgery, or if you've had a day where you smell of poo/sick at a constant lower level all day, you still have to go to work, but then cannot get the GP appointent that day.....

created Mar 11 '10

Hello Dan,
When I was in my early 40's I took overdoses of multiple drugs, I guess I"m lucky someone found me and called 911. I woke up in the hospital and was released to a mental health facilty. I thought my attempt was due to the odor thing which totally consumed me but, since then I have had similar feelings, the only things that keep me from trying again are my 2 children and 5 grandchildren. Dan I believe it's not just the smell thing. I think it is one of the symptoms of tma. I would like to see you get well completey and enjoy your smell free life.
Question: Have you told your primary care doc about your early years with tma?? I think you should be tested again, not regarding the odor since God blessed you with it leaving but see if there are trace elements that have lingered,only to a small portion, which could cause these type of suicidal feeling. Please try this.
One of my doc's put me on prozac and the suicidal feeings were worse. I started taking vit. supplements that I researched on the internet and have not had anymore death thoughts. Although I am still cursed with the odor problem that the dr.'s say doesn't exist, I no longer feel as though I want to kill myself. I will be praying for you as you see your doctor for further testing and help.
God Bless You, Little Bit

created Apr 30 '10
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  • In Trimethylaminuria
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