When we talk about our health, we are often focused on the physical. However, we know that health encompasses so much more than this, and be truly healthy, we must look after our mental and social well-being. The last few months have come with a new set of challenges we have never experienced before. We have all experienced drastic changes to our daily routine. Most of us are not able to get out of the house for work or school, nor are we able to visit family and friends. For those with children, tackling work whilst also home-schooling and ensuring the children aren’t bored is no easy feat. All of this coupled with health concerns and economic uncertainty can contribute to rising levels of stress and anxiety, which can affect our mood in unexpected ways. For individuals who may have suffered from mental health problems prior to the pandemic, the lockdown comes with new stresses and problems.
Here at AOR, we are determined to help our customers with all of their health needs, and we believe in adopting a holistic approach to health. In this blog, we will discuss some of AOR’s products and how they can help with mood support. It is important to emphasise that you seek medical attention should you feel depressed.
5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) is a precursor to the chemical (neurotransmitter) serotonin. Serotonin acts on the brain and is important in mood stabilization and is also involved in generating feelings of happiness and general wellbeing. Unfortunately, serotonin when taken as a supplement cannot penetrate a barrier around the brain (called the blood brain barrier). This means that we cannot derive the benefits of serotonin when taken as a supplement. However, the precursor 5-HTP, is well absorbed orally and can penetrate the blood brain barrier. Once in the brain, 5-HTP can be converted into serotonin.
5-HTP is derived from the seed of Griffionia simplicifolia, which is a small shrub that grows off the Ivory Coast and Ghana and is processed in France. We ensure that our preparation of 5-HTP is devoid of any “peak x” (toxic) contaminants, which can be found in other 5-HTP products on the market.
We know that the neurotransmitter levels are affected in mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. Serotonin also plays a role in sleep, with low levels being associated with insomnia. As such, 5-HTP can support mood by boosting the levels of serotonin in the brain.
Glycine is an amino acid, which has been shown to have a multitude of benefits for mind and body. It is the second most-used amino acid in the synthesis of proteins and enzymes, and acts as an inhibitory and excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain and spinal cord.
Glycine is a well-known for supporting muscle growth and repair. More recently, it has been shown that glycine enhances memory function and improves mood. Glycine’s ability to decrease brain excitability is useful for improving sleep quality as well as mood and emotional symptoms associated with certain brain disorders such as schizophrenia. Furthermore, glycine has been shown to improve memory performance which has been impaired by jet lag, shift work, or disrupted sleep.
Whilst a relatively new addition to AOR’s portfolio of products, saffron has been used in traditional medicine for many years. Saffron must be handpicked under particular conditions, leading to its status as one of the most luxurious and expensive herbs.
Recently, the therapeutic role of saffron for the mood support has been explored. It is a natural support for neurotransmitters, which modulate various functions in the brain including sleep and mood regulation. Studies have shown that Saffron is effective in the management of low mood and anxiety. It has been found to have GABA-like effects. GABA is a neurotransmitter in the brain and plays a key role in sleep regulation and brain relaxation. As such, Saffron acts like a “brake” during times of stress and anxiety, regulating brain excitability and inducing relaxation. As such, Saffron is designed to effectively relieve feelings of anxiety.
Now more than ever it is crucial that we look after our physical and mental health.
In the current lockdown, our routines have been disrupted and this can impact our normal sleep-wake cycle, without us even noticing. This is why, in addition to practicing good sleep hygiene, exercising, and eating a healthy balanced diet, supplements such as 5-HTP, glycine, and saffron should be considered to help promote relaxation during this difficult time.
We hope that this blog has outlined some products that may help with mood support during this difficult time. We will also be publishing some lifestyle tips soon, so stay tuned! For more information about our products, please visit www.aor.ca which provides more detailed information on our supplements and the research behind them.