Best B12 Supplement

best b12 supplementIt always amazes me how complex depression is.

It also always amazes me when someone simply has one vitamin deficiency and once that is fixed, all symptoms go away.

Depression is tricky yet simple.  On the one hand, it can be hard to figure out what the root cause of your own depression is.

It also is especially hard when you’re already depressed in the first place and have a foggy head, no energy, feel faint, and trying to figure out how to cure yourself all at the same time.

On the other hand, with a simple diagnosis of symptoms, it can be very straightforward.

On the spectrum of amazingly simple, a B12 deficiency is quite common. When this is the case, all it can take is one supplement to fix your depression.

Read on to find out what the best b12 supplement to take is and to see a reader’s story of finding relief in 5 days.

What is Vitamin B12?

Best b12 supplement

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B 12 also goes by the name cobalamin. According to Wikipedia, it is involved in in every single cell of the human body.  It affects the creation of DNA, fatty acids, and producing energy.

No plant or human alive is capable of producing Vitamin B12.  It can only be produced by humans using bacteria.  The reason I recommend eating lots of healthy foods, including healthy meats, is if you aren’t getting enough Vitamin B12, you are going to be depressed.

Vitamin B12 Deficiency Symptoms

One of the most common symptoms of Vit B12 deficiency is, you guessed it, depression.  Any B Vitamin deficiency will result in depression.  B Vitamins are crucial to every step in creating neurotransmitters and overall mood.

If you’ve been stressed out for a long time or suffered from trauma It is likely that you are deficient in B Vitamins one way or another.  Sugar also depletes B Vitamins.  If you’ve been stressed and eating sugary foods to ease your pain, then B Vitamins become even more important.

Low Vitamin B12 symptoms can include or mimic:

  • Memory problems
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Learning disorders
  • Cancer
  • Infertility

Yes, cancer.  Don’t mess around with B Vitamin deficiencies.  Especially Vitamin B12.

B12 deficiency if far more common than you might think.  Data from the Tufts University Framingham Offspring Study shows that 40% of people in the age range of 26 to 83 have plasma B12 levels in the lower ranges.

If any of those symptoms above sound like what you are experiencing, try supplementing with B12 for a few days to see the results.

Who Is Most Likely To Benefit From Taking A B12 Supplement?

best b12 supplementVitamin B12 is more complex than just simply eating the right foods.  If you have any problems with your digestive system, have leaky gut or gut inflammation, drink a lot of alcohol, or take medications your ability to absorb and utilize B12 can suffer.

Even if you are eating plenty of healthy food and animal products, if your digestive system is off, you are going to have a hard time getting enough B12 to feel the best that you can.

Vegetarians and vegans are the most suspect to having a B12 deficiency. A lot of plant sources don’t contain actual B12, just B12 analogs.  80% of vegans are shown to be deficient in B12.  All vegans and pretty much all vegetarians should supplement with B12.

If you truly want to know for sure whether or not you are deficient in Vitamin B12, most insurance companies will cover the cost if you go to a doctor.  If not, you can order a simple test from a place like DirectLabs for around $65.

Benefits of Vitamin B12

best b12 supplement

Vitamin B12 helps prevent brain shrinkage.

Vitamin B12 is essential for healthy skin.  Without it, you cannot properly renew the skin cells.  Benefits of B12 also includes converting carbohydrates into energy.  Experiencing severe fatigue is another sign you may be deficient in B12.

Vitamin B12 helps protect against cancer, stroke, high blood pressure and heart disease.  It helps maintain a healthy digestive system.

Last but not least, it helps regulate the nervous system. Vitamin B12 benefits include preventing depression, stress, and brain shrinkage.

Sources of Vitamin B12

The top Vitamin B12 sources are shellfish, beef liver, fish, crab, tofu (although I recommend being careful eating soy), red meat, dairy (check for allergies first), cheese, and eggs.  As you can see, vegans and vegetarians are at risk for not getting these foods rich in vitamin B12 in their diets.

Vitamin B12 is made in the gut.  If you are eating enough healthy foods and your digestion works properly, you should be getting enough Vitamin B12.  If you are taking a Vitamin B Complex on top of it all you shouldn’t have any problems.

However, you may need to take extra B12 if you find yourself with low energy, depression, anxiety, and have responded well to B Vitamins in the past.  Try taking B12 especially if you are depressed and tend to stay away from eating meat, or if you are experiencing feelings of faintness or serious fatigue.

Vitamin B12 Side Effects

Severe allergic reactions can occur if your body can’t tolerate B12 supplements.  This can include getting a rash, hives, having difficulty breathing, having tightness in your chest, or swelling in your mouth.

However, according to Drugs.com there are no commonly reported side effects by taking Vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 Overdose

Symptoms of taking too much Vitamin B12 can include itchiness, improper heart functioning, giddiness, and regular headaches.

Again, this is very rare.  Just be careful if you are the very rare minority that begins to feel any of those symptoms.

What B12 Supplement is Best?

The best B12 supplement for absorption is sublingual B12 or taking injections.

Methylcobalamin

The most common form of Vit B12 is called cyanaocobalamin.  Methylcobalamin has recently been shown to be a better choice.  Japanese studies show that it is better absorbed because it bypasses a few problems that can occur in the B12 absorption cycle.  It also provides methyl groups to the body, which are important for overall health and mood.

Best B12 Supplement Reviews

Best B12 SupplementMany people believe that Jarrow Formulas Methylcobalamin is the best B12 supplement on the market. It can be placed under the tongue for maximum absorption.  Supplements don’t have many restrictions and regulations to ensure quality, but Jarrow Formulas is a brand I know that I can always trust.

A bottle of 60 lozenges at 5,000mcg from Jarrow Formulas is priced right around $15.  On Amazon.com, it is the best seller out of all the B12 supplements

Best b12 supplement

Best B12 Supplement

Jarrow Formulas B12 Reviews on Amazon.com

best b12 supplement

Jarrow Formulas 1,000mcg Version Reviews on iHerb.com

Best b12 SupplementNature’s Bounty comes in a close second place to Jarrow Formulas.  The price is significantly lower. At 250 microlozenges and 2500mcg, the price is $15.  Jarrow Formulas is about twice the price of Nature’s Bounty if you factor in the dosing difference.

Nature’s Bounty is sublingual also and can be placed under the tongue for absorption.  It is the same cherry flavor as Jarrow Formulas.

The one thing I don’t like about Nature’s Bounty is it contains mannitol.  Some people can have issues digesting this artificial sugar and others are allergic to it.  Jarrow Formulas uses xylitol as a sweetener, which most people are able to handle.

My personal recommendation is to go with Jarrow Formulas unless you are really struggling financially, then Nature’s Bounty would be an option.

B12 Dosage can vary, but most people who are deficient find that 5,000 mcg is an effective dose.

Best Time To Take A B12 Supplement

Don’t take a B12 supplement too close to bedtime as Vitamin B12 can be stimulating and cause insomnia.  We all know what insomnia can do to our moods.

When taking a sublingual lozenge, it is important to let the tablet dissolve as slowly as possible under the tongue.  Sublingual B12 can be taken at any time.  You don’t have to take it with food or not, although many people report that taking it right after a meal has positive effects.

How Quickly Can Taking A B12 Supplement Work?

One reader was emailing me and his symptoms indicated he may be deficient in B12 the more I talked with him.  I simply told him to take the brand I recommended to you above, Jarrow Formulas Methylcobalamin, and he experienced relief in only a few days.

From not being able to work from dizziness, severe fatigue, and feeling faint, he found himself finally being able to function from taking one supplement.

Best B12 Supplement Best B12 SupplementWith depression, it is important to go deep and find your own root cause for why your experiencing these awful symptoms of despair.  People always ask me if it is possible to beat depression.  My answer always is the same and can be found in the linked article.

To learn more about vitamin B supplements, amino acid supplements, antioxidant supplements, methylcobalamin b12, or the best vitamin brands, make sure to check out the supplements for depression master page.

If you want a proven depression relief system that takes what symptoms you are currently experiencing and shows you the best route and action steps to take for your own individual depression type, check out the course here.

If you simply want free, actionable daily emails that get you one step closer to finding your root cause and moving towards recovery, sign up here for the email list.

NOW Foods Mood Support – An Honest Review

The great thing about amino acids and natural supplements is often times when you get back on track you don’t need them anymore and there is no withdrawal. After taking NOW Foods Mood Support for almost a month, I don’t have to take it everyday anymore. I take it every now and then when I need it. It helps bring me back to where I need to be, and then I can coast without it and still feel great.

Topics Discussed:

0:23 – Getting High Off Mood Support
0:41 – Ingredients in Mood Support
1:04 – Calm Confidence
1:42 – Pros and Cons
2:14 – Who Should Try It

I’ve had a consistently positive mood. Not just mediocre, but actually positive and optimistic.  Along with great sleep, eating healthy, and exercising, I feel great.  I actually had the time of my life the other night just playing a ping pong tournament, meaning those pleasure chemicals were working away!

I take a St. John’s Wort in the morning and NOW Mood Support at night.  I always swore I could feel something with the Mood Support, but you never know if it is a placebo or not.

I didn’t take it for two days and continued taking just the St. John’s Wort alone (Mood Support has St. John’s Wort in it).  Instead of taking one St John’s Wort in the morning and a Mood Support midday, I replaced the Mood Support with another St. Johns Wort.  The first two days I was more irritable, less friendly, and more negative.  On the third day I was noticeably depressed.  Even after a heavy weight lifting session I was becoming cynical.  It’s that feeling where everyone rubs you the wrong way and you are slightly angry for no reason.

On the third day I popped one capsule out of my Mood Support bottle  before I ate any food and continued on my day.  About a few hours later, I noticed I was calm and had generous feelings.  I regained that calm sense of confidence, had less anxiety, and was more  motivated.

I can tell you 100%  that this supplement has an effect on me, and it works regardless of whether or not I take it with food.  In fact, I accidentally got high off the supplement when I took a larger dose to test if it was a placebo or not.

Amazon Reviews

I’m always skeptical of Amazon reviews.  There are  people who are paid to write reviews.  If you look at the best sellers, the first 4 or 5 reviews are generally written like a sales letter or marketing message.  It can be hard to tell which reviews are legit.

When looking at NOW Moods Support, it has 23 Five-Star Reviews.  There is 2 One-Star reviews and a handful of Two- and Three-Star reviews.  Most are reviews that say “Amazon Verified Purchase” which is what convinced me to buy it in the first place.

For some people it worked amazing, others it didn’t work at all, and a few people it worked for a few weeks and then stopped working.

In other words, we know it works for some people.

Ingredients

B-Vitamins

There are accounts of people curing their depression solely by taking large doses of B-Vitamins alone. B-Vitamins are involved in numerous processes within the body and brain, among them being responsible for being the catalysts for converting amino acids into neurotransmitters like serotonin. The B-Vitamins in Mood Support at the very least will provide your body with greater nutritional value, and at the most will assist your brain in the process of producing more of the neurotransmitters that will aid your mood and make you feel better.

All B-Vitamins help the body produce energy. B-Vitamins are water soluble, meaning that if you take too much your body can excrete the excess without it becoming toxic.

Thiamin 4mg

Otherwise known as Vitamin B-1, thiamin can have anti-stress effects on the body.  It strengthens the immune system. It cannot be produced by the body and needs to be eaten regularly.  The nervous system needs a sufficient supply of thiamin to function.  Without it the brain doesn’t work right, the heart can enlarge, and it can cause digestive problems such as constipation.  A deficiency in Thiamin can cause depression.

Niacin 25mg

I’ve taken niacin before to help detox and feel good.  I’d take the kind that gave me the “niacin flush.”  I strangely noticed that every time I took niacin, I felt more relaxed, and on a few occasions, it actually brought me out of my depression by taking niacin alone.

25mg is just enough to help your brain metabolize amino acids into feel-good neurotransmitters without even getting close to giving you the often uncomfortable “niacin flush.”  Niacin is Vitamin B-3 and is involved in helping convert Tryptophan into Serotonin.

Taking niacin can give people a feeling of relaxation and ease.  It is had been studied extensively and used to even cure disorders such as schizophrenia, such as outlined in the textbook Orthomolecular Psychiatry by Linus Pauling and David Hawkins.

Vitamin B-12

If you search “Vitamin B-12 Depression” in Google you get a plethora of results.  A study conducted by the Linus Pauling Institute of Oregon State University showed that up to 30% of people who were hospitalized because of depression had a Vitamin B-12 deficiency.

Vitamin B-12 has many functions within the body, including making our genetic material and producing red blood cells.

Pantothenic Acid

I take pantothenic acid every day to help with acne.  I used to get acne all the time, but when I cleared up my diet and started taking pantothenic acid after I read all the rave reviews on amazon, I haven’t had an acne problem since.

Is it because of the Pantothenic acid?  To be honest I wouldn’t be able to say.  Corellation doesn’t prove causation.  All the reviews on Amazon.com says it has helped other people with their acne, but acne aside pantothenic acid is Vitamin B-5 and acts as an antioxidant.

Pantothenic acid is responsible for the production of several enzymes and breaking down carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.  It affects many aspects of functioning and can improve the immune system and reduce stress levels.

Minerals

Magnesium

I don’t even know where to begin with magnesium.  It plays a massive role in the body.  I probably didn’t even get close to giving it enough credit in my sleep post.  Just look at all the results that come from searching “magnesium depression“.  In Amazon there is a huge array of books with 5-Star ratings about curing depression and anxiety with the use of magnesium alone.

I’ve used magnesium to sleep which has done wonders for my depression.  Actually, I just ran out of magnesium a week ago and I like it so much I ordered 3 different kinds just to test which one is the most effective.

Magnesium is a vital nutrient that is often deficient in our modern diet. Magnesium deficiency could cause depression, behavioral disturbances, headaches, muscle cramps, seizures, ataxia, psychosis, and irritability.

If you aren’t sure if you are deficient in magnesium, this is a mineral you have to try.

Zinc

Zinc is involved in over 100 enzymatic reactions throughout the body.  In the 1920’s health practictioners started experimenting with zinc  to see how it affected people mentally and emotionally.  It is critical for maintaining  effective neural communication in the body.

Manganese

Manganese helps reduce fatigue, can improve memory, and is important for proper food digestion.  Manganese works with all the B-Complex vitamins to combat depression and anxiety.  This means that putting this in with all the B-Vitamins listed above helps everything work together more efficiently to defeat your anxiety and/or depression.

Amino Acids and Herbs

St. John’s Wort Extract 450mg

I’ve used St. John’s Wort with great success in helping beat depression. One problem with taking St. John’s Wort is it can make some people sensitive to sunlight and in certain cases you have to be careful not to eat certain foods like fermented cheese and drink beer. I’ve never personally had a problem with sunlight and eating a variety of foods while taking St. John’s Wort but your body may react differently.

Holy Basil Extract 100mg

I take this at night to help me sleep.  Great for anxiety control without affecting your brain neurotransmitters like traditional drugs.  It is an adaptogen and doesn’t seem to cause dependence. I used to bring some to my work when I first started. Whenever I would get stressed or had anxiety, I would take one and it took the edge off the anxiety.

Valerian Root 50mg

I keep a vial of this handy in case I need extra assistance to fall asleep.  It is also amazing for when you wake up in the middle of the night.  If I wake up in the middle of the night, I simply walk to the kitchen and put a third of a dropper of Valerian Root in some water and it puts me back to sleep within 10 minutes.

I’ve also used this a few times before going out at night if I have weird anxiety for no reason.  It is great for curbing anxiety, and 50mg is just enough to take the edge off of your anxiety without having a large psychological effect.

5-HTP 20mg

5-HTP is converted into serotonin.  This is especially awesome if your depression is linked to low levels of serotonin.  If you have ever been on an SSRI, 5-HTP is worth a shot. It was one of the first amino acids I started experimenting with and it helped me get off of my antidepressant.

GABA 250mg

This is the neurotransmitter that calms your body down, [get more info!]

Taurine 125mg

Taurine has been used as a natural way to alleviate anxiety and stress. Some people have had success with using taurine to combat insomnia. Taurine is the sort of amino acid that can help you unwind after a stressful day at work.

L-Theanine (Suntheanine) 50mg

L-Theanine is found in Green Tea.  It is why when you drink Green Tea, the caffeine makes you alert and productive yet you don’t get jittery.  Some people take L-Theanine by itself to curb anxiety or to help them sleep.  Suntheanine is the best kind of L-Theanine.  Some people claim it is the only kind of L-Theanine that works.

How to Take

Mood Support is basically an army of ingredients that will work together to curb your anxiety and depression.  How I take it is I take regular St. John’s Wort in the morning, then I take a Mood Support mid-afternoon with food if I need it. I don’t need to take it everyday anymore, I only take it when I need it.

Pros and Cons

That is a  LOT of ingredients in it, so if you happen to be sensitive to just one, it might not affect you positively.  It has 16 ingredients total.  It looks like they just threw a big cocktail of ingredients that could make you feel good in there and hoped for the best.  If you haven’t experimented with the supplements individually it may be hard to tell which one is giving you a boost.  Before I bought it I thought it would give my brain an overload.

It has B-Vitamins AND 5-HTP in it.  Some people believe that if you take B-Vitamins with 5-HTP, it causes the 5-HTP to be metabolized in other areas of your body before reaching your brain.  People say that it is converted into serotonin in your stomach or even your heart.  However, I haven’t seen any credible study that claims this is the case, only posts on forums which can always just be opinion.  If you take it with food, I highly doubt there is any risk, especially since it is a low dose (only 20mg) of 5-HTP.

Tt’s hard to tell if this would work if other areas of your life aren’t handled yet.  I eat extremely healthy, exercise, and make sure to handle my sleep. A supplement will only take you so far if you are sleep deprived, chronically stressed, or in the middle of a divorce.  Again it is a supplement.  Definition of supplement: something that completes or enhances something else when added to it.

They are supposed to SUPPLEMENT what you are already doing. However, for me, it is the last step of the way to bring me to that state of positivity and enjoyment out of life :).

To Try or Not to Try

Should you take this supplement?  That is up to you. All I can say is it really did work for me, and I know it for sure. It’s hard to tell if a supplement will work, and I certainly have had my share of  duds.

Is NOW Mood Support going to solve all your problems? No, it won’t.  It puts me in the state of mind that allows me to be able to solve my problems, but I could still be depressed while on it if I didn’t take care of myself.  All I know is I get a distinct boost in mood to where things like basketball, ping pong, hanging out with family, etc. actually FEELS good. The sunset looks more beautiful, and in other words it takes me from the step of mild-depression to a positive mood. I approve of every single ingredient found within NOW Foods Mood Support and have taken most of them individually in the past in my pursuit of a stable mood.

For my particular brain, it works amazing.  It gives me a sense of calm confidence.  It doesn’t make me happy, but it gives me the ABILITY to choose happiness.  A more internal sense of happiness.

In a nutshell: It curbs my anxiety and helps give my mood a positive boost to where I can handle life.

With supplements it is hard to tell what will work for YOU and your body.  It took me a while of experimentation until I found this supplement.  You might order it and spend your hard earned money only to find out that it doesn’t work… But what if it does?

 

You can click HERE to order from Amazon or find it at a local store (I get about 36 cents if you order through my link).

My Secret Combination of Little-Known Supplements that Fight Insomnia and Help Sleep

After years and years of experimentation I’ve finally found two supplements that I take together at night that put me to sleep.  I wake up refreshed, relaxed, and they haven’t caused any dependence.  I also have a few other secret weapons in my arsenal if I need to bring out the “big guns.”  Needless to say, I’ve been getting consistent sleep for a long time now.

Listen to the audio or click the video to learn a method I found that puts me to sleep every night.

Download Audio

Topics Discussed:

0:16 – Sneak Peak at All of TJ’s Supplements
0:25 – First Two Supplements to Try
0:45 – What about 5-HTP?
1:13 – When You Wake Up In the Middle of Night
1:22 – Two Minerals to Help you Sleep
1:49 – What About Melatonin?
2:02 – Why You Need Darkness for These to Work

I suffered from insomnia for many years. To most people, saying “I haven’t been sleeping” usually triggers the response, “Go to bed earlier!”  The average person gets sleepy and well, goes to sleep when they haven’t slept.  But when you have depression and suffer from insomnia at the same time (which is amazingly common), it isn’t that easy.

Sometimes when I haven’t slept, it increases my insomnia!  My insomnia creates more and more insomnia, making me depressed, until I get trapped in a cycle of low energy but excruciatingly cannot sleep for the life of me.

Combining the Two Supplements Together

I haven’t seen this combination recommended anywhere. What I personally do is take a Holy Basil (which also goes by the name Tulsi) with either a high quality 5-HTP or L-Tryptophan.  The holy basil calms down the nervous system.  This turns off my thoughts and lets me “wind-down.”  Many people are able to fall asleep taking this little known herb “Tulsi” all by itself.  It shuts off the “fight-or-flight” response when we have too much stress.

Holy Basil

Several studies have shown that certain extractions of holy basil reduces corticosterone.  A reduction in corticosterone reduces the amount of stress on the body.  A lowered level of stress contributed to an improvement in mental clarity and mood. 1

When I take it, I don’t really “feel” anything.  The only thing that happens is I become calmer and my thoughts don’t race as much.  A lot of the battle in falling asleep is when my mind is racing.  Taking Holy Basil curbs the racing mind and allows you to slowly fall asleep.

5-HTP or L-Tryptophan

5-HTP is the precursor to serotonin in the brain.  Your brain uses leftover serotonin to produce melatonin.  This means that if you don’t have any serotonin in your brain left over from the daytime, it probably will be hard to fall asleep.  This is why when you get depressed you paradoxically also do not sleep even though your tired.  Your body isn’t producing the right hormones.  Click here to view a medical summary of studies done on 5-HTP for depression and anxiety.

Taking 5-HTP and Holy Basil was the trick that did it for me.  When I take 5-HTP at night, it puts me in that deep, restful state where I wake up and feel like my body underwent some restoration unlike when I take over the counter medications or Ambien.

I recently ordered some L-Tryptophan to test out it in comparison to 5-HTP.  L-Tryptophan is converted to 5-HTP in the brain.  It is one step further away from the production of serotonin, but many people respond better to L-Tryptophan than 5-HTP.  When I take L-Tryptophan, the sleep appears to be deeper, it takes a little longer for me to wake up in the morning, and it seems to last throughout the next day in comparison to 5-HTP.  It is as if it is still working after I wake up.  If I take it at night the first half of the following day I almost feel as if I am on an antidepressant.  Actually, it almost makes me too calm.

I’d suggest 5-HTP first, then L-Tryptophan if you don’t respond.  Combine it with Holy Basil and you have the recipe for a great night’s sleep.  Make sure that you take L-Tryptophan or 5-HTP on a relatively empty stomach.  If you eat other high protein foods the amino acids will compete with Tryptophan or 5-HTP and you won’t get the desired effect.

The great thing about this combination is not only does it knock you out and you feel well rested, if you forget to take it one night it isn’t the end of the world.  The other day I simply didn’t feel like I needed it.  My sleep wasn’t as restful, but I still slept for a good 7-8 hours.  Yesterday I was extremely calm and ready for sleep, without taking anything, and slept like a baby!  Try and take Ambien every night for a week and see if you can sleep without it!  Not only that, but these supplements help people get off their antidepressants without going through harsh withdrawals.

What About Melatonin?

You may be wondering why I don’t just take melatonin if that is what those amino acids are converting into to anyways.  I don’t take melatonin because it doesn’t work for me.  I have taken it many, many times and it always seems to make me more depressed, not wake up feeling refreshed, or give me weird dreams where I keep waking up all night.

Some people respond well to melatonin, and I’d still suggest you try it, however I have seen several people become dependent on it.  Melatonin seems like it works best for a few days to reset your circadian rhythm, such as when dealing with jet lag, and then you should stop taking it.

The great thing about supplements such as L-Tryptophan is your brain decides how much melatonin to produce.  Actually, if you take L-Tryptophan your body can also use it to produce niacin, another relaxing B-Vitamin.  So taking something like L-Tryptophan lets your brain use it to produce niacin, serotonin, and melatonin naturally and in the right quantities.

Experimentation is key.  I prefer 5-HTP and L-Tryptophan because they calm me down, give me restful sleep, and give me a nice antidepressant effect when I wake up in the morning.

Take Them Together Only When Going to Sleep

Dog Knocked Himself Out with Tryptophan

This Dog Doesn’t Seem to Need the Lights Out For Tryptophan to Work

Whenever you take something like 5-HTP, Holy Basil, Melatonin, etc. make sure you don’t take them until you are going to sleep or are turning the lights off.  Your brain produces the hormones and chemicals that put you to sleep when there is an absence of light.

If you take them and sit up staring at your bright computer screen, they probably won’t work.  As I’m winding down for the night, I take them with some water, lay down on my bed, and listen to some audio or turn on Alan Watts while I wind down in pure darkness. My room isn’t completely dark, so I put on an eye-mask and then earplugs when I know my body is about to go lights out.

I’ve got Holy Basil and 5-HTP/Tryptophan working in my body, my brain thinks it is completely dark, and after I’ve been seduced by the philosophy of Alan Watts the earplugs go in and I can’t hear anything.  Lights out.

If You Wake Up in the Night or Still Can’t Sleep

Valerian Root

Another tool I use is Valerian Root.  I do not know if the capsules work, but I went ahead and got the liquid version.  This is a great supplement to use if you need a little extra power to fall asleep or if you wake up in the middle of the night.  When I was first getting my sleep in order, for some reason I would wake up every night about 4 hours after I had fallen asleep.  I’d walk to the kitchen, put a little Valerian Root in water, go back to bed and fall asleep within a good 10 minutes.

Other nights when I have to go to bed early and I’m just not feeling it, I’ll throw a little Valerian Root in the water I use to gulp down the Holy Basil and 5-HTP/Tryptophan.  I’ve also successfully used Valerian Root to curb my anxiety before events like job interviews.  Make sure you don’t take it everyday, however, as some people can grow tolerant to its effects.

Calcium and Magnesium

If I really have to bring out the big guns, I take a couple calcium tablets with magnesium.  In the past I have actually had success with beating my insomnia using these two alone, and some people say you should be taking these every night regardless of whether or not you have insomnia.  They really help if you just need that extra little support, but I found for serious insomnia they just couldn’t knock me out.

I personally use Natural Calm Magnesium, the unflavored version.  It seems to absorb into the body better than other forms of magnesium.  If you choose to get a different brand, try to get anything that ends in “ate” such as magnesium citrate, carbonate, orotate, etc.  Magnesium oxide doesn’t absorb into the body efficiently.

I’ve had success in the past with popping two Calcium pills and a spoonful of Magnesium mixed with water.  Plus, they are essential minerals your body needs.  Most Americans are deficient in magnesium, so if you haven’t tried it yet, order some high quality magnesium and test it out.

What About Dependency?

After two weeks of using this method, I haven’t come across any sort of issues with dependency.  In fact, I’ve had the reverse effect.  Now that my sleep cycle has been stabilized and have I have serotonin pumping through my brain, some nights I don’t take anything at all and sleep great.  In the case that you find one supplement to stop working, you can always cycle it with another.  If both 5-HTP and Tryptophan work for you, take 5-HTP for a week or two then switch over to Tryptophan for a couple weeks.

Again, I can tell on a day when I am tired enough that I will sleep through the night.  On those days, I don’t take anything, and surprisingly, I still sleep!  One of the main realizations I had was this helped reset my sleep cycle so that I started naturally becoming tired at night with or without the supplements.  The side effect of them helping to defeat my depression carries over into the next day, resulting in a snowball effect of happiness and sleep.  Remember those times when you had a snowball of depression and insomnia?  This combination is the reverse.

Use This Method Now and Sleep Like a Rock!

First, try taking holy basil. Then 5-htp. Then Tryptophan if 5-HTP doesn’t work.  Then incorporate Valerian, especially when you wake up in the middle of the night.  Finally, throw in Magnesium/Calcium for a added firepower or to improve the quality of your sleep (or do this first, depending on your needs).

After you take it, darken the lights and go to bed.  If you must use your computer, use an app like Black Light for Mac or Flux for both Mac and Windows.  Many people love Flux.  I use Black Light because I can’t make the screen a really dark red so when I’m searching YouTube for an Alan Watts video it doesn’t mess with the production of my night-time hormones.

Obviously, make sure you aren’t eating any sugary foods or caffeine close to bedtime, as this can surely disrupt your sleep.  If you wake up in the middle of the night from being hungry, taking some Whey Protein, eating a scoop of Almond/Peanut Butter on a stick of celery, etc. before bed will keep you asleep.

Throw on an eye-mask (or darken your room if you can) pop in some earplugs (make sure you can still wake up to an alarm!) and get ready to sleep like a slab of granite.

Make sure you are following this simple chart:

supplements for sleep l-tryptophan holy basil

You can buy sleep supplements through Amazon or a local health food store.  Just make sure that what you are getting is high quality.  I listed the ones I personally recommend below.  These are affiliate links, which give me a few cents if you click them and decide to buy (4% of $15 is $0.60).  However, I stand by these products and if that stops you from buying them, you can search for them in Amazon.com yourself or buy them locally and I won’t get a commission.

Amazon:

So in other words, I need to take a *$%#load of supplements to sleep?

I only had to take all of those supplements until I got my sleep cycle figured out.  I was taking all of the above and I’d wake up once in the night and retook Valerian Root.  After a while of getting consistent sleep and escaping the cycle, now I usually only take one holy basil, sometimes nothing at all.

That is the great thing about natural supplements.  They don’t produce dependency like the strong sleeping medications out there.

What do I do if this doesn’t work?

The most important part is that you start to experiment to find out what works for you.  Don’t stop until you finally start sleeping!  Everyone should be able to sleep great.  It took me a long time of trial-and-error and giving up before I finally found what I had to do, it might be a much shorter journey for yourself.

Dave Asprey over at Bulletproof Executive lists these as his guidelines to restful sleep:

  1. Eat a Bulletproof Diet.
  2. Hack your nervous system to manage stress.
  3. Upgrade your brain.
  4. Install F.lux on your computer (it’s free).
  5. Don’t exercise for at least 2 hours before bed.
  6. Avoid bright lights and LCD screens at least 1 hour before bed.
  7. Go to bed before 11:00 PM.
  8. Track coffee, green tea, and chocolate consumption to see if they effect your sleep (this is where a Zeo becomes a necessity).
  9. Cheat with biochemistry (use supplements).
  10. Sleep on an earthing mat.
  11. Run a current across your brain with a cerebral-electric stimulator, AKA, “electrosleep” machine.

If you aren’t ready to run an”electrosleep” machine current across your brain, you can also try other supplements such as GABA, Ornithine, or Chamomile tea.  The key is to start experimenting and see what personally works for you.  Does taking a hot shower before bed help you relax? Does a cold shower knock you out?  Does exercising late in the day keep you awake? What about just Valerian Root and Magnesium?  Can you read nonfiction before bed without your mind racing?  Play around with it.

I ordered a Light Box from Amazon to start using in the morning now that winter has started.  They are high powered lights that emit light at 10,000 lux, which sends the same signals to your brain that the sun does.  You can see in the link here what my honest thoughts are about using the light lamp that I bought.

References

  1. Sembulingam K, Sembulingam P, Namasivayam A. Effect of Ocimum sanctum Linn on noise induced changes in plasma corticosterone level. Indian J Physiol
    Pharmacol. 1997 Oct;41(4):429-30.
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