I have tried dozens of sleep supplements in the past year, and when I test supplements, I’m looking for their effectiveness in helping me fall asleep, stay asleep, and improve my sleep quality.
Serotonin Brain Food by Natural Stacks is not really marketed as a sleep supplement, but reading the list of ingredients on the site, I noticed it contained a number of my favorite ingredients, like L-Tryptophan, Magnesium, and Zinc — and in some of the highest concentrations I’d ever seen in other supplements. If you recall, Natural Stacks also makes MagTech, one of my favorite magnesium-based supplements. That’s another supplement not marketed exclusively for sleep, though it helps my rest a ton.
This supplement is marketed for mood support, a lot like one of my favorites, New Mood, so I was excited to try it as soon as it arrived. Read below to see how this supplement — not marketed exclusively for sleep — impacted my rest.
Natural Stacks has a number of formulas under the Brain Food™ label, including Serotonin Brain Food. This supplement is designed to boost the natural production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for an overall sensation of well-being and happiness.
Although serotonin is associated with emotional health, it is primarily found in the GI tract, and it also helps regulate appetite, digestion, sleep, and hormonal health.
From the manufacturer:
Take a serving of 2-3 capsules to support a positive mood, during situations of stress or irritability, or as directed by a healthcare practitioner. Avoid use in the evening. Do not exceed 2 servings per day.
- Vitamin B3 (Niacinamide) – 500 mg
This vitamin relaxes and dilates blood vessels, making it easier for the heart to pump blood. Niacin can cause a temporary skin flush, which is not an adverse reaction.
- Magnesium (Magnesium glycinate) – 50 mg
A mineral responsible for sleep cycles. As I mentioned in this article, magnesium on its own can be an effective sleep aid. This is also a readily absorbable form of magnesium that’s a step above some cheaper compounds.
- Zinc (Zinc glycinate) – 20 mg
Another important mineral many people exhibit deficiency in. It has been tied to sleep quality, though not as heavily as magnesium.
- L-Tryptophan – 900 mg
This amino acid plays a part in the synthesis of both melatonin and serotonin hormones involved with mood and stress response and sleep/wake cycles.
- Rhodiola Rosea (root) extract (standardized to 3% total rosavins min. 1% salidrosides) – 400 mg
There is evidence that Rhodiola may act as a natural adaptogen, a substance capable of decreasing the effects of environmental, chemical, or physical stressors. Some people report increased energy when taking Rhodiola, which may account for the suggestion to avoid taking at night (more on that below).
Additional Ingredients: Vegetable capsules, cellulose, vegetable stearate, silica.
So, somewhat against manufacturer recommendations, I took 2 and 3 capsule dosages about 30 minutes before bed; Natural Stacks suggests avoiding use in the evening. The label also suggests taking this during the day for a positive mood or during stressful or irritable situations, which I did with some success. However, I found taking it in the evening had the most significant impact on my rest.
This is by far one of my favorite sleep supplements on the market right now. I have been taking 3 capsules for the past 10 consecutive days — usually in the evening, but sometimes early in the day as suggested — and I have had 97%+ sleep quality nights every night. Serotonin Brain Food sends me into a deep sleep, minutes after getting to bed. The sleep is restful, full of dreams that I can actually remember in the morning (a big upside to my creativity!). I have slept between 7 and 8 eight hours a night, uninterrupted, and have woken up before my alarm, refreshed and ready to go. The sleep I get is very deep, so I may avoid this supplement when I have under 7 hours to rest.
- Improved my overall sleep quality.
- No groggy feeling the next morning.
- Easy to time, though the manufacturer actually suggests avoiding in the evening; I also had some success taking it earlier in the day.
- Every ingredient is sourced for high bioavailability.
- Mild appetite control (observationally for me).
- No Preservatives, No GMO ingredients, No artificial colors, and no soy.
- I needed the full 3 capsule dosage for optimum results, and I had to experiment with timing before finding out what worked for me.
The Final Word
In short, I’m a fan of Serotonin Brain Food. This supplement will stay in my rotation indefinitely. I like that it is effective, without any unnecessary artificial colors or filler ingredients. As per the manufacturer’s suggestion, I may move to trying a smaller dosage during the day to help me deal with stressful situations — and hopefully I will still get the same benefit to my sleep.