The Best Vitamins and Supplements to Combat Stress

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While everyone has specific life stressors, factors related to job pressure, money, health, and relationships tend to be the most common.

Stress can be acute or chronic and lead to fatigue, headaches, upset stomach, nervousness, and irritability or anger.

Regular exercise, adequate sleep, and good nutrition are some of the best ways to better equip your body to combat stress, but several vitamins and supplements can also help.

Here are the best vitamins and supplements to help you combat stress.

Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea), is an herb that grows in the cold, mountainous regions of Russia and Asia.

It has long been known as an adaptogen, a natural, non-toxic herb that stimulates your body’s stress response system to increase stress resistance.

The adaptogenic properties of rhodiola are linked to two of the herb’s potent active ingredients — rosavin and salidroside.

An 8-week study in 100 people with chronic fatigue symptoms, such as poor sleep quality and impairments in short-term memory and concentration, found that supplementing with 400 mg of rhodiola extract daily improved symptoms after just 1 week.

Melatonin

Getting adequate amounts of quality sleep is important for relieving stress.

Stress is strongly linked to insomnia, a sleep disorder characterized by difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep — or both.

That said, achieving adequate quality sleep may not be the easiest if you’re under stress, which in turn could worsen its severity.

Melatonin is a natural hormone that regulates your body’s circadian rhythm, or sleep-wake cycle. Levels of the hormone increase in the evening when it’s dark to promote sleep and decrease in the morning when it’s light to promote wakefulness.

In a review of 19 studies in 1,683 people with primary sleep disorders — those not caused by another condition — melatonin decreased the time it took people to fall asleep, increased total sleep time, and improved overall sleep quality, compared with a placebo.

Glycine

Glycine is an amino acid that your body uses to create proteins.

Studies suggest that glycine may increase your body’s resistance to stress by encouraging a good night’s rest through its calming effect on the brain and ability to lower your core body temperature.

A lower body temperature promotes sleep and helps you stay asleep during the night.

In one study, 15 people who had complaints about the quality of their sleep and took 3 grams of glycine before bed experienced less fatigue and increased alertness the following day, compared with a placebo.

These effects occurred despite no difference in the time it took to fall asleep or time slept, compared with a placebo, suggesting glycine improved sleep quality.

L-theanine

L-theanine is an amino acid most commonly found in tea leaves.

It has been studied for its ability to promote relaxation and reduce stress without exerting sedative effects.

A review of 21 studies involving nearly 68,000 people found that drinking green tea was associated with reduced anxiety and improvements in memory and attention.

These effects were attributed to the synergistic effects of the caffeine and l-theanine in the tea, as each ingredient on its own was found to have a lesser impact.

However, studies suggest that l-theanine by itself may still help relieve stress.

B complex vitamins

B complex vitamins usually contain all eight B vitamins.

These vitamins play an important role in metabolism by transforming the food you eat into usable energy. B vitamins are also essential for heart and brain health.

Food sources of B vitamins include grains, meats, legumes, eggs, dairy products, and leafy greens.

Interestingly, high doses of B vitamins have been suggested to improve symptoms of stress, such as mood and energy levels, by lowering blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine.

High levels of homocysteine are associated with stress and an increased risk of several conditions, including heart disease, dementia, and colorectal cancer.

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