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I have noticed that any time I restrict my calories to less that 1500 a day... I feel very relaxed and at ease... I have a relaxing decrease in energy and my racing thoughts are diminished. Has any one else felt a decrease in energy and relaxing feeling after decrease in calories?.. One of the major reasons I stay on a calorie-restricted diet is for this reason alone... I love feeling relaxed all the time!!! In addition, I take Chammomile, Kava Kava, Valerian, Melatonin and 5-HTP which all help to keep me calm... I decided to start taking these suppliments after I found that CR-dieting made me more relaxed... Today is a day where I haven't felt more relaxed... I feel awesome!!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi Frederick,
Yes, a lot of people on CR find that their minds are more focused and that they enter into a state of alert relaxation; there's significant animal evidence, and a fair number of supporting anecdotes, that CR is helpful in anxiety, particularly when it involves fasting periods. Anyone considering this should consult and have the monitoring of a physician.
However, I don't think many people find CR decreases their energy — in fact, just the opposite! Most people report energy levels increased, with a heightened sense of vigilance and a reduced need for sleep.
As far as your supplement polypharmacy goes: I would really recommend you cut back on or eliminate those. Kava is pretty clearly hepatotoxic, and the long-term effects of chronic use of the rest of the herbs you list is unknown; iit's not crazy to make occasional use of them for sleep (valerian) or relaxation (chamomile), but taking them every day as you are evidently doing is an unwise experiment.
Now that it's available legally and from solid suppliers, I would recommend switching from 5-HTP to the parent amino acid, tryptophan. There are mechanistic reasons (no direct evidence yet) that 5-HTP may cause cardiac abnormalities. However, it's highly advisable IMO to get a brand of tryptophan (for example, Doctor's Best, Life Extension, and Swanson*; there are others) that uses "TryptoPure" for its raw material. This is high-quality, branded material sourced from Ajinomoto, a Japanese food, chemical, and pharmaceutical company with a long track record of production of this and other amino acids (including MSG  ;) ). Some of you may be aware that tryptophan was yanked off of the US market in the late 1980s, due to an outbreak of eosinophilia-myalgia syndrome which caused the death of 37 people and permanently disabled 1500 more, generally accepted to be the result of contaminated tryptophan supplements from Showa Denko, a chemical manufacturer that had previously been implicated in a massive mercury toxicity scandal in Japan, who had just introduced a novel and rather chemically messy alternative way to synthesize the molecule. (The alternative hypothesis mentioned in the Wikipedia Showa Denko article is in my view not credible, as it's inconsistent with the epidemiology at the time and the lack of any EMS epidemic prior to the disaster or its resurgence after the reentry of Trp onto the US market in 2001).

Also, both supplemental Trp and 5-HTP should probably be avoided by people taking SSRIs, SNRIs, MAOIs, and other drugs with strong effects on serotonin metabolism, for risk of serotonin syndrome; this doesn't happen with Trp alone because its conversion into serotonin (and thence to melatonin) and later degradation in the synapse is under physiological regulation, with which SSRIs interfere.


*  Swanson actually has at least 2 different tryptophan supplements, only one of which uses TryptoPure; make sure you buy the one with "Tryptopure" right there in the name.

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