Valerian root extract
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is a flowering plant native to Europe and Asia. Its use as a medicinal herb for sedative purposes and relaxation dates to ancient Greece and Rome where its therapeutic properties were described by Hippocrates in the early Western medical literature. Extracts of the root have since been used for their calming effects and as a regular supplement to promote sleep.
The bioactive compounds believed to contribute to its mode of action belong to several classes of naturally occurring organic molecules. These include valerenic- and isovaleric acid, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), alkaloids such as chatinine, valerianine, and valerene, and several iridoids; valtrate and isovaltrate.
Valerian’s primary usage is to help calm the restless mind and help alleviate anxious thoughts, thereby making it easier to fall and stay asleep without obsessing about stressful matters. Valerian extract’s mode of action involves enhanced signalling of the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) pathway, the same neurotransmitter system in the brain that the benzodiazepines, a class of sedative and hypnotic pharmaceutical drugs, therapeutically target.
American skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) is a flowering shrub that grows in meadows and swampy woods in North America. Traditionally, it has been used by early Native Americans and later European settlers as a nerve tonic, sedative, and anticonvulsant remedy. In modern times it is still therapeutically used in tonic form to alleviate insomnia, anxiety, and neuralgia (nerve pain) in North America, Alaska and Canada.
The main bioactive compounds are several flavones and phenols of which baicalin, baicalein, wogonin, and oroxylin-A have been the most researched. Several flavones naturally found in skullcap selectively bind with high affinity to central benzodiazepine receptor sites, thereby exerting a similar but non-addictive and milder anxiolytic and hypnotic effect than the class of benzodiazepine drugs.
Passionflower (Passiflora) is a large genus of flowering plants native to Brazil, Paraguay and northern Argentina. They are commercially cultivated in many other regions for their aromatic and flavoursome fruit. Extracts of the roots and leaves, however, have a long history of use as a medicinal herb for relaxation and sedation purposes.
The therapeutically active phytochemicals are the flavonoids (vitexin, isovitexin, apigenin, chrysin, and orientin), indole alkaloids (harman, harmin, harmaline, and harmol) and phenolic acids (formic acid, butyric acid, and GABA). Several of these selectively bind with high affinity to central the benzodiazepine receptor sites and therefore exert a similar but more gentle anxiolytic effect than the class of benzodiazepine drugs.
Tryptophan is an amino acid found in high concentration in certain foods such as chocolate, oats, dried dates, dairy products and meat. After ingestion, some tryptophan is metabolised into 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), which is then directly converted into serotonin and melatonin, two neurotransmitters with a multifaceted biological role involved in sleep regulation, mood control, and cognition function.
Numerous lines of evidence support the use of L-tryptophan and its direct metabolite, hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), in the treatment of sleep disorders.
Inositol is an organic food compound found in certain fruits, beans, and grains. Structurally, inositol is related to the vitamin B family and performs a similar biochemical function in the body. In the brain, inositol’s neurobiological mode of action relates to the neuro-modulatory role it plays in the phosphoinositide (PI) cycle, linked to the production of the neurotransmitter’s serotonin and noradrenaline, involved in mood regulation and cognitive function.
Anatomically, dietary inositol is incorporated in the brain into the cell membranes of neurons as inositol phospholipids, where they serve as a structural and metabolic precursor to subtypes of adrenergic, cholinergic, and serotonergic neuro-receptors in several neurological tissues. Behavioural and biochemical studies have indicated that inositol has the potential to enhance neuro-receptor sensitivity and modulate neuro-signalling proteins, thereby helping to direct nerve membrane trafficking. As documented in three separate publications in the American Journal of Psychiatry, evidence suggests that inositol supplementation demonstrates superior therapeutic efficacy against placebo regarding emotional well-being, stress reduction, and sleeping patterns relating to conditions which included Panic Disorder, Depression and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
Glycine is an amino acid involved in neuro-protein production and neurocentral nerve transmission. Additional glycine supplementation is currently used for several disorders in medical practice, including the normalisation of sleep, the treatment of alcoholism, certain cerebral circulatory disorders, depression, and anxiety. Glycine has been linked to sleep promotion through its action on NMDA receptors and through enhancing glutamate sensitivity, thereby helping to reset the circadian clock.
Magnesium is a biologically essential trace element which plays an essential role in the regulatory activity of over 300 enzymes involved in nerve conduction and the production of neurotransmitters. Magnesium helps to calm the nervous system due to its ability to block certain brain N- MDA receptors (methyl D-aspartate), thereby inhibiting excitatory neurotransmission and thus guarding against mental overload. Inadequate magnesium levels have been linked to insomnia, anxiety, and increased pain perception (hyperalgesia). Conversely, studies on magnesium supplementation have shown improvement overall emotional well-being, sleep patterns, anxiety levels and mood.
Zinc is a trace mineral that supports several physiological, biochemical, and neurological functions. The bioavailability of zinc in the brain can influence the central nervous system (CNS) function through various mechanisms, and diets deficient in zinc have been known to result in behavioural disorders and diminished cognitive function. While the exact role of zinc in the pathophysiology of depression and sleep disorders remains unclear, the inverse relationship between zinc levels, mood, and sleep quality has been established in several studies that evaluated zinc bioavailability in emotionally dysregulated patients.
Vitamin D modulates several enzyme systems in the brain involved in the biosynthesis of several neurotransmitters and the development of receptors on neurons. Optimal levels of vitamin D in the bloodstream are necessary to preserve neurological function and studies have shown that Vitamin D exerts a neuroprotective effect which helps reduce neuroinflammation, thus preserving cognitive function.
Folate (presented as L-5-methyltetrahydrofolate)
Folate, also known as vitamin B9, is a co-factor for several neurotransmitters that play a critical role in sleep regulation and the modulation of REM sleep quality. Because folate in food is highly susceptible to destruction by high heat due to cooking, supplementation is generally recommended.
In the nutrition sciences, the term ‘folate’ is used for the family essential nutrients that are part of the vitamin B family but are obtained from natural food sources mainly of plant origin. Studies have shown that 5-methyl tetrahydrofolate (5-MTHF) is better absorbed into the human body and therefore offers better bioavailability and was for this reason chosen for inclusion in SleepVance.
Adequate vitamin C is critical for the biosynthesis of the neurotransmitter’s dopamine, adrenaline, and noradrenaline. Individuals with recorded vitamin C deficiency often report feeling depressed and display poor sleeping patterns. Conversely, studies of hospitalised patients who frequently have lower than normal vitamin C levels have found a significant improvement in mood and sleeping patterns after receiving vitamin C supplementation.
Vitamin B6 (supplied as pyridoxine)
Collectively vitamin B6 comprises of three chemically distinct compounds; pyridoxal, pyridoxamine, and pyridoxine, all involved in the regulation of mental function and mood. Several disorders involving the brain such as migraine, chronic pain, depression, and insomnia have directly been linked to vitamin B6 deficiency.
*Please see package insert for a full list of ingredients, directions and dosage*