Your body is a wonder, hardwired to respond to threats and keep you and your loved ones alive. But your body often treats day-to-day stress—rushing to make school drop-off, trying to squeeze more onto your to-do list—as a harrowing threat too. Not good.
These supplements, in conjunction with a balanced lifestyle, can help you keep your supermom status and lose the excess stress.
Consider adding a multivitamin or green drink supplement or powder to your daily routine. And if you think you’re nutrient deficient, get tested.
A nutritious diet is essential in the fight against stress, according to a recent study. “Unhealthy eating patterns will only result in an increased level of stress, followed by further health problems in the future if the issues are not resolved,” the authors wrote in The Psychiatric Clinics of North America. “Prolonged stress increases the metabolic needs of the body. The increased metabolism can also cause an increase in the use and excretion of many nutrients. If marginally deficient in a nutrient, stress can make that deficiency even worse.”
When you’re stressed, do you find yourself reaching for a doughnut? If so, you’re not alone. Stress and junk food cravings are common partners that can negatively impact brain signaling. The good news? Supplementing with cinnamon has been shown to reduce the effect of stress on hormones and inflammation in animal studies where lab rats consumed a high-fat, high-sugar diet.
Probiotics and prebiotics
In a recent study on the potential stress-relieving effects of probiotics, 32 healthy medical students took a probiotic supplement, Lactobacillus gasseri CP2305, for five weeks during a cadaver dissection course. Researchers found that the students’ sleep quality improved and diarrhea-like symptoms were effectively controlled. This was particularly true for the men in the study—an important reminder that there can be sex-related differences in how our bodies respond to supplements.
Elsewhere, an animal study found that prebiotics (aka “food” for probiotics) such as fructo-oligosaccharides and galacto-oligosaccharides improved stress-related physical symptoms and behaviors.
A recent animal study looked at the potential anti-stress effects of holy basil (Ocimum sanctum). While it was a small study, researchers noted the herb was effective in the management of stress effects and supported healthy release of cortisol (the body’s main stress hormone).
Essential fatty acids, B and C vitamins, and magnesium
A systematic review of 14 pseudo-randomized or randomized controlled trials recently considered the effects of various supplements on female health and anxiety levels. Among the findings was this: Essential fatty acids may effectively relieve prenatal stress, as well as anxiety during PMS and during menopause.
The combination of magnesium and vitamin B6 reduces PMS stress, while B6 on its own may reduce anxiety in older women. Lastly, high-dose, time-release vitamin C can reduce anxiety and blood pressure increases in response to stress.
Enhance your anti-stress efforts with a quick visit to your local health food store. It’s one line on the packed to-do list
that’s well worth checking off!