My Favorite Supplements for Stress Management
We have all undoubtedly experienced some sort of physical or emotional stress in our lives. While short-term stress is normal, long-term, chronic stress has been associated with numerous stress-related health conditions, such as anxiety, hypertension, chronic fatigue syndrome, HPA axis dysfunction, and metabolic syndrome.
Eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and utilizing relaxation techniques can help you manage your stress levels and keep you feeling your best. Vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements can also help to improve your resilience to stress and support healthy adrenal gland function.
The supplements below can be helpful in reducing stress, but please consult with me and/or your doctor before adding these to your regimen.
One of the highest concentrations of vitamin C in the body is found in the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands play a key role in the stress response, secreting the hormones adrenaline, aldosterone, and cortisol. The adrenal glands also secrete vitamin C as a response to stress. Research has shown that individuals supplementing with vitamin C (ascorbic acid) demonstrate lower blood pressure, faster salivary cortisol recovery, and better subjective stress responses.
Gamma-Aminobutyric acid, more commonly referred to as GABA is a neurotransmitter produced by the body. The primary role of GABA is to reduce the excitability of neurons throughout the nervous system, inducing a calming effect. Research demonstrates that GABA supplementation reduces anxiety and improves sleep, helping individuals fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
L-theanine, an amino acid commonly found in green tea, is well-known for promoting relaxation and improving sleep. Research has shown that L-theanine supplementation improves subjective stress and salivary cortisol responses when individuals are confronted with a stressor. L-theanine supplementation also decreases anxiety, depressive symptoms, and sleep disturbances in individuals with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD).
Adaptogens refer to a group of plants or herbs that help your body adapt to stress, normalize body functions, and maintain homeostasis. Ashwagandha, “Indian Winter Cherry,” or “Indian Ginseng,” is well-known for its adaptogenic, antioxidant, and immune-supportive properties. Studies have shown that Ashwagandha supplementation improves serum cortisol levels, perceived stress and happiness, food cravings, body weight, and body mass index. Caution: Talk to me if you have an autoimmune condition like Hashimoto’s before taking this supplement.