Product Highlight: SleepRx
Let me introduce you to one of the newest products on the site SleepRx! SleepRx is from our newest brand Nutrovi. Nutrovi is Pharmacist formulated from our friend Mark Byrne. Listen to our podcast HERE:
Sleep aids can be a wonderful thing, when used CORRECTLY. A sleep aid is just that AN AID! One-third of US adults report getting less than the minimum recommended amount of sleep (at least 7 hours) per night. A lack of sleep can eventually lead to poor health, diseases and conditions, such as, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and depression. Insomnia is one of the most common complaints amongst general medical practices. The type of sleep issues can vary by age where young adults typically have trouble falling asleep and older adults have difficulties staying asleep throughout the night and waking up earlier than desired. Lack of adequate sleep results in excessive daytime sleepiness and a loss in productivity.
Some highlights on SleepRx:
- GABA supports falling asleep faster & longer sleep duration.
- Theanine helps with relaxation & stress management.
- Melatonin regulates the circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle).
- Magnolia offers neuroprotective benefits & assists in inducing sleep.
Sleep Rx contains all of the necessary ingredients the body needs in order to achieve a better quality sleep. Not only does it help with falling asleep faster, but it will also increase the experience of deeper sleep, decrease nighttime awakenings, and promote staying asleep longer. Sleep Rx was formulated in a way that will not give you a “hangover” feeling, but instead will promote a more relaxed and peaceful state of mind.
Deep-Dive In the Ingredients
GABA is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter. GABA is a naturally occurring amino acid in the brain that reduces excitability, increases relaxation, and has a calming effect on the body. Activation of the GABA-A receptor promotes sleep and has an anxiolytic effect. Low GABA levels can lead to anxiety, depression, memory problems, and insomnia. GABA decreases sleep latency (time to fall asleep) and prolongs sleep duration. GABA also increases REM sleep time compared to placebo, which helps to promote learning, brain activity, and dreaming. When GABA is combined with L-theanine, it has been shown that there is both a greater decrease in sleep latency and a greater increase in sleep duration than when either supplement is given alone.
- A 2004 study performed at Harvard Medical School measured the GABA levels of 16 non-medicated individuals to asses their sleep. They found those those with insomnia had approximately 30% lower GABA concentrations in their brain.
Theanine is a naturally occurring amino acid found in green and black tea. This supplement is well known for its anxiolytic and relaxation benefits, but it also possesses neuroprotective effects. Consuming Theanine increases serotonin, dopamine, and GABA levels in the brain. In addition to its relaxation benefits, theanine is commonly combined with caffeine to counteract anxiety and increase in blood pressure some users feel as a result of caffeine intake.
- A study using 200mg of Theanine, significantly reduced subjective stress and anxiety in response to a cognitive stressor compared to placebo.
Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that functions as a precursor for many important compounds such as niacin (vitamin B3), serotonin, and melatonin. Tryptophan has been shown to have direct effects on sleep, producing an increase in sleepiness, decrease in total wakefulness, and an improvement in morning alertness. Aside from sleep, tryptophan also assists with cognitive function, reducing levels of stress, improving memory, and boosting one’s mood. These effects are primarily due to tryptophan’s ability to increase concentration levels of serotonin and melatonin. Supplementing with tryptophan is extremely safe and no studies have found it to be harmful to the liver or kidneys. Tryptophan is also metabolized fairly quickly and will not leave you feeling groggy in the morning.
- One study found that eating tryptophan-enriched cereal at breakfast and dinner helped adults fall asleep faster and sleep longer, compared to when they ate standard cereals.
- A study performed in patients diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), tryptophan depletion resulted in a worsening of continuous sleep.
Lemon balm is a lemon-scented herb from the mint family that may relieve stress, improve sleep, increase cognitive function, and also acts as a powerful antioxidant. Lemon balm is believed to exert its benefits by increasing GABA or working on the GABA-A receptors. Combining lemon balm with the herb, valerian, may help relieve restlessness and sleep disorders.
- A 2006 study found that using lemon balm combined with valerian in children less than 12 years old suffering from restlessness and difficulty falling asleep resulted in a 70-80% improvement in symptoms.
- A 1999 study with 98 healthy volunteers found combining valerian and lemon balm extract resulted in a 33% increase in sleep quality versus a 9.4% increase in the placebo group.
Chamomile is one of the most ancient medicinal herbs known to man and is typically consumed in the form of tea for relaxation purposes. Chamomile has a variety of known uses that range from an anti-inflammatory, an astringent for skin conditions, and for its mild sedative properties. Chamomile contains a unique flavonoid, apigenin, that binds to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain to exert its anxiolytics and sedative properties. Other active compounds in chamomile can also bind to BDZ and GABA receptors in the brain to promote sleep.
- A 28 day study on patients 60 years and older reported better sleep quality with chamomile use in comparison to placebo.
- A clinical trial compared chamomile extract to placebo in 57 patients with mild to moderate Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD); the treatment group was found to have reduced anxiety on the HAM-A scale compared with the placebo group.
Valerian root is a herb that has been used to treat a variety of neurological disorders, primarily sleep disturbances, for centuries. During WWII, English soldiers used valerian root to relieve stress and anxiety caused by air raids. Its mechanism of action is not known but appears to have an affinity for the GABA receptor.
- One small study with 27 people noted 44% of users reported perfect sleep and 89% of individuals reported improved sleep with the help of valerian.
- In another study, valerian was given to 128 men, and the results described a significant decrease in time to fall asleep and a significant improvement in sleep quality. Night awakenings, dream recall, and drowsiness the following morning were relatively unaffected by valerian.
Melatonin is arguably the most popular and well known dietary supplement on the market for sleep and jet lag. It is produced by the pineal gland to regulate our circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle). Melatonin secretion plays an important role in the initiation and maintenance of sleep while also regulating your body temperature and blood pressure. Stress, aging, light exposure at night, and disrupted sleep patterns can all affect melatonin production.
- A meta-analysis (19 studies, 5 of which used 2mg) involving over 1600 subjects displayed significant efficacy in reducing sleep latency and increasing total sleep time. Trials with longer duration and higher melatonin doses demonstrated greater effects on the two outcomes previously mentioned. Overall sleep quality was significantly improved in subjects taking melatonin compared to placebo. Other findings from this meta-analysis suggest that there is no evidence of developed tolerance to melatonin use.
Naturally occurring zinc concentration in the body varies with the amount of sleep, while zinc taken orally increases the amount and quality of sleep. Aside from the benefits seen with sleep, zinc serves as an essential cofactor for more than 300 enzymes and 1000 transcription factors. Its roles vary from hormone support, to cognitive function, growth, and immune support. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 5587 Americans determined that those who sleep less than 5 hours per night ingested significantly less amounts of zinc than did normal or long sleepers.
- A Japan study, with 120 volunteers who took zinc for 3 months, demonstrated an improvement in sleep onset and sleep efficiency compared to control subjects.
- A 2009 study, with 890 healthy individuals, discovered that those with the highest concentrations of zinc were those sleeping 7-9 hours per night.
- A small crossover study examined the absorption of 15 mg of zinc as bisglycinate or gluconate in 12 healthy volunteers. Zinc bisglycinate resulted in 43% higher zinc blood levels compared to zinc gluconate.
Magnesium is a common mineral that is present nearly everywhere (found in many foods) and is involved in over 600 cellular reactions. Some of the well known benefits of magnesium include its anti-inflammatory effects, ability to relieve constipation, decrease blood pressure, and improve sleep. Magnesium helps to activate the PNS (Parasympathetic Nervous System) and also binds to GABA receptors. Taking magnesium may help to reduce nighttime wakefulness and help maintain a normal sleep structure, which may reduce falling asleep during the day. Magnesium also improves melatonin secretion while decreasing levels of the stress hormone, cortisol.
- A study that combined zinc 11.25mg, magnesium 225mg, and melatonin 5mg resulted in better sleep compared to placebo.
Glycine is a non-essential amino acid that helps to induce rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and increase non-REM (NREM) sleep. REM sleep is important in enhancing cognitive function while also improving memory. NREM sleep is beneficial for repairing tissues, bones, and muscles. While the mechanism of how glycine works is controversial, a low dose of glycine before bed has shown to play a role in improving sleep quality and decreasing daytime fatigue. These results have been consistent in subjects with insomniac tendencies. A unique function glycine possesses is its ability to decrease body temperature, both at night and during the day. In general, having a lower body temperature is correlated with reduced aging and increased longevity. Aside from its sleep and thermoregulation benefits, glycine also aids in protein and collagen synthesis, functions as a neurotransmitter, regulates the immune system, and indirectly assists in the process of absorbing fats and vitamins.
Magnolia officinalis, often referred to as “magnolia bark”, has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years to treat conditions ranging from anxiety, to asthma, and gastrointestinal disorders. This powerful antioxidant exerts several different pathways in which it works: it increases GABA (specifically acts on the GABA-A receptor) to reduce anxiety while promoting sleep, decreases adrenaline to combat alertness and elevated cortisol levels, and activates the cannabinoid receptors to provide an analgesic and anti inflammatory effect. Magnolia increases the amount of NREM and REM sleep while also decreasing the time it takes to fall asleep. Lastly, magnolia has been shown to have a promising anxiolytic effect in premenopausal women.
- Jesse Westover