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science nutrition blog

science nutrition <strong>blog</strong>

By Robert Schinetsky



Stress is an unavoidable (and necessary) part of life.

Without it, we would be frail, feeble, and fragile entities.

Stress, in the right doses, forces our physiology to adapt and become stronger and more resilient.

Case in point, resistance training.

Resistance training provides a powerful, acute stress to our body and minds leading to improvements in lean body mass as well as cardiometabolic health.

When stress goes bad is when it becomes chronic.

Suffice it to say that the COVID pandemic has not only ravaged the global economy but also the mental health of millions across the globe.

Chronic stress leads to prolonged elevations of cortisol (the primary “stress” hormone in the body).

And, when cortisol is higher than normal for extended periods of time, several unwanted side effects entail, including[1,2,3,4,5]:

  • Weight gain
  • Osteoporosis
  • Hormone imbalances
  • GI complications
  • Metabolic Syndrome Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Heart disease


Chronic stress can affect testosterone production, resulting in decreased sex drive or libido, as well as desire and motivation to exercise, which just further feeds into the vicious cycle that is chronic stress as exercise has been shown to help reduce stress.[6]

If you have even remotely been a part of the civilized world during the past few months, you’re all too well acquainted with stress thanks to the global pandemic that is COVID-19.

People have had their freedoms restricted, their businesses shuttered, and their ability to interact with one another at a primal level all but removed.

Suffice it to say that the culmination of these issues has left the general populace stressed like we haven’t seen in quite some time.

As further proof that stress and anxiety are running high, consider a recent article published May 26th, 2020 in the Wall Street Journal which reported that prescriptions for anti-anxiety medications, such as Ativan, Valium and Klonopin, have increased10.2% in the U.S. to 9.7 million in March 2020 from 8.8 million in March 2019.[7]

A separate report by MarketWatch stated that the number of prescriptions for anti-anxiety, antidepressant, and anti-insomnia medications filled per week has increased 21% between February 16 and March 15, 2020.[8]

That same report also stated that anti-anxiety prescriptions (34.1%) more than double the number of prescription sleep aids (14.8%), and almost twice as much as antidepressants (18.6%).[8] 

Anti-anxiety drugs (benzodiazepines being the most common class of compounds) help combat feelings of stress and anxiety by enhancing the activity of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) -- the body’s main inhibitory (“downer”) neurotransmitter.

As an inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA’s primary function is to reduce the excitation and activity of brain cells. 

While these medications can provide rapid relief from feelings of stress and anxiety, they come with a laundry list of drawbacks.

For starters, individuals can quickly develop a tolerance to their effects—sometimes in as little as two weeks. Similar to caffeine intake, as you develop tolerance, you eventually need to increase the dose of the drug to get the same effect.

Additionally, anti-anxiety drugs can be difficult to stop due to habituation, and quitting them after prolonged use often leads to withdrawal symptoms, which can include an increase in anxiety and may even lead to seizures.

For the elderly, anti-anxiety meds can be particularly dangerous as research notes their use is associated with cognitive problems and falls.[10,11]

Suffice it to say that in these times, individuals need to find ways to remove stress from their lives (to the greatest extent possible), and the relief from stress and anxiety isn’t found at the bottom of a bottle of pills or alcohol. 

It starts first and foremost with making lifestyle changes.

Lifestyle Changes to Help Relieve Stress and Anxiety


One of the most powerful weapons in our arsenal to combat stress and anxiety is something that actually happens to be a stressor to the body itself -- physical activity (i.e. exercise).

Research indicates that intense exercise induces physiological changes that improve the body’s ability to handle stress.[12] 

Other studies have found that individuals who regularly exercise are less prone to feelings of anxiety.[13] Plus, exercise also increases the concentration of “feel good” neurotransmitters like dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin.

To top it off, research also indicates that low intensity forms of exercise can help lower cortisol levels.[14]

Spend Time in Nature

These days we’re spending more time indoors than ever before, thanks to a mix of stay-at-home orders and more jobs being conducted from office buildings than outside in nature.

But, spending more time with Mother Earth might be just what the doctor ordered to help relieve stress as research shows that spending 20-30-minutes of walking or sitting in nature provides stress-relieving benefits.[15]

Dubbed by researchers as “nature pills”, these 20-30 minute sessions can significantly lower cortisol levels, and the researchers even suggest they could be a low-cost, all-natural means to reduce stress and anxiety.[15]


Meditation is a centuries old mind and body practice used to promote calmness and relaxation, improve psychological balance and enhance overall health and well-being.

A 2014 systematic review and meta-analysis involving over 3500 individuals found that mindfulness meditation programs may help improve feelings of anxiety, depression, and pain.[16]

A separate meta-analysis from 2013 noted that meditation may decrease stress, and its effects seem to be the most pronounced in individuals with the highest levels of stress.[17]

Additionally, a 2012 meta-analysis involving 2,466 participants showed that a variety of different meditation strategies were effective for reducing anxiety.[18]

Breathing Drills

Yet another strategy that may be helpful for taking the edge off is deep (diaphragmatic) breathing.

Deep breathing is defined in scientific literature as:

“Diaphragmatic breathing involves contraction of the diaphragm, expansion of the belly, and deepening of inhalation and exhalation, which consequently decreases the respiration frequency and maximizes the amount of blood gases.”[19]

Deep breathing exercises can help stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system (rest and digest), which runs counter to the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight), thereby promoting feelings of calmness and relaxation.

The goal of using breathing drills is to help center yourself and become more mindful of your situation, which can help “block out the noise” (those things that are making you feel anxious or irritated).

Limit Exposure to News / Social Media

The world is in constant flux, and as such, you want to be up to speed on the latest developments.

But, there’s a big difference between being informed and being consumed by news and social media.

Oftentimes both outlets are filled with negative, depressing images and narratives.

If you find yourself constantly feeling overwhelmed when viewing the news or scrolling through social media, then take steps to limit how much time you spend viewing them.

Supplements to Manage Stress, Anxiety and Promote Relaxation & Sleep Naturally!

In addition to incorporating the lifestyle changes discussed above, it may also be useful to use dietary supplements to help promote feelings of calmness and relaxation.

Research has identified a number of natural compounds that have been shown to be effective for managing feelings of stress and anxiety while fostering feelings of calmness.

Advanced Molecular Labs (AML) analyzed the data and assembled the very best of them in AML Calming Cocktail.

AML Calming Cocktail is NOT a prescription medication or drug. It is a dietary supplement formulated to help manage feelings of stress and anxiety.

If you are experiencing anxiety, depression or substance abuse issues you need to consult your physician. 

With that said, let’s now review what makes AML Calming Cocktail the premier supplement to help bring some calm to your life.


As we mentioned above, GABA is the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter in the body. It counters the actions of glutamate, the body’s main excitatory neurotransmitter, by slowing down (“inhibiting”) the rate of firing of brain cells. 

This reduces excitation and fosters a sense of calmness and relaxation. 

Basically, GABA is your brain’s way of “tapping the breaks” when you get too wound up.

As you’re all too well aware, most people spend too much time red lining their bodies and minds, creating an imbalance between GABA and glutamate that results in undue stress and anxiety.[20,21] 

AML Calming Cocktail includes an impressive 3,000 milligrams of GABA to support relaxation and calmness. 

Research conducted in humans have found that supplementing with GABA can have a relaxation effect similar to that of L-Theanine, which just so happens to be another ingredient found in AML Calming Cocktail.[22]


Taurine is one of the most abundant amino acids in the body, found primarily in excitable tissues, such as the brain and skeletal muscles.

It serves many roles within the body and is involved in many different actions, not the least of which is as a weak agonist of the GABA-A receptors as well the glycine and NMDA receptors.

What this means is that taurine has the ability to stimulate GABA-A receptors (as well as glycine and NMDA receptors), which may help increase GABA activity in the body and promote feelings of calm and relaxation. 

However, it should be noted that some animal studies suggest that chronic administration of large doses of taurine taurine encourage downregulation of the GABA-A receptor and upregulate glutamate decarboxylase activity.[23]

The reason this is noteworthy is that glutamate decarboxylase is the enzyme that serves as the rate-limiting step in the production of GABA.[23] 

AML Calming Cocktail also includes taurine for its documented antioxidant, and mood-elevating properties.[24,25]

Ashwagandha Root

Ashwagandha is a staple plant of Ayurveda that has been used for centuries to boost energy, enhance cognition and combat feelings of stress.

Ashwagandha is best known for its adaptogenic properties.

Adaptogens are beneficial plants that improve the body’s ability to perceive, interact, and recover from all manner of stress, be it physical, emotional, or psychological. 

Ashwagandha has been extensively studied and found to help significantly reduce cortisol levels (up to 30% in some individuals!).[26,27]

In fact, research notes that when ashwagandha is given to individuals suffering from chronic stress they experienced an average reduction in anxiety and insomnia b 69%![26] 

Some other research suggests that ashwagandha supplementation may be able to help with stress-related infertility.[27] 

AML Calming Cocktail contains 500mg Ashwagandha extract 4:1 to help improve the body’s ability to deal with and recover from stress.


5-hydroxytryptophan is a derivative of the amino acid tryptophan that can cross the blood-brain barrier and serves as the direct precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter heavily involved in mood, satiety, and feelings of well-being.

Serotonin is also a precursor to melatonin -- the hormone that regulates our circadian rhythm.

Low levels of serotonin have been linked to symptoms of anxiety, depression, weight gain, and sleep disorders.[28,29]

5-HTP is included to support serotonin production, thereby promoting a healthy mood.

You may also find it interesting that 5-HTP supplementation may help reduce cravings and appetite, which support weight loss.[30]


L-Theanine is an amino acid found in green tea, and is one of the most popular supplements to use for inducing relaxation and calmness.

As mentioned above, L-theanine (like taurine) can stimulate GABA receptors in the brain, which leads to increased relaxation (without sedation) and helps manage anxiety. This translates to lower feelings of stress and better quality sleep.[31,32] 

AML Calming Cocktail supplies the research-backed dose of 200mg of L-Theanine to promote feelings of relaxation and calm, better sleep, and helps manage stress and anxiety.


The final ingredient in AML Calming Cocktail is one known all too well to most of you -- melatonin.

Multiple studies have demonstrated that melatonin supplementation is effective for improving sleep quality and decreasing sleep latency (the amount of time it takes to fall asleep).[33,34,35] 

Beyond its role in supporting healthy sleep, melatonin also affects energy metabolism and body weight regulation.

In fact, research indicates that melatonin supplementation may reduce body weight and abdominal fat via upregulation of brown fat thermogenesis, which increases energy expenditure thereby fat loss. Perhaps more interesting is the fact that this occurs independent of calorie restriction or increased physical activity.[36]

Researchers note that viruses bring about a drastic increase in inflammatory cytokines and reactive oxygen species (ROS), and melatonin is one of the most powerful natural antioxidant that declines with age.[37]

A recent study published March 23, 2020 in the journal Life Sciences, notes that melatonin is effective in managing anxiety and improving sleeping quality.[38]

It also has been documented to alleviate acute respiratory stress induced by virus and bacteria.[38]

Clinical trials are currently underway to investigate whether supplementation of melatonin daily might be beneficial among healthcare workers.[39]

AML Calming Cocktail contains a full 10mg serving of melatonin.


Stress is a part of life. We can’t completely avoid it, and, if we’re being honest, we really wouldn’t want to eliminate all stress from our lives.

We do, however, want to limit chronic stress and improve our ability to encounter and recover from stress, regardless of the form it manifests itself.

The most effective ways to limit stress and anxiety are to institute various lifestyle changes, like those outlined above. 

For added help, it may be useful to supplement with research-backed nutrients, like those contained in AML Calming Cocktail.

Click here to learn more about AML Calming Cocktail and how it can help manage feelings of stress.



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