The 15 Best Supplements for Reducing Stress Naturally
In this fast-paced world, stress levels are rising. Techniques to manage anxiety and stress are increasingly available. However, striving to reach individualized, optimal health is the most effective way to combat stress. Stressors target all forms of health: mental, physical, sexual and emotional.
Addressing problems involving proper nutrition, exercise and sleep is necessary. A lack of proper vitamins, minerals and nutrients can derail the healthiest lifestyle.
Research conducted by Eat for Life: The Food and Nutrition Board's Guide to Reducing Your Risk of Chronic Disease1 addresses nutrient deficits. Many people assume all necessary nutrients are present in food. This belief is untrue and results in nutritional imbalances.
Often, certain minerals are present with high levels, while others are nonexistent. Specifically targeting this imbalance, with supplements for anxiety and stress, helps achieve a state of optimal health.
Stress and Health IssuesStress is typically the catalyst for a multitude of health problems. For instance, coping mechanisms developed as a method of handling high stress, often prove unhealthy.
Other consequences of stress that could provide linkages to health have been found, such as increases in smoking, substance use, accidents, sleep problems and eating disorders.1
Even if you don't adopt harmful behaviors, the body still suffers from natural consequences. Long-term, intense stress is tied to rises in blood pressure, heart disease and cardiac arrest. The body's reaction to stress is to prioritize certain functions as a method of self-defense. This doesn't allow the body to function at top capacity. Rather, important resources — such as blood, oxygen and energy — are diverted to where they are most needed. At best, this is meant to be a temporary state. Living in fight-or-flight mode produces a laundry list of issues: adrenal fatigue, weight gain and a lack of circulation to vital organs.1
The 15 Best Supplements for Lowering Stress
Zinc plays a key role in many physiological functions. Studies conducted by Nutrition and Metabolic Insights confirms a connection between low zinc levels and symptoms of anxiety.2 As a result, the test subjects involved in this study experienced significant improvement — after adjusting zinc and copper levels.
2. ThiaminThiamin, present in many foods and multivitamins, deserves a more prominent place in the world of herbal supplements. Evidence suggests that low thiamin levels result in decreased energy.3 Consequently, this translates to physical sluggishness and a lack of motivation to accomplish necessary tasks.
According to Biotechnology Research International,4 bromelain is a powerhouse enzyme found in pineapple stems. This enzyme contributes to repairing damage. Specifically, this enzyme addresses issues such as "sinusitis, surgical traumas ... angina pectoris, bronchitis and enhanced absorption of drugs."4
A mineral present in many foods, magnesium has powerful potential to relieve stress. Stress-produced inflammation can be quite harmful. Magnesium, an anti-inflammatory agent, can reduce negative impact.5 However, few foods contain necessary amounts of magnesium. Thus, consciously upping your intake with supplements is necessary.
5. California Poppy
Anxiety has been connected to reduced immune function. Stress produces anxiety, and anxiety produces reduced immune function. Bolstering your immune system with appropriate doses of California poppy6 can help rectify this issue. Most health supplements that are meant to reduce stress, either deal with building the immune system up, stimulating up, or helping it ward off invaders.
6. Cactus Stem
Cactus stems don't often feature in a modern American diet. Reaping the health benefits can be done best with dietary supplements. Cactus stems are useful to introduce powerful antioxidants into the body.7
7. Bugleweed Flowering Herb
Insomnia can be a side effect, or the cause of, excessive stress. Getting a proper amount of sleep is a first step toward drastic health improvements. Bugleweed has a known sedative effect.8 Thus, it is helpful to combat insomnia.
8. Motherwart Leaf and FlowerMotherwart is an herb also used to treat insomnia. However, it is also highly useful when it comes to dealing with cardiac issues. It isn't recommended for individuals who are utilizing benzodiazepines9, since pairing the two can cause a dangerous side effect.
9. Lemonbalm Leaf and Flower
Rather than merely target symptoms of stress, lemonbalm can assist with the root of the problem. Because it is a "modulator of mood and cognitive function"10, it provides a solid foundation for assisting with stress. Using natural supplements as tools to help with the emotional repercussions of stress can provide mental relief.
10. Fennel Seed Powder
Many people suffer from respiratory issues. While this can result from common viruses that circulate in the wintertime, it can also point to a weak immune system. Because respiratory issues are so common, ingesting fennel seed powder in the form of dietary supplements can help.11 Fennel is even used in traditional medicine, and it is widely known as a versatile plant.
11. Grapeseed Extract
Grapeseed extract is a convenient way to reap the benefits of the seeds themselves. Because stress, heart disease and blood pressure issues are so closely linked, the anti-cholesterol benefits are useful.12 This extract is a common dietary supplement. Also, grapeseed extract is a rich source of antioxidants.
12. Chicory Root Powder
Historically, chicory plants feature in coffee, salad and supplements. Chicory root powder is the most convenient way of ingesting it. The roots themselves are quite bitter! This powder is a prebiotic13,which helps to stimulate the immune system.
13. Apple Cider VinegarOn the microscopic level, cells can also experience stress! This is known as oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress, defined as a disturbance in the balance between the production of reactive oxygen species (free radicals) and antioxidant defenses.14
Apple cider vinegar can lower oxidative stress on the cellular level. When the microscopic building blocks of the body can function properly, overall health can be achieved. Additionally, bolstering your intake of antioxidants can help address the issue of oxidative stress as well.
14. Bentonite Clay
This clay is often used in face masks or spa treatments. Traditionally, bentonite clay has been consumed internally to combat a variety of ills.15 Because it is popular for external use, it is available at Walmart. However, check to make sure the brand is labeled food-grade by the Food and Drug Administration. Taking advantage of professional advice, and supplements with medically approved doses, is important with bentonite clay. Internally, when taken in appropriate doses, bentonite clay works as a detoxifying agent.
15. Cinnamon Bark Extract
Unfortunately, the benefits of cinnamon are often not lauded outside of the kitchen. Cinnamon can help fight high blood pressure, obesity and cardiovascular disease.16 These are common side effects of stress. While cinnamon is not a miracle spice, and it will not replace the importance of sleep, hydration, nutrition and exercise, it can supplement those efforts. Indeed, cinnamon’s benefits extend far beyond cardiovascular and weight issues.
Many scientists and researchers have uncovered the following benefits:
Recently many trials have explored the beneficial effects of cinnamon in Parkinsons, diabetes, blood, and brain ... data were collected regarding its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antilipemic, antidiabetic, antimicrobial and anticancer effect.16
Since cinnamon is one of the most versatile spices, it has a multitude of preventative and restorative health benefits. Specifically, cinnamon helps bolster the immune system. When the body is under stress, the immune system no longer functions at top capacity. Thus, as a powerful anti-microbial, cinnamon can also help the immune system fend off germs. Improving your health through dietary supplements can drastically reduce everyday causes of stress in your life.
Products like Cortigon contain clinically-proven dosages of thiamin, ginkgo biloba and vitamins B6 and B12.
70% of your immune system is in your gut. Stress affects your digestive system first due to gut-brain axis. Your immune system is the foundation of your health. Manage your stress levels, I.e. meditation, and don't sweat the small stuff.— Valerie, RD, MPH (@RDValerie) January 21, 2020