In modern society, having strategies to better handle stress is no laughing matter. When we are under long-term stress, causing inflammation and a flood of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol from our adrenal glands, one of the first casualties is our brain and nervous system. Ongoing activation of our fight or flight response through the sympathetic nervous system impairs memory and learning, along with our retrieval and decision-making ability. It increases our inflammatory response, and when you don’t get a break from it, sets us up for many chronic illnesses. Parts of our brain can actually start to atrophy or shrink, and in the extreme, this can lead to Alzheimer’s and/or dementia, the rates of which are skyrocketing.
But what do you do when your situation is such that, practically speaking, you can’t get away from your stressful lifestyle. Your other option is to modify your body and mind’s response to it. Of course, nutritional strategies, exercise, yoga, and active relaxation techniques such as meditation can be immensely helpful for this, but there are many times through the day in the throes of a stressful situation when it’s simply not possible to engage in these on the spot. This is where the right natural remedies for stress and anxiety and amino acid supplements can be of immense value.
To specifically address such situations, Optimum Health has developed a product called Opti-Calm, which contains Theanine, Rhodiola and Relora.
The amino acid Theanine has the ability to slow your brain waves from higher-frequency Beta waves, often associated with frustration and agitation, to lower-frequency Alpha waves… commonly associated with the relaxed alertness of meditation. Theanine is considered the principle relaxant in green tea, but how many cups of which tea to drink to get a standard dose of it may vary greatly. Opti-Calm contains 50mg of Theanine.
The herb Rhodiola, has the ability to support and stabilize adrenal gland function, thereby preventing exaggerated output of stress hormones. This can be immensely helpful for keeping you calm, or shoring-up depleted energy levels. Rhodiola is part of a class of herbs known as “adaptogens”, which are defined according to their ability to correct physiological imbalances regardless of their direction…i.e. if you’re too low they will act to bring you up…if you’re too high, they’ll help bring you down. There is 100mg of standardized Rhodiola in Opti-Calm.
Relora™, which is a proprietary blend of two herbs called Magnolia and Phellodendron, can also have calming, alerting and anti-inflammatory influences. The active constituents in Magnolia engage our brain’s gaba receptors, thereby calming neural impulses and preventing over activity and firing in the emotional centers of our brain, i.e. the limbic system. (This is the part of the brain that is particularly targeted by prolonged stress).
On the other hand, Phellodendron can gently activate our adrenergic receptors, providing a mildly alerting effect, and is a source of the anti-inflammatory and blood-sugar regulating constituent called berberine, also found in Goldenseal and related herbs. 200mg of Relora™ rounds-out the Opti-Calm formula.
Originally studied for applications in impulse and emotional eating, Relora™ has quickly found a place for reducing levels of stress hormones like cortisol, and calming and clearing an over-active or stressed out mind.
The ingredients in Opti-Calm can help keep you cool and calm in the face of stress, thereby improving your reaction time… meaning you can make decisions, and perform better mentally, in less time with reduced distress. This can be critically important when trying to “keep it together” in today’s high-paced world.
- Natural Standards Database: http://naturalstandard.com/
- Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength Stamina, and Stress Relief; Winston and Maimes: Healing Arts Press, Rochester, VT, 2007:pp 129 forward
- Magnolia: http://examine.com/supplements/Magnolia+Officinalis/
- Phellodendron: http://examine.com/supplements/Phellodendron+Amurense/