Relaxium is a sleep supplement that claims it can help users fall asleep faster, sleep longer, and wake up more refreshed.
In this article we’ll review the ingredients in Relaxium based on medical research to determine whether it’s likely to be effective, as well as highlight why we don’t trust the research backing their product.
Misleading Medical Research
Relaxium claims that their supplement is “clinically proven” to work. This typically means that a supplement company funded a trial that was published in a medical journal. That isn’t the case with Relaxium.
Instead, their entire “research” is a PDF document on their site showing the results of a “study” that wasn’t published in any medical journals. The “study” was also funded by the LLC which manufactures Relaxium, called American Behavioral Research Institute, LLC, and you can see this for yourself here.
There is so much bias involved when a company funds an in-house study of their own products that the results should be viewed as worthless to any rational consumer. We find it to be deceptive that Relaxium is suggesting this research demonstrates objective success of their products, and that they use terms like “clinical” in reference to this study.
Quite literally any supplement company can fund studies of their own products to prove they work.
The reason why research published in medical journals is trustworthy is because there is a high ethical standard, and also a standard for the methodology of the study. Research published in reputable medical journals like Frontiers in Medicine has to be well-designed and free of bias. There’s also usually a requirement that the results be published whether or not the trial fails, which is a further step that ensures the objective nature of the data.
When we link to medical research in our articles, we’re only linking to research published in medical journals. PDF documents published by a for-profit company are not “research” in any clinically-relevant sense of the term.
We’ll be reviewing the ingredients in Relaxium Sleep as this is their most popular product. The first ingredient is magnesium at a dosage of 100 milligrams (mg). Relaxium contains three types of magnesium, with magnesium oxide and magnesium citrate providing the highest doses.
As we noted in our best magnesium supplement review, magnesium oxide and magnesium citrate are more poorly absorbed than chelated forms like magnesium malate.
The amount of magnesium in Relaxium appears to be significantly underdosed in any case. A recent meta-review of magnesium supplementation for sleep found that it was effective, but the lowest dose observed in all studies was 320 mg daily, or 3.2x that in Relaxium.
The second ingredient in Relaxium is l-tryptophan which is an amino acid. The dosage is 500 mg. This ingredient appears effective for sleep but medical research suggests its effective dose to be over 1 gram (g). The linked study analyzed 40 individual studies on tryptophan for sleep and that was their conclusion.
The third ingredient in Relaxium is a patented botanical blend called “Valerest” which is composed primarily of valerian extract. We can’t find a single medical study even testing this compound for sleep aid (or for its safety). It’s trademarked by American Behavioral Research Institute, the holding company that manufactures Relaxium as noted previously.
Ashwagandha is the fourth-listed ingredient at a dosage of 125 mg. This does appear to be an effective dosage, as one clinical trial found that ashwagandha at a dose of 120 mg significantly improved self-reported sleep quality compared with placebo. It’s worth noting that one study is a weak evidence base, and a more recent medical review found that ashwagandha was more effective for improving sleep at a dosage of 600 mg or above.
GABA is the next ingredient in Relaxium at a dose of 100 mg. This compound is a neurotransmitter that’s directly involved with sleep function. Research has shown that GABA supplementation can elicit sleep benefits, and the dose in Relaxium appears to be at the low end of the effective range.
The next ingredient in Relaxium is chamomile, which is typically taken as a tea for its relaxation effect. The dose in Relaxium is 75 mg, which appears to be underdosed. A review on chamomile published in the Phytotherapy Research journal analyzed 6 different individual studies testing it for sleep benefit, and while the results were positive, all of the doses used were higher than 75 mg. The typical dosage was around 400 mg.
Passionflower is included in Relaxium at a dose of 75 mg and this does appear to be an effective ingredient based on early research. A clinical trial found that passionflower improved sleep quality, and other studies have found that passionflower extract has similar effects.
The final ingredient in Relaxium is melatonin at a dose of 5 mg. Melatonin is the most well-studied non-toxic sleep aid, and this is an effective dose.
Overall this is a pretty well-formulated product. All of the ingredients have at least some research backing their efficacy for improving sleep, even if a few seem to be underdosed based on medical research. It’s also worth noting that Relaxium only contains two inactive ingredients and both are safe and non-toxic.
So long as this product is accurately labeled and free of contaminants, we wouldn't have an issue with a consumer taking it as it seems likely to be effective for improving sleep quality.
We don’t recommend the brand because of their questionable ethics in regards to their research, and also because they don’t publish any test results (in-house or otherwise) proving that their product actually has the contained ingredients and is low in contaminants like heavy metals.
Supplement mislabeling and contamination is a huge issue in the U.S., and we recommend that consumers only purchase from brands that published independent test results of their products.
We also would recommend that consumers test melatonin alone for their sleep issues, as it’s the most well-studied and safe sleep aid. Taking melatonin alone would be much cheaper than taking a product like Relaxium (which costs $108 for three bottles), so it makes logical sense to test melatonin first. The effective dose of melatonin is as low as 0.3 mg.