ZenBev by Biosential - all natural, organic sleep aid
For those of us who have lain awake night after night staring at the ceiling and willing ourselves to go to sleep, any insomnia-targeted product is worth a look, isn't it?
One of my favourite tips for insomnia is to eat a mix of protein and carbohydrate before bed and again during the night if you wake, several times if need be. This has the effect of balancing blood sugar and stimulating the production of amino acids, like tryptophan, linked to sleep. So, I was intrigued to see this new ZenBev powder from Biosential, which approaches the problem from a similar perspective.
ZenBev is ground, de-oiled pumpkin seed powder, which is naturally-rich in tryptophan, the key amino acid that helps us nod off. However, in tests, it was discovered that the brain level of tryptophan doesn't improve enough to really aid sleep because it is competing with the other amino acids in the pumpkin seed. Adding a small amount of quick-acting dextrose to bind to the other amino acids leaves the tryptophan more available to the brain and hence the product becomes much more effective. Clever trick.
You take 1-2 scoops of the chocolate flavour in milk of your choice or the lemon flavour in hot water (a bit like Lemsip!) half an hour before bed. You can take it every day but you don't need to. You can see specific tips on how to use it here in the FAQ on their site.
ZenBev is yeast, dairy and gluten free, although note that the dextrose in the product is from corn so avoid if corn-sensitive. Similarly, I would also be careful if you are on other meds or supplements that affect the same neurotransmitters such as 5HTP, St John's Wort, anti-depressants, lithium etc. Again, see the FAQ for more on contraindications.
I like this product, although it is not a cheap option at £26 for a 250g jar, and I can see how it would work for chronic insomnia because you are raising the tryptophan level in the brain. We do need to remember, though, that this is achieved by taking a high GI sugar, albeit a small amount roughly equivalent to eating a piece of toast, they say. This will have an impact on insulin levels so diabetics - and anyone with adrenal insufficiency in my view - would be wise to manage it properly or avoid it. Of course, if you are a chronic insomniac, sleep may be much more important to resolve for your health, so be led by your health professional.
Nutrition Tip: Raising tryptophan also helps to increase levels of serotonin, the feel good neurotransmitter, in the brain. So, this product might actually help lower stress and anxiety and raise your mood if you take it during the day. A yummy hot chocolate with extra happy-mood oomph when you're feeling a bit low might be just the ticket to cheer you up.
For more tips, see my factsheet on Insomnia here.
ZenBev is available online in various different sizes: £25.99 for 250g, £69.99 for 750g pouch, or a Starter Special for £29.99 (includes one 250g jar of Zenbev Drink Mix (chocolate or lemon), a copy of the book "Feel Great Day & Night" by Dr. Craig Hudson, and a Sleep Mask Kit).