Stress is an unavoidable part of life. There will always be people or situations that push your buttons and make you feel flustered or overwhelmed. Including these powerful vitamins for stress can help your body better deal with the stresses life throws at it.
During times of stress, it’s normal to wish it would just go away. But not all stress is bad. A stressor can motivate you to work hard and do your best or to make a change in your life for the better.
Unfortunately, in our fast-paced lives, it’s far too common for stress to become chronic. Experiencing uncontrolled stress on a daily basis, can wear you down and even make you sick.
The goal in life is not to be stress-free. Instead, you need to engage in habits that help you manage your response to stress in a positive way. Your lifestyle should make you resilient in the face of whatever life throws at you.
Eating a clean, healthy diet, exercising, and taking time to relax are all effective habits for managing stress. But, for some people, these techniques alone are not enough.
If you find yourself needing a little extra help controlling chronic stress, there is more you can do. Many all-natural vitamins for stress are safe, effective, and may be just what you need to put your body and mind at ease.
The Best Vitamins For Stress
Stress triggers your body’s fight or flight response to prepare you to handle a perceived threat. Your heart rate increases, breath quickens, blood pressure rises, and muscles tense in preparation for action.
Over time, chronic stress results in elevated cortisol, a stress hormone that contributes to weight gain. Other long-term side effects of unmanaged stress include chronic inflammation, compromised immunity, anxiety and/or depression, and digestive problems.
Stress interferes with your body’s ability to function well. In contrast, vitamins are essential nutrients that help support healthy body processes and counteract the damaging effects of stress.
These three vitamins for stress are often overlooked but continue to be some of the most effective stress fighters out there.
While commonly known as your best friend when you have a cold, vitamin C is also a potent vitamin for stress.
When your body is under stress, it uses oxygen and energy at a higher rate, leading to the production of free radicals. These unstable compounds cause inflammation and cellular damage, otherwise known as oxidative stress. This essential nutrient is a powerful antioxidant that can fight the oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
The brain is especially sensitive to damage from free radicals. However, vitamin C in the form of ascorbic acid can neutralize free radicals in the brain and improve mood.
When used as a vitamin for stress, vitamin C can also:
- Modulate cortisol production.
- Decrease heart rate and blood pressure.
- Synthesize neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin.
Vitamin C is found in a variety of fruits and vegetables. If you are following a low-carb diet, be aware of what food sources you regularly consume to ensure you are not low on this essential nutrient.
Low-carb vitamin C sources include:
- Spinach and kale
- Brussel sprouts
How To Supplement
Because vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin, it is well-absorbed and has a low risk of toxicity. Taking more than your body can use will result in the excess being secreted in your urine. As a matter of fact, don’t be surprised if your urine looks bright yellow after taking a supplement. It’s just your kidneys filtering out what it doesn’t need.
- If straight ascorbic acid is too acidic for your gut, look for “buffered” versions that may be better tolerated.
- Take 500-1000 mg daily.
Magnesium is a mineral that is essential for over 300 biochemical reactions in your body. It also plays a role in your immune system, muscle function, nerve signaling, heart contractions, and energy metabolism.
When it comes to stress, magnesium supports brain functions that can decrease your stress response. Research has repeatedly linked magnesium and stress:
- One study conducted in mice demonstrated anxiety as a symptom of magnesium deficiency.
- The early symptoms of magnesium deficiency are similar to those of chronic stress; fatigue, irritability, and mild anxiety.
- In a recent study, almost half of stressed subjects were mildly deficient in magnesium.
- Multiple studies have documented improvements in stress markers with the use of a magnesium supplement.
Almost half of the US population does not get enough magnesium in their diet. While foods such as nuts, dark leafy greens, whole grains, and milk are good sources of magnesium, many people eat a diet high in processed food that may not meet their needs.
Using magnesium as a vitamin for stress can bridge the gap for this essential nutrient.
How To Supplement
Magnesium is often used as a laxative, so when supplementing as a vitamin for stress, choose carefully.
Look for these criteria:
- Magnesium glycinate is well-tolerated and easily absorbed. With this form, magnesium is combined with glycine, which can help promote feelings of calm and may improve sleep.
- Take 300-400 mg per day.
- Try a slow-release capsule or tablet.
If you’re taking magnesium as a vitamin for stress, adding vitamin B6 is essential. Taken together, these supplements act synergistically to combat stress and anxiety.
Vitamin B6 works in the brain to aid in the synthesis of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin, which regulate mood.
Vitamin B6 also appears to increase magnesium absorption, leading to higher magnesium concentration in the tissues. For this reason, taking B6 along with magnesium is more effective against stress than either one alone.
Though vitamin B6 is widely available in foods, when you experience stress, your body may require a higher intake.
Low-carb food sources of vitamin B6 include:
- Salmon and other fish
- Chicken and turkey
- Beef products, including liver
How To Supplement
- When combining magnesium and vitamin B6, research has shown benefits with a 300 mg dose of magnesium plus 30 mg of B6.
- The most common form of vitamin B6 available as a supplement is pyridoxine hydrochloride [HCl] which is well absorbed and tolerated.
Stop Stress In Its Tracks
An effective stress management plan will make use of the best available tools. While a healthy diet, exercise, and regular relaxation should always be the foundation, taking vitamins for stress may be the right choice if a healthy lifestyle alone isn’t cutting it.
Life is full of the unexpected. There are many things you cannot control, but your resilience to stress is not one of them.
Include these vitamins for stress as part of your daily routine to boost your body’s ability to adapt, respond, and repair. You may never be stress-free, but you can stop stress in its tracks by arming yourself with these powerful stress-fighting vitamins.