About ActivatedYou Serene:5
Formulated by Akasha Naturals, ActivatedYou Serene:5 is a five-ingredient dietary supplement that promises to repair—and even reverse—the damage caused by stress on a cellular level, resulting in reduced mental and physical fatigue, increased feelings of calm and relaxation, and even the prevention of burnout.
And because it does its job from the inside-out, the website indicates the supplement can "work backward through your body's stress response system" to provide a natural breakthrough approach for stress relief.
According to the manufacturer, you can take Serene:5 whenever you like to improve your mental and physical health, morning, noon, or night. The website indicates that most people feel it working right away (within 30 minutes or so), although you might experience maximum results after 4-12 weeks of daily supplementation.
If you sat through the entire Serene:5 long form sales video, you likely have some questions, such as: Does it really represent the “newest breakthrough in behavioral science”? Is it the “most effective natural stress relief supplement on the market”? Will it potentially add years back onto to your life?
Here, we’ll help you uncover the facts and come to your own conclusion, starting with the basics.
What Is Stress & What Causes It?
Even the American Institute of Stress notes that ‘stress’ can be a highly subjective term, since what one person considers stressful, another might find a walk in the park.
Regardless of the specific threshold, though, stress is caused by situations and events that trigger our body’s fight or flight response, an ancient part of our brain that helped us hunt prey—and avoid becoming prey—millions of years ago.
What Happens When We’re Stressed?
As mentioned on the Serene:5 website, whenever a stressor is perceived by the brain, it releases a flood of hormones like adrenaline and cortisol that increase breathing and heart rate, feed more oxygen to the brain, boost blood pressure, elevate blood sugar, tense muscles, and ramp up the immune system.
While the manufacturer doesn’t provide much explanation, it seems likely that this is the stress response system they’re claiming Serene:5 “works backward” through.
What Are the Side Effects of Chronic Stress?
Although short-term stress can be beneficial by boosting mental and physical performance, chronic stress—as most of us experience at some point—can cause physical side effects (some potentially dangerous) like anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, depression, difficulty sleeping, and constant fatigue.
Now, where does the oxidative stress emphasized in the Serene:5 video come in?
What Is Oxidative Stress?
Wikipedia defines oxidative stress as “an imbalance between the systemic manifestation of reactive oxygen species and a biological system's ability to readily detoxify the reactive intermediates or to repair the resulting damage.”
Did you go cross-eyed reading that? In layman’s terms, stress may lead to chemical reactions that result in the formation of free radicals; substances that are thought to cause cellular damage and could be closely linked to chronic inflammation.
This is where ActivateYou’s frequent reference to “cellular damage” comes in.
However, we didn’t encounter any clinical evidence during our research directly linking oxidative stress, cellular damage, and side effects like fatigue and burnout on sites like the National Institutes of Health’s PubMed, the Natural Medicines Database, or WebMD.
With this said, antioxidants (found in high concentrations in foods like certain berries, pecans, dark chocolate, and kidney beans) have been clinically shown to inhibit oxidation, the process that can lead to free radical formation.
Since writing our original article, Serene:5’s manufacturer sent us three French studies to support their claims:
- A 2014 study funded by the Bionov Company (who claims to be the largest SOD melon concentrate producer in the world—more about this next), showing that taking one 10mg capsule per day for 12 weeks appeared “to be an effective and natural way to reduce stress and fatigue.”
- Another 2014 study looking at a supplement named TARGET (a combination of casozepine, taurine, Eleutherococcus senticosus, and Extramel), which resulted in participants reducing their overall Burnout Measure Scale (BMS), along with four other related scores.
- A third 2009 study, showing 140IU of a SOD supplement named Extramel over the course of four weeks, reduced stress and fatigue as measured by four observational psychometric scales.
Outside of these manufacturer-sponsored studies, is there sufficient clinical evidence indicating the specific combination of ingredients in Serene:5 will accomplish these same benefits?
Will Serene:5’s Ingredients Address Oxidative Stress?
While we weren’t provided with a nutrition label during the 1+-hour long video, we were told Serene:5 contains the following ingredients:
- Superoxide Dismutase (SOD)
- Siberian Ginseng
After reading through their summarizations of the available clinical evidence, authoritative sites like the Natural Medicines Database and WebMD indicate that SOD (the first ingredient listed) has sufficient clinical evidence to be listed as possibly effective for addressing specific conditions like bronchopulmonary dysplasia, interstitial cystitis, and osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis (RA).
The taurine in Serene:5 is also indicated to have enough evidence showing that it may be useful for addressing congestive heart failure and hepatitis, and Siberian ginseng for treating aspects of bipolar disorder, diabetes, herpes, and the common cold.
Examine.com reports that the “consistency of research results” for taurine shows that it might help improve blood flow in type 1 diabetics, although they tell us this involves only a single study and wasn’t reported to have an impact on stress or anxiety.
None of these sites listed casozepine as an ingredient, although third-party sites indicated it’s a chain of 10 amino acids that has been shown in a handful of clinical trials to have a calming effect in animals. However, we didn’t encounter any clinical evidence on the National Institutes of Health’s PubMed for this same effect in humans during our research.
Collectively, perhaps the ingredient in Serene:5 boasting the most reported evidence related to stress and anxiety is ashwagandha. Why?
The Natural Medicines Database lists it as possibly effective for reducing stress, although they only referenced one study in humans showing it improved symptoms of perceived stress by 44% and reduced anxiety and depression between 72.3% and 71.6%.
On the other hand, WebMD lists the ingredient as having “insufficient evidence” related to any benefits in humans, while Examine.com indicates the consistency of research results is “very high” for ashwagandha’s ability to reduce anxiety (three studies) and reduce cortisol levels (also three studies)—otherwise known as the ‘stress hormone’.
But did these authoritative sites report any common side effects?
Will ActivatedYou Serene:5 Cause Any Side Effects?
Akasha Naturals tells us that Serene:5’s all-natural compounds are safe for use by anyone who doesn’t have specific allergies to the ingredients. To this extent, they emphasize that casozepine is derived from milk and may cause indigestion.
Outside of this, the authoritative sites mentioned earlier indicate users likely won’t experience any side effects worse than mild, temporary digestive upset.
Taurine may have a moderate interaction with lithium and ashwagandha with immunosuppressants and sedatives.
As always, it’s strongly recommended that you speak with your doctor before taking any new supplement.
How Much Does Serene-5 Cost?
ActivatedYou Serene:5 is priced as follows:
- 1 Bottle (30 capsules): $49.95
- 3 Bottles: $134.85
- 6 Bottles: $254.70
Regardless of the quantity you order, Serene:5 comes with a 90-day money back guarantee, less S&H. In order to request one, customer support can be reached at 800-720-8403.
Like Maggie Q of E!’s Designated Survivor in the promotional video, are these prices causing customers to sing QL-5’s praises?
What Are Customers Saying About ActivatedYou Serene:5?
Serene:5 was too new at the time of our research to have garnered any online feedback from customers. In fact, the supplement wasn’t even listed on ActivatedYou’s main website.
They did have another product listed named ActivatedYou Probiotic by Akasha Naturals, which we’ve written about in the past. However, there wasn’t any feedback for this supplement either, whether here on HighYa or elsewhere online.
From a company perspective, ActivatedYou is a brand by Akasha Naturals, itself an extension of the Akasha Center for Integrative Medicine based in Santa Monica, CA. The Center—which promises to combine western medicine and eastern tradition—was founded by Dr. Edison de Mello, who holds a Masters degree and a Ph.D. in Psychology, and who also works as the Center's Medical Director.
In the Serene:5 promotional video, Dr. de Mello tells us that he and his Akasha Center have helped thousands of people improve their physical, mental, and emotional health over the years.
Neither ActivatedYou, Akasha Naturals, nor the Akasha Center was listed with the Better Business Bureau at the time of our research.
Are There Other Stress Supplements Competing With Serene:5?
In a word? Yes. In three more words? There are hundreds.
In fact, you can see just how many there are by typing the phrase into your favorite search engine. We all experience stress after all, so these products are so popular that you’re likely two find at least an option or two at local retailers with supplements sections.
So, how on earth can you choose the right option?
While WebMD doesn’t reference any specific manufacturers—or any products that have been clinically shown to reduce oxidative stress at the cellular level, they tell us that ingredients like grape, lemon balm, and Siberian ginseng may relieve some aspects of stress; while ginkgo, German chamomile, kava, and lavender may address anxiety.
Will these work as well as Serene:5? Since each of us is different, there’s no way to know for sure. But with the exception of ashwagandha, these sites report very little clinical evidence for the benefits related to Serene:5’s other ingredients.
Our Final Thoughts About ActivatedYou Serene:5
StatisticBrain.com reports that 77 percent of the population regularly experiences physical symptoms caused by stress, which has an annual economic impact of $300 billion due to related health care and missed work. Clearly, there's a huge market for something like Serene:5.
But as consumers ourselves, we think it’s important to balance this need with the available clinical evidence, as reported by authoritative sites like the Natural Medicines Database, WebMD, PubMed, and Examine.com.
In the end, we’re not here to tell you how to spend your money. But we are here to help you get the most value from each purchase.
As such, although ActivatedYou seems to stand behind Serene:5 with a 90-day refund policy if you're dissatisfied, we think you might get more bang for your buck by making an appointment with your doctor and speaking with them about the stress you're experiencing, as well as how it might be impacting your life.
After all, even the company recommends talking with your doctor before taking any new supplement, so this can allow you to address two concerns in a single visit.