Sick and tired of being sick and tired?
Have insomnia every single night?
Anxiety that prevents you from living the life that you want?
Restless leg syndrome?
Not sure which product you can trust when ordering this mineral?
Did you know this mineral is commonly deficient in just about everybody?
Watch the video below to see my honest review of Natural Calm.
I even stir it up and show you how it mixes.
0:20 – Why Magnesium is so Important for Depression
1:25 – Which Magnesium Supplements I Have Tried
2:30 – Try Magnesium Or Test Your Blood Levels
3:40 – One Downside of Natural Vitality Natural Calm
4:02 – Mixing Magnelevures in Water Demonstration
5:25 – Mixing Natural Calm in Water Demonstration
6:25 – Magnesium in My Body
6:45 – What Happens If You Take Too Much Magnesium
One of my favorite supplements I have ever tried is Natural Vitality’s Natural Calm Magnesium powder. I used to suffer from intense anxiety and insomnia and started reading about magnesium’s effect on depression.
I tried several magnesium supplements and never could really tell they were working. I tried Solgar Magnesium, regular magnesium tablets from Costco, etc. Then I found Natural Calm Magnesium on Amazon.com and saw all the positive reviews so I ordered a big ‘ole tub of it to find out.
After a while my anxiety lessened, I actually started sleeping better (my most popular post on this website is my post on how to defeat insomnia naturally), and I even started to crave the stuff.
I got a blood test done later that showed my levels of magnesium were actually low. Makes sense that magnesium made such a difference for me.
Magnesium is necessary for the metabolism of amino acids and carbohydrates. Magnesium helps your body utilize vitamins C and E and convert the B vitamins into a form your body can use.
This means that if you are taking a large amount of B vitamins you might be using up a lot of magnesium. If you don’t have enough magnesium, you won’t be able to properly use all those B Vitamins that are so critical for fighting off depression.
A lack of magnesium is a very bad thing. Most common results of a magnesium deficiency is depression, irritability, restlessness, anxiety, insomnia, and confusion. If you are severely deficient in magnesium you will start hallucinating.
Magnesium has been used for patients to cut down on their painkilling medications, to help with migraines, and to ease PMS discomfort.
According to The Way Up From Down by Priscilla Slagle, studies showed that there were “significantly lower levels of magnesium in the blood and cerebrospinal fluid of depressed patients, and the lowest levels in suicidal patients.”
Most people are slightly deficient in magnesium. Alcoholics are especially prone to being deficient in magnesium. Stress, sugar, and caffeine deplete magnesium, which is familiar to many people in this modern world.
Getting enough magnesium is essential to feeling 100%. If your body can’t convert B vitamins, use Vitamin C and E, then you are not going to feel good. What I specifically noticed when using magnesium was its effects on anxiety and insomnia.
If you read my sleep post I referenced earlier, you’ll notice that to start sleeping I recommend that you take a handful of supplements. The good news is after a while you don’t have to take all those supplements anymore.
The only supplement I still take at night is Natural Calm Magnesium. It doesn’t knock you out like an Ambien would. What it does is make you relaxed to where you can fall asleep. I also sleep really well throughout the night.
Not only that, but restless leg syndrome has been linked to a deficiency in magnesium. Many people who have had insomnia due to restless leg syndrome started sleeping after they started taking additional magnesium.
A lack of magnesium results in anxiety. When you start supplementing with magnesium it’s likely you will get a reduction in anxiety. If you are anything like me, anxiety sucks and if it gets bad enough it can hold you back in life far beyond what is manageable.
Magnesium is relatively safe. Side effects are uncommon. Taking doses around 350 milligrams or lower should be safe for most people. If you take significantly more than that, common side effects can be stomach upset, nausea, or vomiting. The serious side effects of taking massive quantities of magnesium can include irregular heartbeat, low blood pressure, coma, slowed breathing, or death.
What is the most common side effect of taking too much magnesium? Loose bowels.
I have had only a few people email me about natural calm side effects. In a minority of cases, some people have taken a relatively small dose and found that it made their insomnia worse, gave them anxiety, etc. This is why I always suggest with any supplement and in my email list to start with the lowest dose possible first.
If you do this, then you can only increase your dose if everything is fine and avoid any bad natural calm side effects that could potentially occur.
Yes. The main side effect that you will experience if you take too much natural calm magnesium is you will have loose stools. Some people actually take natural calm magnesium for this reason alone.
However, if your bowels get too relaxed you should cut down on how much magnesium you are taking as that means you are getting more than enough. If you take too much over a long period of time, the buildup of magnesium in your body can lead to those other more serious side effects like irregular heartbeat and low blood pressure.
The good news is you are going to notice you have loose bowels long before that happens.
Too much magnesium can cause loose bowels. Too much calcium can lead to constipation. The body needs a balance of magnesium and calcium.
One of the reasons why many researchers think that a lot of people are deficient in magnesium is because they don’t intake enough magnesium and take in way too much calcium. If you take in too much calcium it will cause your magnesium levels to lower and vice versa.
Calcium itself can help ease symptoms of anxiety and some doctors have described taking a calcium+magnesium combo as taking the body’s natural tranquilizer. However, most people will have too much calcium and too little magnesium.
Natural Vitality offers a Natural Calm Magnesium Calcium product for people that need to get both. I have never personally tried it as I used to have extra calcium lying around so I would use that instead. Now I don’t take any additional calcium because my levels are balanced and I just need a little boost in magnesium to keep my insomnia and anxiety at bay.
According to Natural Vitality’s website they say that Natural Calm has been the best selling magnesium supplement for over 7 years. Obviously that is coming from the company themselves, so before I purchased natural calm magnesium I checked out reviews all over the place.
Pretty much everywhere I went I saw positive reviews of Natural Calm Magnesium. A tub of it costs $20. I figured I could spend $20 and either fix some of my issues surrounding depression and anxiety or lose out on a twenty dollar bill.
You can read all the Natural Calm Magnesium Powder reviews (over 700 of them) on Amazon here: Natural Calm Magnesium Amazon.
My personal experience with Natural Calm has been positive. I haven’t tried any of the flavors as I prefer buying everything in their unflavored versions and the taste doesn’t bother me. After a while I actually found myself liking the unflavored magnesium’s taste, but everyone is different in that regard and I’ve been known to be able to drink nasty things like papaya juice with ease.
There are a lot of magnesium supplements out there that are going to work. The most important factor when using a supplement is that it works for you.
I used to debate back and forth in my head forever trying to think if a supplement was worth it, but if you have been struggling with depression, anxiety, restlessness, and insomnia for a long time just spend a few bucks to see if magnesium is what does the trick for you.
Personally I found the best success with Natural Vitality’s magnesium and that is the one I can honestly recommend. If you order Natural Calm through those links to Amazon above I get around $0.50 from an affiliate commission. If you aren’t cool with that you can search on Amazon for magnesium without using my links. I’d rather have you trust my review and try magnesium if you truly need it then to think I’m merely trying to make a few cents off writing this.
When taking any supplement, always start out with a small dose to see how it affects you. After seeing that a small dose affects you well, then you can gradually increase the dose. Although rare, taking too much magnesium can have side effects such as nausea. Always start with a small dose first!
I’d love to hear your thoughts on any other forms of magnesium you have tried or any other experiences with taking magnesium that you have had. It has been a game changer for me. A lot of people use it to help them wean off of antidepressants. Magnesium is on my huge list of supplements that help with depression for a reason.
If you’d like free truthful steps on how to recover from depression, click here to sign up for free actionable steps to feeling like your old self again (plus a free bonus).
0:16 – How Testing For Pyroluria Led Me To SAM-e
1:00 – Taking the First Dose
1:14 – Day 6 Thoughts and Feelings
1:37 – Lowered Motivation and Reduced Social Anxiety
2:10 – Month And A Half Later
2:40 – Dating More Women and Increased Pleasure
3:15 – Effects of SAM-e On Meditation
3:55 – Having More Fun Versus Working on SAM-e
4:30 – SAM-e with L-Phenylalanine
5:25 – Should You Try SAM-e?
I used to sit there and debate back and forth whether or not something would work in overcoming my depression. It wasn’t until I had a severe depressive episode after my best friend died that I decided to think openly about different approaches.
If it looks safe and the research is safe – just try it and see. That’s much better than debating back and forth in your head.
One thing I hadn’t tried yet was SAM-e (S-Adenosyl Methionine) but I had always heard about it. I took one pill of Jarrow Formulas SAM-e 200mg every morning until the box was empty and recorded my experiences.
So how does SAM-e work?
The body makes neurotransmitters out of amino acids by changing the amino acid slightly. It usually does this by sticking a methyl group onto it.
The body needs a way to supply these methyl groups in order to use these amino acids for neurotransmitter production. The methyl groups are attached to a molecule called SAM. SAM delivers the methyl groups to where they are needed. Methylation is where the methyl group jumps off the SAM molecule to the amino acid.
After this happens, that SAM molecule turns into Homocysteine which is normally recycled back into the whole process. A methyl group is added to SAM, it carries it back up to where it is needed, and the methyl group pops off again. In order for this to happen correctly, the body needs the right amount of vitamins and nutrients, specifically Vitamin B12 and folic acid.
If it sounds complicated just remember this – if you don’t have enough nutrients in your body, the Homocysteine builds up and SAM isn’t made. If SAM isn’t carrying methyl groups to where they are needed, neurotransmitters are not made, which is bad for depression.
The supplement SAM-e increases the supply of SAM in the body leading to an increased amount of methylation and therefore more neurotransmitters in the brain.
When I took a test for Pyroluria, my results actually showed that I had high levels of homocysteine. So trying out SAM-e seemed to be a good choice.
When researching SAM-e, Jarrow Formulas kept popping up. It had numerous 5-Star reviews on Amazon and excellent reviews on other sites. I had used Jarrow Formulas 5-HTP before and knew the brand was high quality.
Supposedly SAM-e also reacts with exposed to air. If SAM-e is in a jar it can lose its potency quickly. Jarrow Formulas puts their SAM-e in blister packs so they are protected from light and air.
I chose Jarrow Formulas SAM e 200 mg over Jarrow Formulas SAM-e 400 mg because I like to start with the lowest dose of something first. It’s safer and if a lower dose works that’s all you need anyways. With supplements it’s always best to start low and increase the dose from there.
It’s the only brand I have tried and I’m sure there are other brands of SAM-e that work, but it appears to be the highest quality choice.
The first thing I noticed was that I had reduced anxiety and increased pleasure. Things started to feel slightly good for no reason at all and I was really enjoying my time. My anxiety was reduced and I had an easier time talking to people.
After about a week of taking SAM-e I all a sudden started dating a bunch of women at once. I dated more women in a few weeks than I usually do in a month. I’m not sure why, but talking to the opposite sex seemed to come a lot more naturally. I think that the effect of lowered anxiety also helped me with my sex drive as well.
Listening to music sounded better, riding a motorcycle through town was more fun than normal, and overall I was more laid back about things.
During one part of the experiment I got a little sick, but I also hurried and jotted down a few notes. In my notes looking back I mention not feeling as motivated when it comes to work and how I just wanted to date women instead.
I noticed after a while though that I was having a lot more fun than I was working. I had lowered motivation and just wanted to have a good time. This is the first time I’ve actually understood how some people get distracted by having a bunch of fun all the time.
I’ve always been able to work hard when I need to and ignore going out and having fun, but when I was taking SAM-e going out and having fun seemed to a much better choice.
After a while I realized that I wasn’t working anymore, so I decided to try supplementing with L-Phenylalanine with the SAM-e.
Combing these two gave me even more pleasure than before. I was able to work, but it felt like I had a lot of endorphins running through my brain. I was really social, wanted to hang out with everybody, and I felt a lot more caring and loving.
Amino acids need to be taken on an empty stomach. Since amino acids need some time to absorb, it is perfect for me to take them first thing in the morning and then meditate for 20 minutes.
During my meditation taking SAM-e and L-Phenylalanine together I would drift off into pleasurable states of mind all the time. Before the experiment I would rigidly focus on my breath and not waver too much. Taking the SAM-e and L-Phenylalanine beforehand I noticed I would sit there in an almost blissful state for 20 minutes.
I personally used SAM-e as an experiment to see how it would affect my daily mood and took it in the morning. However, some people have taken SAM-e at night to help with sleep. Other people take SAM-e to help with
It makes a lot of sense because Methylation isn’t just need for making neurotransmitters. It is involved in numerous functions throughout the body. If you have poor Methylation, you are also at risk for things like cardiovascular disease.
SAM-e has been known to help people suffering from liver disease and osteoarthritis.
Technically, people shouldn’t need SAM-e if they have enough B Vitamins (especially folate and B12) because that’s enough for the methylation process to function normally.
Some sources say that if you take SAM-e when you still have a shortage of B Vitamins necessary for Methylation, you will still build up Homocysteine in the body.
I don’t think SAM-e is a long term solution, but something that would be great to have for when you need it. You are going strong for a few months, then are under a bunch of stress and feel like you are worn down, then take SAM-e for a week or two to get back on track.
Regardless, I can say that SAM-e definitely had an effect on me and works. If it is something you haven’t tried yet I would recommend trying it out, especially if you know you might have higher levels of homocysteine (and therefore have an issue with Methylation).
The optimal solution is to have enough Vitamin B12, TMG, and folic acid to have the Methylation process occur naturally, but SAM-e can give you a boost if you need it. SAM-e is a great choice if other supplements don’t work.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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 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 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.
This is the neurotransmitter that calms your body down, [get more info!]
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).
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Inositol is sort of a b vitamin and sort of isn’t a b vitamin. I know, that sounds pretty confusing, and inositol is confusing.
It is involved in all your cells and vital to your liver functioning properly. It has been shown to reduce anxiety and OCD in clinical trials. It also helps with sleep.
It’s really safe to take with minimal side effects. For most people, an effective dose for insomnia is 2 grams right before bed.
I wrote an entire article and review for inositol here.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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:
- Eat a Bulletproof Diet.
- Hack your nervous system to manage stress.
- Upgrade your brain.
- Install F.lux on your computer (it’s free).
- Don’t exercise for at least 2 hours before bed.
- Avoid bright lights and LCD screens at least 1 hour before bed.
- Go to bed before 11:00 PM.
- Track coffee, green tea, and chocolate consumption to see if they effect your sleep (this is where a Zeo becomes a necessity).
- Cheat with biochemistry (use supplements).
- Sleep on an earthing mat.
- 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.