The Perfect Mood Enhancement Stack

Have you been experiencing more and more stress recently? Possibly this has effected your mood also. Unfortunately, there are a number of factors which can combine to make us feel poorly or just ‘down in the dumps.’ An overly busy or stressful life is a particularly common cause. Anyone who is too busy may lack the time to exercise or even eat a proper, well-balanced diet. If this is your situation, then you may want to consider a natural mood enhancement stack to combat all of these effects.relaxation and mood stacks

The Idea of Supplement Stacks:

Supplement stacks are not a new idea. Body builders, weight lifters and other athletes have been using these ideas for a long time. The idea behind these stacks is to combine different supplements to help you gain a desired benefit. The components of each stack should work very well alone, but when combined they will have a synergistic effect.

When talking about a mood enhancement stack, there are generally two sides to the story. In addition to finding supplements which will help to enhance overall mood, it can also be helpful to look at ingredients which stimulate the production of calming agents or chemicals within the brain.

Phenibut Powder:

The first ingredient in our mood enhancement stack is Phenibut powder. This supplement attacks the issue of mood enhancement directly by crossing the blood-brain barrier. From this point it is believed to actually help increase the production of dopamine (and also block the action of dopamine receptors) and acetylcholine. Both of these powerful brain chemicals help to produce feelings of relaxation, lowered anxiety and even overall well-being.

L-Theanine Supplements:

This is an amino acid that is also one of the main ingredients found in green tea. Theanine acts as a calming agent, helping to reduce what scientists call brain “excitability.” This has tremendous effects for those who experience the feeling of having a racing mind or always having a number of unwanted thoughts and ideas. It is absorbed primarily through the intestines, making its effects slower, but also more even and a bit longer lasting.

5-HTP Supplements:

5-HTP should normally take a few hours to kick in. It is a natural compound which converts into serotonin in the brain. It has been shown to be helpful in cases of mood, appetite, and impulse control. Those who have anxiety or racing thoughts will also notice more direct results.

Bottom Line:

This mood enhancement supplement stack is perfect for everyone. Even if you are just looking for a little help to relax, you will see strong results. Best of all, It has a number of different benefits, including being able to focus and think more clearly.

Benefits of Inositol Supplementation

So What is Inositol?

Inositol is a supplement that promotes relaxation. Strangely enough, Inositol is a type of sugar which acts as an alternative energy source for the brain and is usually used widely with nootropics. It is anxiolytic in nature and acts similarly to L-theanine. It is a b-vitamin, and typically b-vitamins give people an alternative energy.

What are the Benefits of Inositol?inositol for energy

It is also known to be antidepressive[1] which is another reason it can be justified as increasing overall subjective well-being. There were no noted adverse side effects noted in the kidneys, blood, or liver in a study done on inositol. It is a very safe compound with low toxicity, and is well-tolerated in the body. However, like many b-vitamins, people will argue that they are unnecessary with an adequate diet because supplements are just that; they supplement an already healthy lifestyle.

In addition, panic attacks were also decreased with those who took inositol over placebo. Also, Inositol was shown to be an effective treatment for OCT (Obsessive-compulsive disorder).[2][3] This doesn’t mean that inositol is only beneficial in those who are already unhealthy (below a “normal” line). Inositol is shown to be calming and can induce an overall positive feeling in the user.

Anecdotally, people have used inositol to calm down the anxiety-inducing stimulants such as caffeine and some racetams. Oftentimes, choline and inositol are paired together because of their synergistic effects. A lot of people take inositol by itself for the removal of brain fog, claiming that it is one of the few compounds that relieves general mental fatigue and clears the mind. There are rarely any adverse side effects, however some users experience nausea, lethargy, headaches, and dizziness.[4]

According to some studies, “Inositol is used for diabetic nerve pain, panic disorder, high cholesterol, insomnia, cancer, depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, autism, promoting hair growth, a skin disorder called psoriasis, and treating side effects of medical treatment with lithium”.[4]

Inositol is a safe addition to a supplement stack and is typically well-tolerated by most. Like any supplement, start at a low dose and work your way up from there. It is fairly mild and might take a few days for desired effects to start appearing but changes should be distinct from placebo.

Sources

[1]: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9169302

[2]: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8780431

[3]: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11172878

[4]: http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-299-INOSITOL.aspx?activeIngredientId=299&activeIngredientName=INOSITOL

 

Mucuna Pruriens: Danger and Relaxation

Relaxation is the goal of life. We work to have money so that we can buy what we need in order to be comfortable. If relaxation was inherent, no one would work, and the world would be quite calm.

However, as it is, we put ourselves through high-stress situations in order to live for the short moments of bliss and relaxation. But when those moments come and it’s hard to relax, it’s almost as if it were all for naught.

Luckily, there are several supplements that can help with relaxation. In particular, Mucuna Pruriens is great for relaxation as well as a possible increase in testosterone for males.

What is Mucuna?

mucuna pruriens

Mucuna Pruriens (also known as velvet bean) is a plant/herb that is native across Asia, specifically on mountains. It is used all over the world for a number of conditions and is also used as a general health supplement.

Mucuna Pruriens Extract is commonly referenced across numerous bodybuilding and fitness forums for increasing testosterone.

It is also popular among many other supplement forums for its relaxation effects, although is known to clinically increase dopamine and testosterone which is quite contrary to most relaxation supplements.

So How Does It Work?

Mucuna is a good source of L-Dopa, a direct precursor to dopamine in the body. It is likely that this is the method of relaxation that people often experience with Mucuna.

L-Tyrosine and L-Phenylalanine are converted into L-Dopa in the body, however, Mucuna is a good direct source of L-Dopa.

The method of relaxation is quite separate than typical relaxation because dopamine is our body’s “reward” system. Oftentimes companies will advertise Mucuna as mood boosters for emotional well-being.

However, it can be dangerous to mess around with the dopamine system in the body. Oftentimes, people will pursue a dopamine “high” and experience a depressive comedown.

It is for this reason that Mucuna should be taken in moderation, at the recommended dose on the bottle. It is also known that dopamine converts into adrenaline in the body.

Examine.com states, “L-DOPA is then decarboxylated via aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase into Dopamine, which later turns into noradrenaline via oxidation from the enzyme dopamine-beta-hydroxylase and then finally converted to adrenaline via Phenylethanolamine-N-methyl-transferase“. [1]

The “relaxation” that companies and distributors use on their Mucuna products isn’t a typical relaxation that one would experience with a supplement like Melatonin or GABA.

Finding the Best Price and Quality

Obviously, finding a low price is important, but knowing the product quality is equally if not more so. I found three well known mucuna suppliers ranging in cost.

  1. Puritan’s Pride:  $11.49 for 36g
  2. Ayurvedic Herbs Direct:  $10.17 for 6g
  3. Health Supplement Wholesalers:  $11.40 for 50g

Not only was I able to find the best price at Health Supplement Wholesalers, the site also uses third-party testing to ensure quality and purity of the supplement. This is vital information to have as you should always be 100% certain of what you are ingesting.

This peace of mind along with the great price make this an all around good option for improving your relaxation.

[1]: http://examine.com/supplements/L-Tyrosine/

Phenibut for Anxiety and Relaxation

Phenibut Anxiety no moreTry Phenibut for Anxiety: A Safer Alternative to Prescription Medication

Parties, holidays and social gatherings can be rough if you suffer from social anxiety or have a hard time relaxing around groups. Even if you want to be around friends and family, you could have a hard time enjoying yourself. Some people dangerously combat social anxiety with alcohol, which can lead to disastrous results. Prescription drugs are another option, but have their own well-documented drawbacks such as drowsiness. A safer, more holistic treatment is phenibut; it is available from this store here. Phenibut is a nutritional supplement that has been used for decades to safely ease people into social situations and help them relax while promoting optimal brain function instead of damage.

What is phenibut and how does it work?

Phenibut was discovered in the 1960’s and is a derivative of GABA, a neurotransmitter in the nervous system. GABA is a compound found in the brain that has been shown to produce a calming effect  by inhibiting certain neurons in the brain[1]. The specificities of the phenibut allow it to cross the blood-brain barrier more effectively than GABA alone. So what does this actually mean? It means phenibut essentially slows down the part of your brain that makes you feel anxious, uptight and tense.

Phenibut For Anxiety[1][2][3]:

  • Elimination of insomnia – As anyone that suffers from insomnia knows, it’s difficult to relax when your mind is racing. Phenibut calms your mind and helps you drift off more easily.
  • Reduction in anxiety – This says it all: Phenibut is included in a Russian cosmonaut’s medical kit. They prefer phenibut over usual tranquilizers and anti-anxiety medication because it takes the edge off and doesn’t impair performance.
  • Treatment of stuttering – Phenibut helps remove the stress and anxiety that can cause stuttering
  • PTSD Treatment – Clinicians have used phenibut to treat PTSD in military workers and other trauma patients
  • Feeling of relaxation and wellbeing – Users have often described the effects of phenibut as feeling “slightly drunk, but with complete control”. This is the mood elevation that phenibut provides.

Phenibut Dosage for Anxiety

When starting with phenibut, a dose of 250mg is recommended [3]. Effects from different dosages can vary widely depending on weight, age, height and tolerance. The best way to determine your optimal dosage is to start low at 250mg, record the effects and slowly move up until you feel the optimal effects. You also want to schedule your dosage appropriately depending on your symptoms for example, taking it a couple hours before bed if you suffer from insomnia or a few hours before a party if you become anxious around groups of people. Since you can develop a tolerance to phenibut and reduce the effectiveness, it shouldn’t be used on a daily basis, instead cycle it on and off or use it only for specific situations.

If you feel like phenibut could be helpful, find a high-quality source and test it out today to start living a more relaxed and stress free life.  When you feel less anxious, your true happiness and more positive feelings can shine through!

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenibut

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11830761

[3] http://www.phenibutdosage.com/

 

Melatonin Supplementation for Healthy, Natural Sleep

For hundreds of years our bodies used light as a signal if we should be awake or asleep. When the sun came up, it was time to be awake and when the sun went down the world was dark and it was time to sleep. Fast forward to modern times, things have changed a lot. The wide availability of electricity and electronic devices makes us masters of our own sleep schedule. When the sun goes down, most people start watching TV or use some other electronic device. These devicesrestful sleep can stay on all night long, completely throwing the body’s natural light signals out of the equation. When dependent upon natural light, however, the body develops a circadian rhythm with the sun. In this natural process, signals are sent throughout the body to wake up when the sun rises and at night, when the sun goes down, signals are sent to the body that it’s time to go to sleep. The main regulating signal the body uses for sleep is a hormone called melatonin[1].

Melatonin levels can vary throughout the day, but spike in the evening when darkness occurs[2]. Unfortunately, melatonin production is inhibited by blue light, the light given off by TVs, computers, phones and other electronic screens. This means as long as you’re in front of a TV or computer screen, you’re inhibiting melatonin production and, ultimately, sleep. Melatonin levels can also be disturbed in shift workers since working at night and sleeping during the day sends conflicting messages to the body. Essential functions are impaired when the body doesn’t get enough sleep. Aside from leaving you feeling tired and groggy, a sleep deficit impairs your cognitive function, keeps your organs and brain from resting and healing and prevents the proper production of important hormones.

Whether it’s nighttime work, jet lag or just a long evening in front of the computer, the demands of the modern day don’t always respect the natural order of life – that’s when melatonin supplementation should be explored. Melatonin is available in supplement form and helps balance out the natural hormones in the body to promote quality sleep. Imagine falling asleep when you wanted to and staying asleep all night long, that’s the primary benefit of melatonin supplementation! Clinical studies have shown that melatonin supplementation reduces the amount of time it takes to fall asleep, increases the hours slept and boosts daytime alertness. Melatonin supplements work by providing a shortcut in the sleep process and sending the signals to your body that it’s time to sleep.

Additional melatonin benfits include [2][3]:

  • Treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • Prevent cluster headaches
  • Treat sleep problems associated with menopause
  • Fight breast and prostate cancer
  • Reduced fibromyalgia symptoms

You can discover additional benefits of melatonin powder from HSW’s site.

Melatonin Dosage

Melatonin should only be taken at night, the only exception being shift workers who need to sleep during the day. The body naturally produces about .3mg of melatonin each day, so you should start low. Begin with .3mg an hour before bed and increase slowly each day until you find your sleep improving (1mg-3mg one hour before bedtime is normally an effective dose). To maximize the effect of melatonin, try to limit exposure to artificial light from TV and computers before bed.

Sleep deprivation will wreak havoc on your quality of life and make you miserable. If you suffer from poor sleep, definitely give melatonin a try. Consistent, quality sleep can be life-chaning.

 Resources

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melatonin

[2] http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/melatonin-000315.htm

[4] http://altmedicine.about.com/od/melatonin/a/melatonin.htm

[4] http://www.talkaboutsleep.com/circadian-rhythm-disorders/circadian-rhythm-sleep-disorders/10-how-to-use-melatonin-correctly.htm

L-theanine for Anxiety

I am on my third month of L-theanine usage and now find it indispensable. By nature I am internally extremely anxious.stress supplements

I worry too much when I drive, I’m a helicopter, overly safety conscious dad with my child and routinely do things like panic at the checkout to the point of my heart racing because my wallet was in a different pocket in my cargo pants and I have a mini panic attack while I’m checking successive pockets.

L-Theanine Effects

The first day I had theanine supplement was excellent, I had to drive in a busy,  unfamiliar section of the city, in the rain and on a tight schedule, normally this would have me stuck in my lane, panicking about each parked car I had to negotiate around and missing opportunities to change lanes and go through signals out of caution with annoyed drivers behind me but instead found myself aware of all the traffic around me , not sweating like I normally would, cruising into the correct lane and with no issue finding my destination. I take theanine with my tea or coffee (stirred into a little boiling water at the bottom of the cup before the rest goes in) and find I am mentally sharp, quick to respond but free of the jittery panic that coffee can normally produce. I ensure I have the theanine I have put into capsules in a jar in my work bag and I keep my bag of loose powder right next to the kettle so I can never forget to have it in the morning with my drink. My dad tends towards anxiety just like I do and based on observing the change in me has ordered his own supply, I haven’t seen my father this cheery before or being such a relaxed grandfather to my daughter, she has gone from avoiding him because of his fixed furrowed brow to running and throwing her arms around his knees!

The effects of theanine have only stacked and multiplied over time, not only am I less anxious in a given moment, I now carry less anxiety because over the previous week I will have acted more calmly and confidently in all manner of situations and thus I have contentment about how I am conducting myself instead of mild regret and the anxious ball of stress I was in the past before I started having L-theanine daily.

With theanine, I had the benefit of improved sleep. This was highly unexpected but greatly enjoyed. For the last two years I have taken either melatonin or valerian sleep aids which were indeed effective but perhaps not ideal for years of supplementation, its now two months since I needed to take either, the theanine appears to deepen my sleep and ensure I have no worry ticking over in my head when I hit the sack, it’s a keeper!

GABA Supplement Benefits: Reduce Anxiety and Elevate Mood with GABA

Imagine you just left the grocery store. You have too many bags to handle and you try carrying them anyway. You may be able to, but you feel off-balance, unstable, frantic and scared you may drop something. Have you ever experienced this? How about in your mind? Have you ever felt like there was just too much going on in your brain? The stresses of daily life and unusual circumstances can weigh heavily on a person and create a lot of mental stress, anxiety andreduce anxietyconfusion that can sometimes be too much to bear. Sure, you may be able to make it through, but at what cost? Going back to the grocery bag analogy, wouldn’t a grocery cart make it easier? What if you had someone from the store help you carry the bags out and limit the amount of bags you had to carry  at once? You can do the same thing with your mind when you’re feeling anxious, stressed out and overwhelmed

Inside the brain there are receptors and neurotransmitters. The neurotransmitters transport signals from one part of the brain to the other and the receptors receive the signal. These pieces serve many functions in the brain, but one noticeable function is the stress response. When you are under stress or feeling anxious there are a lot of stress signals being sent and received in the brain. And, as anyone that’s experienced stress or anxiety knows, the effects can compound. For instance, you get stressed about your job, then other situations that may be seemingly innocuous become stressful as well, then you’re worked up into a state of anxiety that shows no signs of slowing. Luckily, there are neurotransmitters in the brain that inhibit, or slow down, the neurotransmitters that cause stress. The main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the nervous system is GABA (γ-Aminobutyric acid). GABA  can be synthesized in the brain and can also be taken in through supplements[1].

GABA Supplement Benefits

GABA helps regulate the excitement of neurons in the nervous system [1]. To revisit the grocery store analogy again, imagine your brain trying to carry all the baggage from the day, GABA comes out with a cart and helps relieve some of the stress you feel from that baggage so you can cope in an effective manner. GABA is a popular supplement for regulating anxiety, helping depression, improving mood and treating ADHD. The benefits of GABA come as a results of a calming effect it provides. In clinical studies has been shown to be effective in relaxing patients and reducing anxiety within one hour of administration [2]. GABA is also used in the health and fitness community to promote lean muscle growth, reduce body fat and improve immunity under stressful conditions[2][3].

GABA Supplement Dosage for Anxiety

An effective dosage of GABA depends on many factors including age, weight, stress level and overall health. Recommended dosages range from 500mg to 1 gram spread equally throughout the day, with some doctors more specifically recommending GABA in 200 mg doses four times daily [4].

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamma-Aminobutyric_acid

[2] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16971751

[3] http://www.webmd.com

[4] http://www.livestrong.com

L-Theanine and Caffeine: Benefits and Effects

Theanine and Caffeine from Tea

L-Theanine and Caffeine for Energy and Focus

Ever been so involved in a project you lost track of time and thoroughly enjoyed yourself? You weren’t tired, you didn’t feel forced, you weren’t watching the clock, and you had an intense amount of focus on whatever it was you were doing?

Congratulations, you were in the zone.

The “zone” or “flow” is a fantastic, coveted place to be when you’re working or trying to focus on any particular task. Two components of that state are focus and energy. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to get into a state of flow.

You may be focused for a bit, but start drifting because you’re tired. Or the opposite may be true – you may have energy, but can’t get your mind to settle on one task. There is a way to bring the two together more easily.

Energy Benefits of Caffeine Supplements

Finding energy isn’t difficult. Drink some coffee, pop a caffeine pill. Problem solved, right? Not necessarily. Caffeine supplements alone can definitively give you an edge on your energy levels, but the type of energy may not be what you want. Having a jittery, jumpy mental state can leave you with the temporary energy for running laps around a building and subsequently crashing – hard.

Focus with Theanine Supplements

L-Theanine is an amino acid . While occurring naturally in tea, L-Theanine extract  is most effective. L-Theanine is processed very efficiently by the body and crosses the blood brain barrier easily [1].

L-Theanine Benefits [2] [3]:

  • Mental relaxation
  • Reduced stress
  • Improved memory
  • Enhanced learning
  • Increased alpha-wave activity (waves produced in a relaxed awake state)

So, supplementary L-Theanine alone can improve your relaxed awake state. You will be able to think clearly and  easily sort through life.

L-Theanine and Caffeine

For thousands of years, monks have used L-Theanine and caffeine in tea to help with meditation. It’s unlikely they were aware of the individual components, but the combination has stood the test of time. Energy and motivation gained with coffee is harnessed by a smoothed over mental state with L-Theanine and creates an ideal environment for intense focus[4]. You get all the alertness and focus of caffeine supplements and none of the stressful anxiety.

Caffeine and L-Theanine Dosage

A highly recommended dosage of Theanine to caffeine is a ratio of 2:1 (2 parts L-Theanine for 1 part caffeine). If that sounds complicated at all, don’t worry; it’s not. Base the caffeine dosage on your normal caffeine intake and tolerance. For example, if you’re used to drinking a cup of coffee each morning and it has 100mg caffeine, combine 200mg L-Theanine. If you want to start small, you can use a small amount of caffeine, 50mg, and then 100mg of L-theanine. If taken on an empty stomach, the effects can be felt within 15-20 minutes and will add a few hours of blissful flow to your day. Since the combination has more of a focused energy effect than the sheer rush of caffeine alone, the effects, while noticeable, are much more subtle and provide a perfect background for any activity.

L-Theanine and Caffeine Online

Prices for caffeine and L-Theanine are fairly standard across the board. You can find green tea or coffee in any number of stores and on any number of websites.

The trick is in finding quality supplements.

Many sites do not use third-party testing and as such you cannot be sure if what you are purchasing is high quality or not. Many of the major online retailers do not disclose whether or not they use third-party testing, which poses an issues.

One site that recurs in my search is Powder City. Their prices are competitive (with some supplements significantly cheaper than other stores I’ve found) and they feature third-party testing for purity and quality of all products. Because of this, I purchase my caffeine and L-theanine from them.

Theanine and Caffeine Sources

[1] L-Theanine Wiki

[2] http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=653856

[3] http://www.smartbodyz.com/L-Theanine-Information.htm

[4] http://jn.nutrition.org/content/138/8/1572S.full.pdf

Elevate Your Mood Naturally with 5-HTP

It’s no secret people today are feeling a bit down. TV, web and newspapers are plastered with headlines about the next impending disaster. Interspersed throughout those headlines you may conveniently find advertisements for prescription drugs designed to cure all your ills. Funny how that works, isn’t it?natural stress relief

But what if you need a boost and don’t want to deal with prescription drugs and the laundry list of side effects? That’s where 5-HTP comes in.

Here’s the actual secret: 5-HTP can elevate your mood, reduce anxiety, reduce cravings AND improve your sleep quality, naturally! In fact, clinical studies have shown 5-HTP to be as effective as prescriptions in eliminating depression [1].

5-HTP Supplement: So What is 5-HTP?

5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is a naturally occurring amino acid. It’s the middle step between L-Tryptophan and Serotonin [2]. There’s a good chance you’re already familiar with these two components. L-Tryptophan is present in many foods and is what some like to say makes you feel tired after a big turkey dinner. That’s partially true. L-Tryptophan does promote relaxation, but there’s not enough in turkey to put you to sleep after a meal. Serotonin is a chemical produced by the brain that elevates and regulates your mood. You could call it a “feel good” mechanism in the body. Depression is mainly a function of low serotonin levels in the brain. When a doctor talks about “chemical imbalance” what they’re usually talking about is an imbalance in the amount of serotonin produced by your brain. Since 5-HTP is a precursor to serotonin and easily digested by the body, it is an ideal supplement for elevating serotonin and, ultimately, increasing how good you feel.

Benefits of 5-HTP

Think of 5-HTP as a way to set a higher baseline for your overall wellbeing. First, you can expect to feel an improvement in your day-to-day mood. Whether you’re a person that’s often depressed or just want to feel more balanced, this is a huge plus. If you have problems with anxiety, 5-HTP will help you relax. 5-HTP curbs cravings and reduces appetite[3]. Another widely-praised benefit of 5-HTP is improved sleep[4]. When you sleep, your body recovers physically and mentally. No sleep, no recovery. 5-HTP helps calm the brain at night, putting all those racing thoughts on hold so you can fall asleep faster and sleep better.  And when you sleep well, you arise feeling fresh and ready to start the day. The benefits of 5-HTP are harmonious. A good mood, healthy eating and a good night’s sleep all help one another.

How should you use 5-HTP?

Beginning with the lowest dose of a high quality 5-HTP supplement is recommended. 50mg two or three times a day (the same times each day) on an empty stomach. A good place to start is in the morning, about 30 minutes before lunch and before bed. After a week or two of 50mg, you can increase to 100mg if you don’t feel the effects you desire, but don’t go above 300mg/day.

 Sources

[1]http://pennstatehershey.adam.com/content.aspx?productId=107&pid=33&gid=000283

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5-Hydroxytryptophan

[3]http://www.smart-publications.com/articles/5-htp-the-natural-alternative-to-prozac-section-5

[4]http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/herbsvitaminsad/a/5HTP.htm