Four weeks of supplementation with the bark extract supplement was associated with significant reductions in overall stress, tension, depression, anger, and fatigue, compared to placebo, according to findings published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
In addition, the Relora supplement was found to improve mood and vigor in a study with 56 men and women.
“The present study indicates a significant ‘anti-stress’ benefit of magnolia/phellodendron bark (Relora) supplementation in moderately stressed non-athletes, and suggests a possible benefit for athletes to recover from ‘training stress’ induced by the physical and psychological demands of competition and training,” wrote the researchers, led by Shawn Talbott from SupplementWatch.
“Future studies should examine the potential benefits of Relora in helping athletes to enhance post-exercise recovery and possibly to help prevent overtraining syndrome.”
Relora was introduced in 2000 and was recently was approved for sale in Canada. The supplement is produced by Next Pharmaceuticals and the company funded the new study. The supplement is a leader in the stress relief category in supplements, with it is claimed to alleviate stress, curb stress-related eating and promote weight management. It has been used exclusively in supplements in both tablet and capsule form until recently, and is featured by some major manufacturers such as Now Foods, Source Naturals, HVL and Reliance Vitamins.
According to Talbott and his co-workers, extracts from magnolia bark and Phellodendron bark have been used in are traditional herbal medicines for about 2,000 years for treating ‘stagnation of Qi’ in Chinese medicine (or ‘burnout’ in modern Western parlance).
The benefits are linked to anti-stress and anti-anxiety compounds honokiol and berberine in magnolia and Phellodendron bark, respectively.
The new study indicates that the supplement may also have potential in the sports nutrition category.
“Although our study was not conducted in competitive athletes, a number of our moderately stressed healthy subjects were recreational runners and cyclists who commented about feeling more ‘balanced’ in their workouts when their stress levels were balanced,” explained Talbott et al.
Talbott and his co-workers recruited 35 men and 21 women to participate in their randomized placebo-controlled, double-blind study. The participants were randomly assigned to receive either placebo or the 500 mg/day of Relora for four weeks.
Results showed that cortisol levels in the saliva were significantly lower in the active supplement group, compared to placebo (18% lower), while of overall stress was reduced 11%, tension reduced by 13%, depression by 20%, anger by 42%, and fatigue by 31%.
Improvements were observed for of mood (+11%) and vigor (+18%) for the supplement group, compared to placebo.
“These results suggest an effective natural approach to modulating the detrimental health effects of chronic stress in moderately stressed adults,” wrote the researchers.
Source: Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition
2013, 10:37 doi:10.1186/1550-2783-10-37
“Effect of Magnolia officinalis and Phellodendron amurense (Relora) on cortisol and psychological mood state in moderately stressed subjects”
Authors: Talbott SM, Talbott JA, Pugh M.