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5 Best Supplements for Meditation and Calming your Mind

The incredible practice of meditation is beneficial to all people, at all stages of life. Using supplements for meditation shouldn't be frowned upon. Even the staunchest meditators require healthy diets and good brain chemistry, and sometimes health supplements are the best way to achieve this!

So, let’s get right into it! Science has recently started looking into the benefits of meditation, and the results have been astounding! We’ve taken the time to compile a list of what we think are the top 5 benefits of meditation.

Under that, you’ll find our list of the best supplements for meditation.

best supplements for meditation Meditation is a key part of Buddhist philosophy


The Top 5 Health Benefits of Meditation

1.     Reduces anxiety and depression

Meditation practitioners and Buddhist monks have long claimed that one of the best benefits of meditation is its ability to reduce anxiety and depression. Modern science has begun to catch onto this ancient practice.

A number of well-funded, peer-reviewed studies and meta-analyses have proven once-and-for-all that these effects exist. One review of 47 clinical studies found an average moderate reduction in both anxiety and depression over 2-3 months.[1]

Another review also concluded that most studies found significant reductions in anxiety and depression, but there is a need for larger studies.[2]


2.     Improves focus and attention

Again, one of the main characteristics of Buddhist monks and gurus is their intense ability for prolonged attention. Think about it, meditation means sitting for long periods of time focusing only on your breath. If that isn’t intense focus, then we don’t know what is!

meditation improves focus Science has shown that meditation improves focus and attention

Science has caught onto this too. A number of studies are looking into the benefits of meditation for treating attention deficit disorder (ADD). There are loads of scientific studies that have been published demonstrating the strength of meditation in improving focus.[3] [4]

However, you may be able to get even more benefits by using certain supplements for meditation practice.


3.     Increases mental strength and emotional wellbeing

Furthermore, one of the greatest benefits of meditation is learning the ability to control your emotions. You’d be hard pressed to find the Dalai Lama throwing a temper tantrum, or a Buddhist monk crying over spilled milk.

Meditation teaches the meditator to ‘watch’ their emotions as they come and go. This is opposed to how many of us get ‘caught up’ in our emotions. We associated with our emotions. We say to ourselves “I am angry”. However, meditation teaches you to say “this is anger”. You watch it come and go.

buddhist monk contemplating Meditation aims to cultivate emotional wellbeing

Many scientists practice meditation to help calm their minds. A number of studies have looked into the benefits of meditation for controlling emotions. An example is a study that found mindfulness meditation improved emotional regulation and reduced drug abuse.[5]

Another study, conducted by a leading Brazilian neuroscientist, found that meditation was able to reduce activity in areas of the brain associated with discursive thought and emotional response.[6]

That’s not to say that meditation turns you into an emotionless zombie. Quite the opposite. It just appears to give you the ability to be more in control of your emotions and thoughts.

In fact, other studies have found that a few weeks of meditation improved both empathy and compassion.[7]


4.     May reduce sensations of pain even more than morphine!

This benefit of meditation is so crazy we didn’t believe it at first! We’ve known for a while that meditation decreases pain sensations.[8] But more than morphine?! Turns out, it’s true – theoretically.

A study on the effects of mindfulness meditation on the perception of pain was published in the Journal of Neuroscience in 2011.

supplements for meditation help reduce pain Meditation reduces the perception of pain

Participants in the study were exposed to painful heat and asked to rate their experience of pain. After only 4 days of meditation practice, participants reported a reduction in pain of between 40% - 57%. [9] According to most studies, morphine reduces pain perception by around 25%.[10]

The scientists who conducted the study hooked up brain monitoring devices to the participants’ heads. When the participants were exposed to the heat, scientists looked at what areas of their brains were active. After four days of meditation, the areas that were active before had reduced activity, while new areas had lit up.


study - brain before and after meditation This image shows the changes in your brain before and after meditation - click for larger size

The scientists concluded that meditation can completely change the way that your brain perceives and interacts with sensations of pain.


5.     Reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke

Finally, meditation is great for improving your overall health. Again, Buddhist monks, gurus, and yoga teachers have known this for thousands of years. And once again, science is playing catch-up.

A number of studies have concluded that meditation has the potential to decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.[11] [12] [13] However, there is still a need for studies that compare meditation techniques to current pharmacological therapies. Again, using good supplements for meditation can enhance these benefits.


6.     Other benefits

For more information, we’d recommend reading through Live and Dare’s website, with over 76 benefits of meditation – all of which have been scientifically verified. Otherwise, read through this article on Psychology Today. Headspace is a great meditation resource, with easy-to-use classes.

For an even more in-depth analysis of the scientific benefits of meditation, try reading Siddhartha’s Brain, by James Kingsland.

top five supplements for meditation You can use a number of great supplements for meditation

The Top Best 5 Supplements for Meditation

We’ve compiled a list of the top five best supplements for meditation. Taking any one of these supplements while on a meditation program will boost the benefits of your practice!

We’re not saying skip out on the meditation, and take supplements instead. But, having read through the benefits of these supplements, we truly believe that they could seriously improve the results of your meditation sessions.

For example, if you’re looking to improve your mood through meditation, you’ll still need to make sure that you’re getting enough 5-HTP or L-tryptophan in your diet to allow your body to produce serotonin.


1.     L-Theanine: Calming and Focusing

L-theanine is first on the list of supplements for meditation. It’s the active compound found in tea and it’s the ultimate calming supplement.

l-theanine a calming compound L-theanine is an active calming compound in tea

First off, L-theanine promotes relaxation and calmness and is great when taken with a cup of coffee. Secondly, L-theanine has powerful focusing effects, which is highly beneficial to practicing meditation. [14]

By helping to get you into a calm, relaxed state, L-theanine eases the transition to a relaxed meditation session. It’s focusing effects help prevent your mind from wandering, and may improve the benefits of your meditation session.



2.     Baicalin: Relaxation with Health Benefits

Baicalin is the second of the top supplements for meditation. This wonderful compound is extracted from the Blue Skullcap, a plant that has been used in ancient Chinese medicine for over a thousand years.

The benefits of baicalin include pain-relief and the promotion of relaxation. Baicalin targets brain receptors known as GABA receptors.[15] These promote a state of calmness and reduce anxiety.

baicalin can also be used for better sleep Baicalin helps promote healthy sleep cycles

Baicalin also has a large variety of health benefits, including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibiotic, and antiviral effects. For more information and references, read through our product description.

Using baicalin in your meditation practice not only helps to calm your mind, but also adds to the health benefits of your meditation practice.




3.     Magnolia Bark Extract: Reduces stress

Magnolia bark extract, coming in third, is a great anxiety reducer. This amazing supplement has been found to significantly lower cortisol levels (the stress hormone), reduce inflammation, relax your muscles, and work as an anti-depressant. [16]

magnolia bark extract is made from the magnolia tree Magnolia bark is great at reducing anxiety

Meditation is all about reducing stress and connecting to your inner stillness. Taking a magnolia bark supplement may boost these effects, as well as providing additional health benefits. This is why magnolia is one of the top supplements for meditation.




4.     5-HTP: Boosts mood and Improves Sleep

5-HTP is an amino acid that is vital in the biochemical conversion of tryptophan to melatonin and serotonin.[17] It’s totally natural, and it’s a great way to boost your emotional state, as well as improve your sleeping patterns.

increase your mood with 5-HTP 5-HTP boosts serotonin and melatonin levels

You may have noticed that two of the benefits of meditation – improved emotional awareness and better sleep – can be provided by using a 5-HTP supplement. We’re not saying that the two are comparable. Meditation has a host of other benefits and is about meta-awareness.

However, you may be able to increase the effects of your meditation sessions by taking a 5-HTP supplement. 5-HTP has been used successfully in people with serotonin deficiency [18], and really helps to improve your mood and allows you to fall asleep faster.


5-HTP is undoubtedly one of the best supplements for meditation!



5.     L-Tryptophan: Nature's mood-boosting Amino Acid


L-tryptophan is another amino acid. It is an essential amino acid, meaning your body can’t make it, but it is the vital precursor to melatonin and serotonin. L-tryptophan supplements have a number of benefits including better sleep, increased mood, and appetite suppression. [19]

supplements for meditation Dietary L-tryptophan is found mostly in meat and dairy products, making this supplement great for vegetarians and vegans

L-tryptophan is one of the top five best supplements for meditation. Not only for meditation but for everyday life! Acute tryptophan depletion (ATD) causes irritability and a bad mood. Low tryptophan means lower serotonin and melatonin – resulting in low moods and bad sleep.







Conclusion: Some supplements can Boost your Meditation

tranquil, beach with stones Finding tranquility and mental balance doesn't need to be difficult

Meditation is an ancient practice with a large number of health benefits. Amazingly, science has confirmed most of the benefits that ancient gurus were talking about. There are benefits that haven’t yet been proved – but for the most part, it’s just because scientists haven’t conducted the studies yet!

Using health supplements to improve your meditation practice is great! The top five supplements for meditation are all natural supplements, often with a long history of use in traditional medicine.

There are some great benefits to using supplements for meditation. For example, by improving your mood while meditating, you can leave the meditation practice with that same state of mind, and eventually, you’ll be able to go straight into that ‘place’, without having to use a dietary supplement. Also, health supplements support a healthy body and mind, which just adds to the effects of meditation.

top nootropicsReferences:

[1] Meditation programs for psychological stress and well-being: a systematic review and meta-analysis, M Goyal et al., JAMA Intern Med. 2014 Mar;174(3):357-68. doi: 10.1001, available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24395196

[2] Systematic Review of the Efficacy of Meditation Techniques as Treatments for Medical Illness, Albert J. Arias, Karen Steinberg, Alok Banga, and Robert L. Trestman. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. October 2006, 12(8): 817-832. doi:10.1089/acm.2006.12.817, available from http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2006.12.817

[3] Mindfulness Meditation Training for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder in Adulthood: Current Empirical Support, Treatment Overview, and Future Directions, John T. Mitchell, Ph.D., Lidia Zylowska, M.D. and Scott H. Kollins, Ph.D, et al., Cogn Behav Pract. 2015 May; 22(2): 172–191, doi:  10.1016/j.cbpra.2014.10.002 available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4403871/

[4] Regular, brief mindfulness meditation practice improves electrophysiological markers of attentional control, A Moore et al., Front Hum Neurosci. 2012 Feb 10;6:18. doi: 10.3389, available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22363278

[5] Mindfulness meditation improves emotion regulation and reduces drug abuse, YY Tang, R Tang, and MI Posner, Drug Alcohol Depend. 2016 Jun 1;163 Suppl 1:S13-8. doi: 10.1016, available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27306725

[6] Meditation and the Brain: Attention, Control and Emotion, Mens Sana Monogr. 2011 Jan-Dec; 9(1): 276–283, doi:  10.4103, available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3115297/

[7] Intensive meditation training influences emotional responses to suffering, EL Rosenburg et al., Emotion. 2015 Dec;15(6):775-90. doi: 10.1037, available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25938614

[8] Mindfulness Meditation-Based Intervention Is Feasible, Acceptable, and Safe for Chronic Low Back Pain Requiring Long-Term Daily Opioid Therapy, J Cox et al., J Altern Complement Med. 2016 Aug;22(8):610-20. doi: 10.1089, available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27267151

[9] Brain mechanisms supporting the modulation of pain by mindfulness meditation, F Zeidan et al., J Neurosci. 2011 Apr 6;31(14):5540-8. doi: 10.1523, available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21471390

[10] Meditation Leads to Greater Pain Relief Than Morphine, Alex Knapp, April 2011, Forbes Magazine, Forbes.com, retrieved on August 19, 2016, retrieved on August 19, 2016

[11] Meditation and Coronary Heart Disease: A Review of the Current Clinical Evidence, Indranill Basu Ray, MD, et al., Ochsner J. 2014 Winter; 14(4): 696–703, available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4295748/

[12] Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) improves long-term mental fatigue after stroke or traumatic brain injury, Johansson B, Bjuhr H, Rönnbäck L, Brain Inj. 2012;26(13-14):1621-8. doi: 10.3109, available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22794665

[13] Meditation can produce beneficial effects to prevent cardiovascular disease, Koike MK, Cardoso R, Horm Mol Biol Clin Investig. 2014 Jun;18(3):137-43. doi: 10.1515, available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25390009

[14] L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state, Nobre AC, Rao A, Owen GN, Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008;17 Suppl 1:167-8, available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18296328

[15] GABA A receptor subtype selectivity underlying selective anxiolytic effect of baicalin, F Wang et al., Neuropharmacology. 2008 Dec;55(7):1231-7. doi: 10.1016, available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18723037

[16] Effect of Magnolia officinalis and Phellodendron amurense (Relora®) on cortisol and psychological mood state in moderately stressed subjects, SM Talbott, JA Talbott, M Pugh, J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013 Aug 7;10(1):37. doi: 10.1186, available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23924268

[17] 5-HTP, Examine.com, available from https://examine.com/supplements/5-htp/, retrieved on August 19, 2016

[18] The effects of congenital brain serotonin deficiency on responses to chronic fluoxetine, BD Sachs et al., Transl Psychiatry. 2013 Aug 13;3:e291. doi: 10.1038, available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23942622

[19] L-Tryptophan: Basic Metabolic Functions, Behavioral Research and Therapeutic Indications, DM Richard et al., Int J Tryptophan Res. 2009; 2: 45–60, available from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2908021/