Sometimes we need a little extra help, wouldn’t you agree? And supplements can do that. There are so many supplements with powerful stress relieving properties that can make our day-to-day life much easier. Many of them can bring us to a calmer, more relaxed state so we are in a better place to handle everything thrown at us in our life. Others can help to manage your stress-related symptoms like sleep issues, challenges with your mood and fatigue. Doesn’t that sound incredible?
Supplements can bring us to a place where we can better cope with our day-to-day life, but they are not a cure for your stress. I think of it as one of the many tools in our tool box for managing our stress. It is meant to be used alongside our other tools like our sleep, gentle movement, a balanced diet, self care and other necessary lifestyle changes.
If you are looking to learn more about stress-relieving supplements, stay tuned. This is a two part article that will focus on supplements that can help us along our stress recovery journey. This article will all be about the supplements that can be used to help us manage our stress symptoms and the follow up article will all be about supplements that will help us recover from the impacts that stress can have on our body.
Check out the supplements that are proven to help melt your stress away. This information is not intended to replace medical advice, rather use this information to have an informed discussion with your own health care provider(s) to determine which options would be beneficial for you.
Adaptogens are a group of herbs and mushrooms that support your body better “adapt” to challenges or stressors in your life. Think of them as a protective shield against the barrage of life stressors you experience daily. They help your body counteract the impact of stress on the body, but also help the adrenal glands, which are responsible for our stress response, function better.
The unique thing about adaptogens is they work differently in your body depending on the current state of your body. Basically they “adapt” to what your body specifically needs at that moment. They bring you back into homeostasis, or to a normal level, despite where you currently are.
There are many adaptogenic herbs and mushrooms, all with varying impacts on the body. These are the ones that have been found to best help manage stress and some of their qualities they are known for:
Ashwaganda: Proven to reduce stress, reduce anxiety and depression and has anti-inflammatory effects.
Holy Basil/ Tulsi: Proven to reduce physical and mental stress, reduce depression and has calming effects.
Rhodiola Rosea: Proven to Improve fatigue, improve mental and physical performance, and reduce depression and reduces anxiety.
Eleuthero Root/ Siberian Gingseng: Proven to improve fatigue, improve physical stamina and improve focus.
Schisandra Berry: Proven to improve mental performance and improve focus.
You can try individual adaptogens based on the impact you are trying to achieve, or you can use a blend of various adaptogens for a more well rounded impact. Regardless I would recommend trying a variety, as some work better for others.
Magnesium is responsible for regulating so many different processes in our bodies, but it is most well known for its calming and feel good effects. Some of the magical ways that magnesium does this is through managing hormone and neurotransmitter levels, like cortisol, GABA and serotonin. Magnesium has been shown to improve sleep, reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and calm the nervous system. It has other incredible benefits for your body including managing blood sugar and blood pressure and so much more.
The challenge is that stress depletes magnesium in your body, making it a vicious cycle. It is important to be intentional about ensuring you are getting enough magnesium when you are going through a stressful season. Fortunately, there are so many ways to increase your magnesium intake. You can easily up your magnesium levels with food as it is found in a variety of foods, including leafy greens, nuts and seeds, legumes and beans and grains. Alternatively you can go the supplement route. When it comes to magnesium supplements, there are many forms of magnesium. The ones which are most associated with anti-stress properties are magnesium glycinate, magnesium taurate and magnesium malate. I would recommend taking your magnesium supplements in the evening as you are winding down for bed to take advantage of the positive sleep effects. Or you can simply soak up this anti-stress mineral with a nice hot epsom salt bath.
L-theanine is an amino acid with powerful relaxation effects. It has been shown to produce more alpha brain waves, which are associated with a calming state. This can positively influence many stress related symptoms including sleep and symptoms of depression and anxiety. It has also been proven to improve mental capacity including focus and memory.
You can take this in supplement form, or simply sip on more tea, as there are high amounts of L-theanine in both green and black tea.
Melatonin is well known for its ability to help lull us to sleep. It does so by regulating our internal clock to let our body know when it's time to sleep and when it's time to be awake. Not only does it help you to fall asleep easier at night, but it also helps to manage symptoms of anxiety.
Melatonin actually works opposite of cortisol, our stress hormone. When melatonin is high, cortisol is low, which means it is time to sleep. When melatonin is low, cortisol is high, indicating its time to be awake. When our cortisol levels are off because of our stressful lifestyle, this can impact the effectiveness of our natural melatonin levels, which is while a melatonin supplement before bed can be so helpful.
I hope this information gave you some insights about possible supplements to explore. I recommend you talk to your health care provider(s) about what might be a good option for you. Some of these options, such as adaptogens, work in a gradual manner, so give them time to take effect. I urge you to explore different options to see what is more impactful for you. Stay tuned as we continue this conversation in our next article on which supplements can help your body recover from the negative impacts of stress.
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