The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has made the “new normal” particularly stressful for most of us. Sudden transitions to working from home, adjustments to virtual workspaces, and hampered fitness regimes are some of the factors that could be contributing to your stress.
Chronic stress can disrupt your life. Stress hormones that regulate fight or flight responses and other basic positive reactions are not the only ones at play when anxiety occurs. Long term stimulus of our stress response system and the unchecked production of cortisol and adrenaline, will damage your body's natural processes. Vitamins not only play an important role in strengthening bones, healing wounds and fortifying the immune system; more importantly they help in stress management and safeguard brain health (14).
The effects of stress that most frequently manifest can include headaches, an upset stomach, fatigue, or irritability (1).
Regular exercise, proper sleep, and good nutrition are some of the effective ways to help manage stress. To ensure we receive sufficient nutrients to keep the body and mind healthy, custom vitamin packs can also be considered.
Here is a list of vitamin supplements that you can include in your personalised vitamin packs to help you cope with stress:
Once used exclusively in Indian medicinal practice, ashwagandha has gained popularity among international wellness consumers for its ability to reduce or relieve symptoms of stress (2).
This can be especially therapeutic during stressful times when the body’s cortisol levels become elevated. Healthcare professionals state that elevated cortisol levels can give rise to sensations and physiological changes such as increased heart rate and rapid breathing, both of which are indicative of stress (2). These often lead to issues with brain health and heart disease. Ashwagandha can help normalise cortisol levels which supports healthy stress response in the body (3).
Vitable Australia’s Ashwagandha uses extracts from the root of the herb itself. This provides a full spectrum of benefits that can reduce symptoms of stress while also improving quality of sleep and memory.
Study showed that amino acids are complex molecules that combine to form proteins. Animal and plant products such as meat, eggs, quinoa and soy have the entire spectrum of the nine essential amino acids required by the body to cope with stress and mend (15).
There is correlation between stress and magnesium deficiency (4) as stress can induce a loss of magnesium in the body. In turn, a magnesium deficiency increases the body’s susceptibility to stress (5). Frequent exposure to psychological stress can be overcome by getting enough magnesium. This can also help with the effects of sleep deprivation and fatigue (7).
Food sources of magnesium include nuts, legumes, and whole grains and fortified cereals. This list also includes easily accessible fruits and veggies like apples, bananas, raisins and spinach, dark leafy greens, which all have very high magnesium content (6). If you feel that you are not getting enough magnesium from diet, supplementation can be an option.
Complex supplements like B complex supports a healthy stress response in the body. It contributes significantly to a person’s stress coping mechanisms, as dietary deficiencies have been found to implicate altered mood states which can include work stress, even in the healthiest of individuals (8).
Sources of B vitamins include dairy and soy products, some organ meats, poultry and beef, whole grains, shellfish and fish, and a variety of fruits and veggies.
Including B complex supplements or foods rich in B vitamins can help change how you maintain productivity and cope with stress on a daily basis (9).
Vitamin D has positive effects in reducing anxiety. It also helps calcium absorption in the body. While high levels of cortisol from excessive stress can lead to weaker bones (13), sufficient calcium intake can help support bone strength and health. An adequate supply of calcium can also help you steer clear of weakened or brittle bones in later life.
Vitamins and minerals to combat stress and anxiety, remain the all time favourite hits on top of the health charts. Cobalamin or vitamin B12 is involved in the production of brain chemicals which can affect the mood and other functions of the brain. Having low levels of B12 is also linked to poor moods, a state that can potentially make us less resilient towards stress, or make us feel the effects of stress more strongly (11).
Vitamin B12 can be found in different kinds of food such as fish, poultry, eggs, low-fat milk, and even among several fortified breakfast cereals. If you would like to increase your intake of vitamin B12, the supplement can be added to your personalised daily vitamins.
Ginkgo extracts have been continuously used around the world as a potential herbal remedy which can enhance a person’s cognitive functions. It can also help alleviate stress and fatigue (12). Brahmi is commonly used as a neural tonic, a herbal drink believed to nourish the central nervous system that oversees healthy stress response.
Together, Ginkgo and Brahmi can enhance the body’s adaptation to stress, while relieving its symptoms. They can also improve cognitive functions, which is a critical component of dealing with daily stress.
Each of us has our own set of stresses to manage in the “new normal”. Systematic review of our mental makeup, stress stimulants in our environment and our approach to deal with them, should be in place. The challenge of dealing with stressors can be made easier with personalised vitamins or a vitamin subscription from Vitable Australia. Supplements may improve stress management. Curate a vitamin pack tailor fit to you to help cope with stress today. Getting your vitamin subscription in Australia can provide a host of other health benefits too. And we’ll have these custom supplements delivered right to you!
Find out more about other areas that the above supplements can help you with:
*Always read the label. Follow the directions for use. If symptoms persist, talk to your health professional. Vitamin and/or mineral supplements should not replace a balanced diet.
1. MedlinePlus. Stress and your Health. MedlinePlus. Published on 2021 September 1 on https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/003211.htm. Accessed 2021 September 3.
2. Cleveland Clinic. What is Ashwagandha? Cleveland Clinic. Published on 2021 May 5 on https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-is-ashwagandha/. Accessed 2021 September 3.
3. Lopresti, Smith, Malvi, & Kodgule. An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Published 2019 September on https://journals.lww.com/md-journal/fulltext/2019/09130/an_investigation_into_the_stress_relieving_and.67.aspx. Accessed 2021 September 3.
4. Galland L. Magnesium, stress and neuropsychiatric disorders. Magnes Trace Elem. Published 1991-1992 on https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1844561/ . Accessed 2021 September 3.
5. Seelig, M. S. Consequences of magnesium deficiency on the enhancement of stress reactions; preventive and therapeutic implications (a review). J Am Coll Nutr. Published 1994 Oct on https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7836621/ . Accessed 2021 September 3.
6. EFSA Panel on Dietetic Products Nutrition and Allergies (NDA). Scientific Opinion on Dietary Reference Values for magnesium. EFSA J. Published 2015 on https://efsa.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.2903/j.efsa.2015.4186. Accessed 2021 September 3.
7. Pickering, Mazur, Trousselard, Bienkowski, Yaltsewa, Amessou, Noah & Pouteau. Magnesium Status and Stress: The Vicious Circle Concept Revisited. Nutrients. Published 2020 November 8 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7761127/. Accessed 2021 September 3.
8. Benton, D. To establish the parameters of optimal nutrition do we need to consider psychological in addition to physiological parameters? Mol Nutr Food Res. Published 2012 October 5 on https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23038656/. Accessed 2021 September 3.
9. Stough, Simpson, Lomas, McPhee, Billings, Myers, Oliver, & Downey. Reducing occupational stress with a B-vitamin focussed intervention: a randomized clinical trial: study protocol. Nutr J. Published 2014 December 22 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4290459/ .
10. Fazelian, et al. Effect of Vitamin D Supplement on Mood Status and Inflammation in Vitamin D Deficient Type 2 Diabetic Women with Anxiety: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Int J Prev Med. Published 2019 February 12 on https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6390422/. Accessed 2021 September 3.
11. Hall-Flavin. Vitamin B-12 and depression: are they related? Mayo Clinic. Published 2018 June 1 on https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/expert-answers/vitamin-b12-and-depression/faq-20058077 . Accessed 2021 September 3.
12. Alsmadi, et al. The effect of Ginkgo biloba and psycho-education on stress, anxiety and fatigue among refugees. Singapore Healthcare. Published 2017 June 27 on https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1177/2010105817716184. Accessed 2021 September 3.
13. Iacopo Chiodini, Alfredo Scillitani. Role of cortisol hypersecretion in the pathogenesis of osteoporosis. NCBI. Published on 2008 June on https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18710063/. Accessed 2021 September 19.
15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK557845/. Mar 2021.