Stress is something all humans are susceptible to. In these trying times, it’s almost impossible to find a moment where we are not stressing about things we have to do, our families, money, or our health. Stress is a completely natural response that is designed to keep us safe in serious or potentially dangerous situations. The flight or fight trigger most of us are all too familiar with is crucial for our survival and in short term situations, it can actually benefit our health. But when this response is triggered day after day, it can backfire on us and lead to some serious health problems.
Acute or chronic stress can lead to a compromised immune system, anger, headaches, irritability, gastric distress, fatigue, and insomnia, however, there are ways to bring elevated stress levels down. Far too often we reach for unhealthy options like alcohol, cigarettes, chemical anti-anxiety meds and sleeping tablets to try to manage our stress levels. Unfortunately, these bad habits can lead to bad habits that are really hard to break. It’s no wonder that stress is the leading factor behind most disorders including heart disease.
Fortunately, doing simple things like regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, getting quality sleep, and taking a nutritional supplement during times of stress can have a positive impact on your immune systems and mental health.
If you want to lead a healthier, less stressed lifestyle, we have outlined the best lifestyle changes and nutritional supplements to help bust anxiety and boost your overall health.
The Effects Of Stress
There are many subtle ways stress starts to take its toll on the body. And most of it tends to go unnoticed before it really becomes a problem. Before we can decide on the best nutritional supplement to take during times of stress, we must look at the impact it has on your body and what areas need to be addressed first. Are you unable to sleep? Do you get frequent migraines? Or is it causing a few problems in the bedroom?
Let’s take a look at how an everyday stressful situation affects your body at that exact moment. Say for example you are stuck in traffic and are already running late for a meeting. Your body’s natural defenses start to kick in. The amygdala, which is a tiny control center in the brain responsible for our emotions sends signals to the hypothalamus, sympathetic nervous system, and pituitary glands to release specific hormones and chemicals – epinephrine, cortisol, and noradrenaline.
Cortisol is the most well-known stress hormone that is responsible for suppressing the immune system and increasing blood pressure and sugar levels during times of fear. Epinephrine and noradrenaline increase glucose production in order to supply a quick and sudden surge of energy so that the muscles are prepared for a quick reaction. Like when you slam on breaks suddenly to avoid an accident. In addition to this, these hormones trigger reactions simultaneously including:
- Accelerated heartbeat
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling flushed
- Inhibited digestion
- Intensified emotions
- Tunnel vision
In some situations, the stress causes such severe reactions in the body it can resemble a heart attack. This is what is known as a panic attack. When the body feels that the threat is over, all systems should return to normal, however, if the nervous system doesn’t respond or if the threat doesn’t go away, these reactions will persist.
Now imagine these negative reactions happening every day, it starts to put a strain on the immune system, heart, lungs, stomach, and muscular system, which eventually leads to more complications.
Here are a few of the more common long term effects stress can have on your body:
Weakened Immune System
When a stressful situation arises, the hormones and chemicals that are secreted help to stimulate the immune system. This is not a design flaw but rather quite the opposite. In immediate situations, the stimulation of the immune system helps to heal wounds and reduce the risk of developing an infection.
However, if this continues over a longer period of time, stress hormones actually start to weaken the immune system, making it more susceptible to harmful pathogens. Individuals who experience continuous stress and anxiety are more prone to catching seasonal colds and flu as well as infections like bacterial vaginosis. Stress can also delay the healing process once the immune system has been compromised.
We all toss and turn occasionally especially when something is weighing heavily on our minds. In normal situations, this usually passes over, however, when someone has chronic stress it can lead to more sleepless nights, which disrupts the natural sleep cycle. When we do not get enough quality sleep it leads to a weakened immune system, heightened emotions, impaired cognition, and disrupts important systems like the central nervous system and respiratory system from functioning properly. In one study, researchers found that continuous sleep deprivation is linked to an increased risk of early mortality.
When the fight or flight response is triggered the muscles contract in order to protect themselves against injury. Once the perceived threat is gone, the muscles relax. If you suffer from chronic anxiety or stress, the muscles don’t get a chance to relax, which leads to a sore neck, back and shoulder pain, and migraines.
Stressed induced tension headaches and migraines can last as long as two days and often cause severe pain and symptoms like vomiting, temporary loss of vision, and sensitivity to light or sound. These headaches can be debilitating and can happen more frequently, especially when you are stressed.
Heartburn And Digestive Problems
The digestive system is heavily impacted during bouts of stress. When the fight or flight response is triggered, the liver starts to produce more glucose in order to supply you with a quick boost of energy. When the stress becomes chronic, the insulin secreted by the pancreas may not be enough to offset the amount of glucose released. This can increase the chances of developing type 2 diabetes.
The excessive secretion of hormones, elevated heart rate, and increased rapid breathing increases the level of acid in the stomach. This can cause acid reflux and for those with pre-existing ulcers, it can cause them to flare up. Stress also affects the way your body digests and secretes foods from our body, which can cause nausea, vomiting, stomach ache, constipation, or diarrhea.
Other Ways Stress Can Affect Your Health
- Increased depression
- Rapid breathing
- Higher risk of heart attack
- High blood pressure
- Low sex drive
- Skipped periods
- Fertility problems
- High blood sugar
Nutritional Supplements To Take During Times Of Stress
Stress may not be a pathogen or virus and even though we can’t physically see it, the effects are just as dangerous as any other foreign invader or disease.
Fortunately, some of the side effects stress leads to can be reversed and managed without having to reach for the painkillers, alcohols, cigarettes or sedatives that are habit-forming and can cause more damage to your health.
Nutritional supplements are a great and natural way to curb stress levels, boost your mood and improve your immune system without experiencing any side effects. These are a few of the best nutritional supplements to address symptoms during times of stress and anxiety.
Nutritional Supplements To Boost Your Mood and Immune System
Possibly one of the most beneficial nutritional supplements on the market is turmeric. Some may know this supplement as curcumin, which is the active compound in turmeric that gives this herb it’s magic powers. While there are a lot of benefits up for grabs with this supplement, most people take turmeric to help alleviate symptoms of depression and to boost the immune system as well.
According to research, curcumin has shown to be just as effective as a chemical antidepressant called fluoxetine (Prozac) in people who suffer from anxiety-related depression and major depressive disorder.
Another review outlines how curcumin positively affects the brain and mood by increasing levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain. These hormones are responsible for regulating moods and appetite. Both hormones also play a crucial role in the brain’s pleasure and reward systems.
The other benefits of high-quality turmeric supplements include:
- Fighting inflammation – studies have revealed that curcumin is just as effective as anti-inflammatory drugs on the market.
- Increasing antioxidants – helps to protect against free radicals and boosts the body’s natural antioxidant enzyme activity.
- Protects against degenerative brain disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease.
- It helps to alleviate pain and inflammation caused by arthritis.
If you want to buy a high-quality turmeric supplement, Turmeric MD is an excellent choice because it offers an adequate dosage and BioPerine® to increase the absorption of curcumin by 2000%.
Ashwagandha is a herb that has been used for centuries in Indian Ayurveda medicine. The adaptogenic herb is used to alleviate mental and physical stress. This includes depression, anxiety, and chronic stress. According to researchers, Ashwagandha helps to lower levels of cortisol by almost 30%. In other studies, researchers have found that the herb has a significant effect on reducing anxiety and insomnia in people who suffer from general anxiety disorders.
In addition to boosting your mood, Ashwagandha also acts as a potent immune system booster. Scientists have revealed in numerous publications that Ashwagandha helps to enhance immune cell activity, which helps to fight infection and keeps your immune system functioning at full capacity.
The other benefits of high-quality Ashwagandha supplements include:
- Reduced inflammation by reducing the activity of C-reactive protein, which is linked to increased risk of heart disease.
- Lowered triglyceride and cholesterol levels by up to 53% according to recent studies.
- Improved cognitive function that has been shown to boost reaction time, task performance, and memory.
- Improved fertility in men by increasing testosterone levels and improving reproductive health.
If you are looking for a high-quality Ashwagandha supplement, Approved Science® Ashwagandha is the perfect choice to boost your mood and immunity. Approved Science® offers 1500mg of pure Ashwagandha with added ginger and BioPerine® for added health benefits and absorption.
Nutritional Supplements to Bust Anxiety
Valerian Root and Passionflower
The best nutritional supplement to take during times of stress should contain these two potent ingredients.
Valerian root, which is often referred to as ‘nature’s Valium’ has been in use for centuries by traditional healers to help promote calm and tranquility. The herb contains different amino acids and two compounds called Isovaleric acid and Valerenic acid.
In various studies, researchers have found that these plant compounds interact with our natural gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is a chemical messenger in the brain that is responsible for regulating nerve impulses in both the brain and nervous system. When we suffer from acute stress or anxiety, the levels of GABA drop.
When these levels are too low, it leads to heightened anxiety and in some cases, insomnia. Valerenic acid works in the same way common prescription anti-anxiety drugs like Valium and Xanax do, but without the potentially harmful side effects. It works by inhibiting the breakdown of GABA, which results in feelings of tranquility and peacefulness. Research has also found that the antioxidants found in the herb also have sedative properties meaning that it helps to promote quality sleep as well.
Passionflower also has potent calming effects of its own. Much like Valerian root, it also helps to boost GABA levels to reduce anxiety and promote feelings of calmness.
In one study, participants who drank Passionflower herbal tea daily for seven days reported that their quality of sleep had improved. Participants who took part in another trial also reported that they had experienced less anxiety compared to those who had taken a placebo.
Passionflower has also been shown to soothe stomach ulcers, which is extremely beneficial for those who experience a flare-up of ulcers during times of stress.
If you are on the market for an antianxiety nutritional supplement, reach for one that combines the power of these two ingredients as well as supporting ingredients like 5-HTP, Magnesium, and L-theanine to restore calm and balance when things get stressful. Anxietex™ is a dual formula that contains Valerian Root and Passionflower and supporting ingredients to help promote tranquility and relaxation during the day and at night.
Nutritional Supplements to Combat Insomnia
The most effective way to combat stress is to get a good night’s rest every day. But that can be difficult seeing that stress keeps us up at night. However, taking a nutritional supplement that contains Melatonin can help combat the insomnia you may be experiencing at the moment.
Melatonin is a natural hormone that helps to regulate our sleep and wake cycles. When the sun sets and it is dark out, our body automatically produces more Melatonin in order to help us fall asleep. When the sun rises, these levels start to drop. Unfortunately, many factors can affect the levels of Melatonin naturally found in our bodies. A melatonin supplement helps to boost these levels up again.
In 19 trials, over 1000 people suffering from sleep disorders were given a melatonin supplement or placebo. Those who had taken the Melatonin were able to fall asleep quicker. The Melatonin group also experienced longer sleep time and overall improved quality of sleep compared to those who had been given the placebo.
For a good night’s sleep invest in a quality supplement like Insomniar™ that contains key ingredients like Melatonin, Valerian root, Passionflower, L-ornithine and more to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
Nutritional Supplements to Alleviate Migraines
Magnesium and Riboflavin
Migraines can affect your quality of life especially when they are triggered during times of stress. Fortunately, there are nutritional supplements that can help curb the symptoms and reduce the frequency of these stress-induced headaches. Two ingredients to potent ingredients to look for in these formulas are Magnesium and Riboflavin or better known as vitamin B-2.
Magnesium has a wide variety of health benefits, but studies have shown it is especially effective for fighting migraines. Other than stress, research also suggests that migraines can be triggered due to a deficiency in Magnesium. When administered, scientists found that the frequency and severity of migraine had significantly declined by a staggering 41.6 percent!
Magnesium is also effective for reducing inflammation during a migraine attack by stabilizing cell membranes and preventing the aggregation platelets.
Riboflavin also has a positive effect on reducing the severity and frequency of migraines with no known side effects at all. While it is not fully understood yet just how Riboflavin works to combat migraines, researchers believe it is because it affects the way cells process energy.
Riboflavin and Magnesium are key ingredients but for a more potent anti-migraine supplement, it is recommended to look for supporting ingredients like Butterbur and Feverfew.
The Butterbur shrub is no stranger to the medicinal world and has been used to combat fevers, coughs, and skin wounds over the past thousand years. The active compounds in Butterbur called Petasin helps to relax blood vessels in the brain during a migraine attack.
Feverfew, which is also a plant and gets its name from the Latin word for “fever reducer” febrifuga. The active compounds in Feverfew, parthenolide, and tanetin inhibit the production of molecules that encourage inflammation (prostaglandins). Studies also show that parthenolide prevents the muscles from contracting and the blood vessels in the brain from widening during an attack.
When choosing a nutritional supplement to curb migraines during times of stress, it is important to look out for a safe dosage of magnesium. When taken in excess, magnesium can cause nausea, vomiting and stomach pains. Migranex™ offers a safe dosage of 360mg and combines Riboflavin, Butterbur, Feverfew and other clinically approved ingredients in their formula to help reduce the severity and frequency of migraine attacks.
Our Final Word On Taking A Nutritional Supplement During Times Of Stress
Our jobs, family, finances, and personal circumstances can cause a lot of stress in our lives. Unfortunately, when we lose control of our stress, it starts to take its toll on our health. Migraines, compromised immune system, gastric discomfort, high blood pressure, and increased risk of heart disease are just a few things chronic stress can lead to. But by changing your lifestyle and focusing on your mental health you can reduce the risk of developing these long term problems.
Taking a nutritional supplement during times of stress can be extremely beneficial for combating the negative effects of stress and boosting your immune system.
Ingredients like Feverfew, Butterbur Passion Flower, Valerian Root, Magnesium, Melatonin and L-theanine help to ease anxiety, combat insomnia, and provide relief from debilitating migraines. Turmeric and Ashwagandha are potent immune boosters that help improve your mood and overall health and well being. It is never easy when things get stressful but by investing in nutritional supplements and focusing on your mental health, you will come out of this cloudy time a stronger and healthier person!