Nutritional Support for Stress Relief
Stress is one of the top contributors to many of the ailments we suffer from today. Daily stress most commonly comes from where we tend to spend most of our day, AT WORK! From the person who is dealing with the heat outside to the person who has to sit in front of the computer all day, we all deal with the stress of deadlines, bosses, managers, HR, and budgets. While the different kinds of stressors put on our bodies can vary in other ways beyond our jobs, we still need to support the same organs to keep us going.
- Adrenal glands
- Thyroid gland
- Gut (Intestines)
Diet and nutrition play an important role in stress regulation by ensuring your body receives the adequate amounts of vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to keep the effects of stress to a minimum.
Vitamin C supplementation may reduce blood levels of stress-related hormones. The recommended dosage varies depending on the individual need, intensity of stress, and other lifestyle factors. Typically, 1,000-1,500 mg per day is appropriate for a healthy individual dealing with a stressful time or situation.
Omega 3 fatty acids
Deficiency in omega 3 fatty acids may contribute to behaviors such as aggression during stressful periods. Omega-3 fatty acids are polyunsaturated fatty acids that are essential nutrients for health. We need omega-3 fatty acids for numerous normal body functions, such as controlling blood clotting and building cell membranes in the brain. Omega-3 fatty acids are also associated with many health benefits, including protection against heart disease and possibly stroke. New studies are identifying potential benefits for a wide range of conditions including cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, and other autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. Since our body does not produce omega-3 fats, we must get them through are diet and/or supplementation.
Thought to increase the body’s resistance to stress and enhance mental and physical function, Rhodiola has been shown in animal and human trials to protect against mental decline caused by physical stress. One study showed, however, that when participants stopped the supplement for two weeks, then started it again, they did not receive the same benefit from the herb.
An amino acid used to produce adrenal stress hormones and neurotransmitters, tyrosine has been shown to decline with stress.16 Under stress your body releases epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine which need tyrosine to be produced. Chronic stress can deplete your tyrosine levels leading to memory loss and performance loss.
A multivitamin-mineral supplement shows benefit in reducing the effects of stress including improved mood, concentration and well-being, as well as reduced anxiety and fatigue.
In addition, adding a probiotic formula to your diet during stressful periods may assist in offsetting other effects of stress. It is believed that stress depletes the beneficial bacteria in the intestines,21, 22 which may explain the contribution of stress to problems such as irritable bowel syndrome.
While pursuing specific nutrients to assist the body in coping with times of high stress, make sure that you are eating a healthy, whole, well-balanced diet low in simple sugars and processed foods. Such a diet will provide a basis to assist the body in preventing and combating a variety of problems, including stress.