Reviews

Mike Chang Sixpack Sleep Review

Sixpack Sleep

 

Sixpack Sleep is a sleep-aid created and marketed by Mike Chang which is intended to encourage favorable body composition through enhancing the quality of sleep…[Skip to the Bottom Line]

GABA:

Gamma-Aminobutyric acid, more commonly referred to as GABA, is the primary inhibitory (downer) neurotransmitter in the brain, as opposed to Glutamate which is the primary excitatory (upper) neurotransmitter. While increasing GABA levels in the brain certainly has an anxiolytic effect, supplemental GABA cannot effectively cross the blood-brain-barrier so supplementation with GABA itself isn’t really an effective way of increasing it in the brain. There are anecdotal reports of orally supplemented GABA inducing relaxation, but there are no studies confirming these reports. At 200mg per serving, Abyss Unparalleled does not contain a particularly high dose of GABA, compared to other sleep-aids we’ve reviewed, and given that even the effects of high doses remain questionable, it’s not clear how much additional benefit can be attributed to GABA here.

Unfortunately, Mike Chang does not disclose the exact dose of GABA present in the Sixpack Sleep formula, but given a proprietary blend of 1463mg, we’d estimate anywhere from 500 to 1000mg.

MAGNESIUM:

The relationship between Magnesium and sleep has been studied fairly extensively, and there appears to be a two-way correlation, with Magnesium helping to correct sleep-related issues in some studies, and inadequate sleep reducing Magnesium levels as well.

A 2002 study, published in “Pharmacopsychiatry”, found that Magnesium was able to increase slow-wave (deep) sleep and reduce Cortisol levels, thus normalizing age-related changes in sleeping patterns in elderly subjects. These results were replicated in a 2002 study from “Public Health Nutrition” in older (59 give or take 8 year old) subjects with inadequate dietary Magnesium intake.

Overall, while Magnesium may not be particularly effective in individuals with high (more than adequate) dietary intake, it can certainly improve sleep quality in those whose diets are lacking. Mike Chang has dosed Sixpack Sleep more or less accordingly. With 23% of the RDI for Magnesium, Sixpack Sleep provides a solid serving without overdoing it (in high doses Magnesium can be a laxative).

VALERIAN ROOT EXTRACT:

Valerian is widely used, both as an herbal supplement and tea, to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. Valerenic acid, a primarily bioactive component of Valerian, has been shown (in vitro and in mice) to bind to GABA receptors in the brain, potentiating their signaling. This would explain the subjective reports of reduced anxiety following oral supplementation, though a 2002 study from “Phytotherapy Research” failed to show any such benefit in humans with generalized anxiety disorder.

Because Valerian is relatively popular as an herbal anxiolytic, it is also alleged to influence sleep (quality and latency). A 1985 pilot study found that 450mg Valerian extract decreased sleep latency (time it takes to fall asleep). However, a 2010 meta-analysis which compared 10 qualified studies found insufficient evidence to support these findings. The same meta-analysis also determined that there was insufficient evidence to support the claims that Valerian can enhance sleep quality.

Overall, the evidence is not overwhelmingly in favor of Valerian as a sleep-aid, but the anecdotal evidence, combined with a couple positive studies, indicates that there may be something to it. Sixpack Sleep contains an undisclosed amount of Valerian, but an effective dose would not be unreasonable given the overall weight of the blend.

GLUTAMINE:

Glutamine has shown a lot of promise when it comes to fighting exercise induced immune system suppression. Our immune systems ultimately benefit from regular exercise, but in the short-term, exercise temporarily lowers our immune defenses, thus making us more susceptible to infection. This temporary compromise of the immune system has been proven to correlate with lower levels of glutamine. For this reason, it is suggested that increased uptake of glutamine may help keep the immune system strong post-exercise. In addition, lower glutamine levels have been recorded in over-trained athletes, suggesting that higher levels of glutamine may help to prevent overtraining.

Ultimately, while Glutamine may not live up to all the claims surrounding it, it does come in handy as a recovery agent. Unfortunately, it’s a safe bet that Mike Chang has under-dosed this one, given Glutamine’s position in the proprietary blend.

MELATONIN:

Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland, found in the brain. It is heavily involved in the sleep-wake cycle (by causing drowsiness when secreted) and has implications for increasing/regulating Growth Hormone (GH) levels. Due to its role in promoting sleep, supplemental melatonin has been used to correct and treat mild sleep disorders, as well as by people who experience mild sleeplessness. All evidence suggests that melatonin works very well when it comes to promoting sleep, but quality of sleep is more difficult to record.

A 2004 study, published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, found that Melatonin significantly increased REM sleep in subjects who suffer from lower than normal REM sleep durations. Several other studies have demonstrated the ability of Melatonin to increase REM sleep duration, as well as decrease sleep latency (time to fall asleep).

Overall, Melatonin may be very useful as a sleep aid, and may increase REM sleep, especially in those experiencing REM deprivation, to some extent. Effective doses range from .5-5mg with not much evidence to suggest efficacy is dose-dependent. While Mike Chang doesn’t disclose exactly how much Melatonin is present in the Sixpack Sleep formula, it is highly unlikely that it is less an effective dose.

THE BOTTOM LINE:

As a sleep-aid, Sixpack Sleep is pretty effective. However, the claims about increasing Testosterone and/or GH are less substantiated. It is true that obtaining deeper, more restful sleep will help to optimize the hormonal environment, but users are not likely to experience an outright increase (beyond normal). At about $2 per serving, Sixpack Sleep is extremely over-priced, given that roughly the same formula could be reconstructed for well under $1. On the basis of cost alone, we’re giving this one a pass.

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REFERENCES
  1. Powers, Michael E., et al. “Growth hormone isoform responses to GABA ingestion at rest and after exercise.” Medicine and science in sports and exercise 40.1 (2008): 104-110.
  2. Murphy, Suzanne P., and Mary I. Poos. “Dietary reference intakes: summary of applications in dietary assessment.” Public Health Nutrition 5.6a (2002): 843-849.
  3. Nielsen, Forrest H., LuAnn K. Johnson, and Huawei Zeng. “Magnesium supplementation improves indicators of low magnesium status and inflammatory stress in adults older than 51 years with poor quality sleep*.” Magnesium Research 23.4 (2010): 158-168.
  4. Takase, Bonpei, et al. “Effect of chronic stress and sleep deprivation on both flow‐mediated dilation in the brachial artery and the intracellular magnesium level in humans.” Clinical cardiology 27.4 (2004): 223-227.
  5. Sato-Mito, Natsuko, et al. “The midpoint of sleep is associated with dietary intake and dietary behavior among young Japanese women.” Sleep medicine12.3 (2011): 289-294.
  6. Andreatini, Roberto, et al. “Effect of valepotriates (valerian extract) in generalized anxiety disorder: a randomized placebo‐controlled pilot study.”Phytotherapy Research 16.7 (2002): 650-654.
  7. Felgentreff, F., et al. “Valerian extract characterized by high valerenic acid and low acetoxy valerenic acid contents demonstrates anxiolytic activity.”Phytomedicine 19.13 (2012): 1216-1222.
  8. Leathwood, P. D., and F. Chauffard. “Aqueous extract of valerian reduces latency to fall asleep in man.” Planta medica 51.02 (1985): 144-148.
  9. Miyasaka, Lincoln Sakiara, A. N. Atallah, and B. G. Soares. “Valerian for anxiety disorders.” Cochrane Database Syst Rev 4 (2006).
  10. Fernández-San-Martín, Ma Isabel, et al. “Effectiveness of Valerian on insomnia: a meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trials.” Sleep medicine 11.6 (2010): 505-511.
  11. Cerny, A., and K. Schmid. “Tolerability and efficacy of valerian/lemon balm in healthy volunteers (a double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicentre study).”Fitoterapia 70.3 (1999): 221-228.
  12. Cury-Boaventura, Maria Fernanda, et al. “Effects of exercise on leukocyte death: prevention by hydrolyzed whey protein enriched with glutamine dipeptide.” European journal of applied physiology 103.3 (2008): 289-294.
  13. Carvalho-Peixoto, Jacqueline, Robson Cardilo Alves, and Luiz-Claudio Cameron. “Glutamine and carbohydrate supplements reduce ammonemia increase during endurance field exercise.” Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism 32.6 (2007): 1186-1190.
  14. Kunz, Dieter, et al. “Melatonin in patients with reduced REM sleep duration: two randomized controlled trials.” Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 89.1 (2004): 128-134.
  15. Brzezinski, Amnon, et al. “Effects of exogenous melatonin on sleep: a meta-analysis.” Sleep medicine reviews 9.1 (2005): 41-50.
  16. Cajochen, Christian, et al. “Melatonin and S-20098 increase REM sleep and wake-up propensity without modifying NREM sleep homeostasis.” American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 272.4 (1997): R1189-R1196.
  17. Ursin, Reidun. “Serotonin and sleep.” Sleep medicine reviews 6.1 (2002): 55-67.
  18. Powers, Michael E., et al. “Growth hormone isoform responses to GABA ingestion at rest and after exercise.” Medicine and science in sports and exercise 40.1 (2008): 104-110.

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