08/20/12 - 0 Comments
Six Supplements to Stave Off Stress
With summer starting to wind down, most of us are returning to reality. The weather will soon cool, the work load will increase and our motivation to exercise will be next to nonexistent. The additional anxiety that the non-summer months brings is hard to manage, but don’t worry, there are countless natural ways to reject stress and its hazardous side effects. Just try these supplements on for size!
Rhodiola rosea: This supplement was first largely used in European traditional medicinal practices, but it soon made its way to the States and mainstream. Rhodiola rosea is perfect for the morning after a long sleepless night of tossing and turning. It addresses chronic stress by fighting fatigue and enhancing mood, concentration and energy levels. A 2009 study found that when given a daily Rhodiola rosea extract for 28 consecutive days, stress-induced burnout is significantly decreased, allowing for a happier, healthier person!
Magnesium: Magnesium is vital in any diet. However, chronic stress depletes the muscle-relaxing mineral from your body, so it is important to replenish. Magnesium assists with sleep, anxiety, muscle cramps and energy production—perfect for that, ahem, time of month. We recommend talking to your doctor before taking this cramp-reducing supplement, as it can be dangerous to those with a history of kidney failure or dehydration.
L-Theanine: Perhaps you’ve heard of this element from green tea—the active ingredient that causes a calming, soothing sensation (after only a half hour of ingestion). L-Theanine directly stimulates the production of alpha brain waves, allowing for a more stern mental alertness and relaxation. It has also been connected with the increased production of dopamine and serotonin, chemicals that naturally assist in shutting down your brain’s “worry mode.” This can help elevate concentration and focus, perfect before a big interview, date or exam!
Pantothenic Acid: More commonly known as Vitamin B5, this supplement is a vital tool in keeping your adrenal glands’ production of cortisol and other “stress” hormones relatively low. Vitamin B5 helps to counteract your body’s negative side effects to anxiety and stress, and enhances the metabolism. If you find that high pressure makes you eat heavily or gain weight, this may be a viable option to try!
5-Hydroxytryptophan: We don’t like the long name either, so we’ll just call this 5-HTP. 5-HTP is an amino acid that works to increase your body’s serotonin levels (which makes you happier), to enhance sleep and to brighten your mood—all factors that could help reduce stress. However, it is important to consult a doctor before use. If you ingest a dose of over 200 mg a day, 5-HTP could cause some gastrointestinal problems and nausea, so make sure it’s right for you before you start.
EPA & DHA: Omega-3 fats come from algae. In a three-week study, 43 college students were randomly given either a placebo or an Omega-3 supplement daily. After measuring their blood pressure and heart rate at rest and while performing a mental math test, results were favorable for the Omega-3 groups, where participants’ stress response was much lower. EPA and DHA both work to improve various risk factors for cardiovascular disease, which could bring on stress.