Dr. Whitney’s Picks

OLLY Goodbye Stress Gummies

You guys responded with so much love to my Stressing 24/7 is B-B-Bad to the Biome post, where I explained the connection between stress and our skin. Stress is a constant in so many of our lives and in so many of our days. It impacts our entire bodies – and, of course – our skin.

As I explained, when your brain perceives something as stressful, your fight or flight response is activated. Once that happens, the digestion in your belly slows as your blood is shunted away from your intestines toward your extremities (just in case you need to fight or flee). Given that you most likely don’t need to do either, this is just disruptive to your body’s healthy functioning.

Stress hormones also restrict the contractions of your digestive muscles, and diminish your digestive juices—all of which forces food to sit idly in the GI tract, inviting an overgrowth of bacteria and yeast. These unsavory characters cause your intestinal lining to grow weak and leaky, allowing toxins to spill into the bloodstream, and triggering body-wide inflammation and a host of potential diseases. You’ve heard me talk about Leaky Gut and Leaky Skin, so this is what we are talking about.

Of course – exercise and meditation are incredibly effective options when it comes to dialing down chronic stress. And admittedly, although I meditate regularly now using my Breethe or Headspace app, this was not exactly a smooth transition for me. My brain is always racing, I love to try to do a million things at once . . . sitting still is not my natural state (at all). But, with practice, it has gotten easier and my entire day shifts when I actually take the time to meditate.

But, as a reality check, sometimes we just need something that works quickly and is accessible and easy. As a working mom, when I’m in the middle of juggling and trying to keep my cool, sometimes I just need something in a pinch to help me get back to zen and I don’t want to reach for pharma-grade medications. I love to find safe, effective natural options and I love to share them with you.

I saw OLLY’s Goodbye Stress Gummies at the pharmacy and the packaging was bright and appealing – so I decided to investigate. I reached out to the company to share more information on the product. The deets – these gummies are made with L-Theanine (an amino acid frequently found in tea), GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid, the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the human cortex. Here, we are talking about the food supplement version of GABA), and Lemon Balm (an herb known to have relaxing properties). They are made without artificial flavors or colors (their color comes from sweet potato, radish, apple, tomato, and pepper).

This is an area that is not regulated by the FDA, so I always proceed with caution and do my research. I looked into these ingredients from a scientific standpoint:

L-Theanine is an amino acid found in tea which may modulate aspects of our brain function. Specifically, EEG studies show that it has a direct effect on the brain by relaxing our brain without inducing drowsiness. The levels and doses needed to induce this effect need to be studied in greater depth, but the science here is fascinating.

With respect to GABA, it turns out that many consumers find that GABA supplements provide a calming effect but the scientific studies aren’t entirely convincing yet –we truly need more studies in order to better understand whether this is a scientifically proven effect or a placebo effect.

And, lemon balm is an herb from the mint family. In alternative medicine, many people believe that lemon balm has calming effects. It can be ingested, inhaled or applied topically, and some early studies are showing that it might be promising for anxiety and even insomnia.

I also checked in with my friend, Natalie Gluck, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist in private practice in New York City. Natalie added – these gummies aren’t habit forming and shouldn’t increase drowsiness. “The sugar in the gummies is likely the most addictive ingredient,” Dr. Gluck says.

After reviewing the science, I was ready to try the gummies and invited my sister to try them, too! We genuinely felt a difference in our stress levels after taking the gummies. They worked quickly (within 30 minutes) and the feeling of being overwhelmed was really somewhat mitigated. I felt no mental cloudiness and maintained my energy levels and clarity.

Was it a placebo effect or was it real? I decided to reach out to a group of my friends, who range from multitasking moms to corporate executives, to see what they thought. Check out their experience.

To learn more, check out this link: https://www.olly.com/products/goodbye-stress/.

Dr. Whitney

 

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