Neurologist

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Relaxity – The Solution to Stress Relief?

For frenzied folks seeking an all-natural stress-buster, the supplement Relaxity pledges to bring calm without causing drowsiness. A proprietary blend of herbs and the amino acid gamma-aminobutyric acid (or GABA), Relaxity claims to induce relaxation partly by altering brain-wave patterns. In 2009, Relaxity launched a line of effervescent drink mixes that deliver the same ingredients as its supplements.

The Science Behind Relaxity

Here’s a look at the science behind Relaxity’s two key ingredients.

1) Adaptogenic Herbs

Adaptogens are a class of herbs thought to strengthen your resistance to all kinds of stress while enhancing your energy. Relaxity contains rhodiola, a Russian herb shown to reduce stress-related fatigue, improve mental performance, and build physical endurance in human-based studies. The supplement also includes ashwaghandha (an adaptogen used in ayurvedic medicine), which has been found to produce anti-stress effects in animal-based research.

Another herb featured in Relaxity’s formula, aralia mandshurica has yet to be well-studied for its adaptogenic effects.

2) GABA

GABA is a brain chemical that decreases the electrochemical activity of neurons, which in turn helps lessen stress and anxiety. In fact, many anti-anxiety medications work by affecting GABA receptors in the brain.

Since it may be difficult for GABA to cross the blood-brain barrier, the degree to which orally ingested GABA can reach the brain is unknown. Therefore, Relaxity’s claim that it can lessen stress through GABA’s influence on brain-wave activity might not hold up.

Coping with Stress, Naturally

While Relaxity’s blend of adaptogenic herbs may help offset the negative effects of stress, other herbs and herbal formulas can also aid in stress management. Ginseng, for instance, may also help increase your resistance to stress. To find the herbal medicine best suited to your individual needs, consider working with a health professional in choosing anti-stress herbs.

Certain mind-body practices can help your reduce your stress as well. Both known to decrease your levels of the stress hormone cortisol, meditation and yoga have also been shown to elevate GABA levels.

Sources

Abdou AM, Higashiguchi S, Horie K, Kim M, Hatta H, Yokogoshi H. “Relaxation and immunity enhancement effects of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) administration in humans.” Biofactors 2006 26(3):201-8.

Bhattacharya SK, Muruganandam AV. “Adaptogenic activity of Withania somnifera: an experimental study using a rat model of chronic stress.” Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior 2003 75(3):547-55.

Darbinyan V, Kteyan A, Panossian A, Gabrielian E, Wikman G, Wagner H. “Rhodiola rosea in stress induced fatigue–a double blind cross-over study of a standardized extract SHR-5 with a repeated low-dose regimen on the mental performance of healthy physicians during night duty.” Phytomedicine 2000 7(5):365-71.

De Bock K, Eijnde BO, Ramaekers M, Hespel P. “Acute Rhodiola rosea intake can improve endurance exercise performance.” International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism 2004 14(3):298-307.

Elias AN, Guich S, Wilson AF. “Ketosis with enhanced GABAergic tone promotes physiological changes in transcendental meditation.” Medical Hypotheses 2000 54(4):660-2.

Olsson EM, von Schéele B, Panossian AG. “A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of the standardised extract shr-5 of the roots of Rhodiola rosea in the treatment of subjects with stress-related fatigue.” Planta Medica 2009 75(2):105-12.

Richard P. Brown, M.D., Patricia L. Gerbarg, M.D., and Zakir Ramazanov, Ph.D., D.S. “Rhodiola rosea: A Phytomedicinal Overview.” HerbalGram 2002;56:40-52.

Streeter CC, Jensen JE, Perlmutter RM, Cabral HJ, Tian H, Terhune DB, Ciraulo DA, Renshaw PF. “Yoga Asana sessions increase brain GABA levels: a pilot study.” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 2007 13(4):419-26.

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May 13, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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