The Restored Advanced Night-Time Nutrients is sold as a sleep supplement and has gathered a keen following for being a natural alternative to sleep aids and synthetic Melatonin drugs. So how does it stack up against Unplug?
The Restored label separates its night-time ingredients into three overarching categories – a method used commonly used in the US to present information in a way that makes the product look best, but not an official ingredient list per UK/EU regulations. These categories are: Sleep Quality Blend, Melo-Fruit Sleep Cycle Support, and Mental Wellbeing blend. Let’s take a look at each category individually.
Before we dive into each segment, it’s worth taking a quick look at the actual ingredient list for any small print additions. Looking closely, The Restored’s supplement contains a few of the additives we try to avoid at Motion Nutrition. The product uses bulking and anti-caking agents Microcrystalline Cellulose, Magnesium Stearate and Silicon Dioxide, all of which have been associated with mild bowel irritation and laxative effect. Though these side effects are unlikely to happen at low doses, the presence of these ingredients in many of our day-to-day foods and supplements adds up – so we simply prefer to stay clear of them in all our formulations.
1. The Restored Sleep Quality Blend
The first section in this “Advanced Night-Time Nutrients” supplement contains a blend of Magnesium, two sources of Tryptophan, and two B vitamins.
The immediate question here is: what form of Magnesium is used? Indeed there exist many different forms, and elemental Magnesium concentration varies greatly from one form to another, as does the absorption rate. In the manufacturing world, a brand’s choice of Magnesium says a lot about the quality of product it strives for. A little like checking how clean the restroom is at your local restaurant.
The Restored primarily bank on Magnesium Oxide, which is listed as the first (and therefore most important) source. Magnesium Oxide is an attractive choice for supplement brands because it contains by far the highest concentration of elemental magnesium, meaning precious space in each capsule is not wasted due to low concentrations.
However, there are several big issues with Magnesium Oxide: mainly, it is very poorly absorbed in the body compared to other sources of Magnesium. In fact, rather than a nutrient used to increase magnesium levels in the body, it is more suited as a relief from digestive problems and constipation.
This is a serious red flag if you are looking for a high quality supplement to improve your sleep quality and overnight rest.
In contrast, Unplug contains the highly bioavailable form of Magnesium Citrate, providing 100mg of easy to digest Magnesium. This is lightly lower than The Restored’s 112mg, but more of it will be used up in the body – and that’s what counts here.
The second red flag comes in the form of 5HTP, and its inclusion alongside Tryptophan – both provided as precursors to Serotonin, the happiness hormone. Although these inclusions may result in an increased production of Melatonin in the brain, 5HTP is not recommended as a long term supplement. Indeed regular use is associated with depletion of Dopamine, itself linked to depression – hence our decision to exclude 5HTP from our Unplug formulation.
By opting out of 5HTP, Unplug may take a few more nights for its benefits to be felt compared to The Restored, but it offers a much healthier long term solution. As for Tryptophan – this is abundant in many everyday foods, such as nuts, seeds, organic whey protein and more, making it a non-essential supplement.
2. The Restored Melo-Fruit Sleep Cycle Support
The Restored lay heavy claims around the naturally occurring Melatonin from the fruits extracts of Montmorency Cherry, Grape Skin and Watermelon. Montmorrency Cherry does indeed offer low levels of naturally occurring Melatonin (which is why we include it in Unplug).
But as for the two remaining fruit extracts, we question their inclusion. Grape skin extract offers a fantastic source of Resveratrol, a powerful antioxidant – and we include it in our BodyStrength BCAA formula, but we are unsure of its particular relevance in a sleep supplement. The 17mg of Watermelon Extract included in the formulation sound nice – but that’s about the only reason we could find for the inclusion.
How these three ingredients combine to form a “sleep cycle support” remains to be seen.
3. The Restored Mental Wellbeing Blend
The mental wellbeing section of The Restored’s ingredients offers Chamomile powder, L-Taurine and Vitamin B7.
We are well versed in the benefits of L-Taurine at Motion Nutrition. It is traditionally used to modulate mood and lower blood pressure and that is why we’ve included it in our daytime formula, Power Up. However, we question the dosage offered by The Restored. While Power Up offers 200mg of L-Taurine, The Restored’s night time supplement provides 10mg, or 20x less, and approximately 160x less than the dosage used in this 2016 study to highlight L-Taurine’s benefits to blood pressure.
Chamomile is commonly served as an evening herbal tea to aid relaxation. There is merit to this: Chamomile is an excellent source of the bioflavonoid Apigenin, known for its anxiety-reducing effects when consumed in high doses. Sold as a standalone supplement, Chamomile powder ranges in dosage from 350mg to over 2,000mg per dose, a far cry above The Restored’s serving of 70mg.
All in all, The Restored offers an interesting combination of ingredients that is underserved by their low dosage, and undermined by the quality of the forms chosen.
We would also like to invite more supplement brands to opt for natural alternatives to the pharmaceutical-style bulking agents such as the ones used by The Restored.
To conclude, here is a cheat-sheet of the main differences between The Restored vs Unplug:
|Active ingredients||11 active ingredients including 5HTP||10 active ingredients including highly bioavailable Magnesium Citrate|
|Additives / Bulking Agents||Microcrystalline Cellulose, Magnesium Stearate and Silicon Dioxide||None|
|Minerals used||Poorly digested Magnesium Oxide||Highly digested Magnesium Citrate, Zinc to support cognitive functions and Iodine to support the nervous system|
|Botanicals used||Montmorency Cherry for its source of Melatonin, and very low doses of Grape seed extract, Watermelon and Chamomile.||Bacopa Monnieri to enhance GABA production; Ashwagandha, Amla and Rhodiola for stress relief; plus Montmorency Cherry for its source of Melatonin|
|Amino Acids used||L-Taurine, for its effect on mood. Dosage presumably too low to offer tangible benefits||L-Theanine, an extract from green tea known for its ability to reduce anxiety and improve mood|
|Best for||Short term use only||Regular use|
|Potential side effects||5HTP may cause serious side effects with long term use, and has been been linked to Dopamine depletion and depression||None known|
|Packaging||Plastic||Glass with paper label|