Sleep is becoming more of an issue for an increasing number of Americans these days. This problem is likely due to higher levels of stress at home and work, tougher economic conditions, lack of proper diet (who has the time anymore?), and many other factors seemingly beyond the scope of our control. Would you be surprised to learn that there are a number of all-natural supplements that can help lead to improved sleep and relaxation? How about if some of these supplements could even aid in reducing levels of stress? The top three picks for these benefits are discussed below. Continue reading “Top 3 Supplements for Better Sleep and Relaxation”
Introduction to Mood and Energy Boosters:
Nearly everyone seems to be interested in either improving their mood or boosting energy levels. In fact, it is safe to say that if these two things could be done safely and naturally most people would be interested. There are indeed natural supplements on the market known as mood enhancers that do exactly this. While some of them may also be good for quick energy bursts, it would be better to combine them together with another energy booster.
Mood Boosting Supplements:
Basically, when you are looking at taking something to help enhance mood, you are trying to also level things out. Mood swings are often caused by unusual rises and falls in neurotransmitter levels within the brain. There are some nice supplements that can help to even things out. Continue reading “Energy and Mood Boosting Supplements”
Both 5-HTP and melatonin are known for helping in the areas of relaxation, mood, and anxiety. Anyone who is having trouble sleeping, relaxing, suffering from an inordinate amount of stress or anxiety, or even having struggles with mild depression has probably considered taking one of these supplements. NEWtrition is one of the leading providers of high quality 5-HTP and melatonin. But which product is best for each purpose? Could it be possible that these supplements may even be more effective when taken together as part of a stack?
NEWtrition 5-HTP Capsules Review:
5-HTP is an amino acid that can be found in the seeds of a woody climbing shrub native to West Africa (the Griffonia simplicifolia plant). It is also found in a number of foods like turkey, milk, potatoes, and pumpkin. It is thought to work by crossing the blood-brain barrier, where it is then converted into the neurotransmitter serotonin.
The increase in the release of serotonin is primarily responsible for most of the effects of 5-HTP. This is why the supplement is thought to be effective or at least helpful to issues as far ranging as obesity, PMS, migraines, anxiety, mild depression, and possibly even some types of addictive behavior.
NEWtrition Melatonin Capsules Review:
Melatonin is thought to be effective at restoring the natural circadian rhythms of the body. There is also evidence to suggest that it helps to regulate other hormones, including control of the timing and release of female reproductive hormones. This means that someone who works irregular hours or travels frequently and experiences jet lag could benefit from taking a melatonin supplement.
This supplement also has a number of additional common uses. It may help with anxiety, ADHD, chronic fatigue syndrome, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, headaches, and even menopausal symptoms. There is even some evidence to suggest that it can help to reduce the effect of sunburn.
5-HTP is an amino acid and melatonin is a hormone. However, there do seem to be similar crossover effects and benefits. For example, both supplements are used for help with anxiety, ADHD, depression, fibromyalgia symptoms, and frequent headaches. On the other hand, melatonin also seems to be more effective at helping to restore normal sleep patterns.
Ultimately, the supplement that you should take depends on your particular situation. If you are simply looking to help restore normal sleep patterns, then melatonin is best. On the other hand, if you are looking for extra support to help with stress, anxiety, and even a combination of issues, you should consider using both as a stack.
In this always-on-the-go world, relaxation seems like a pipedream. High levels of stress can lead to issues like anxiety and insomnia. Fortunately, there are a number of natural products and supplements that can help aid in relaxation which in turn will make it easier to fall asleep. Since being able to relax and to sleep is extremely beneficial to overall health and well-being, why not consider some of these all-natural supplements?
Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) is an amino acid that is produced in the brain from glutamate (another amino acid) and thiamine (vitamin B6). Generally, people who are having difficulty resting and sleeping have an over-active or “excited” brain. GABA acts as the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter in the body, meaning that it helps to reduce this excitability. There are a number of other benefits to this supplement including support for muscle-building chemicals.
Valerian root is a perennial herb that acts as a non-addictive natural sedative. This supplement also helps to support a healthy neurotransmitter balance. Clinical research has shown valerian root to have a number of benefits including the ability to reduce nervousness, tension, and anxiety. Valerian root may also be able to help alleviate mild to moderate mood swings and insomnia. For some users, valerian root requires 10 to 15 days of continued use before noticeable effects occur.
The main benefit of 5-HTP supplementation is an increased production of serotonin. This occurs both in the brain and the liver. Since serotonin is reported to have a wide range of effects on the brain, 5-HTP is often used to help deal with addictive behavior, anxiety, mild depression, and relaxation/sleep issues. It is thought that stress and poor-eating habits actually cause the body to release higher levels of serotonin. Supplementation with 5-HTP can help to restore a healthy balance, allowing the body to more easily relax.
Melatonin has long been thought to be one of the most effective supplements for sleep and relaxation. Melatonin plays a vital role in controlling and restoring the natural circadian rhythms of the body. Many people who are engaged in stressful work or who have irregular schedules find that this supplement helps to induce relaxation and improve sleeping patterns.
Even if you do find time, winding down from a stressful day can be difficult when tomorrow’s worries are on your mind. Luckily, there are many supplements that can aid in relaxation. While they each work on their own, many times a combination of supplements will do you amazing things.
Sometimes, it can be greatly beneficial to stack supplements to achieve a greater and more desirable effect than the sum of its parts. This is known as a synergistic effect.
Oftentimes, one will hear that two particular supplements or nootropics will have synergistic effects. A common example of these phenomena is a racetam paired with choline. Individually, they are powerful nootropics, but when paired together they complement each other very nicely.
5-HTP for Vivid Dreams
A great relaxation stack that synergizes well is pairing 5-HTP, valerian root, and melatonin. These supplements work great on their own, but oftentimes people will find the effects to not be strong enough. 5-HTP is known to be a precursor to serotonin, which is a vasoconstrictor that stimulates muscle relaxation which regulates the brain in learning, mood, and sleep.
Taken alone, 5-HTP gives a sensation of relaxation and has reportedly been known to increase the vivid nature of dreams which suggests an increase in recall memory.
Valerian root is another great addition to the relaxation stack because it is known to reduce anxiety and is also known to be possibly mildly sedating. 
It is usually brewed in tea, but can be taken as a general supplement as well. Similarly to 5-HTP’s effects, people have reported valerian to be responsible for more vivid dreams.
Finally, melatonin is a great addition to any relaxation stack. Most people only take melatonin before bed (as it is the chemical in the brain responsible for being “tired”), but can also be taken during the day for general relaxation.
As the safest of the three compounds in the relaxation stack, melatonin can be taken daily without any worry of side effects. In addition, it is also anecdotally reported that “less is more”. This means that melatonin seems to be more effective when taken in smaller doses (<5mg). It is greatly attributed to decreasing insomnia, adrenaline (hence the relaxation), and blood pressure among other great health benefits.
For those days when you just need to relax and those nights when you can’t fall asleep, consider stacking 5-HTP, melatonin, and Valerian.
How to Assure that you Buy High-Quality Supplements
I know that it can be a crap-shoot when picking a supplement supplier. With the prevalence of brick and mortar stores and online stores, it can be confusing and frustrating trying to find the best deal.
While finding the lowest price for a particular supplement may be tempting, it can often lead to purchasing a lower-quality supplement. Some shady manufacturers will use low-quality supplements in order to increase profit margins.
It is your best bet to stick with a supplier who uses third-party testing to assure supplement quality.
5-HTP (Griffonia Seed Extract)
Do you experience high levels of stress on a day to day basis? Does your busy schedule, demanding job, or the pressure of daily living perpetually keep you in poor spirits? Do you find it hard to relax after a long day? If you said yes to these questions, you may be suffering from depression or anxiety, which contribute to mood swings and insomnia. In this instance, a supplement of Griffonia Seed Extract, more commonly known as 5-HTP, can help to improve your mood and bring you the relaxation that you deserve in a safe and natural way.
What is 5-HTP?
5-HTP is a naturally occurring amino acid derived from the seed of the wooly shrub Griffonia simplicifolia . Griffonia plants are indigenous to regions in West and Central Africa. The 5-HTP organic compound is essential to the body’s creation of the mood and health enhancing compounds melatonin and serotonin . 5-HTP works with the essential amino acid tryptophan to create these compounds through a process called metabolization . This supplement easily crosses the blood -brain barrier unlike other naturally occurring compounds. This attribute is what makes 5-HTP an effective solution to different obstacles by simply enabling the brain to create increased amounts of these beneficial compounds.
5-HTP for Mood and Relaxation
Because 5-HTP has been shown to increase the body’s production of serotonin, studies indicate the supplement has benefits outside simply curing insomnia. When 5-HTP metabolizes and subsequently releases serotonin and melatonin, the compounds are directed to different systems of the body to help regulate their functions.
Through the use of a 5-HTP< supplement, melatonin levels increase to help regulate the circadian rhythms, the sleep-to-wake cycle, of humans. Other studies have shown that many individuals who suffer from mood swings and mood disorders such as bipolar disorder, seasonal affective disorder, and depression benefit from increased melatonin due to 5-HTP. Other functions of melatonin include:
- Treatment for those with severe headaches
- Functions as a powerful antioxidant
- Metabolism and weight control
- Possible beneficial properties in the battle against Alzheimer’s 
Studies indicate low levels of serotonin are linked directly to anxiety and depression , two things closely associated with a heavy workload and the ever increasing demands of life. The increased production of serotonin with a 5-HTP supplement counteracts the effects of depression and mood swings by better transmitting and relaying messages between nerve cells. The improved nerve cell communication contributes to the following:
- Improved sleep patterns
- Increased attention/alertness
- Regulate digestive processes
- Improved mood
On paper, the idea of being an insomniac could be appealing. Think about all the things you could get done if you didn’t sleep! In reality, sleeplessness is actually one of the worst feelings. If you’ve ever experienced it then you know all too well it can make you suffer because you DO want to sleep. You just can’t. So you float around in sleep purgatory – too tired to do anything productive and too awake to sail off into dreamland. The impact of that missed sleep is huge. Even if you do manage to lightly doze off for a bit, there’s no refreshment in the morning and you feel useless the next daywithout copious amounts of caffeine. The body doesn’t respond well to missed sleep over time either. The underlying reasons for sleeplessness can vary, but if you examine your situation you may find there are some natural supplements that can help you. Three popular supplements for aiding sleep are melatonin, 5-htp and GABA.
Melatonin Benefits for Sleeplessness
Melatonin is the body’s regulating signal for sleep. It’s a hormone released based on circadian rhythms. So without any outside interference, melatonin levels would start to increase within the body as the sun went down and decrease in the morning when your body sensed the light of the sun. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that clearly in today’s always-on society. Light from TVs, computers and smartphones all confuse this primal reaction and disrupt the natural release of melatonin and the onset of a natural sleep cycle. Supplementing with melatonin will help restore some balance and get you back on natures clock. Taking as little as .3mg 30 minutes before bed can turn you into Rip Van Winkle.
5-HTP Benefits for Sleeplessness
Even if your body does decide to shut down for the day, your brain may not always be cooperative. It’s funny how lying down to go to sleep can prompt your brain to remind you of all the little things you need to remember or may have forgotten. The amino acid 5-HTP is a precursor to l-tryptophan (the infamous “sleepy chemical” in turkey) and serotonin, two naturally occurring chemicals in the brain that help relaxation. 5-HTP converts very efficiently, restoring balance to your brain and helping your mind slow down. Providing relief from sleeplessness is a core benefit of 5-HTP.
L-theanine Benefits for Sleeplessness
L-theanine is an amino acid occurring naturally in many teas and has been unknowingly used to achieve a calm zen-like state by monks for thousands of years. Lately, research has been piling up that shows the psychological and physiological benefits of theanine supplement in the areas of relaxation and calming. L-theanine changes your brain waves and helps you achieve an alpha state, which is the state of wakeful relaxation. Reaching an alpha state before bed helps you relax and provides a smooth transition to sleep.
If sleeplessness is a problem for you and you can’t seem to count enough sheep every night, consider one of the supplements above. These safe, natural products will leave you feeling well-rested in the morning.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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?
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 .
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 . 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. Another widely-praised benefit of 5-HTP is improved sleep. 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.