While it is perfectly natural to experience these emotions from time to time, if they begin interfering with your daily life, it may indicate a more serious issue.
Frequent stress leads to unwanted health consequences like fatigue, migraines, sleep disturbances, anger, irritability and even anxiety disorders.
In a worrying trend, the contribution of mental disorders to the total disease burden has doubled in India from 1990 to 2017 in a study published by The Lancet Psychiatry.
In 2017, 197 million Indians were suffering from mental disorders, of whom 46 million had depression and 45 million anxiety disorders. Thus, an estimated 1 in 7 Indians suffered from mental disorders of varying severity in 2017.
When left unchecked, chronic stress and anxiety disorders can take years off your life, make it difficult to relax, succeed at work, maintain close friendships and participate in fulfilling hobbies.
While stress and anxiety are pervasive, there are ways to mitigate its effects.
Practicing mindfulness regularly, exercise, adequate sleep and good nutrition are some of the best ways to better equip your body to combat stress and anxiety.
The dietary intake pattern of the general population in many Asian countries show that the diets of patients suffering from mental disorders are deficient in several essential vitamins, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. Daily supplements of vital nutrients are often effective in reducing patients’ symptoms.
Many vitamin supplements have also been shown to help alleviate anxiety and its symptoms.
Supplements aren’t meant to replace prescribed medication or other doctor-approved therapies, but they can be helpful additions to your care plan.
Read on to learn how these vitamins and supplements may help reduce feelings of anxiety and stress, and promote overall well-being.
Vitamin C is an essential vitamin, meaning your body can’t produce it. It is water-soluble and found in many fruits and vegetables, including oranges, strawberries, kiwi fruit, bell peppers, broccoli, kale, and spinach.
Many people turn to supplements to meet their needs for vitamin C, as foods might not provide the daily recommended intake of it.
It has many roles and has been linked to health benefits such as:
- The main reason people take vitamin C is to boost their immunity.
- Vitamin C supplements have been found to lower blood pressure, reduce uric acid.
- Help improve the absorption of iron from the diet.
- Have a protective effect against memory loss and thinking disorders like dementia.
- Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant that can boost your blood antioxidant levels. This may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease.
Antioxidants like vitamin C can help prevent oxidative damage in your nervous system. Oxidative damage can increase anxiety.
Studies have suggested that oxidative stress may trigger neuropsychological disorders.
Antioxidants may play an important therapeutic role in combating the damage caused by oxidative stress in individuals that suffer from anxiety. The vitamin helps reduce both the physical and psychological effects of stress on people.
People who have high levels of vitamin C do not show the expected mental and physical signs of stress when subjected to acute psychological challenges.
The link between vitamin C and mood might seem surprising, but people who have vitamin C deficiency often feel fatigued or depressed.
Unived’s Acerola-C is a whole food based, 100% natural form of vitamin C, derived from Organic Freeze Dried Acerola Berries.
B-complex vitamins usually refers to all eight B vitamins that your body needs.
B vitamins play a vital role in:
- maintaining good health and well-being.
- being the building blocks of a healthy body.
- B vitamins have a direct impact on your energy levels, brain health, and cell metabolism.
Food sources of B vitamins include grains, meats, legumes, eggs, dairy products, and leafy greens.
Clinical trials have also shown that supplementing with a vitamin B complex can help reduce “personal strain,” and depressed feelings when in high stress situations.
Each of the B-vitamins work synergistically to help reduce stress and anxiety:
- Vitamin B1 is important for balancing blood sugar levels, which are a significant factor in anxiety levels.
- Vitamin B3 plays a crucial role in the synthesis of serotonin and has been shown to help with symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Vitamin B5 supports the adrenal glands, which reduces stress and anxiety levels.
- Vitamin B9 (also known as folate or folic acid) and vitamin B12 are important in balancing out depressive moods.
- Vitamin B6 together with magnesium can balance out anxiety that occurs in conjunction with PMS.
- Vitamin B2 is a water-soluble fatty lipid necessary for healthy cell production.
This can be a particularly useful nutrient to consider where obsessive rumination of thoughts is a problem.
Studies show, those taking vitamin B complex supplements experienced less work-related stress symptoms, including depression, anger, and fatigue.
Thus, the B complex vitamins are vital to a healthy nervous system. They may also help improve symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Low energy and fatigue can contribute to irritability and stress levels. This is why the B vitamins, which are well-known for keeping energy levels high and improving cognitive performance, can have a positive effect.
Clinical data suggests that supplementing with a vitamin B complex can help keep your energy high and stress low.
In essence, it supports a feeling of calm and stability. If you want to be more relaxed under strain and pressure, supplementing with a B complex could be a major help.
While therapeutic doses of individual vitamins have been shown to be beneficial in alleviating certain symptoms, it is always a good idea to take a good vitamin B complex supplement.
Unived’s Organic Complete B-Complex is made from whole food ingredients and features all eight B vitamins.
L-theanine is a water-soluble, non-protein amino acid commonly found in green tea, black tea and bay bolete mushrooms.
L-theanine has anxiolytic activity and is clinically proven to have improved focus, reduce stress & anxiety and promote relaxation. Other benefits of L-theanine include, improved immune function and improved quality of sleep, sinusitis relief.
Research has demonstrated its ability to produce positive effects on mood in humans, as well as reduce blood pressure and cerebral vascular restriction caused by caffeine intake.
A hot cup of green tea can help anyone feel more at ease, but research suggests it may be the most beneficial for those dealing with high levels of anxiety.
L-theanine promotes relaxation without drowsiness. Many people take L-theanine to help ease stress and unwind.
Five randomised-controlled trials with a total of 104 participants found L-theanine reduced stress and anxiety in people who were experiencing stressful situations.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry focused on people with schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder. Researchers found that L-theanine decreased anxiety and improved symptoms.
A 2013 study found that moderate levels of L-theanine and caffeine helped a group of young adults to focus better during demanding tasks. The study’s participants also felt more alert and less tired in general. According to another study, these effects can be felt in as little as 30 minutes.
Its soothing property has the ability to encourage wakeful relaxation without sedation. It is thought to work by decreasing “excitatory” brain chemicals that contribute to stress and anxiety while increasing brain chemicals that encourage a sense of calm. It’s even been known to lower stress-related blood pressure and heart rate.
Furthermore, paired with caffeine, L-theanine may help increase focus and attention.
Unived’s Nootro-Peak is a smart nootropic supplement blend that offers instant cognitive benefit, mental alertness, and razor sharp focus, while promoting relaxation at the same time. It is formulated with a ratio of 1:2 of caffeine to L-theanine along with some B vitamins.
Magnesium is an important mineral necessary for the proper functioning of almost every system in the human body. Its many functions include helping with muscle and nerve function, regulating blood pressure and supporting the immune system.
It’s found in whole wheat, spinach, quinoa, almonds and cashews, dark chocolate and black beans. However, you may not be getting enough of it, even if you eat a healthy diet.
About 60% of the magnesium in your body is found in bone, while the rest is in muscles, soft tissues and fluids, including blood.
One of magnesium’s main roles is acting as a cofactor or helper molecule in the biochemical reactions continuously performed by enzymes.
In fact, it’s involved in more than 300 reactions in your body, including:
- Energy creation: Helps convert food into energy.
- Protein formation: Helps create new proteins from amino acids.
- Gene maintenance: Helps create and repair DNA and RNA.
- Muscle movements: Is part of the contraction and relaxation of muscles.
- Nervous system regulation: Helps regulate neurotransmitters, which send messages throughout your brain and nervous system.
Magnesium therefore, helps improve exercise performance, bone health, benefits against type 2 diabetes, help lower blood pressure, has also been shown to fight inflammation which is one of the drivers of ageing, obesity and chronic disease, and provides relief from migraines. Magnesium has also been shown to improve mood, reduce water retention and other symptoms in women with PMS.
Magnesium plays a critical role in brain function and mood, and low levels are linked to an increased risk of depression. Several studies have suggested that it plays a role in anxiety. Magnesium levels may play a role in mood disorders, including depression and anxiety.
Supplementing with this mineral may help reduce symptoms of depression.
In a randomised controlled trial in depressed older adults, 450 mg of magnesium daily improved mood as effectively as an antidepressant drug.
A 2017 systematic review looked at the results of 18 different studies. The researchers found that magnesium supplements may improve measures of anxiety in people vulnerable to the condition.
Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer, which immensely helps with anxiety. It’s a nervous system relaxant and mineral that assists with fear, irritability, and restlessness.
You may hold on to so much tension within your muscles, and magnesium helps create calmness. Magnesium is known to promote relaxation; therefore, a deficiency can cause stress to have detrimental effects on the body.
It stabilises the mood and promotes feelings of calm and well-being. In addition, research indicates magnesium seems to play a major role in the hormonal axis and regulation of the stress response, and some research indicates it can be an effective part of depression treatment.
Magnesium is a mineral that is essential for muscle and nerve function. Multiple studies have shown that magnesium is especially crucial for sleep, with supplementation helping in this regard. A 2012 study published by the National Institute of Health demonstrated that supplementing with magnesium improves sleep quality.
As mentioned, sleeplessness and stress go hand-in-hand. We all know the struggle and frustration of tossing and turning in bed all night. If that is something you struggle with, magnesium is worth consideration.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is commonly called the ‘Indian Winter Cherry”.
Some research suggests that it may be just as effective as certain medications in reducing anxiety. It is one of the most important herbs of Ayurveda (the traditional system of medicine in India) used for millennia as a Rasayana(tonic) for its wide ranging health benefits.
It is one of the key components of a mood-boosting supplement. Considered to be an adaptogen, which is a natural substance that helps balance the body’s reactions to stress, promotes restful sleep and relaxation.
While the benefits of Ashwagandha are gained by eating the fruit, seeds and shoots of the plant it is derived from, Ashwagandha is most commonly consumed in capsule form.
Ashwagandha has a storied history in traditional Ayurvedic medicine. The entire plant, from roots to seeds, has beneficial properties, especially when it comes to stress reduction.
It has been used to relieve stress and improve concentration. Many of its health benefits are attributed to its high concentration of withanolides, which have been shown to fight inflammation and improve reproductive health in men.
Studies have shown that Ashwagandha may help reduce cortisol levels which increases as a reaction to stress.
The benefits of Ashwagandha are wide ranging, but it’s a superstar when it comes to getting people to feel less stressed.
One particularly interesting study from 2017 showed a 44% reduction in stress levels after taking Ashwagandha, as opposed to just a 5.5% decrease in the group taking a placebo.
Several other controlled human studies have shown that it can reduce symptoms in people with stress and anxiety disorders. In another 6-week study, 88% of people who took Ashwagandha reported a reduction in anxiety, compared with 50% of those who took a placebo.
Therefore, it can reduce anxiety and stress, help fight depression, boost fertility and testosterone in men, and even boost brain function.
Multivitamin and mineral supplements
A supplement that contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals may benefit people with anxiety.
- A 2019 study found that a supplement that contained the following nutrients significantly decreased anxiety in young adults: B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
- A 2018 study reports that multivitamin supplements may benefit people who have mood disorders such as anxiety.
Unived’s Whole Food Multivitamin contains Vitamin A, Vitamin B-Complex, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, Vitamin K2-7, Vitamin E, and some co-factor minerals, all in one natural whole food vegan capsule.
If you know your diet is lacking key nutrients, dietary supplements may be the key to symptom relief.
Although dietary supplements aren’t a replacement for the food itself, they can help you get the nutrients you need while you get your diet back on track.
Your doctor can also help you identify or confirm any deficiencies, as well as offer information on dosage and overall dietary health.
Also try meditation, exercise, and building a strong support network. In addition to taking supplements, your diet can help improve your anxiety responses.
If you’re experiencing overwhelming emotions and other symptoms of anxiety, please consult a mental health professional. The treatment options for anxiety disorders include therapy, medication, or a combination of both.
When to see a doctor
See your doctor if:
- You feel like you’re worrying too much and it’s interfering with your work, relationships or other parts of your life.
- Your fear, worry or anxiety is upsetting to you and difficult to control.
- You feel depressed, have trouble with alcohol or drug use, or have other mental health concerns along with anxiety.
- You think your anxiety could be linked to a physical health problem.
- You have suicidal thoughts or behaviours — if this is the case, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Anxiety & stress prevention
There’s no way to predict for certain what will cause someone to develop an anxiety disorder, but you can take steps to reduce the impact of symptoms if you’re anxious:
Get help early: Anxiety, like many other mental health conditions, can be harder to treat if you wait.
Stay active: Participate in activities that you enjoy and that make you feel good about yourself. Enjoy social interaction and caring relationships, which can lessen your worries.
Avoid alcohol or drug use: Alcohol and drug use can cause or worsen anxiety. If you’re addicted to any of these substances, quitting can make you anxious. If you can’t quit on your own, see your doctor or find a support group to help you.
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The bottom line
Stress can be caused by many things such as job, money, health, or relationship factors.
Several vitamins and other supplements have been linked to reduced stress symptoms and help increase your body’s resistance to life stressors, including Vitamin C, B Complex Vitamins, L-theanine, Magnesium and Ashwagandha.
Always check with your healthcare provider before trying a new supplement, especially if you’re taking other medications, pregnant, or planning to become pregnant.
If stress continues to be a problem in your life, consider speaking with a medical professional or therapist about possible solutions.