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5 Vitamins and Supplements to Fight Stress

Stress is everywhere and is now considered almost a part of life. But in recent times, stress has greatly affected people across the globe. A large majority of Americans reported high-stress levels due to various reasons.1 Stress is now believed to be a mental health crisis that can have serious consequences in near future.

The best way to fight stress is to strengthen the body and the mind to deal with it. As nutrition plays an important role in dealing with stress, certain vitamins and supplements to combat stress may be considered.

5 Vitamins and Supplements to Fight Stress

There are various ways to handle stress, including physical exercises, meditation, sleep, and medical or emotional support, a nutritious diet plays an important role. Stress can negatively impact health, disrupt sleep, affect healing and stress triggers the fight or flight response that can influence the hormones, resulting in illnesses.2

Being in a state of constant stress raises stress hormones, such as cortisol, which can increase the risk of inflammation, high blood pressure, and lowered immunity.

Chronic stress can contribute to a wide range of problems like headaches, muscle aches, sleep issues, mood disturbances, anxiety, depression, greater risk of diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

Experts believe that the presence of stress affects healthy eating patterns and the need for nutrients grows during this period.3 Considering the high demands of the body during times of stress, a nutritious diet along with vitamins and supplements to combat stress is important.

Here are the most beneficial vitamins and supplements to combat stress:

  1. Vitamin B

    These essential vitamins are considered key nutrients that help produce energy. It is believed that certain biochemical processes in the brain affect a person’s mood and dietary insufficiencies that may result in the decline of an enzyme’s efficiency can influence mood states. Several studies have supported the fact that vitamin B can be helpful in stress conditions, hence it can be considered one of the important vitamins to combat stress.

    A 2013 study has concluded that micronutrient supplementation has a beneficial effect on perceived stress, mild psychiatric symptoms, and aspects of everyday mood in apparently healthy individuals. In such cases, supplements containing high doses of B vitamins can be more effective in improving mood states. The optimal levels of micronutrient intake and their doses should be planned properly.4

    Another study done in 2019 showed that vitamin B supplementation can benefit mood in healthy and at-risk people for stress either due to poor nutrient status or due to poor mood status. It may not be helpful for those with depressive symptoms or anxiety.5

  2. Vitamin C

    Vitamin C is known for its antioxidant properties and the various health benefits including repair, healing, and better immunity. While vitamin C deficiency is popular for bleeding gums, it is also widely linked with stress-related diseases. Several studies showed that vitamin C supplementation helps combat stress.

    A 2015 study showed evidence that vitamin C plays an important therapeutic role for anxiety and suggests a possible use of antioxidants in the prevention or reduction of anxiety. This study examined the effects of oral vitamin C supplements in 42 high school students, who were given vitamin C (500 mg) or a placebo. At the end of 14 days, the results showed that vitamin C reduced anxiety levels with higher plasma vitamin C concentration compared to the placebo.6 The study concluded that a diet rich in vitamin C may be effective in addition to medical and psychological treatment of anxiety and improve academic performance.

    In a 2020 study, it was concluded that supplementation with vitamin C produces an antidepressant effect and improves mood, although its efficacy in anxiety spectrum disorders is less established.7 The study concluded that as vitamin C supplementation produces a fast therapeutic response with low toxicity and high tolerance, it can be helpful for the treatment of mood and anxiety disorders, especially in those who are unable to take the current treatments.

  3. Omega-3-Fatty Acids

    The role of omega-3-fatty acids is appreciated in various areas and mental health is one of them. As they are involved in several important functions related to the brain, they are essential in the development of aging of the brain. Omega-3-fatty acids may play important roles in stress-related conditions and can be one the helpful supplements to combat stress.

    It is believed that deficiencies of omega-3-fatty acids are linked with an increased risk of developing mental health disorders including depression, which may be mediated by modulation of inflammatory processes. But more detailed studies to examine the exact role in preventing and treating mental disorders are needed.8

    A 2015 study evaluated the influence of n-3 PUFA supplementation on stress-induced changes to mood, cognition, and physiological stress markers in healthy, young adults. 25 females were given fish oils, while 22 females were given olive oil for 35 days. It was noted that anger and confusion increased with stress in the olive oil group but remained stable in the fish oil group. It concluded that fish oils had an influence on mood and cognition in young, healthy people.9

    Several studies have shown low levels of omega-3-PUFA levels in patients with anxiety disorders. A 2018 study suggested that omega-3-PUFAs may be helpful to reduce the symptoms of clinical anxiety.10

  4. Rhodiola Rosea

    Extracts of Rhodiola rosea roots and rhizomes are known to increase the body’s resistance to stress, fatigue, and exhaustion. With its unique properties, it can normalize the release of stress hormones, boost energy metabolism, and has a good safety profile. The use of this supplement to combat stress can be useful in fighting off various complaints and symptoms of stress-related disorders.

    A 2017 review on stress management and the role of Rhodiola rosea has concluded that it can be used for the prevention of stress symptoms from becoming chronic, treatment of stress symptoms, and prevention of stress-related complications like burnout and secondary diseases. It has been shown to improve mental performance in people with stress-related fatigue and chronic fatigue symptoms. It also showed clear improvement in burnout symptoms and could reduce general fatigue under certain stressful conditions.11

  5. Ashwagandha

    Known for its healing properties, Ashwagandha is known to improve overall health, reduce pain, and inflammation, and increase energy. It is believed that it works wonders for people of nervous type and can help maintain good health.

    A 2012 study done on 64 subjects with a history of chronic stress, concluded that a high concentration of Ashwagandha root extract can safely and effectively improve resistance to stress and help in improving quality of life.12

    In a 2019 study, the group that received Ashwagandha 600 mg showed a statistically significant reduction in stress and anxiety and showed great improvement in sleep quality.13


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:May 17, 2022

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