Recommendation for a Great Sleep and Relaxation Aid….Tranquilo
There are many sleep, relaxation, and anti-anxiety supplements out there….some fit the bill, (i.e., actually work)….but many do not. As a Biochemist and pharmacologist with a background in Clinical Nutrition, when doing a product evaluation, I not only consider the ingredients in a product or supplement, (as well as the concentration of each individual ingredient), but how the ingredients work in unison…i.e., their synergy.
Although there are six (6) blended ingredients listed in Tranquilo, and all are very important not only as individual ingredients but as components that interact together, the two (2) that I wish to focus on are Phenibut and (briefly) on Mulungu Tree Bark.
In a recent Russian study, investigators showed that rats with “global” cerebral ischemia, (wide-range lack of oxygen to the brain), which was created by blocking the common carotid artery, when administered phenibut (both with and without nicotinic acid), exhibited a significant reduction in blood-flow and brain disturbances as compared to the controls (i.e., the rats not administered the compounds), [Effects of Phenibut and its composition with nicotinic acid on hemostasis in rats with brain ischemia (2012) Eksp Klin. Farmakol., 75, 10]. One of the benefits that Phenibut has shown is that it naturally allows more oxygen transport to various organs; most importantly, to the brain.
Phenibut (Beta-phenyl-Gamma-Amino-butyric acid) is a GABA derivative. GABA, (Gamma-amino-butyric acid), is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter of the Central Nervous System (CNS). In another recent study, it was exhibited that GABA derivatives can activate the antioxidant system of various organs, such as the thymus gland and the spleen, thus protecting organs that are
associated with the proper functioning and modulation of the immune system [Samotrueva, M.A. and Magomedov, M.M., et al. (2011) Influence of GABA derivatives on some indices of lipid peroxidation in immunocompetent organs under experimental immunopathology conditions. Eksp Klin. Farmakol., 74, 32].
Phenibut is widely used in many countries, (especially in Russia), to relieve tension, anxiety, and fear, to improve/encourage sleep, and as a pre-or post-operative medication. It has also been used in the therapy of disorders such as asthenia (fatigue/weakness), depression, post-traumatic stress and vestibular (unsteadiness/imbalance) disorders [Lapin, I. (2001) Phenibut (beta-phenyl-GABA): a tranquilizer and Nootropic drug. CNS Drug Rev., 7, 471].
As the title of the reference from the CNS Drug Rev. reveals, , Phenibut is also considered a nootropic…this is what is called a “Smart Drug”. Smart drugs (or in this case, “Smart Supplements”), are those which enhance memory and increase cognitive function….factors which define the intelligence and I.Q. of an individual.
From the Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, a recent paper [Smith, M.E. and Farah, M.J. (2011) Are prescription stimulants “Smart Pills”? The epidemiology and cognitive neuroscience of prescription stimulant use by normal healthy individuals. Psychol. Bull., 137, 717] begs the question as to whether the use of prescription stimulants used to enhance cognition truly do so for normal, healthy individuals? We know that the use of OTC and prescription stimulants by these “healthy, normal folks” is on the rise [Ibid]….and if the investigators are correct, this poses some major questions and concerns.
The well-known brain stimulating (“psychostimulant”) drugs prescribed for ADD/ADHD are also frequently used by normal, healthy men and woman for “opening the mind”. Although they “open the mind”, the physiological sequelae (when utilizing these drugs), can be devastating.
Too many sleep-deprived and anxiety-compromised people (of all ages) rely on highly addictive sleep and anti-anxiety medications, i.e., the drugs, some of which, are classified as benzodiazepines, whose long-term effects are tolerance (so more and more of the drug is required in order to obtain the therapeutic effects), dependence (for sleeping and anti-anxiety), and which have uncomfortable, if not painful withdrawal symptoms, which in many cases, can lead to seizures and death if withdrawal is not gradual.
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