Skip to main content


Log in

Burnout syndrome: the effects of serotonin precursors

  • Original Research
  • Published:


‘Burnout syndrome’ is a progressive mental process whereby individuals are unable to adapt to prolonged and excessive stress at work. The main features of the syndrome are physical and emotional fatigue, depersonalization and frustration with ineffective professional and personal implementation. The first studies carried out in the 1970’s showed that this condition is much more common in the social professions employing teachers, doctors, nurses, social workers and police officers. Currently, the Maslach Burnout Inventory (MBI) is the most important medical research tool for diagnosing level of burnout. Treatment of burnout depend on the severity of the syndrome. In severe forms, in addition to socio-occupational cognitive behavioural therapy, the approach also includes drug treatment with benzodiazepines and antidepressants, particularly the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.

The present clinical study evaluated the effectiveness of a nutraceutical product developed in a high-technology formulation containing the metabolic precursors of serotonin and which has been used in previous clinical trials on the treatment of slight to moderate depression. The results in the present study demonstrated the effectiveness of the treatment in subjects with burnout syndrome, especially regarding their mental state, by evaluating the degree of burnout using the MBI scale and self-assessment motivational scores.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Kaschka WP, Korczak D, Broich K (2011) Burnout—a fashionable diagnosis. Dtsch Arztebl Int 108:781–787

    Google Scholar 

  2. Maslach C, Jackson SE (1981) Maslach Burnout Inventory (“Human Services Sur”). Consulting Psychologists Press, Palo Alto, CA

    Google Scholar 

  3. Maslach C, Schaufeli WB (1993) Historical and conceptual development of burnout. In: Schaufeli WB, Maslach C, Marek T (eds) Professional burnout: recent developments in theory and research. Taylor & Francis, New York, pp 1–16

    Google Scholar 

  4. Maslach C, Jackson SE, Leiter MP (1996) Maslach Burnout Inventory manual, 3rd edn. Consulting Psychologists Press, Palo Alto, CA

    Google Scholar 

  5. Maslach C, Schaufeli WB, Leiter MP (2001) Job burnout. Ann Rev Psychol 52:397–422

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  6. Freudenberger HJ (1974) Staff burnout. J Soc Issues 30:159–165

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Freudenberger HJ (1982) Counseling and dynamics: treating the endstage person. In: Jones JW (ed) The burnout syndrome. London House Press, Park Ridge, IL

    Google Scholar 

  8. Hobfoll SE, Shirom A (2001) Conservation of resources theory: applications to stress and management in the workplace. In: Golembiewski RT (ed), Handbook of organizational behavior, 2nd ed. Marcel Dekker, New York, pp 57–80

    Google Scholar 

  9. Weber A, Jaekel-Reinhard A (2000) Burnout syndrome: a disease of modern societies? Occup Med 50:512–517

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  10. Maslach C, Leiter MP (1997). The truth about burnout. Jossey Bass, San Francisco, CA

    Google Scholar 

  11. Schaufeli WB, Enzmann D (1998) The burnout companion to study and practice: a critical analysis. Taylor & Francis, London

    Google Scholar 

  12. Schaufeli WB, Buunk BP (2004) Burnout: an overview of 25 years of research and theorizing. In: Schabracq MJ, Winnubst JAM, Cooper CL (eds) The handbook of work and health psychology, 2nd edn. Wiley, Chichester, pp 383–425

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  13. American Psychiatric Association (2000) Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders, 4th edition, text revision

    Google Scholar 

  14. Karasek RA (1979) Job demands, job decision latitude, and mental strain: implications for job redesign. Admin Sci Q 24:285–308.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Siegrist J, Peter R (2000) The effort-reward imbalance model. In: Schnall P, Belkic K, Landsbergis P, Baker D (eds) The workplace and cardiovascular disease. Occup Med 15:83–87

    Google Scholar 

  16. Rossati A, Magro G. (1999) Stress e burnout. Carocci, Rome

    Google Scholar 

  17. Hillert A, Marwitz M (2006) Die Burnout-Epidemie oder brennt die Leistungsgesellschaft aus? CH Beck, Munich

    Google Scholar 

  18. Von Känel R (2008) Das Burnout-Syndrom: eine medizinische Perspektive. The burnout syndrome: a medical perspective. Praxis 97:477–487

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Stankov BM, Georgiev T, Gervasoni M, Fauteck JD (2007) Controlled-release formulations containing tryptophan and/or 5-hydroxytryptophan. A controlled clinical trial for mild and moderate depression. Nutrafoods 6:13–18

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  20. Stankov BM (2008) Controlled-release formulations containing tryptophan and/or 5-hydroxytryptophan: EP 1 637185 B1.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Gerev V, Pannacci M, Stankov BM, Fauteck JD (2012) Precursori della serotonina a rilascio controllato studio clinico in fumatori depressi in sovrappeso. L’Integratore Nutrizionale 15:23–27

    Google Scholar 

  22. Ahola K, Hakanen J, Perhoniemi R, Mutanen P (2014) Relationship between burnout and depressive symptoms: a study using the person-centred approach. Burnout Res 1:29–37

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Bianchi R, Boffy C, Hingray C, Truchot D, Laurent E (2013) Comparative symptomatology of burnout and depression. J Health Psychol 18:782–787

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Bianchi R, Schonfeld IS, Laurent E (2015) Burnout–depression overlap: a review. Clin Psychol Rev 36:28–41

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Marilou Pannacci.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Gerev, V., Pannacci, M. & Fauteck, JD. Burnout syndrome: the effects of serotonin precursors. Nutrafoods 14, 189–195 (2015).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: