Conquer Your Stress: How Stress Supplements Can Revolutionize Your Health

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In our fast-paced world, stress is a common enemy. Many are turning to stress supplements as a popular method of relief. These dietary enhancements, ranging from vitamins and minerals to herbal extracts, aim to support the body’s stress response system.

In this blog post, we’ll dive into what stress supplements are, their benefits, how they work in the body, and answer some commonly asked questions. Read on for a better understanding of how to effectively manage stress.

What Are Stress Supplements?

Stress supplements enhance the body’s natural ability to manage and respond to stress effectively. They come in various forms – from vitamins and minerals to herbal extracts and amino acids. The types of stress supplements commonly used include adaptogens (herbs that help the body resist stressors), essential vitamins and minerals (like B vitamins and magnesium, which support nervous system health), and compounds (such as L-Theanine, which promotes relaxation). These supplements help to balance stress hormones, enhance mood, boost cognitive function, and promote overall well-being & stress relief.

How Stress Supplements Work

Stress supplements manage stress by moderating the body’s stress responses. They lower cortisol levels, relax muscles, and interact with mood-related brain signals. Supplements like Ashwagandha and Magnesium help reduce cortisol and promote relaxation. Omega-3 fatty acids support a healthy mood, while B vitamins can alleviate stress and enhance cognitive function. Thus, these supplements can improve mood and overall well-being.

Are Stress Supplements for Everyone?

Individuals who should use stress supplements include those experiencing high stress or anxiety, especially people with demanding lifestyles or jobs. They can also help people with certain nutrient deficiencies linked to stress. However, they aren’t suitable for everyone. Some medical conditions, medications, or pregnancy may interact negatively with these supplements. Therefore, understanding the contraindications of stress supplements and consulting a healthcare provider before use is vital.

Top Stress Supplements in 2023

Magnesium

Magnesium is vital for brain health, with deficiencies potentially leading to increased stress and anxiety. Supplementing with magnesium can help relieve stress and when combined with vitamin B6, may reduce PMS symptoms. [1]

Kava

Kava, or Piper methysticum, traditionally used to reduce anxiety, works quickly when taken orally. Numerous studies support its effectiveness, with some indicating it matches the performance of low-dose benzodiazepines. [2] [3]

Lavender

Lavender has long been revered for its calming effects and ability to improve mental health. Recent studies have explored the potential of this fragrant flower, finding it reduces anxiety, enhances sleep quality, and elevates moods by reducing symptoms of depression, with 6 of 7 trials reporting positive effects in this area [4][5]

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha, an Ayurvedic herb known for its ability to reduce stress and anxiety, has been found to lower cortisol levels. [6][7] This can relieve anxiety and is more effective than traditional treatments for social anxiety disorder. Additionally, ashwagandha is believed to improve sleep quality and duration for people with anxiety-related insomnia and those without sleep issues. [8]

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm has been found to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation effectively. It acts as a sedative, which means it may not always consistently enhance cognition unless there is stress. Lemon balm is believed to affect GABA signaling, which is potentially beneficial for those with anxiety or depression. [9] It has also been shown to relieve PMS symptoms significantly. [10]

Inositol

Inositol has been shown to lower anxiety levels, much like SSRI medication. [11] It also has some effectiveness against depression and may help prevent panic attacks. [12] High doses of inositol (18 g) are as powerful as fluvoxamine.

L-Theanine

L-theanine, an amino acid in tea, lowers stress and anxiety, fostering relaxation. A study showed adults with chronic stress experienced slightly reduced stress levels after 28 days of taking a theanine supplement mixture compared to a placebo. [13]

Passionflower

Passionflower, a herbal tea, shows potential as an anxiety treatment. However, its impact on specific types of anxiety is not yet fully understood. Although animal studies have been positive, human trials have yielded inconsistent results due to insufficient scientific evidence.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is essential for serotonin production, which regulates mood. Its deficiency can cause anxiety, sleep issues, and depression. Multiple studies have linked low vitamin D levels to postpartum depression and sleep disorders. [14]

Vitamin B6/Vitamin B Complex

Research indicates that vitamins B6 and B12 may lower anxiety and depression. A study found that B6 supplements improved visual focus and reduced stress. [15] Another trial showed a slight decrease in stress levels after 28 days of taking a mixture of B complex vitamins, compared to a placebo.[13]

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

Fish oil has been shown to effectively enhance mood in individuals with major depression while also offering benefits such as reduced inflammation and anxiety among young adults. [16][17].

How to Choose the Right Stress Supplement For You

Choosing the right stress supplement involves considering your symptoms, underlying health conditions, and potential side effects. It’s essential to research each supplement thoroughly and read customer reviews. However, the most crucial step is consulting with a healthcare provider. They can provide personalized advice based on your medical history and current health status, ensuring your chosen supplement is safe and effective.

Frequently Asked Questions about Stress Supplements

Q: Are stress supplements safe?

A: Yes, most stress supplements are considered safe, but it’s always best to consult a healthcare provider before starting any new supplement regimen.

Q: Can stress supplements help with anxiety?

A: Certain supplements like Ashwagandha, L-Theanine, and Magnesium have been linked to reduced anxiety.

Q: How often should I take stress supplements?

A: The dosage of stress supplements varies per supplement and individual health needs. Follow the product’s instructions or consult a healthcare provider.

Q: Can stress supplements cause side effects?

A: Some people may experience side effects such as constipation, diarrhea, or upset stomach. These are usually temporary and may disappear as your body adjusts.

Q: Can I take stress supplements while pregnant or breastfeeding?

A: It’s crucial to consult with a healthcare provider before taking any supplements during pregnancy or breastfeeding, as some may not be safe.

Q: Can stress supplements interact with other medications?

A: Yes, some stress supplements can interact with other medications. Always inform your healthcare provider about the supplements you take alongside your regular medication.

Conclusion

Stress supplements can be a helpful tool for managing stress and anxiety, especially for those with demanding lifestyles. They support our body’s natural stress response system, potentially leading to improved mood, better sleep, and overall stress reduction. However, it’s crucial to understand that these supplements are not a one-size-fits-all solution.

Certain individuals may need to exercise caution or avoid them entirely due to potential contraindications. Therefore, understanding the ins and outs of stress supplements is vital before incorporating them into your routine. Always consult a healthcare provider to ensure their safe and effective use in your stress management strategy.

REFERENCES: 

[1] De Souza MC, Walker AF, Robinson PA, Bolland K. A synergistic effect of a daily supplement for 1 month of 200 mg magnesium plus 50 mg vitamin B6 for the relief of anxiety-related premenstrual symptoms: a randomized, double-blind, crossover study. J Womens Health Gend Based Med. 2000 Mar;9(2):131-9. doi: 10.1089/152460900318623. PMID: 10746516.

[2] Malsch U, Kieser M. Efficacy of kava-kava in the treatment of non-psychotic anxiety, following pretreatment with benzodiazepines. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2001 Sep;157(3):277-83. doi: 10.1007/s002130100792. PMID: 11605083.

[3] Connor KM, Davidson JR. A placebo-controlled study of Kava kava in generalized anxiety disorder. Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2002 Jul;17(4):185-8. doi: 10.1097/00004850-200207000-00005. PMID: 12131602.

[4] Shamabadi A, Akhondzadeh S. Efficacy and tolerability of Lavandula angustifolia in treating patients with the diagnosis of depression: a systematic review of randomized controlled trials. J Complement Integr Med. 2021 Aug 23;20(1):81-91. doi: 10.1515/jcim-2020-0498. PMID: 34420270.

[5] Seifritz E, Schläfke S, Holsboer-Trachsler E. Beneficial effects of Silexan on sleep are mediated by its anxiolytic effect. J Psychiatr Res. 2019 Aug;115:69-74. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2019.04.013. Epub 2019 Apr 17. PMID: 31121394.

[6] Pratte MA, Nanavati KB, Young V, Morley CP. An alternative treatment for anxiety: a systematic review of human trial results reported for the Ayurvedic herb ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). J Altern Complement Med. 2014 Dec;20(12):901-8. doi: 10.1089/acm.2014.0177. PMID: 25405876; PMCID: PMC4270108.

[7] Lopresti AL, Smith SJ, Malvi H, Kodgule R. An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Medicine (Baltimore). 2019 Sep;98(37):e17186. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000017186. PMID: 31517876; PMCID: PMC6750292.

[8] Cheah KL, Norhayati MN, Husniati Yaacob L, Abdul Rahman R. Effect of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract on sleep: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2021 Sep 24;16(9):e0257843. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0257843. PMID: 34559859; PMCID: PMC8462692.

[9] Ghazizadeh J, Sadigh-Eteghad S, Marx W, Fakhari A, Hamedeyazdan S, Torbati M, Taheri-Tarighi S, Araj-Khodaei M, Mirghafourvand M. The effects of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis L.) on depression and anxiety in clinical trials: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Phytother Res. 2021 Dec;35(12):6690-6705. doi: 10.1002/ptr.7252. Epub 2021 Aug 27. PMID: 34449930.

[10] Heydari N, Dehghani M, Emamghoreishi M, Akbarzadeh M. Effect of Melissa officinalis capsule on the mental health of female adolescents with premenstrual syndrome: a clinical trial study. Int J Adolesc Med Health. 2018 Jan 25;31(3):/j/ijamh.2019.31.issue-3/ijamh-2017-0015/ijamh-2017-0015.xml. doi: 10.1515/ijamh-2017-0015. PMID: 29369810.

[11] Kofman O, Einat H, Cohen H, Tenne H, Shoshana C. The anxiolytic effect of chronic inositol depends on the baseline level of anxiety. J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2000;107(2):241-53. doi: 10.1007/s007020050020. PMID: 10847563.

[12] Palatnik A, Frolov K, Fux M, Benjamin J. Double-blind, controlled, crossover trial of inositol versus fluvoxamine for the treatment of panic disorder. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2001 Jun;21(3):335-9. doi: 10.1097/00004714-200106000-00014. PMID: 11386498.

[13] Noah L, Morel V, Bertin C, Pouteau E, Macian N, Dualé C, Pereira B, Pickering G. Effect of a Combination of Magnesium, B Vitamins, Rhodiola, and Green Tea (L-Theanine) on Chronically Stressed Healthy Individuals-A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study. Nutrients. 2022 Apr 29;14(9):1863. doi: 10.3390/nu14091863. PMID: 35565828; PMCID: PMC9102162.

[14] Fallah M, Askari G, Asemi Z. Is Vitamin D Status Associated with Depression, Anxiety and Sleep Quality in Pregnancy: A Systematic Review. Adv Biomed Res. 2020 Jul 27;9:32. doi: 10.4103/abr.abr_188_19. PMID: 33072644; PMCID: PMC7532825.

[15] Field DT, Cracknell RO, Eastwood JR, Scarfe P, Williams CM, Zheng Y, Tavassoli T. High-dose Vitamin B6 supplementation reduces anxiety and strengthens visual surround suppression. Hum Psychopharmacol. 2022 Nov;37(6):e2852. doi: 10.1002/hup.2852. Epub 2022 Jul 19. PMID: 35851507; PMCID: PMC9787829.

[16] Liao Y, Xie B, Zhang H, He Q, Guo L, Subramanieapillai M, Fan B, Lu C, McIntyre RS. Efficacy of omega-3 PUFAs in depression: A meta-analysis. Transl Psychiatry. 2019 Aug 5;9(1):190. doi: 10.1038/s41398-019-0515-5. Erratum in: Transl Psychiatry. 2021 Sep 7;11(1):465. PMID: 31383846; PMCID: PMC6683166.

[17] Ohio State University. “Omega-3 reduces anxiety and inflammation in healthy students, study suggests.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 August 2011.

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Dr. Linnea Passaler

Dr. Linnea Passaler has dedicated 20+ years to serving patients, first to a small number of individuals as a successful surgeon and then to thousands of people worldwide as the CEO of a digital health startup. After overcoming her own struggles with a dysregulated nervous system, she created Heal Your Nervous System (HYNS) to empower others in their healing journey. Her combination of neuroscience and somatic work helps those struggling with overwhelm, trauma, burnout, and anxiety to heal their dysregulated nervous systems and thrive.