Medically Reviewed By Elizabeth A. Swick, MS, RDN
HELP - Can Supplements Really Help Reduce Stress?
Stress can take a toll on the body and mind, and as you may have heard, taking supplements could help you better manage stress. While it may sound too good to be true, supplements are available for stress relief. Read on to learn more about stress and how supplements may help manage and/or reduce your stress.
What Is Stress?
Stress is worry or tension brought on by challenges faced in life. It is part of our body's natural defense system, designed to protect us from threats. In ancient humans, the stress response was vital in life-or-death situations. When our ancient ancestors faced a threat from a predator, their brains sounded an internal alarm, and the sympathetic nervous system transmitted messages that sparked the fight or flight response. The adrenal glands release the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, which increase blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing rate. Ancient humans then entered a state where they could fend off an attacker or escape to safety. After the danger passes, the parasympathetic nervous system stops the stress response.
Today, most of us don't often find ourselves in life-threatening situations, but the ancient stress response remains. Unfortunately, most stressors in modern life include ongoing issues, such as money problems, work pressure, and relationship conflicts. Since the threat is prolonged, the parasympathetic nervous system may not kick in to lower cortisol levels. As a result, many people are in a state of chronic stress response.
What Is the Impact of Stress on Health?
Chronic stress poses several health risks. It can contribute to the following:
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
- Muscle pain
- Migraine and tension headaches
- Breathing and respiratory problems like asthma
- High blood sugar levels
- Immune disorders
- Depression and anxiety
- Stomach and bowel problems
Which Supplements Can Help Calm My Nerves?
Although further study is necessary, research indicates that certain supplements may have a calming effect on the body. Some supplements that may support adrenal health and reduce stress include the following.
An essential mineral, magnesium aids in more than 300 processes within the human body. Low magnesium levels may worsen the effects of chronic stress, potentially because the mineral helps to regulate the activities of the part of the brain that controls the adrenal glands. Due to its role in regulating muscles, magnesium may also help relieve stress-related tension.
Also known as Indian ginseng and winter cherry, ashwagandha is an herb that’s been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. It belongs to a class of botanicals called adaptogens, which help protect the body from the effects of stress. Specifically, ashwagandha may ease anxiety and limit the impact of stress by lowering cortisol levels.
L-theanine is an amino acid derived from green tea. Once ingested and absorbed, the amino acid crosses the blood-brain barrier. Studies show that it may promote alpha brain waves, which occur when you're in a relaxed, idle state. By doing so, L-theanine could help to ease stress and support feelings of calm.
Part of the B-complex of vitamins, vitamin B6, is necessary for proper nervous system function and may aid in stress management. A recent study found that taking B6 supplements helped reduce feelings of stress and anxiety better than a placebo in a small group of young adults.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, is a brain chemical that helps reduce brain signals to calm the body. Studies have found that people with low GABA levels may be at an increased risk for insomnia and that taking a GABA supplement may promote better sleep and improved stress management.
Discover Body Kitchen Stress Relief Supplements
Body Kitchen offers high-quality stress relief supplements to help you unwind and relax. Our Unwind Magnesium Powder provides 420 milligrams of pure magnesium that is highly bioavailable to support better sleep quality and ease tension. With its natural cherry flavor, it's great with water or milk or even to add to smoothies and shakes.
Our supplements may help you ease anxiety and reduce stress when taken as directed. Talk to your medical provider about whether a magnesium power could help you better manage chronic stress.