The Relax Stack for Stress Reduction, Relaxation, and Sleep

relaxation
Kick your tired feet up and relax with this stack.

The Relax Stack is perfect for taking the edge off after a long day and for experiencing deeper, more restful sleep.  Its unique combination of mind-calming and sleep-inducing ingredients can reduce stress and leave you better rested and ready to face the next day.

If you’re suffering from a lack of sleep, stressing out from working hard, or just needing to chill out, the Relax Stack will have you feeling better in no time.

What’s in the Relax Stack?

The Relax Stack contains Rhodiola, Ashwandandha, GABA, and melatonin.  Some of these supplements may sounds familiar; melatonin is widely used by itself as a sleep supplement, and GABA is known for its stress-relieving properties.

While Rhodiola and Ashwandandha may not sound familiar, they are just as effective as any other supplement in the stack.  Rhodiola is a plant whose roots can be used to reduce mental fatigue, and Ashwandandha is another plant whose roots and berries are effective in combating anxiety and sleep deficiency.

How does the Relax Stack Work?

relaxation
Want to be this relaxed?

The stack helps to relieve stress and mental fatigue that can keep you awake at night.  GABA helps to get rid of mental stress, while Rhodiola can make the effects of physical stress less apparent.

It might seem counterintuitive to take supplements that reduce fatigue in order to sleep better, but fatigue and sleep are not the same thing [1]. Physical fatigue can actually cause a lack of sleep due to the toll it takes on the body and on the mind. Less fatigue means less stress, and an easier time drifting off to sleep.

The anti-anxiety effects of Ashwandandha’s will help to clear your mind of worries.  Once in a relaxed state, your body can respond better to melatonin, a hormone that regulates sleep cycles.  Increased melatonin levels tell your body that it’s time to sleep, and produce a natural, refreshing state of restfulness.

How to Use the Relax Stack

For maximum benefits, all of the elements of the Relax Stack should be taken in proper dosages.

Individuals should take one gram of GABA and 3 milligrams of Melatonin once per day.  The plant-based supplements Rhodiola and Ashwandandha should be taken twice a day, unlike the other ingredients.  They are most effective at 250 and 500 milligrams per dose, respectively.  The stack also comes with stevia and citric acid to help mask any unpleasant flavors the supplements may have. Individuals should use 100 milligrams of stevia and one gram of citric acid per day.

When taken in these proportions, all of the ingredients of the Relax Stack provide a gentle and effective way to sleep better and feel better as well.

Sources

1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9256516

Counteract Caffeine Side Effects with L-Theanine

Counteract Caffeine Side Effects With a Theanine Source Like Green TeaProbably the most popular nootropic substance of all is caffeine. Whether this is in the form of caffeine supplements or just by drinking coffee, there is little doubt that caffeine has some interesting effects. These effects include nervousness, jitters, and even an unpleasant energy crash as the main effects wear off. However, the good news is that it does not need to go like this anymore. Using a theanine supplement is a very effective way to combat and overcome the normal side effects of caffeine. Continue reading “Counteract Caffeine Side Effects with L-Theanine”

NEWtrition 5-HTP Capsules vs. NEWtrition Melatonin Capsules

Overview:

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.supplements for relaxation

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.

Overall Impressions:

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.

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

Exercise and Meditation for Better Relaxation

One of the best ways to relieve stress is through a physical activity. It is common knowledge that exercise is an essential aspect of life to maintain a healthy lifestyle and a good evening’s rest. Oftentimes people will turn to addictive behavior in order to escape a stressful lifestyle; however, exercise and meditation is a constructive method to release daily stress.exercise and meditation

Meditation

Meditation has a long history, and today many practice the art which in theory allows the meditator to sit in harmony, eliminating all thought and desire from the conscious thought process. This is supposed to relieve stress and be very relaxing. Many find meditating in the morning during the dark hours to be quite peaceful and fulfilling, and even experience an increased energy and focus throughout the rest of the day.

Others meditate by imagining what lies ahead. Professional athletes often visualize their movements and victories in their mind as a type of meditation in order to perform better in their field of sport. Actors meditate as a warm up exercise in order to better focus on the scene that they are about to perform. The idea is that the actors focus purely on their breathing and nothing else, which allows for an increased cognitive thought process during the scene post-meditation.

Exercise

Physical, strenuous exercise is very similar to meditation in this aspect. Oftentimes people find the most successful time to exercise is after a long stressful workday. Many people often feel too tired or lethargic to exercise at the end of the day, but those who do find themselves acquiring energy and personal satisfaction. Not only that, but fit people often report higher overall energy levels and positive influences on their social life.

Every sport has a certain level of stress-relief and meditation involved: A bowler will pause before rolling his ball down the lane and focus on his positioning and angle of release, a golfer will test the wind and focus greatly on getting their ball on the green, a climber will pause on the rock finding a solid handhold to hang off of, and a basketball player will stand at the free throw line and visualize the ball swishing in the net above.

These physical activities and meditation both often fill the individual with a clear focus and energy that persists throughout the day and the weeks ahead. Those who build a habit of regular exercise multiple times a week will find much greater benefit than those who only exercise when time permits. Those who are undecided should know that daily exercise is a wise investment. Just remember one hour is only 1/24 of a single day, less than 5%. Those who exercise will notice an overall improvement in the other 95% of their day, even when asleep.

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

Not only was I able to find the best price at Powder City, but 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. 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:

  • 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/