Expert review by Dr. Suman Khulbe, MD.
Confidence comes from a Latin word 'fidere' which means "to trust"; therefore, having self-confidence is having trust in one's self.
The dictionary definition of confidence by Merriam-Webster defines it as "a feeling or consciousness of one's powers or of reliance on one's circumstances".
Confidence helps us feel ready for life's experiences. When we're confident, we're more likely to move forward with people and opportunities — not back away from them. And if things don't work out at first, confidence helps us try again. It's the opposite when confidence is low.
It might be hard to imagine that a natural supplement can help you gain confidence so here is a question for you to consider. Let's say you are studying for an exam and you suffer from Test Anxiety. This anxiety ruins your ability to concentrate, lowering your retention of material and ultimately lowering your confidence going into the exam. Imagine you took a natural herb that your body does not produce that is safe that helps lower your anxiety, improve your focus and ability to retain content. Would you feel more confident going into the exam? We believe you would.
No magic wand (or pill) can poof life’s stressors away. But natural options can boost your body’s ability to cope with pressure and your brain’s ability to power through tough tasks or daily grinds so that you are confident in your ability to be resilient. Adaptogens, are herbs that can beef up your stress muscle and help you hold the heavy load longer, while nootropics send juice to the brain so you have fresher cognition.
The terms “adaptogen” and “nootropic” might be new to you but they are herbs that have been around and in use for thousands of years, trusted by our ancestors. Now we have modern science to back up the power of adaptogens and nootropics to aid health, and to guide us in how best to use them.
|From a SHINE customer: "SHINE Unstress formula helps me deal with stressful workdays without getting wrapped up in the problem and deal with it head on instead. Overall I feel more happy and productive when using this product" - Riva|
How do adaptogens work?
Adaptogen is a fancy word meaning it helps you "adapt" to stress. To understand how adaptogens go to battle for us against stress, we have to dive into how the body reacts to a pressure-cooker situation. When stress shows up, we have a three-stage reaction to it called General Adaptation Syndrome, or GAS.
Alarm. Basically, your body has an intense WTF moment about whatever is happening. It goes into fight-or-flight mode and gives you a surge of cortisol, which is the stress hormone, and also adrenaline to fight fatigue. Your heart hosts a rave in your chest, your blood pressure rises, you get hot and sweaty, you can’t think clearly, and you might even feel sick to your stomach. Bleh!
Resistance. The body begins to repair itself from those initial stress responses while offering boosts to get you through the stressor or the task at hand—like leading a meeting even though your PowerPoint has #failed.
Exhaustion. Eventually, your body’s resources for coping with whatever S-storm you’ve faced will ghost you. That’s when your body crashes.
Adaptogens lower that fight-or-flight response during the alarm phase, allowing us to stay a bit more focused instead of so spazzed. Next, they bolster us in that resistance phase, like a supportive best friend, and help us stave off and minimize the crash. Essentially, when stress strikes, adaptogens keep us on a more even keel.
According to a study published in the journal Pharmaceuticals, “Adaptogens increase the state of non-specific resistance in stress and decrease sensitivity to stressors, which results in stress protection, and prolong the phase of resistance.”
How do nootropics work?
Nootropic is a fancy word meaning it helps your mind work better. Nootropics are also often called “smart drugs” for their ability to enhance memory, creativity, drive, and focus. Each of these brain boosters works a bit differently to increase mental function. Nootropics often act as vasodilators, meaning they dilate the vessels and arteries in our noggins, according to an article published in the journal Evidenced-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. That dilation increases blood flow and floods our brains with nutrients and oxygen. This flood of valuable ingredients goes to work on cognitive performance by impacting neurotransmitters. That’s just one of the many mechanisms at play.
Great! Now what?
Adaptogens and nootropics sound good on paper, right? But you don’t have time to sift through a list of herbs, buy them, and then brew a magic potion, click your heels three times, and hope for the best.
No worries. We did the work for you, making it easy-peasy. The body of research surrounding adaptogens and nootropics is ever-growing. Here we cover the nuts and bolts and explain the science behind what we believe to be the five best natural supplements. We believe these five powerhouses from nature have the potential to improve your confidence and help you be the very best version of yourself.
|SHINE Energy® includes Non-GMO, Vegan and Gluten-Free naturally-derived herbs to increase energy and resistance to stress. A proprietary blend of Canadian grown 5 year old American Ginseng root, one of the purest available, standardized to 5% ginsenosides and AlphaWave® L-Theanine standardized to 98% L-Theanines. Great for both women and men.|
Many animal and test-tube studies have shown an increase in dopamine levels after supplementing with Ginseng. Ginseng may increase dopamine levels in humans, especially those with ADHD, but more research is needed.
A large double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted by the Mayo Clinic and published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that American Ginseng is useful for boosting cancer patients’ energy. Another study found evidence that American Ginseng improves working memory, choice reaction time accuracy, and mental calmness.
If you’ve been lacking motivation or the get-up-and-go to start a new exercise program, finish a creative project, or even just do more activities with the kids, SHINE Energy is for you. And if you’re already super active, the Energy formula just might give you that extra kick to take a workout to the next level. When you feel your best, you can be your best. SHINE Energy features a 5 year old Ginseng root grown exclusively in the fertile soil around Lake Erie in Ontario and is perfectly paired with a proprietary 98% pure neurotransmitter supporting AlphaWave® L-Theanine.
|SHINE Unstress® is a Non-GMO, Vegan and Gluten-Free naturally-derived supplement to help reduce both mental and physical stress. Our proprietary blend of Shagandha® Ashwagandha and AlphaWave® L-Theanine includes plant extracts of the purest available standardized to 2.5% withanolides and 98% L-Theanines. Great for both women and men.|
In preclinical studies, ashwagandha can influence GABA and serotonin activity, which have antidepressant and anxiolytic effects.
Ashwagandha significantly reduced serum cortisol levels in a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. (Remember, cortisol is the stress hormone.) In the Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, the researchers wrote, “The findings of this study suggest that…Ashwagandha root extract safely and effectively improves an individual’s resistance towards stress and thereby improves self-assessed quality of life.”
We all react differently to stress, and our reaction can vary depending on the situation. SHINE Unstress is just as much for the mellower mushrooms out there as it is for the Type-A overachievers. When you boot stress from your path, you can see a clear route to reaching your next goal, whether that’s to secure a new job or just to regain control of your inbox. SHINE Unstress features a botanically verified Shagandha® Ashwagandha which is perfectly paired with a proprietary 98% pure neurotransmitter supporting AlphaWave® L-Theanine.
|SHINE Memory® is a Non-GMO, Vegan and Gluten-Free formulation to help support memory enhancement and brain function. A proprietary blend of one of the purest available Bacopin® Bacopa, standardized to 50% Bacosides A & B and AlphaWave® L-Theanine standardized to 98% L-Theanines. Great for both women and men.|
Bacopa also possesses anti-epileptic property as evidenced by reducing the dopamine levels of neurons in the frontal cortex region of the rat brain. These observations suggest that Brahmi may possess the property to alleviate the positive symptoms of schizophrenia.
In a randomized, double-blind study, 60 medical students were either given Bacopa or placebo twice daily for six weeks. Students in the Bacopa group exhibited cognitive enhancement in areas of working and logical memory, comprehension, and even the ability to ward off distractions.
Brain fog can crop up for any number of reasons, including chronic illness, fatigue, or side effects from medications. And sometimes we just go through periods where we don’t feel as astute. SHINE Memory is intended to help you perform at your sharpest. Ace your exam, nail your presentation, learn a new language, or just find it easier to remember what you need once you get to the grocery store. SHINE Memory features a highly purified form of the natural herb Bacopin® Bacopa which is perfectly paired with a proprietary 98% pure neurotransmitter supporting AlphaWave® L-Theanine.
4. SHINE Focus®
|SHINE Focus® is a Non-GMO, Vegan and Gluten-Free nootropic that supports cognitive function such as mental focus and mental stamina. A proprietary blend of one of the purest available Rhodiola Rosea, standardized to 3% Rosavins and AlphaWave® L-Theanine standardized to 98% L-Theanines. Great for both women and men.|
One study evaluated 101 people facing life and job stressors. Researchers found symptom improvement among participants within as little as three days (and continued improvement over four weeks) of treatment with 200 mg of Rhodiola extract. Plus, a clinical trial looked at stress-related burnout in 118 participants treated with 400 mg of Rhodiola extract daily. Researchers found a clear improvement among participants over the 12-week study. The herb is currently undergoing research as a potential treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults.
In the digital age, the world is full of disruptions. And the more fatigue or stress you feel when facing a task, the easier it is to fall prey to distractions—like social media feeds or even that pile of laundry eyeing you from the corner. If you crave better concentration for work, school, or just to read a good book, SHINE Focus is intended to help and features a highly purified form of the natural herb Rhodiola which is perfectly paired with a proprietary 98% pure neurotransmitter supporting AlphaWave® L-Theanine.
5. SHINE Mood®
|SHINE Mood® wild caught, Non-GMO, and Gluten-Free Omega-3 fish oil supports cognitive, brain and heart health. Our capsules are 25% smaller than leading brands while also featuring extra strength Natural Fatty Acids containing a high 2:1 ratio of EPA:DHA. Great for both women and men.|
Omega-3 fatty acids may also be beneficial in attenuating dopamine neurotransmission deficits by reducing inflammation and changes due to inflammation.
Research indicates that a deficiency in omega 3, or low-intake, may predispose certain individuals to depression and anxiety, and supplementation may offer neuroprotection.
SHINE Mood features 3rd party purity tested Omega-3 oils and a high EPA (400mg):DHA (200mg) ratio for medicinal benefits.
AlphaWave® L-Theanine, Now Supported By Two Direct Clinical Studies to support acute stress and fatigue.
According to an article written in the National Library of Medicine, L-theanine increases levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin, dopamine, and GABA.
Research using electroencephalograph (EEG) shows that L-Theanine increases alpha activity, heightening attention and focus while also having a relaxing effect on the mind. Another study indicated L-Theanine’s ability to reduce one’s stress response when faced with a challenging brain task.
About SHINE Health
Our mission is based on our founding story to pass on the lessons we have learned in our own mental health recovery and offer you the very best natural ingredients the earth has to offer - to help you pursue your passions and truly SHINE!
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Jennifer Chesak is a medical and adventure travel journalist for several national publications including the Washington Post, HuffPo, Prevention, Runner’s World, Trail Runner, Women’s Running, Healthline, Doorsteps, SheKnows, and more.