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Assessing the beneficial effects of a magnolia extract supplemented with phosphatidylserine: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial

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Abstract

Stress is common aspect of everyday life, often associated with reduced well-being. There is increasing interest in the use of natural herbal remedies for the relief of stress. The aim of the current study was to investigate the biological and psychological mechanisms underlying the beneficial effects of a propriety blend of magnolia extract and phosphatidylserine in a doubleblind, placebo-controlled, clinical trial comprising 34 healthy adults (26.09 ± 6.09 years; range 19-45). Participation took place over a consecutive 4-week period. This included a baseline period where participants did not take the herbal supplement, two experimental periods where participants were instructed to take the recommended dose of herbal supplement (two capsules immediately upon awakening), and a follow-up period where participants ceased taking the supplement. Throughout the study period, participants were required to complete a series of questionnaires assessing concentration, mood, perceived stress, anxiety,and depression. Participants also provided saliva samples on three select days during each week, to measure the biological markers of stress, cortisol and alpha-amylase. Waking cortisol levels decreased throughout the study period in the treatment group, while there was no significant change in levels for the control group. For the treatment group, the cortisol awakening response also tended to decrease throughout the study period. Paralleling this, there was a significant decrease in the daily measure of stress and the weekly measure of depression in the treatment group, with similar trends seen for the other measures of psychological well-being. There were no significant changes in well-being measures over the study period for the control group. Our study showed that a dietary supplement containing proprietary extracts of magnolia and phosphatidylserine may have beneficial anxiolytic effects through targeting the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis regulator of the stress response, with the supplement having significant beneficial effects on waking cortisol, daily stress and weekly depression.

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The Cortisol Connection: Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health-and What You Can Do About It
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