Which Is Better For Relaxation, Phenibut or GABA?

Phenibut and GABA may sound like obscure ingredients, but rest assured these two supplements may be the answer to your everyday stress and anxiety. So, what exactly is a phenibut and what’s so great about this GABA stuff? Let’s find out.

GABArelaxation supplements

Very similar to an amino acid, GABA is the chief inhibitory transmitter in humans and plays a role in a number of things ranging from anxiety levels to muscle tone regulation. Phenibut is a derivative of the naturally occurring inhibitory transmitter GABA that crosses the blood-brain barrier and may have better results than GABA alone. Both are very similar in the benefits they provide, but different in their composition. Phenibut is the more expensive option and has consistently performed better than GABA in most research, but there is one downfall to the derivative; users build a high tolerance quickly.

While GABA may not produce as strong as an effect it has been shown to perform consistently with the same dosage over a long period of time. In contrast phenibut research tends to lean towards the notion that a tolerance can be built rather quickly towards the supplement. Additionally, increasing your phenibut dosage too rapidly to seek the results you were experiencing before can lead to health risks as well as developing an extremely high and unnatural tolerance.

Generally GABA supplements have been shown to be the safer and more consistent supplement in recent years, although the derivative phenibut has consistently outperformed its counterpart in most clinical studies. While this may lead some to jump on the phenibut train regardless of the high risk of building a strong tolerance others will choose the “slow and steady” route with GABA alone. Ultimately the choice is up to the individual and should be made with careful consideration for both the beneficial and adverse effects involved.

Phenibut’s High Bioavilibility

Unlike GABA, phenibut has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier which may be the factor that separates the two supplements in effectiveness. Because GABA is synthesized in the brain and doesn’t cross this blood-brain barrier the power of its effectiveness as an oral supplement may be limited.

Simply put, phenibut is the more effective option for relaxation when it comes to the two supplements but it does have its drawbacks. With a high risk of developing a strong tolerance it is strongly recommended that users cycle phenibut. Some even go so far as to cycle off phenibut with GABA so as to extend the calm and relaxing demeanor that can come from these two supplements.

Phenibut vs GABA

In the end the choice is yours but if I had to determine a verdict in regards to which is better for relaxation I would say start with GABA and move on to phenibut as you progress. As always pay attention to your supplements packaging for dosing information and pay attention to your bodies individual response.

Sources:

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23391959
  2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22891435

 

Valerian Root vs Melatonin

It can be difficult in this high-stress world to find a way to wind down and relax at the end of the day.  Because of this difficulty, many people end up with poor sleep quality, stressed moods, and an overall feeling of being overwhelmed.

Luckily, there are some ways that you can take the bull by the horns and change how you relax after a hard day.  When it comes to natural relaxation and sleep aids there are two supplements that stand out among the rest: valerian root and melatonin.

Melatonin

For starters, melatonin is a naturally-occurring hormone in all living plants and animals, although it serves a different purpose in each.

For mammals, melatonin is the hormone that, in combination with circadian rhythms, helps to regulate and normalize sleep patterns. Research has shown melatonin is beneficial not only with helping to regulate sleep but also to decrease anxiety, alleviate headaches, and more.

While melatonin is naturally produced in the human body, sometimes your melatonin levels become imbalanced so supplementating it can go a long way to improving sleep. Now let’s take a look at valerian root.

Valerian Root and High Stress

The root of the valerian plant has been supplemented for a very long time (we’re talking 16th century long time), and has served many different purposes over the years.

Today, valerian root is a common supplement for those who are looking to curb anxiety, reduce stress, and fight sleeplessness. While melatonin is a hormone found in the human body, valerian root certainly is not, therefore it works in a much different way.

Through binding with GABA (A) receptors via valerenic acid, the valerian root extract is able to exert most of its effects. While this may not mean much to you, it is important to note that valerian root is working in a synergistic manner with your brain and its constituents.

Most research involving valerian root has been focused on its ability to lower anxiety levels and it has shown that the extract does act as an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety).

In addition, research involving sleep and and lack thereof has shown to be promising but ultimately inconclusive. Interestingly enough, the most profound and conclusive effect found to stem from supplementing valerian root is its ability to induce lucid dreaming, although this study involved a rather high dosage.

Sleep and relaxation supplements are not by any means in short supply, but when it comes to natural options that have been studied and proven to be effective, melatonin and valerian root really hit the nail on the head.

The facts are there now it’s up to you to decide which one is right for you. Remember always pay attention to the packaging of your supplement for dosage instructions and make sure you always listen to your body, because if you don’t who else will?

Melatonin and Valerian Root: Where to Find the Best Quality?

Valerian Root and Melatonin are fairly common supplements and can be found at many health-food or drug stores.  Therefore, the prices are standardized in the industry.  At most, you may pay a dollar or so more from store to store.

However, quality can vary greatly.  Many less-than-ethical companies will use low quality supplements in order to boost their profit margins.  Because of this quality difference, it is important to use a supplier that features third-party testing.  Third-party testing uses an unbiased tester to assure quality and purity of supplements.  Some sites use third-party testing on some supplements but not all of them.

Melatonin vs Valerian Sources:

  1. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20347389
  2. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18036082

 

Relaxation Supplements: Top 5 for Sleep and Relaxation

Getting enough sleep and rest are two very important links in the chain when it comes to fitness, and too often their importance is overlooked. Some people may have trouble getting to sleep at night while others may suffer from poor time management. Simply put, recovery is just as important as nutrition or training when it comes to being the best you can be. While getting as much natural rest as possible should be your goal, sometimes you need a little push in the right direction. I’ve broken down the top 5 supplements to aid in sleep and relaxation to help you get the best recovery possible and supercharge your next workout.relaxation supplements

  1. Melatonin Benefits

    • Melatonin is a hormone secreted in the brain that regulates sleep. In two separate studies long term supplementation of melatonin has shown to decrease insomnia and regulate sleep in both older adults as well as youth. The supplementation of melatonin has not shown any side effects or symptoms of withdrawal.
    • Melatonin Dosage: Start with 500mcg (0.5mg) and work up to 3-5g, stick with lower dose if effects are strong and proceed from there.
  2. L-Theanine Benefits

    • L-Theanine is an interesting supplement that has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and reduce mental and physical stress. In one study supplementation of L-theanine was shown to reduce the subject’s heart rate and salivary immunoglobulin A (S-IgA) responses to a stress related task in comparison to a placebo control group.
    • Theanine Dosage: Start with 100mg and work your way up to 200mg according to results and personal preference.
  3. Valerian Root benefits

    • Valerian root or valeriana officinalis is an herb that is commonly found in green tea. While supplementing this herb will not put you to sleep, instead relaxation and ease of mind are more inclined to ensue. Although this herb has been used throughout history only recently have we started to understand how it works. Animal research has shown that the main benefits of valerian supplementation come from the way in which the valarenic acid in the herb interacts with the GABA receptor, binding to it and ultimately reducing anxiety levels significantly.
    • Valerian Dosage: Take 400-900 mg within two hours of going to bed.
  4. ZMA for Sleep

    • ZMA is a patented formula that contains zinc aspartate, magnesium aspartate and vitamin B-6 (which is typically pyridoxine).While ZMA is one of the least researched supplements in my top 5, there is overwhelming anecdotal evidence that suggests the formula is effective at both inducing sleep and raising testosterone levels. Magnesium has been linked to effectively inducing sleep in individuals who are deficient in the mineral according to a German study done in the 90s.
    • ZMA Dosage: Take supplement before going to bed at least two hours after your last meal. Do not take with calcium as this can block the absorption of zinc.
  5. L-Tryptophan benefits

    • Tryptophan is an essential amino acid in the human diet and is part of the 22 standard amino acids. The supplementation of tryptophan has been shown to increase sleepiness and decrease sleep latency (how long it takes for you to fall asleep) after a dose of 1 gram or more.  Contrary to popular belief, turkey does not contain a more significant amount of tryptophan than other meats and should not be seen as a source for supplementation.
    • Tryptophan Dosage: Start with 1g and work your way up to 5-15g depending on personal preference.

Sources

Melatonin:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18036082

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21340475

L-Theanine:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16930802

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17272967

Valerian:

http://www.amjmed.com/article/S0002-9343(06)00275-0/abstract

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20347389

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17517355

ZMA:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9703590

L-Tryptophan:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/6764927

Agmatine as an Analgesic

When you have aches and pains all over, analgesics are typically the first thing that you probably turn to. Analgesics are extremely various in how they work but agmatine is one amino acid that particularly stands out from the rest of the crowd. What is it that makes agmatine so interesting? Agmatine has the ability to not only work as a weak analgesics, but it can even potientiate other analgesics. In other words, agmatine can not only alleviate pain but can also increase the healing potential of other analgesics.analgesic

What exactly is agmatine?

Scientifically speaking, agmatine is an amine that is formed by decarboxylation of L-arginine by the enzyme arginine decarboxylase (ADC) and hydrolyzed by the enxyme agmatinase to putrescine. This may be a mouthful of scientific words to most people, but it also shows exactly how agmatine does what it does. Observations by scientists suggested that agmantine may have functions of a novel neurotransmitter/neuromodulator.

What does agmatine do?

The physiological role of agmatine in normal brain function is still unknown, but what is known about agmatine is that when administered intrathecally agmatine reduces the neuronal injury produced by excitotoxins, global/focal ischemia, spinal cord injury, and hypoxic ischemic injury.

But that’s know all agmatine is known to do, as agmatine has been found to reduce chemically and electrically induced convulsive seizures, and agmatine has be proposed as an adjunct in the management of several chronic pain syndromes, and has been effective in facilitating the action of morphine while profoundly reducing the development of tolerance. This means that not only can agmatine help with pain, but it helps a person’s body from developing a tolerance to other analgesics.

In the end, if you find yourself having a hard time choosing an analgesic, agmatine is a prime choice. Even if you decide on another analgesic, agmatine can be used to boost the power of whatever else you take, showing that it’s always a good decision to have some agmatine in your house.

Sources:

  1. http://aapsj.org/view.asp?art=aapsj080356
  2. http://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/11/6/393

L-Theanine and GABA for Sleep

Taking theanine and gaba for sleep is beneficial for everyone, even your cat!

Insomnia is a fairly large but common problem. The amount of input our brains are forced to deal with on a daily basis is far beyond that of 50 years ago.

Now, with mobile phones, constant internet connections, social media notifications and DVRs with hundreds of channels, it’s hard for many people to properly disconnect enough to get a good night’s sleep.

The importance of good sleep cannot be understated. Sleep deficiency has been linked to problems ranging from heart health to weight issues. It can also have a very negative impact on your mood and cognitive performance.

So how are we to deal with this sleep problem? A natural approach to improving sleep quality is to get enough exercise, eat a healthy diet, and reduce the sources of stress in the environment.

Even if all those pieces are in place, it can still feel like not enough so additional help may be needed. Natural supplements are a great way to help you get to sleep. Two popular supplements with synergistic properties that help with relaxation and sleep quality is the l-theanine and GABA combination.

L-Theanine and GABA as Sleep Aids

L-theanine, also simply known as theanine, is an amino acid naturally found in green tea. It has effective daytime use as a supplement to help with cognition and concentration. The main function of l-theanine is to inhibit certain neurotransmitters to reduce anxiety and increase dopamine levels.

The anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects of theanine translate well into nighttime use as well. Simply being more calm and less high-strung in the evening can help you get to sleep faster.

A study was performed in Japan on 22 men, about half were daytime workers and the other half were students. The group was given a placebo before sleep for six days and then l-theanine after that. When the study concluded, 70% of the participants reported more sleep efficiency, better mood before sleep, and less nightmares.This is all without the morning drowsiness that can accompany other sleep aids. [1]

For coffee drinkers, an animal study showed that l-theanine can help counteract caffeine-induced sleep disturbance. [2] Theanine was also shown to improve sleep quality in boys with attention issues. [3]

GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, which means it serves to slow down certain parts of the central nervous system and helps regulate nervous system excitability [4]. In addition to being a critical factor in maintaining ideal cognitive well being, GABA deficiencies have been linked to sleep problems.

Studies show that insomnia is caused by low GABA levels. [5] When there is not enough GABA present in the brain, the areas that GABA slows down keep on going and the activity doesn’t decrease as it normally would when the body winds down. GABA has been shown to positively impact deep sleep, the most important type of sleep we need. So even if you can fall asleep, a GABA deficiency may reduce the amount of deep sleep your body gets. [5]

L-Theanine and GABA have different, yet very complementary mechanisms of action when it comes to sleep. The addition of either one or both of these to your nightly routine could help you get to sleep faster, sleep deeper, and wake more rested than before.

GABA and L-Theanine Sleep Supplements Online

When looking for a supplier for GABA, L-theanine and other supplements, there are a few important points to keep in mind.  Firstly, the website should be upfront about the ingredients included in the supplements, such as whether or not it is pure Theanine or Theanine with other additives.

Secondly, the price should be competitive with the rest of the suppliers in the market.  If the price is significantly higher or significantly lower, there may be something else at play.

Finally, figure out if the supplier uses third-party testing to verify the quality and purity of the product.  This third-party testing is a huge indicator of honesty and quality from the supplier. One supplier that I frequently use is Powder City. They meet all of the above criteria and have been good to me in the past.

Sources

  1. www.ismh.org
  2. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22285321
  3. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22214254
  4. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamma-Aminobutyric_acid
  5. www.webmd.com

Tyrosine to the Rescue

The brain is a complex organ. There are millions of pathways, neurotransmitters, receptors and chemicals that all must stay balanced. If these pieces become skewed or imbalanced, they can exhibit themselves in your mood or attitude.stress relievers Anxiety, depression and other mood or brain related conditions are all connected to the mix of chemicals and hormones in your brain. Maintaining a healthy brain and an ideal mix of all these is sometimes easier said than done. Stress, adverse events, or even over consumption of drugs, alcohol and sugar can all shift the balance of crucial brain components. One way to boost your mood naturally is to supplement with the amino acid tyrosine.

What is Tyrosine?

Tyrosine is a naturally-occurring, non-essential (because it can be produced in the liver) amino acid that is found in a variety of food sources. Dietary sources of tyrosine include chicken, eggs, fish, and dairy products. It can also be taken in supplement form to ensure adequate intake. Within the body tyrosine plays a very important role as a component in the production of norepinephrine and dopamine [1].

Norepinephrine is a hormone vital to the body’s functioning. It’s an important part of the stress response known as “fight or flight”, but plays other roles as well. Norepinephrine levels, either too low or too high, are associated with attention issues, mood problems, and more [2].

Dopamine is an ancient neurotransmitter that is involved in maintaining control of the brains pleasure and reward mechanisms. Having a dopamine imbalance, like norepinephrine, can result in numerous conditions including, but not limited to, binge eating, depression, and even bipolar disorder. Tyrosine is essential to the creation of dopamine since dopamine itself cannot cross the blood-brain barrier, but tyrosine can.

What are the Benefits of Tyrosine?

How can tyrosine help you? As shown above, tyrosine is a critical component to the production of chemicals we rely on to not only maintain optimal brain function, but to live lives with a sense of wellbeing. Supplementing with tyrosine can give your body all the necessary tools to create the ideal chemical environment.

  • Improved stress response. The correct levels of norephinephrine will help you respond to, and deal with, stressful situations more effectively. Supplemental tyrosine may help improve memory and cognitive performance when stress arises [3].
  • Elevate Your Mood.   Low tyrosine levels have been found in people with mood difficulties or that suffer from depression. Since tyrosine is the main component of dopamine and dopamine is necessary to maintain a healthy mood, supplementing tyrosine will ensure you’re getting all the correct building blocks for this important neurotransmitter and may help boost your mood [4].

 Sources

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tyrosine
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norepinephrine
  3. http://www.umm.edu
  4. http://www.livestrong.com