There’s no denying that stress has become a constant fixture of our modern life. Work, family life, relationships, money, and now the COVID-19 pandemic are just a few of the many stressors we have to deal with on a daily basis.
By now, you probably already know that stress can take a significant toll on both physical and mental health. Left unchecked, stress can become chronic and lead to headaches, migraines, upset stomach, anxiety, fatigue, and more. Chronic stress can also increase your risk for heart disease, reduce immunity, and trigger sleep problems.
The good news is that you also have a wide range of tools for managing stress at your disposal. Eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, talking to a mental health professional, and implementing stress-relieving techniques like yoga and meditation can make a world of difference. And certain vitamins and herbs can also be extremely helpful.
Here are 8 vitamins and herbs for stress, reviewed by science:
What is it?: Green tea is not only delicious, it also has a laundry list of proven health benefits. Native to China and India, green tea is made from the unoxidized leaves of the Camellia sinensis bush. It is high in l-theanine, a powerful amino acid shown to reduce stress and anxiety and support sleep.
What the science says: Studies show that the L-theanine found in green tea can promote relaxation and reduce stress without causing drowsiness. And there’s also evidence that green tea can improve memory and boost concentration by lowering levels of the stress hormone corticosterone, which can interfere with learning and attention during periods of high stress.
How to take it: Brew yourself a cup and drink it whenever you’re feeling stressed. You can also find green tea and L-theanine extract in pills, powders, and liquids.
What is it?: Ashwagandha is an evergreen shrub native to India, Africa, and the Middle East. It is classified as an adaptogen, which are natural stress-relieving plants and compounds that help enhance your body’s ability to fight stress.
What the science says: Research suggests that ashwagandha supplements can reduce stress, improve sleep, and boost memory and attention. In a 2019 study published in Medicine, participants with mild stress who took 240 mg of ashwagandha daily reported a significant decrease in stress, anxiety, and depression.
How to take it: The easiest way to take ashwagandha is through a supplement like Akeso’s Calm & Clever daily formula. You can also find this herb in capsules, powders, and liquid extracts.
What is it?: Also called water hyssop or herb of grace, bacopa monnieri is a medicinal herb typically found in tropical, wet environments. Celebrated for its nootropic effects (improved cognitive function, memory, creativity, or motivation) adaptogenic effects, (stabilization of physiological processes and promotion of homeostasis) and antioxidant effects (inhibit oxidation, a chemical reaction that can produce free radicals and chain reactions that may damage the cells of organisms), the benefits for this herb are said to be many. Evidence suggests that bacopa may boost cognitive function, improve stress and anxiety, and may even reduce symptoms of ADHD.
What the science says: Studies show that bacopa monnieri could influence the activity of certain enzymes involved in the stress response. Experts think bacopa works by modulating the levels of neurotransmitters like acetylcholine and dopamine in the brain and nervous system to induce a sense of calmness and tranquility.
How to take it: Bacopa monnieri can be found in the form of capsules and powders. The recommended dosage varies depending on the product you purchase. In research studies, typical doses range from 300 to 450 mg daily.
What is it?: Sage or salvia officinalis has a longstanding use as a traditional herbal remedy that can enhance memory and improve cognitive functions. Delicious to cook with and incredibly good for you, sage leaves are loaded with over 160 different polyphenols, which are plant-based compounds that act as antioxidants. As a complementary therapy, sage has been shown to fight fatigue, improve mood, boost memory, and support cognitive function.
What the science says: Salvia plants and their constituents can influence several biological mechanisms associated with cognition including their effects on neurotrophins (a family of proteins that induce the survival, development, and function of neurons, the information messengers in our brains), oxidative stress, inflammation, and anxiolytic/antidepressant behaviors. In a 2017 review of studies, researchers reported that sage extracts could improve alertness and cognitive skills. Other studies have found that this herb can improve mood as well as cognitive performance, protect neurons against oxidative stress and damage, promote learning, and boost memory.
In another series of clinical trials, scientists found that younger individuals who took sage extract benefited within hours from improved mood, reduced anxiety, enhanced long-term memory, and reduced mental fatigue. Sage is rich in rosmarinic acid, a polyphenol known for its anti-inflammatory effects. Evidence suggests rosmarinic acid – which occurs naturally in many other herbs, including rosemary, basil, and lemon balm – may provide relief for certain inflammatory conditions.
How to take it: Sage extracts can be found in dietary supplement form (look for standardized 2.5% rosmarinic acid). Dried sage (although not as potent as a standardized extract), can be sprinkled on your favorite fish or chicken dishes, or brewed as a tasty tea with its leaves.
Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate (Vitamin B-6)
What is it?: Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate is the metabolically active form of vitamin B-6. B vitamins are extremely important for your body’s overall function and health. They have a direct impact on your metabolism, brain function, and immunity.
Benefits of B-6/Pyridoxal-5- Phosphate:
Supports healthy homocysteine levels (HCY)—elevated HCY levels are associated with brain shrinkage, cognitive decline, and performance
Important for nervous system functions
Needed in the synthesis of neurotransmitters like serotonin
Helps offset the effects of sugar (glycation), which ages all cells and organs in the body including the brain and nerves
What the science says: Chronic stress can deplete levels of vitamin B6 in the body. Pyridoxal-5-Phosphate is involved in gluconeogenesis, glycogenolysis, lipid metabolism, and the synthesis of amino acids, carbohydrates, proteins, and neurotransmitters. Deficiencies in vitamin B6 can lead to confusion and depression. This vitamin contributes to a variety of neural processes by acting as a cofactor for several enzymes. The production of serotonin, a chemical implicated in anxiety, is one process for which vitamin B6 acts as a cofactor, and low serum concentrations of vitamin B6 have been implicated in higher levels of anxiety, panic attacks, and hyperventilation attacks. Recent research has studied the association between mood disorders such as depression and anxiety, stress, and intake of vitamin B6. In a recent cross-sectional, population-based survey the dietary intake of vitamin B6 was shown to be associated with lower incidences of depression.
How to take it: Unlike many other vitamins, your body doesn’t store B vitamins. That means that you must get it from food or supplements to maintain adequate levels. Most people fill their daily needs through a balanced diet filled with B vitamin-rich foods like leafy greens, legumes, whole grains, mushrooms, and lean protein. But if you want to address the negative effects of stress on an ongoing basis for greater health and longevity, consider taking a dietary supplement to ensure your body is maintaining the proper B-6 levels.
While there are plenty of stress-relieving supplements on the market, not all supplements are created equal. To receive the benefits you expect, be sure to use high-quality vitamins at the proper doses proven effective in human clinical studies. Follow the link to learn more about a quality combination stress supplement for reducing stress and improving memory at the same time.
What is it: Huperzine A is a chemical compound extracted from a Chinese medical herb called Huperzia serrata, sometimes known as Chinese club moss.
What the science says: Studies show that huperzine A helps increase a brain chemical called acetylcholine, which supports different types of memory, including long-term and working memory. This herbal compound seems to have significant neuroprotective effects, especially among individuals with Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
Several studies, including this 2013 review of clinical trials, have found that huperzine A improves both the cognitive function and daily functioning of patients with AD. And a small clinical trial of 34 high school students found that those taking a huperzine A supplement performed better in memory and language tests, suggesting the herb’s memory-boosting effects could extend beyond individuals with AD.
How to take it: Huperzine A supplements can be found in pill or tablet form. To date, there is no recommended huperzine A dosage. It has been studied at oral doses of 100 to 300 mcg daily for memory boosting and Alzheimer’s disease.
What is it: Vitamin C, the most renowned of all vitamins and supplements, owes its fame to its potent antioxidant activity and involvement in a long list of health benefits. It is an essential vitamin, which means that your body can’t produce it but needs it to survive. So you must consume it through vitamin C-rich foods like citruses, broccoli, kiwi, bell peppers, and tomatoes or dietary supplements to reap its health-boosting potentials.
What the science says: A higher intake of vitamin C may protect you against age-related cognitive decline and impaired thinking. Low levels of vitamin C, sometimes known as ascorbic acid, are associated with a diminished ability to think and remember things.
In contrast, research suggests that individuals with intact cognitive functions are more likely to have higher serum concentrations of vitamin C. Animal studies have also shown that vitamin C intake may reduce levels of cortisol — aka the “stress hormone,” and could minimize the signs of emotional stress.
How to take it: Vitamin C supplements are sold in many forms, including effervescent tablets, powders, capsules, liquid concentrates, chewable gummies, and more. The best way to take vitamin C for stress is as a part of a multivitamin or combined supplement. These preparations are typically tailored to specific groups (men, women, etc.) and boost your intake of other important nutrients as well.
Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B-5)
What is it?: Vitamin B-5 also known as Pantothenic Acid is often referred to as the “anti-stress vitamin”. It is one of the most important B vitamins and is necessary for making blood cells and for converting food to energy by breaking down fats and carbohydrates. B-5 produces numerous enzymes and helps maintain communication between the central nervous system and the brain. A low level of B5 can lead to difficulty coping with stress, inability to relax and problems sleeping.
- Regulates stress-related hormones to ensure a healthy state of mind
- Builds immune system
- Stamina builder helping to fight fatigue
- Helps protect mental clarity and memory
- Helps make neurotransmitters (chemicals that affect our mind and mood)
What the science says: Pantothenic acid is at the heart of the KREBs cycle and electron transport chain which helps convert nutrients from food into energy which is used to make adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP is the fuel source within each of your cells. More energy increases mental clarity, alertness, memory and positively affects mood. Your adrenal glands use CoA (made partly from pantothenic acid) along with cholesterol and Vitamin C to manufacture cortisol and epinephrine. Vitamin B5 has a reputation for reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.
Nutritional Supplements for Stress
To fight stress and its long-term effects on your physical and mental health, exercising regularly, eating right, and getting enough sleep may not be enough to keep you feeling calm and balanced particularly when you’re faced with stressors every day. That’s when getting some extra help could come in handy. Consider a combination supplement containing vitamins, minerals, and standardized herbal extracts proven in clinical studies to effectively deliver the benefits you expect for not only reducing stress but improving memory and recall for that sharp, balanced, and calm feeling we all know and love, but don’t always maintain. To learn more about the ideal supplements for stress, combined into one product, visit CalmAndClever.com
Akeso Health Sciences
Helping you get well and stay well is our bottom line! Akeso Health Sciences formulates world class dietary supplements that provide nutritional support for the most common health issues that concern people most, such as migraines, headaches, joint health, stress & anxiety, memory, sleeplessness, ADHD, and more. Changing lives is the reasons we wake up every day passionate about the special products we provide to our customers.
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