Everyone has different sources of stress in their lives. But the most common are those related to work, health, health, and relationships. We can combat stress in a number of ways but how far can supplements help, let’s find out.
Stress can be acute or chronic, leading to fatigue, headaches, stomach discomfort, nervousness, irritability, or anger.
Regular exercise, adequate sleep, and proper nutrition are all excellent ways to better prepare the body to deal with stress. But people also take vitamins and supplements to combat stress.
Here are the top 10 vitamins and supplements to combat stress:
What it is. Ashwagandha is known as an adaptogen. This means it helps the body resist disease and control the effects of stress.
Benefits. The research on ashwagandha for stress and anxiety reduction is positive. And there is reason to think it may also be useful for improving sleep. In a study published in the journal Medicine (Baltimore) in September 2019, researchers gave 30 adults 240 milligrams (mg) of the extract daily. And they gave 30 a placebo. Many who had taken the ashwagandha for two months reported feeling less nervous or depressed. Related research, published in Cureus in December 2019, followed 60 stressed-out, healthy adults for eight weeks.
One-third of the population received 250 mg of ashwagandha daily. One-third received 600 mg, and one-third received a placebo. Participants who received ashwagandha reported sleeping well and feeling less depressed.
What it is. Green tea contains the amino acid L-theanine. It has a relaxing effect, as well as other health benefits.
Benefits. Several studies showed that L-theanine has anti-stress properties. It can also help improve focus, memory, and verbal ability. In a study published in the journal Nutrients in October 2019, 30 healthy adults were given 200 mg of L-theanine or a placebo each night for four weeks. According to the researchers, the supplement improved three stress-related symptoms — sleep issues, depression, and anxiety — in the group that received it. A study of nine studies published in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition in November 2019 discovered that taking 200 to 400 mg of L-theanine per day can help reduce stress and anxiety.
What it is. Magnesium is a mineral that the body uses to control a variety of processes, from nerve and muscle function to protein and bone synthesis.
Benefits. So far, studies show that magnesium can be helpful in people who suffer from moderate anxiety.
However, the quality of the evidence was low. And we need more research before we can establish magnesium as a stress reducer.
What it is. The pineal gland produces the hormone melatonin. It is released when it gets dark, helping maintain your internal clock and preparing your body for sleep.
Benefits. Melatonin is well-known for its ability to help people sleep at night. But it can also help people who undergo surgery feel less anxious. A study of over 770 people published in April 2015 in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found that melatonin can be as effective as the sedative midazolam in reducing anxiety before surgery.
What it is. The Rhodiola Rosea plant, also known as golden root and arctic root, grows in the frigid mountains of Europe, Asia, and the Arctic. And people use it as a stress remedy.
Benefits. Rhodiola Rosea extract may be effective in treating stress symptoms and preventing chronic stress.
In addition, according to a study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research in December 2015, people who received Rhodiola Rosea showed a significant reduction in anxiety, stress, frustration, confusion, and depression. Also, they had a significant improvement in mood at the end of 14 days.
However, the researchers caution that they need more research to decide whether Rhodiola causes these effects.
6. Lemon Balm
What it is. Lemon balm is a lemon-scented herb popular in Europe during the Middle Ages. But now, people all over the world grow it. People traditionally use it as a mild sedative and calming agent. But researchers are studying it now for its possible antianxiety effects. The FDA considers lemon balm to be “generally accepted as safe.”
Benefits. Lemon balm can reduce anxiety and improve sleep. The researchers followed 80 people who had coronary artery bypass surgery. And researchers gave half of them 500 mg of lemon balm three times a day, while the other half received a placebo.
The results showed that those who took lemon balm reduced their anxiety by 49% and increased their sleep quality by 54%. Lemon balm can also improve mood in healthy young adults.
What it is. Valerian is well-known for its calming properties and is widely used as a dietary supplement to treat insomnia, anxiety, and other disorders such as depression.
Benefits. The NCCIH states that there aren’t enough high-quality human studies to draw any conclusions about whether valerian can be an effective sleep aid or alleviate anxiety symptoms. But some study has shown promising results.
Researchers discovered evidence that valerian root extract could have antianxiety effects. The herb may also be useful as a sleep aid, according to the study. Its benefits were comparable to those of a common medication used to treat anxiety and insomnia.
What it is. Kava is a South Pacific plant that belongs to the pepper family.
Benefits. Some research on kava for anxiety treatment has shown a slightly positive impact. But more recent research does not support this. According to one report, when 171 people received kava extract or a placebo twice a day for 16 weeks, neither group experienced reduced anxiety.
The majority of participants who received the kava tolerated it well. Still, a few experienced tremors, and those who received the extract were far more likely to show abnormalities on liver tests.
Its protection is of greater concern. The FDA issued a caution against kava supplements to combat stress in 2002, citing more than 25 reports of liver damage.
9. Vitamin B complex
What It is. B vitamins are a class of eight nutrients that work together to control many bodily processes, including stress levels.
Benefits. According to a report, people with low vitamin B-12 levels in their blood were more likely to suffer from depression or anxiety.
According to a 2018 study, people who ate foods rich in B vitamins — in this case, yeast-based spreads such as Marmite and Vegemite had lower anxiety and stress levels than those who did not. This was more noticeable in vitamin B-12-fortified spreads.
Taking B complex supplements can assist an individual in getting an adequate supply of all B vitamins.
10. Omega-3 fatty acids
What it is. You can find omega-3 fats in foods like fish and flaxseed. They have a major impact on brain health. As the body cannot produce these fats, they must be obtained by diet.
Benefits. According to a 2018 systematic review and meta-analysis that looked at the results of 19 clinical trials, taking an omega-3 supplement such as fish oil can benefit people who suffer from anxiety.
According to a 2018 review report, a low intake of omega-3 fats can increase the risk of anxiety and depression. And take omega-3 supplements to combat stress or treat these conditions.
The bottom line
Several vitamins and supplements, including Rhodiola Rosea, melatonin, glycine, and ashwagandha, have been associated with reduced stress symptoms.
Before trying a new supplement to combat stress, always consult with your healthcare provider, especially if you are taking other drugs, pregnant, or planning to become pregnant.
If stress is an issue in your life, consult with a medical provider or therapist about possible solutions.