Sleep Better with Lemon Balm, Honokiol, and Chamomile

Insomnia can make your life a living hell, especially when your body is exhausted after a long day at work. So you stay awake at night, stare at the ceiling, count imaginary sheep, or perhaps sing a song. Sounds familiar?

We wouldn’t recommend popping the pills yet because they will make you feel drowsy in the morning. Your entire day will be spent in a bubble where everything seems out of place to you. Not a good feeling… at all!

Here’s what we suggest — try the herbal route first. There are plenty of herbal supplements that work the same as benzodiazepines but have fewer side effects or possibly none.

Following are three natural herbs that can help you treat insomnia:

1.     Honokiol (Magnolia)

Honokiol extract comes from the flowering tree called Magnolia. Originating from China, the bark of this tree has therapeutic effects that promote relaxation and sleep. The extract is found in several sleep-inducing supplements, herbal teas, and oils.

The bioactive compounds in the magnolia tree have anti-allergic, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Two of the most effective compounds are magnolol and Honokiol. The compound Honokiol promotes GABA activity and improves sleep by reducing stress. According to a study published in Neuropharmacology, the compounds in Magnolia bark have potent anti-epileptic effects. The results revealed that the compounds in the bark can shorten sleep latency and modulate sleep behaviors to prevent insomnia.

2.     Lemon Balm

Native to North Africa, West Asia, and Europe, lemon balm is simply an herb that has a lemony smell. It belongs to the “mint” family and is traditionally used to improve cognitive function and mood. The key ingredient in lemon balm that promotes sleep is eugenol. This oily substance has similar effects as of a numbing agent.

According to a study published in the journal of Phytomedicine, lemon balm relieves stress and improves sleep disorders like insomnia. 918 children took part in the study and were dosed with lemon balm. 96.7% of children and their parents said that lemon balm worked quite well in reducing dyssomnia.

3.     Chamomile

Chamomile is a plant that is mostly used to make herbal infusions. While the plant and flowers are not used directly, several versions of the compound, such as chamomile tea, essential oil and creams, are used for reducing inflammation, treating insomnia, and decreasing anxiety.

The calming effects of chamomile come from apigenin, an antioxidant that is found in abundance in chamomile tea. The antioxidant binds itself to specific brain receptors and helps in reducing anxiety and enhancing the quality of sleep.

According to a study published in the journal of Complimentary Therapies in Medicine, chamomile extract works as a tranquilizer. The study chose participants from a nursing home and divided them into two groups. One group was given chamomile extract capsules while the other was given wheat flour capsules. After two weeks, their sleep quality was assessed and it was concluded that the group that received the chamomile extract slept better and more peacefully.

So there you have it — three sleep-inducing extracts that will not only help you treat insomnia but also stave off depression and anxiety that usually follow the sleepless nights. Try these herbs for two weeks and feel the difference in your quality of sleep.

CoQ10 – Protective Effects After a Heart Attack

Did you know that strokes and heart attacks are the leading causes of death and disability worldwide? From obesity to high cholesterol, diabetes and many other problems contribute to heart disease. Today, maintaining a healthy diet is not enough to prevent yourself from falling prey to this ailment. Exercising and taking supplements are important too!

According to a study published in the Frontiers of Bioscience, people who suffer from cancer, diabetes, heart disease, or brains disorder have low levels of CoQ10.

One supplement that shows immense promise in the world of medicine is the coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10). This coenzyme helps in mitochondrial energy production and preserving membrane integrity. In simple words: CoQ10 is an antioxidant, which is produced naturally in your body. This coenzyme is used by the body for maintenance and growth. As you age, the level of CoQ10 falls in your body. Other than that, people who have heart problems also have a short supply of this coenzyme.

CoQ10 can be consumed through wholegrain, meat, and fish. However, due to our body’s changing needs and growth, these food sources may be insufficient. This is where supplements come in. CoQ10 is available in tablets, capsules, and intravenous solutions. Along with treating heart conditions, CoQ10 supplement also treats migraines and alleviates the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.

What Causes CoQ10 Deficiency?

  • Statin treatment side-effects
  • Nutritional deficiencies like vitamin B6
  • Mitochondrial diseases
  • Genetic defects in the synthesis of CoQ10
  • Oxidative stress caused by aging
  • Increased demands by body tissues

Effects of CoQ10 on Your Heart

Heart failure is caused by many health issues like high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, etc. These conditions cause inflammation of arteries and veins and oxidative damage that reduce the level of CoQ10 in your body. After a heart attack, the damage caused to your heart prevents it from contracting regularly and, as a result, less blood is pumped through the body.

Statins and other heart failure treatments often cause undesirable side effects that can further lower the level of CoQ10 in your body.

So you get the idea how CoQ10 supplements can restore your energy levels.

It Lowers the Mortality Rate in Heart Failure Patients

According to a study published in the journal of JACC: Heart Failure, CoQ10 can reduce the risk of death in heart patients.

420 heart failure patients took part in a 2-year study. The participants were divided into two sets: the first set was given 100mg of CoQ10 three times a day, and the other set was given a placebo. Along with the CoQ10 supplement, they were also given standard therapy.

Tests were done in 2 batches: after 16 weeks and after 2 years. The results showed that CoQ10 and standard therapy worked better in the long run. The researchers reached the conclusion that CoQ10 is not only a safer drug option for heart failure patients, but it also reduces adverse cardiovascular events and improves symptoms.

Lowers the Frequency of Hospitalization

Another study published on the effects of CoQ10 on heart problems in the journal of Clinical Investigation came to the conclusion that heart failure patients who take CoQ10 supplements regularly are less likely to get hospitalized. The research revealed that people who took this supplement had less serious complications and weren’t subjected to any problems that worsened their heart failure.

The bottom line is that CoQ10 restores the energy that your heart loses after a heart attack. Along with eating CoQ10-rich foods, you should also think about taking supplements to boost your heart health.

How DHEA Supports Sex Drive, Mood and Immune Function

We are all well aware of how hormones play a very vital role in regulating our body. From acne to mood swings to weight fluctuations, a number of bodily functions and changes are heavily dependent on hormone levels. Among all the hormones in the human body, the DHEA hormone is especially known for benefits that it offers. The Dehydroepiandrosterone hormone is known as androstenolone and is responsible for sex drive, improved moods, as well as the body’s immune function.

Dehydroepiandrosterone is a steroid hormone of endogenous category. This hormone is also the most abundantly found in the blood stream. Produced in the adrenal glands, the gonads and the brain, the DHEA  hormones performs as an intermediate of the metabolic activities in the biosynthesis of the androgen and estrogen sex steroids, both of which are present  in the gonads as well as in numerous different tissues.

DHEA hormones have a number of different biological effects, such as:

Sex Drive

Since DHEA hormones are identified as weak estrogens, they are believed to support sex drive. Moreover, when these hormones are changed into strong estrogens, like estradiol, in certain muscles and tissues like the vagina, they are known to generate strong estrogenic effects in related tissues and muscles.

Mood and Behavior

According to experts, reduced levels of the DHEA hormone play a significant role in the mood and behavior of individuals. DHEA levels are regarded as the some of the most crucial factors of mental health that that may contribute to mood developments and mood swings.

Despite their importance and how they affect our mental health, regular DHEA screenings are considered absolutely important for mental illness prevention and treatment in both traditional as well as modern psychological medicine.

Immune System

It has been proven time and time again that DHEA plays an important role in improving the immune function of the human body. It has been observed, by experts, that healthy and fit adults who consumed DHEA in the form of dietary supplements on a regular basis experienced a considerable improvement in various different T-cell mediated immune system factors as compared to the individuals who were administered placebo.

Low levels of the hormone are also directly associated with age-related conditions such as immune function impairment. Since it is normal for the levels of DHEA to drop with age, it is advised to regularly test and regulate the DHEA hormone levels to improve, enhance, or strengthen the immune function.

Folate Has Demonstrated Lowering Homocysteine Levels

Folate was previously referred to as folacin. It is a generic term for both naturally occurring folate found in food as well as for folic acid, which is a completely oxidized form of monoglutamate used as a component for dietary supplements and fortified foods.

What is Folate?

Folate is actually a type of B vitamin, which is an essential component for cell growth, development and metabolism. Folate, also known as vitamin B9, can be administered either orally or via IV and is often recommended for daily consumption. The suggested daily intake for adults (in the U.S.) is 400 micrograms (sourced from dietary supplements, multivitamins, and foods).

Benefits of Folate

Folate has countless different health effects and benefits. The vitamin has also been known to cure the anemia caused as a result of folic acid deficiency. Other benefits include being used as a dietary supplement by pregnant women to minimize the developmental risks of neural tube defects (NTDs) in the fetus. Prolonged supplementation of fortified foods not only reduces the threats of strokes, but also causes a significant reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease.  

What is Homocysteine?

Homocysteine is a identified as a non-proteinogenic α-amino acid and is essentially a homologue of the amino acid cysteine, only set apart by the characteristic additional methylene bridge (-CH2-). Homocysteine is biosynthesized from methionine after the removal of its terminal Cε methyl group. It can be either recycled into methionine or converted into cysteine after associating it with a few certain B-vitamins.

High levels of Homocystein are regarded as the root cause of a number of cardiovascular diseases. Since folate can help reduce levels of homocycteine, it is often prescribed as a dietery supplement .

A high level of homocysteine in the blood can lead to hyper-homocysteinemia, making the patient more susceptible to endothelial cell injury. This could also subsequently lead to inflammation in the blood vessels, which in turn may cause atherogenesis. This is how increased levels of homocysteine in the blood can lead to Hyperhomocysteinemia, which can then act as a potential risk factor for coronary artery disease.

Effects of Folate on Homocysteine

Folate is recommended to mitigate the risks of the injuries and diseases mentioned above. Taking folic acid for a prolonged period of time has demonstrated a significant lowering of homocycteines and shown visible signs of reduction in the risk of cardiovascular disease by 4%. A number of other scientific reports and studies presented preliminary evidence regarding how folate-rich diets were associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases by decreasing homocysteines blood levels.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Gamma-Linolenic Acid (Gla)

Gamma-Linolenic acid or GLA is an anti-inflammatory fatty acid and is largely found in vegetable oils such as hemp seed oil, evening primrose oil, blackcurrant seed oil, and borage seed oil. Other sources include leafy green vegetables, nuts, and breast milk.

Inflammation is essentially a process in which the white blood cells in the body produce substances to help protect us from infections that may be caused by foreign organisms such as bacteria and viruses. Inflammation is of two main kinds namely acute inflammation and chronic inflammation. Acute inflammation is healthy and is required by the body to heal cuts, wounds, and open lesions.

On the other hand, chronic inflammation is a lengthened inflammatory response, which is characterized by the progressive change in the form of cells present at the inflammation site. Chronic inflammation is identified by the simultaneous repair and destruction of the tissues as a result of the inflammatory response.

Chronic inflammation is the root cause of many serious and life-threatening diseases such as cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, neurological diseases, cardiovascular diseases, autoimmune diseases, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s disease, etc. All these diseases have inflammatory components common in them.

It is important to note that the diet of a person affects the possibility of chronic inflammation in a number of ways. Amongst dietary components, fat has been the primary factor that has affected health. Fats such as saturated fats and trans fatty acids have been associated with causing obesity, diabetes, heart diseases and cancer, while poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs)  have demonstrated an generally positive influence on overall health and well being.

How Does GLA Fight Inflammation?

The linoleic acid in the body produces Gamma linolenic acid. Linolenic acid is an essential Omega-6 fatty acid and is catalyzed by the delta-6-desaturase enzyme. It is then further metabolized and undergoes oxidative metabolism, because of which anti-inflammatory eicosanoids are produced in the body.

When GLA is consumed as a dietary supplement, it gets further metabolized to dihomogamma linlenic acid (DGLA) which then undergoes a reaction called oxidative metabolism. This oxidation reaction is catalyzed by the enzymes cyclooxygenases and lipoxygenases so that anti-inflammatory eicosanoids can be produced. GLA and its metabolites, subsequently, influence different gene expressions where gene products and matrix proteins’ levels are regulated and standardized. Therefore, GLA is highly recommended and more than often prescribed to patients of diseases which are primarily caused by chronic inflammation. The anti-inflammatory effects of the GLA help patients of cancer, arthritis, heart disease and respiratory disease among many others.