Heading into 2023, a top concern of global consumers is having the energy to power through work and daily life. Our fast-paced world causes a mental strain on many individuals, at times making it challenging to be productive or find enjoyment in day-to-day activities. With higher levels of stress and anxiety, people are also finding it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep – in fact, 44% of adults around the world say that over the past five years their quality of sleep has decreased. An area of primary concern in the sleep category is the issue of non-restorative sleep. Non-restorative sleep (NRS) affects 700 million people worldwide, and is the experience that sleep has not been refreshing, even if it appears physiologically normal.
Living with stress, anxiety, and a lack of sleep is exhausting, creating a negative feedback loop that can result in a decreased quality of life and ultimately lead to adverse health complications. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of the correlation between resting well and living well, and are looking for natural and effective products to support restorative sleep and reduce stress and anxiety. Let’s take a look at two dietary ingredients that target stress & anxiety and restorative sleep – both of which can promote a healthy lifestyle so that people of all life stages can rest well and live well.
Stress & Anxiety
As global concern for mental health and wellbeing grows, ingredients that help reduce stress and anxiety are in high demand. For stress and anxiety products, having ingredients that are backed by a long history of safe use and supported by clinical studies that specifically measure cortisol are ideal for formulations. These types of ingredients ensure quality and efficacy and, in turn, build consumer trust in a brand. Two ingredients that fit these criteria are Ashwagandha and L-Theanine.
- Ashwagandha – Ashwagandha is a traditional Indian plant with a long history of use in ayurvedic medicine. It has been the focus of many modern clinical studies on stress and anxiety, and continues to have growing consumer interest. Withanolide glycosides are the compounds in the ashwagandha plant that act on GABA receptors, and play a role in reducing stress and anxiety in the body. With the greatest withanolide glycoside content (35%) and variety on the market, as well as significant clinical studies on cortisol reduction for stress and anxiety, the Shoden® brand of ashwagandha is a proven-effective ingredient for stress.
- L-Theanine – L-Theanine is an amino acid found in green tea that functions as a neuromodulator, as well as an inhibitor of GABA receptors. L-Theanine has neuroprotective effects in the brain, as it has been studied to increase alpha-brain waves (relaxed state) and reduces beta-brain waves (anxious/over-excited state). This promotes an alert state of relaxation without drowsiness. The Suntheanine® brand of L-Theanine is made using a process which mimics that in the tea plant, and is by far the most studied form of L-Theanine with hundreds of scientific studies and clinical trials.
The CDC reports that 1 in 3 U.S. adults regularly do not get enough sleep. When addressing sleep issues, the target is not only more sleep time, but higher quality sleep. Studies have even proven that a shorter period of high-quality sleep is better than a longer period of low-quality sleep. People want to wake up feeling refreshed and in a positive mental state to be attentive to family and friends, work, sports and hobbies – in other words, to fully experience life around them. Again, Ashwagandha and L-Theanine to the rescue!
- Ashwagandha – Ashwagandha is an adaptogen that acts on GABA receptors. GABA receptors are an essential component of the sleep cycle. Further research has found that triethylene glycol, which is naturally present in ashwagandha, can help induce sleep. In a first-of-its-kind study, healthy individuals who took Shoden® ashwagandha for a 6-week period experienced a 42% increase in restorative sleep, a significantly shorter time to fall asleep, and improved quality and quantity of sleep.
- L-Theanine – L-theanine promotes relaxation by enhancing alpha brain waves and reducing beta brain waves. Additionally, L-Theanine boosts GABA levels, resulting in lower levels of excited brain activity. The effects of L-Theanine can help people transition into the perfect state for restful sleep. Suntheanine® has been recognized as one of the most effective ingredients for relaxation and improved quality of sleep. Its effects can be felt in 30-60 minutes, helping people get to bed quickly.
Ingredient Versatility & Combination Benefits
From this discussion, it is evident that Ashwagandha and L-Theanine provide multiple benefits that make them versatile ingredients – for example, they improve various areas of stress and anxiety, sleep, mood, cognitive support, and more. On top of that, studies have found that the combination of Suntheanine® L-theanine + Shoden® ashwagandha extract works as both acute and chronic support for a variety of sleep and stress concerns. Suntheanine® and Shoden® are synergistic in that Suntheanine® increases GABA levels, while Shoden® mimics its action – this results in a multiplier effect. The synergy of these ingredients induces relaxation, reduces stress and anxiety, and improves overall mental wellbeing. These are the effects consumers are looking for to have easier days and more peaceful nights.
Providing innovative ingredients with multiple benefits, as well as combining ingredients for expanded and enhanced benefits, is an effective approach to helping people rest well and live well, ultimately allowing them achieve the lifestyles they seek to lead.
NutriScience Innovations develops and markets innovative ingredients for the dietary supplement and functional food markets. For more information on Shoden® and Suntheanine®, please contact [email protected].