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Stress and Mood: A Formulator’s Guide

Stress and Mood: A Formulator's Guide
January 26, 2021

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From anti-stress to pro-mood

Plus, add a little energy and focus!

You can make your stress product not only anti-stress, but also pro-energy, mood and focus.

While we typically think of stress as “bad”, the reality is that some stress can be positive (e.g. resistance training, HIIT, athletic competition, etc.), as well as necessary. Exposure to outside stressors helps the body become stronger and more resilient. The “good and bad” stressors can definitely change our mood, for better or worse. Here is where we break down some of the misconceptions about stress and mood in this quick guide for formulators.

When stress becomes problematic is when it becomes chronic, or that our feeling toward the stressor is negative (i.e. feeling like it’s too much to handle). Prolonged psychological stress from COVID lockdowns, financial insecurity, toxic relationships, or family pressures can impact our lives in many ways. For example, sleep, immunity, sugar-cravings, weight management, anxiety, depression, focus, attention, cognitive performance and gut health(1, 2).

Gut Health Stress and Mood

So the question is: how do I formulate stress and mood products that deliver the greatest impact on all the other axes? And how do I inspire consumers to buy a product when “stress” isn’t exactly aspirational?

We often cannot avoid the stressor, so we must improve our response to that stressor. That can include acknowledging the stressor, how you’re feeling and using those feelings as a signal to reach out to friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, do volunteer work, and more(4). Others might entail meditation, breathing techniques, daily walks, intense exercise and more.

In the supplement world, a stress and mood formula often starts with adaptogens. Adaptogens help us adapt to physical or emotional stressors. Adaptogens are fantastic, but they can lack an impactful sensory experience.


Stress and Mood for Formulators

In 2021, we will formulate “beyond adaptogens” by adding a greater energy and mood experience.

After we resolve the stress component, we can further consumer value by increasing the energy and mood sensory experience.

The Past is History When it Comes to Stress Formulas

Past stress or mood formulas were dominated by theanine, St. John’s Wort, lemon balm or magnesium. The supplements were primarily in capsule form, but sometimes delivered in teas or powders like Natural Vitality’s Calm.

Current Mood: Ashwaghanda, Kava Kava, Gotu Kola and More

Current formulas still contain past ingredients, but now have a foundation in Ashwaghanda. Other inclusions are kava kava, ginkgo biloba, CBD, lemon balm, rhodiola, shilajit, GABA, theanine, 5HTP, St John’s Wort, Gotu Kola, and magnesium.

Future Formulations want to Feel it

Mood enhancementWe all want to feel better, and we all want an active lifestyle. The goal is to handle stress and boost mood. So let’s formulate for it!

Past formulas have been hyper-focused on serotonin while ignoring the dopamine component. This is important because dopamine is our mood elevator and our motivator! It is the neurotransmitter drawing you out of bed in the morning and getting you to the gym. Both Dynamine™ and TeaCrine® add the energy component while also adding improved mood from activating dopamine receptors(5). Additionally, TeaCrine® has been shown in mice to restore cognitive function, dopamine and serotonin levels after prolonged stress(6)!

We’re all familiar with theanine, ashwaghanda and 5HTP, but we’ve never seen this association combined with an impact on dopamine production, which may improve mood and reduce fatigue(7). This is the mechanism behind Dynamine™ and TeaCrine®. The impact on mood and energy is magnified even further when taken together with your morning coffee. While Dynamine™ and TeaCrine® are not stimulants, they pair well with caffeine and also complement each other.


[NEW] Formulas For Stress and Mood

Dynamine™ + Ashwaghanda

Dynamine™ + TeaCrine + Theobromine + Rhodiola

Dynamine™ + TeaCrine® + Ginseng + Magnesium Bisglycinate

Dynamine™ + Kava Kava + Rhodiola

It typically looks like ashwaghanda and lemon balm when we formulate for stress and mood. But we’re missing an opportunity at greater sensory impact! We all know caffeine sells because of the immediate sensory experience. Let’s apply that to stress and mood formulas. It’s simply easier to sell products we feel. Try adding Dynamine™ and TeaCrine®, and transitioning from “Stress” Formulas to “Feel Better” Formulas.

You can make your stress product not only anti-stress, but also pro-energy, mood and focus.

If you’re a first-mover and want that advantage, contact us about next-generation formulations even beyond the above.

Formulate with TeaCrine®
Formulate with Dynamine™


  1. Bernstein, 2010
  3.  Yuen, 2012
  4. Emotional Agility by Dr. Susan David
  5. Feduccia, 2012
  6. Li, 2015

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