Serenity Formula Product ReviewOctober 27, 2009 Written by JP [Font too small?]
According to the October issue of the AARP Bulletin, 10 of the most popular medications prescribed in the United States are used to address psychological symptoms. In fact, over 243 million prescriptions were written in 2008 alone expressly for this purpose. Anxiety, depression and insomnia top the list of conditions for which these drugs are dispensed. But that startling statistic doesn’t reveal whether or not any natural alternatives were tried prior to the use of these powerful, psychoactive agents.
I recently tried an herbal product that has helped me through a particularly stressful period in my life. In the past, I’ve experimented with a variety of nutritional supplements that are intended to promote a “healthy mood”. Many of these formulations attempt to balance adrenal gland function and brain chemistry in order to ease anxious feelings and promote a more optimistic perspective. These natural alternatives also strive to avoid the common side effects associated with prescription medications that are used for the same purpose.
The Product – Natural Factors’ Serenity Formula
Serenity Formula is recommended by Michael Murray, a highly regarded naturopathic physician. The “structure/function” claim on the label states that this product “promotes emotional well being” and further describes it as “a unique combination of herbal extracts that help the body cope with stress”.
Serenity Formula – Dosage and Ingredients
The supplement provides: 250 mg of a patented Ashwagandha extract (Withania somnifera) known as Sensoril. It also features 150 mg of standardized extracts of Eleuthero (“Siberian ginseng”), 150 mg of Lavender extract and 75 mg of Rhodiola rosacea. The recommended dosage is 1 capsule twice daily. That dosing pattern will provide the quantities listed above. A higher dosage of 2 capsules twice daily can also be implemented if required.
The Science Behind Serenity Formula
Ashwagandha, the primary ingredient in the herbal blend, has a long history in traditional Indian medicine of supporting mental health. Recent scientific inquiries indicate that it may be a useful tool in the management of anxiety, cognitive decline, depression, drug addiction and a variety of neurological conditions. There’s even a study underway that’s examining its effects in patients with bi-polar disorder. Eleuthero and Rhodiola are typically classified as “adaptogens”, substances that assist the body to safely adapt to physical and psychological stressors. Lavender’s effect on mood tends to be associated with its lovely fragrance. Specifically, essential oils from lavender flowers have been historically used as a calming agent. But there is also some preliminary evidence that suggests that lavender consumption can provide an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) and antidepressant effect. (1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11)
My Personal Experience with Serenity Formula
I started using the lowest recommended dosage for the first week (1 capsule 2x day). I almost always suggest beginning slowly with any new supplement. My initial impression was that I was experiencing some degree of a “mellowing” reaction. I also noted that this calming sensation did not bring about any daytime sleepiness or grogginess. As an experiment, I decided to increase my intake on the second week to 2 capsules 2x a day. This seems to work more effectively for me. But please keep in mind that I’m a rather large fellow – 6 feet tall and 180 pounds.
Additional Observations and Tips
A pet peeve of mine is when supplement manufacturers don’t give precise recommendations in the “Suggested Usage” portion of a product label. For instance, the directions for Serenity Formula omit whether it should be taken on an empty stomach or with food. I did however place a call to Natural Factors’ Canadian office and was told that taking it on an empty stomach would be preferable, unless doing so caused digestive upset. For about 3 weeks now, I’ve been taking 2 capsules between breakfast and lunch and again between lunch and dinner. It hasn’t upset my stomach yet.
Naturopathic Care (NC) vs. Psychotherapy (PT) – Beck Anxiety Inventory Results
Concluding Remarks on Serenity Formula
While putting together today’s product review, I visited several online supplement providers. Many Internet based “health food stores” allow their customers to submit brief reviews of products that they’ve tried in order to better inform other customers. Serenity Formula seems to be very well received by most of the people who’ve actually tried it. This is reassuring because my report is purely anecdotal in nature. However, I want to point out that I’m a rather tough customer with regard to mood altering supplements. I generally don’t respond to them at all. That’s part of the reason why I wanted to highlight this particular herbal formula. Simply stated, it worked for me.
One of the best aspects of natural medicines is that they often provide “side benefits” instead of side effects. In this instance, Ashwagandha can improve fertility and immune function during stressful times. Eleuthero and Rhodiola may “increase mental performance and physical working capacity in humans”. Likewise, lavender may one day “provide the key to eradicating degenerative inflammatory disease, infectious disease, and carcinogenesis” according to some researchers. Natural foods and medicinal herbs are multi-taskers. When they’re used judiciously, they have great potential for improving specific symptoms and overall quality of life. (12,13,14,15,16)
Tags: Anxiety, Depression, Fatigue
Posted in Mental Health, Nutritional Supplements, Product Reviews