Supplement of the month: Myocalm and Myocalm Plus
Myocalm is a supplement I frequently recommend to patients; it is by far the most popular supplement at our clinic. Being that we are a chiropractic clinic we see predominantly musculoskeletal issues—many of which can be improved with Myocalm. I’ll discuss the different components of Myocalm which should explain why Myocalm has such a calming effect and is a natural way to reduce muscle tension. As always this is not medical advice and all supplements should be taken under the guidance and direction of a trained health care provider.
What is in Myocalm?
In 2 tablets of Myocalm there is: 100 mg of Magnesium Citrate
50 mg of Calcium
40 mg of Passion Flower
20 mg of Valerian Root
Let’s talk about Magnesium and its importance in the body. I had a professor (a retired Emergency Room and Family Medicine MD) in undergraduate school who swore by magnesium, he insisted that most—if not everyone—could benefit from taking magnesium. When I was in chiropractic school I heard the same message about the wonders of magnesium over and over again. The fact of the matter is that magnesium is a cofactor for more than 300 different enzymes and is necessary for the synthesis of energy (Gaby, 2011). The fact that magnesium is necessary for some 300 plus processes in the body is significant and shows that we really do need this miracle or wonder “drug.” Low magnesium intake is due partly because of the high proportion of nutrient depleted processed foods that exist in our SAD (standard American diet). In addition ammonia used as a fertilizer unbinds magnesium from the soil (Gaby, 2011). Some medications and antacids may also deplete magnesium. Finally, when we boil some of the magnesium rich foods, such as leafy green vegetables, a lot of the magnesium is lost in the water. Magnesium is necessary for our muscles, nervous system, heart, and lungs. I also have found that magnesium is essential for women’s health and is often something that is overlooked.
“Common symptoms of mild-to-moderate magnesium deficiency include anxiety, depression, fatigue, insomnia, irritability, panic attacks, muscle cramps and twitches, chest tightness, hyperventilation, faintness, difficulty with mental concentration, memory loss, confusion, nuchal pain, headaches, intestinal complaints, tremor, palpitations, and certain types of cardiac arrhythmias. Other symptoms that have been attributed to magnesium deficiency include paresthesia, noise sensitivity, dyspnea, hepatobiliary spasm, or dyskinesia, a sensation of a lump in the throat, and dyspnea.” –Alan R. Gaby, MD.
The muscles in our bodies respond well to magnesium because it works as a natural muscle relaxer which is why it is such an important part of Myocalm.
I enjoyed writing about Calcium in our last Supplement of the Month blog. What I want most to know about calcium is that it is not just for bones. While calcium is helpful for our skeletal system, it is also important for our nervous system, muscles, heart, and is key in women’s health. Calcium, like magnesium, is necessary for our muscles. I won’t bore you with the complex physiology behind this, but basically it would be impossible for our muscles to contact and relax without calcium. Think about how many times a day our muscles are voluntarily and involuntarily contracting and relaxing—it is more than you realize! Our muscles keep us upright and allow for movement, we need to be taking care of them by ensuring we have enough calcium in our system! As mentioned before, our nervous system also needs calcium for nerve impulses. Low calcium can cause numbness, tingling, and muscle spasms. I particularly like Myocalm because it has both calcium and magnesium. Calcium and magnesium work great together, in fact magnesium controls the entry of calcium into each cell (Northrup, 2009). Christine Northrup, MD writes, “Without adequate magnesium (which is also a natural calcium channel blocker) too much calcium gets inside the cell. This can result in muscle cramping, blood vessel constriction, migraine headache, and even feelings of anxiety.” Dr. Northrup highlights perfectly how calcium and magnesium work synergistically, and personally I think that in most cases calcium should be taken with magnesium to achieve the most benefit.
Passion Flower, native to the Americas, has been used for years for nervousness, anxiety, and sleep issues (Savage 2017). There have been several animal studies and human clinical trials that show Passion Flower may have some benefit. Although the actual mechanism of action may not be completely clear, it seems that it has some effect on GABA (Savage 2017) which is why it promotes relaxation.
Valerian Root also has an effect on GABA; it increases GABA in the brain which may cause sedative effects (Sahoo, 2018). For this reason it has been helpful for those who have difficulty sleeping. Overall Valerian Root has a calming effect. In a review published in the Journal of Medicinal Plant Studies, Valerian Root was mentioned and the author states: “It’s pretty amazing that a herbal remedy like Valerian root can have the same anti-anxiety effects of prescription drugs without all the serious side effects of psychotropic drugs.” (Sahoo, 2018). While this plant may be amazing, it can also be powerful, and should be taken under guidance of a medical provider, especially if the individual is already on medication. The amount of Valerian Root in Myocalm however, is pretty small and works mostly has a calming agent. For more information on Valerian Root check out this review of the research https://healthybutsmart.com/valerian-root-supplements/
Will Myocalm cause drowsiness?
Myocalm does have the potential to cause some drowsiness, definitely ask your provider about this beforehand if drowsiness is of concern. Everyone will respond differently to medications or supplements so it is important when taking any substance to monitor any symptoms you may experience.
Myocalm Plus (previously known as Myocalm PM) has higher levels of Passion Flower and Valerian Root, and has added Hops and Lemon Balm for more of a calming effect. This supplement can certainly cause drowsiness and works wonders for those who have difficulty sleeping. I usually recommend taking Myocalm plus a few hours before bed.
Berman Michele, MD. Do Valerian Root Supplements Do Anything? Here’s what the science says… August 2018. Healthybutsmart.com. https://healthybutsmart.com/valerian-root-supplements/ Accessed on 10/12/2018
GABA-modulating phytomedicines for anxiety: A systematic review of preclinical and clinical evidence
Karen Savage-Joseph Firth-Con Stough-Jerome Sarris – Phytotherapy Research – 2017
Gaby AR. Nutritional Medicine, Second Edition. Concord: Fritz Perlberg Publishing; 2011. Pages 134-139.
Sahoo S. A review of some medicinal plants used for nervous disorders. Journal of Medicinal Plant Studies. 2017;6(1):220-224. http://www.plantsjournal.com/archives/2018/vol6issue1/PartD/6-1-39-888.pdf. Accessed August 14, 2018.
Women’s bodies, women’s wisdom: the complete guide to women’s health and wellbeing
Christine Northrup – Piatkus – 2009. Page 73