Iodine and selenium to encourage the production and conversion of thyroid hormones, with additional zinc for CO2 metabolism, copper for the mitochondria, and molybdenum for antioxidant status. The efficient production of thyroid hormone carries over to positively affect sex hormone production, mood, libido, energy, concentration and muscle mass.
Reishi and Chaga mushrooms are rich in polyphenolic compounds that protect against oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation. Theanine, glycine and ashwaghanda attack stress from multiple angles by reducing ubiquitous stress hormones and stimulating the production of calming neurosteroids.
Theanine and ashwaghanda prepare the body for rest by decreasing evening cortisol and increasing brain alpha wave activity, while glycine promotes the natural production of growth hormone that takes place during the early hours of sleep. Efficient and replenishing sleep is profoundly important for physical health, mental wellbeing and human longevity.
The antioxidant mushroom. Chaga contains a number of uniquely potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory polyphenols to suppress cellular damage while its polysaccharide content positively augments the gut microbiota.
This Ayurvedic medicinal herb has earned its reputation as an anti-stress adaptogen. The principle anti-stress compounds are the withanolides, of which there are over 40. Ashwagandha is shown to reduce depression and anxiety, reduce perceived stress, as well as lower circulating cortisol and C-reactive protein, two major biomarkers of stress.
Reishi is reputed for its anti-aging properties. In addition to its anti oxidant and anti inflammatory effects, its unique actions on the immune system reduce time taken to fall asleep while increasing the quality and length of sleep.
Glycine is the simplest of all amino acids, but under-consumed due to its uneven distribution in animal tissues. Glycine is found mostly in collagen-rich structures such as skin, cartilage and joints – animal parts that are not usually consumed in the Western diet – but even in collagen tissue it only represents about 20-25% of the amino acid content by mass. This amino acid closely mimics GABA in the brain, calming neuronal excitability. It increases levels of an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase, boosting production of progesterone metabolites that exert strong anxiolytic, antidepressant, anticonvulsant and neuroprotective effects. By suppressing cortisol and quieting the brain in the evening, glycine can help boost immunity, entrain the sleep cycle, and facilitate normal sleep architecture. Finally, glycine can help retain and even build muscle by decreasing protein degradation and sensitizing muscle tissue to L-leucine, an essential amino acid and one of the most potent oral stimulators of muscle protein synthesis.
Although structurally similar to the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate, this amino acid analogue produces quite the opposite effect. Theanine is one of the principal psychoactive components of black tea, promoting both relaxation and increased concentration via stimulation of brain alpha wave activity.
One of the more important roles of copper is its participation in the production of cellular energy. Copper is incorporated into the transmembrane structures in the mitochondria where crucial reactions must take place prior to ATP being synthesised. Other copper-containing enzymes participate in collagen construction, the production of peptide hormones and, together with zinc, the deactivation of the ever-present superoxide radical.
SELENIUM & IODINE
These two elements are necessary for optimal thyroid health and antioxidant activity. Sufficient iodine intake is necessary to maintain adequate levels of the iodine-containing thyroxine, and the conversion of thyroxine to triiodothyronine – the “active” thyroid hormone – is dependent on the selenium-containing deiodinases. Selenium is also used in the glutathione peroxidases, enzymes which help our body halt oxidative damage.
Zinc serves as a co-factor in enzymes that are responsible for balancing blood pH, metabolising CO2 and, along with copper, it is required for the deactivation of superoxide radicals, highly reactive byproducts of normal mitochondrial respiration. Zinc works with B6, B3, magnesium and vitamin C to direct the metabolism of omega-6 linoleic acids away from pro-inflammatory products and towards anti-inflammatory ones instead, a process which affects serum lipid profile, cell membrane integrity, lipid peroxidation and ultimately liver health.
MOLYBDENUM AND MANGANESE
Molybdenum is utilised as a co-factor for xanthine oxidase and sulfite oxidase. The function of xanthine oxidase is particularly important for plasma antioxidant status as it breaks down old nucleotides and transforms them into uric acid, one of the body’s most abundant antioxidants, while sulfite oxidase is required for the metabolism of sulfur-containing amino acids methionine and cysteine. The role of manganese is even more broad, being incorporated into a variety of enzymes that catalyze the most basic of reactions, but it is also used to disarm damaging superoxide radicals inside mitochondria.