Background: Magnolia (Magnolia officinalis) and Phellodendron (Phellodendron amurense) barks are medicinalplants commonly used as traditional remedies for reducing stress and anxiety. Modern dietary supplements areintended to induce relaxation and reduce stress as well as stress-related eating. Previous studies have shown thecombination of Magnolia/Phellodendron (MP) to reduce both cortisol exposure and the perception of stress/anxiety, while improving weight loss in subjects with stress-related eating. Competitive athletes are “stressed” bytheir intense exercise regimens in addition to their normal activities of daily living and thus may benefit from anatural therapy intended to modulate baseline perceptions of stress and stress hormone exposure.
Methods: We assessed salivary cortisol exposure and psychological mood state in 56 subjects (35 men and 21women) screened for moderate stress and supplemented with a standardized/patented MP combination(Relora®, Next Pharmaceuticals) or Placebo for 4 weeks.
Results: After 4 weeks of supplementation, salivary cortisol exposure was significantly (p<0.05) lower (−18%) in theRelora group compared to Placebo. Compared to Placebo, the Relora group had significantly better (p<0.05) moodstate parameters, including lower indices of Overall Stress (−11%), Tension (−13%), Depression (−20%), Anger(−42%), Fatigue (−31%), and Confusion (−27%), and higher indices of Global Mood State (+11%) and Vigor (+18%).
Conclusion: These results indicate that daily supplementation with a combination of Magnolia bark extract andPhellodendron bark extract (Relora®) reduces cortisol exposure and perceived daily stress, while improving a varietyof mood state parameters, including lower fatigue and higher vigor. These results suggest an effective naturalapproach to modulating the detrimental health effects of chronic stress in moderately stressed adults. Futurestudies should examine the possible performance and recovery benefits of Relora supplementation in athletesoverstressed by the physical and psychological demands of training and competition.
Keywords: Stress, Cortisol, Vigor, Magnolia, Phellodendron, Mood, Relora