Stress is a reaction or
response to any physical, emotional or social stimulus that changes the
way we perform or think. Stress is an unavoidable part of life. We all
experience stress one way or another. Pressure from work, losing a
love one, changing jobs, getting enough money to pay the bills, meeting
new people, moving to a new environment, or suffering from physical
illness. They all cause stress and can have profound impact on our
physical and emotional health.
Stress can cause fatigue,
headaches, loss of appetite, insomnia, memory loss, high blood pressure,
digestive problems, etc. Some are mild and can be treated easily, but
prolonged period of stress can cause some serious physical and mental
illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, anxiety and depression.
Our body responds to stress
with a series of physiological changes including increase of adrenaline
secretion, elevation of blood pressure, increase in heartbeat, slower
digestion, increase in cholesterol levels, etc. The release of
stress hormones such as cortisone and cortisol can inhibit the functioning
of white blood cells and suppress the immune system. Stress may lead
to nutritional deficiencies due to the breakdown of protein, fat and
carbohydrate via the action of adrenal hormones as well as poorer
absorption of nutrients. If a person cannot deal with stress
properly, s/he may develop some serious emotional or mental disorders such
as anxiety, panic attack, obsessive-compulsive disorder, phobic disorders,
There are many ways to cope
with stress, including eating a healthy diet with lot of fresh fruits and
vegetables, avoiding processed foods such as deep fried foods, soft
drinks, artificial sweeteners, junk foods, getting regular exercise such
as jogging, walking, workouts at gym, having meditation, getting
sufficient and high quality sleep and talking to friends etc.
Some nutrients are
particularly useful when dealing with stress. Some of them are
Vitamins for Stress:
Magnesium is known as an anti-stress nutrient. Magnesium calms down
nerves and helps the muscle to relax. It also helps the blood to
flow freely and prevent abnormal thickening of blood vessels.
Scientific studies show that during stressful condition, there is an
influx of calcium into the cells causing a low Mg:Ca ratio at cellular
level. A low Mg:Ca ratio causes adrenaline secretion and cells'
response to adrenaline, which further worsens and lengthens the stress
response. Magnesium deficiency is often found in highly stressed
individuals or people suffering from heart disease, anxiety and
depression. Magnesium supplements help us to restore a normal and healthy
Mg:Ca ratio and promote stress relief.
Vitamin B Complex
All vitamin Bs are water soluble vitamins so
they are not stored in the body. Vitamin B complex includes thiamine
(vitamin B1), riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), pantothenic
acid (vitamin B5), pyridoxine (vitamin B6), biotin, folic acid and the
cobalamins (vitamin B12). These vitamins help the nervous system to
function properly, and are necessary for optimal brain function. Stress
itself can cause a depletion of nutrients including vitamin B. Vegetarians
may be deficient in vitamin B12 which is only available from animal
sources and elderly people are also prone to have vitamin B deficiency.
Supplementation of vitamin B complex is known to help the body to cope
While many people know that vitamin C helps fight off common cold and
strengthen the immune system, they may not know that vitamin C is also
very important in stress management. A German study showed that
people supplemented with 1,000 mg vitamin C felt less stress whereas those
without vitamin supplement had higher level of the stress hormone cortisol
and higher blood pressure when they were subject to the same stress
stimulus. Animal studies also showed that vitamin C prevented the
elevation of cortisol and reduced signs of stress. Vitamin C can be
found in fresh fruits and vegetables but it is unstable to heat (cooking)
GABA stands for Gamma Amino Butyric Acid, it is a compound essential for
proper brain function. GABA reduces stress, calms nerves and stimulates
the pituitary gland to increase Human Growth Hormone (HGH). A clinical
study in Japan showed that GABA increased alpha waves of the brain and
decreased beta waves. GABA can be found in pasta and grains or synthesized
by the amino acid glutamine. Taurine, glycine, and vitamin B6 are needed
for GABA absorption and synthesis. The recommended dosage for GABA
supplement is 1000 - 2000 mg per day.
Multivitamin and mineral
A balanced multivitamin and mineral complex
contains nutrients essential for stress relief, such as vitamin B complex,
vitamin C, magnesium, etc. On the other hand, beta-carotene, vitamin
E, zinc, selenium etc. help to protect the cells from free radical damage
caused by stress reaction.
Essential fatty acids
Essential fatty acids are fats that are
essential for the functioning of many organ systems but they cannot be
synthesized by the body and have to be obtained by diet or supplements.
EFAs such as DHA and EPA are important for proper brain function and
neurotransmitter function. Studies showed that omega-3 EFA supplementation
reduced aggression and have mood stabilizing properties.
Buy vitamins and supplements for stress:
Magnesium for Stress
(use code "WAN045" - get $5 off your first order)