3 Natural Calm Supplements
I love it when my level-headed, clear-eyed research colleagues use words like potent to describe the effects of an ingredient in a supplement. It means they’re excited—and in the case of Venetron®, a new, standardized extract of an ancient stress-relieving plant, they should be. So am I.
How to tell when researchers are excited
Here’s one sum-up of a recent Venetron study:
[Venetron has] many potent physiological effects, including antihypertensive, cardiotonic, antidepressant, and anti-anxiety effects.
In research-speak, this is a standing ovation.
[Venetron] for sleep and mood support has great potential to vastly improve health outcomes when compared with what’s on the supplement market now and has been used over the last 10 to 20 years.
Wow—“vastly improve?” “10 or 20 years?” Bring on the ticker-tape parade.
A rock star is born—in China
The first recorded medicinal use of the shrub A. venetum was in a Chinese book of herbal remedies in the early 15th century. Today’s Chinese Pharmacopoeia recommends it for (partial list):
- Calming the liver
- Soothing nerves
- Reducing inflammation
- Treating insomnia
Abundant research confirms Venetron’s remarkable anti-depressant and anti-anxiety powers. That includes an ingenious study of lab mice, who were given Venetron and then observed in an environment with open areas and a maze.
The Venetron mice spent more time in the open spaces than their non-Venetron, control-group colleagues. That’s not normal for mice—they don’t like open spaces.
Researchers attributed this unusual behavior to a bolder, more exploratory attitude—and attributed that to reduced levels of anxiety.
In other studies:
- For a 29-year-old woman with PMS, Venetron reduced melancholy and overeating
- For a 39-year-old woman with PMS, taking Venetron for 2 weeks before menses, over a 3-month period, found emotional symptoms such as irritability and depression improved
- For a 36-year-old man, Venetron improved concentration and increased optimism
- For a 55-year-old woman, Venetron reduced fatigue and grief
- For a 66- and a 75-year-old man, Venetron reduced frequency of waking up throughout the night and provided deeper sleep
Researchers look at the overarching category called “stress” and break it down by symptom. Included among the many symptoms are:
- Difficulty concentrating
- Pessimistic outlook
- Interrupted sleep
Thankfully, the research is in, and he word is out.
Venetron relieves any and all of these symptoms. It’s still newish to the supplement market, it’s out there and it’s gaining attention. As always, check in with your doctor(s) if you’re interested in giving it a try. Look for a supplement with 5mg to start.
Grab some GABA
GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) is another favorite anti-anxiety remedy.
It’s an amino acid we make in our brain—and you can also find in supplement form.
GABA’s specialty is to act as a calming neurotransmitter. When we respond to stress, whether external (Lion! Run away!) or internal (They hate me!), we produce “excitatory” neurotransmitters, such as adrenaline.
When an external threat is cleared away, GABA steps in to calm the excitement/anxiety, and reach that relieved, “Glad that’s over” moment. When the stress is internal, GABA smooths its rough edges by producing serotonin, and other “happy” hormones.
Adding supplemental GABA to our natural, internal GABA is a recipe many find truly hits the anti-anxiety spot. I typically start with about 100mg a day, but check with your doctor regarding the dosage best for you.
Two for tea—GABA and L-theanine
It’s all about green tea. I didn’t know this magical brew is the world’s second most consumed beverage after water. But I do know its reputation as an anti-anxiety remedy, which is stellar.
That reputation is built on a unique amino acid called L-theanine (gamma-ethylamino-L-glutamic acid), found in great abundance in green tea leaves.
How can tea, which has caffeine, also have calming, anti-anxiety effects?
L-theanine. It’s amazing stuff.
You sip a cup of green tea. Around a half-hour later…ahhh…8–10 hours of relaxation and calm.
Research has shown that L-theanine directly stimulates the production of alpha brain waves. These are the waves we see in the brains of practiced meditators—associated with both total calm and comfortable alertness.
L-theanine is also involved in the formation of our friend GABA, which works with L-theanine to enhance your sense of alert calm.
This doesn’t mean you’re the Dalai Lama after one cup of tea. Nor does it mean you can drink green tea instead of meditating. I highly recommend you do both.
I recommend an L-theanine supplement of 50-200 mg, but people with high stress levels can begin increasing their dosage in increments of 100 mg—but no more than 600 mg in a six-hour period. L-theanine has no side effects, and importantly, unlike Big Pharma’s anti-anxiety offerings, there’s no risk of drowsiness, and certainly no risk of the suicidal thoughts that haunt their concoctions.
Down the hatch to up your mood
I hope this has given you a good look at ways to combat the stress we all deal with every day. Just knowing there are safe, proven effective, and natural calm supplements should boost your mood.
And remember, as always, stress and anxiety recede dramatically when your diet is healthy, and you exercise—if only a little, to start—and you keep yourself mentally and socially active.
If you can tick off all of those boxes, but are still anxious or depressed, now you know where to find some extra help.
Be sure you clear any plans to supplement with your medical team.
And take good care.
- “L-Theanine Improves Immunity Increases Alpha Brain Activity” Published NA. Last accessed April 24, 2017.
- Perrini, Carolyn. “L-Theanine: How a Unique Anxiety Reducer and Mood Enhancer Increases Alpha Waves and Alertness” Published NA. Last accessed April 24, 2017.
- Steriti, Ronald. “L-Theanine – A Unique Anxiety Reducer and Mood Enhancer” Published NA. Last accessed April 24, 2017.
- “Venetron®: Safe, Effective Alternative to St. John’s Wort” Nutra Ingredients. Published: September 4, 2013. Last accessed April 24, 2017.
- “Venetron® Clinical Evidence” Human Clinicals. Published NA. Last accessed April 24, 2017.
- “GABA For Anxiety – Does It Work?” Overcoming Your Anxiety. Published NA. Last accessed April 24, 2017.
- “GABA (GAMMA – AMINOBUTYRIC ACID)” Published NA. Last accessed April 24, 2017.
Last Updated: August 16, 2018
Originally Published: June 16, 2017