In this day and age, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by everyday stressors. Unhealthy coping mechanisms, like alcohol or comfort food, leave us feeling worse in the morning, perpetuating negative feelings. Perhaps it’s time to choose a healthier support. Why not reach for something that works now, and supports long-term health, like research-based nutrients and supplements for stress?
Metabolic Maintenance® offers two different formulations of supplements that can help with occasional anxiety and stress. We will describe each in detail below, to help you make the most educated choice, based on your needs.
If you’re looking for an everyday supplement to support restorative sleep, a balanced mood, and an increased sense of well-being, you may want to try Metabolic Maintenance®’s MetaCalm®.
If you’re experiencing a heightened level of worry, panic, or unease, and feel as though you could use natural support to calm the mind and body, Stress Maintenance may be a beneficial addition to your supplemental regimen.
Stress Maintenance (GABA and Botanical Blend) was formerly Anxiety Control Plus. If you are wondering where that product went, it’s still here, just with a new moniker.
Why might MetaCalm® be the right choice for you?
MetaCalm® is a full-spectrum nutritional product (a daily multivitamin) formulated to fill common nutritional gaps in the diet, while also encouraging relaxation of the central and peripheral nervous system.
MetaCalm® provides the amino acid building blocks and the necessary vitamin and mineral cofactors to help the body synthesize both mood-enhancing and calming neurotransmitters.
For example, amino acids like L-theanine can help induce an alert state of relaxation without drowsiness, while GABA and glycine can soothe the effects of excitatory neurotransmitters. 5-HTP is a building block of serotonin, an important mood and stress-regulating neurotransmitter.
Vitamins in MetaCalm®
Research links oxidative stress to neuropsychological challenges [1-4]. Vitamin C is a well-known, powerful antioxidant, and vitamin C deficiency is widely associated with stress-related disease . The vitamin C in MetaCalm® helps to reduce oxidative stress and limits action of the stress hormone, cortisol. Vitamin C can improve mood and provide some relief from occasional anxiety .
Pyridoxine, or vitamin B6, is involved in the synthesis of both neurotransmitters (including GABA, serotonin, and dopamine) and amino acids. B6 supports healthy serotonin levels and lessens feelings of anxiety in those with premenstrual syndrome . Vitamin B6 likely has other stress-reducing mechanisms, including hypotensive effects and attenuating the effects of stress hormones .
Folate, or vitamin B9, is a nutrient that helps synthesize and repair DNA, and participates in the synthesis and processing of neurotransmitters such as serotonin. Clinical research has found a strong connection between folate deficiency, anxiety, and a low mood . There are medical foods on the market as treatments for depression in which the active ingredient is simply activate folate (L-methylfolate) .
Many people are unable to process synthetic folate (folic acid) efficiently. MetaCalm® contains L-methylfolate, the form of folate that can be absorbed and used by all bodies.
Vitamin B12 deficiency can also lead to difficulties with mood balance and memory .
Although technically a “pseudovitamin”, inositol shares qualities with many B vitamins as a stress reducer and mood lifter. Inositol can easily cross the blood-brain barrier, where its receptors are found abundantly on the amygdala: the portion of the brain responsible for emotion in mammals .
Inositol has been shown to support an improvement in mood and may complement the benefits of SSRI treatment . It also assists in communication between nerves, gene expression, and signal transduction for insulin .
Amino Acids in MetaCalm®
MetaCalm® also contains a proprietary blend of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), taurine, inositol, 5-HTP, and L-theanine. GABA is a naturally occurring neurotransmitter that controls brain activity in a variety of ways and regulates muscle tone throughout the body. Your body synthesizes GABA from glutamate in a process that requires vitamin B6.
Unlike other neurotransmitters, GABA has an inhibitory function: it slows down neuron firing. Most other neurotransmitters (such as adrenaline) have an excitatory function and tend to stimulate neuron firing. Without enough GABA, neurons can fire too easily and too often.
GABA supplementation may promote a natural calming effect. It may reduce feelings of anxiety and fear by decreasing neuronal excitability . GABA receptor activation supports sleep onset, pain relief, mediation of various emotions, and neuronal growth and development . Unfortunately, we tend to produce less GABA naturally as we age.
Taurine is an amino acid and GABA agonist, meaning that it causes more activity at GABA receptors, especially the thalamus brain region. The thalamus is involved in transitions between sleep and wakefulness.
Theanine is an amino acid from green tea. It alters levels of various neurotransmitters, producing a calming effect that helps counter the stimulating action of the caffeine in tea. At the same time, it works with caffeine to promote concentration and “alert calmness”. Theanine exhibits its calming effect on the brain by crossing the blood-brain barrier and increasing the production of both GABA and dopamine .
5-hydroxytryptophan, better known as 5-HTP, is a precursor for the production of serotonin, a precursor to melatonin. Experts recommend supplementing 5-HTP in combination with GABA to improve sleep, as these two chemical messengers appear to have a synergistic effect on both the quality and duration of sleep .
Minerals in MetaCalm®
Magnesium is also important for the function of GABA, enhancing GABA sensitivity on nerve receptors . This action explains part of magnesium’s role as a natural muscle relaxant.
Magnesium deficiency can cause a wide range of symptoms and disorders, including anxiety and insomnia . Unfortunately, the amount of magnesium recommended daily for bodily requirements is greater than what the average American consumes. At least 50% of Americans do not get the daily intake of magnesium experts recommend .
There are many forms of magnesium that are poorly absorbed by the body. Mental, emotional, environmental stressors, some drugs (diuretics, antibiotics, oral contraceptives, insulin, cortisone), heavy exercise, diabetes, and gastrointestinal issues such as IBS, can all contribute to poor absorption of magnesium from the diet. MetaCalm® contains magnesium as magnesium glycinate, a highly absorbable form of magnesium that is gentle on the gut.
Zinc is an essential element that interacts with both GABA and glutamate receptors in the central nervous system. Probably due to this relationship, zinc exhibits effects on both anxiety and locomotor activity in a dose-dependent manner . Homeostasis requires a minimum intake of zinc, daily, as the body has no specialized way to store it.
Why might Stress Maintenance be the right choice for you?
When comparing the supplemental facts between MetaCalm® and Stress Maintenance, you will notice some similarities and some differences. Stress Maintenance is our most powerful GABA support product, and GABA has been combined with the potent botanicals Melissa officianalis and Passiflora incarnata, as well as a synergistic mineral and amino acid blend.
Our Stress Maintenance formula focuses on GABA support, as GABA dysfunction is often at the physiological root of excessive worry and low mood .
This product can be used during the day to support a calm relaxed sense of well-being. In the evening, ingredients like magnesium and glycine help quiet the mind, relax muscles, and improve sleep quality.
As described earlier, GABA is a powerful, naturally occurring brain chemical that functions as an inhibitory neurotransmitter, balancing out the excitatory brain activity caused by stress hormones. By decreasing neuronal excitability, GABA is thought to have a natural calming effect, decrease fear and anxiety, improve mood, promote quality sleep, and attenuate premenstrual symptoms. In fact, many Western medications prescribed to patients suffering from anxiety (valium, xanax, etc.) are designed to target GABA receptors and mimic GABA’s action in the brain.
Our Stress Maintenance supplement not only contains a much greater dose of GABA than the amount found in MetaCalm® but also a wide variety of nutrients that support the natural production of GABA by the brain and the actions of GABA throughout the body.
Although it is still unclear whether dietary GABA molecules cross the blood-brain barrier, its precursor, glutamine, and the catalyst for its biosynthesis, vitamin B6, can be transported to the brain. Both of these nutrients can be found in the Stress Maintenance supplement.
Minerals in Stress Maintenance
As described in detail above, magnesium is also an essential player in GABA receptor sensitivity and mood. The form of magnesium found in Stress Maintenance is highly bioavailable magnesium citrate.
Herbal extracts in Stress Maintenance
Primula incarnata (a.k.a. purple passionflower or maypop) is an herbal ingredient that enhances the action of GABA in the brain . Primula incarnata is also a sleep inducer, speeding up the onset of sleep .
Melissa officianalis, or lemon balm extract, can help to balance inflammation as well as mood . Its effects are thought to occur mainly due to its phenolic and flavonoid constituents, which have anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-oxidative, sedative, and neuroprotective actions in the body . It may support calm feelings, relaxation from stress, as well as restful sleep .
Amino Acids in Stress Maintenance
Glycine, an amino acid found in the Stress Maintenance supplement, has been implicated in the reduction of brain hyperactivity . It may even have a regulatory function in the pathology of some mental health conditions . Glycine supports cognitive performance and the CNS by regulating the metabolic synthesis of certain nutrients that the brain and nerves require for energy.
Because it is connected to both nerve and neurotransmitter function, glycine may aid in the improvement of sleep quality (without causing fatigue), strengthen cognitive performance, heighten bodily sensations, balance mood, and support memory [23-26].