Although everyone has specific stressors, factors related to job pressure, money, health, and relationships are generally the most common. Stress can be acute or chronic and lead to fatigue, headaches, stomachaches, nervousness, irritability or anger. Regular exercise, adequate sleep, and a good diet are some of the best ways to better equip your body to fight stress, but several vitamins and supplements can also help.
1 Rhodiola rosea
One study showed that taking 400 mg of rhodiola extract daily for 12 weeks improved associated symptoms, including anxiety, exhaustion, and irritability.
Rhodiola can be used to help combat stress and may help combat fatigue, depression and anxiety. It is a herb that grows in the 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 resistance to stress. Rhodiola’s adaptogenic properties are linked to two of its powerful active ingredients – rosavin and salidroside. An 8-week study in 100 people with symptoms of chronic fatigue, such as poor sleep quality and impaired short-term memory and concentration, found that daily supplementation with 400 mg of rhodiola extract improved symptoms after only one week.
The dosage of melatonin supplements ranges from 0.3 to 10 mg. It is best to start with the lowest possible dose and increase to a higher dose if needed. Optimal use: Melatonin supplements are particularly indicated for people who have difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep.
It is important to get enough quality sleep to relieve stress. Stress is strongly linked to insomnia, a sleep disorder characterized by difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or both. That said, it’s not always easy to get quality sleep if you’re stressed, which can make the situation worse. Melatonin is a natural hormone that regulates your body’s circadian rhythm, or sleep-wake cycle. Levels of this hormone increase in the evening, when it is dark, to promote sleep, and decrease in the morning, when it is light, to promote wakefulness.
In a review of 19 studies involving 1,683 people with primary sleep disorders, those not caused by another condition, melatonin reduced time to fall asleep, increased total sleep time and improved overall sleep quality. sleep, compared to a placebo.
Another analysis of 7 studies involving 205 people looked at the effectiveness of melatonin in managing secondary sleep disorders, i.e. those caused by another condition, such as stress or depression. This analysis demonstrated that melatonin reduced time to fall asleep and increased total sleep time, but had no significant effect on sleep quality, compared to a placebo. Although melatonin is a natural hormone, melatonin supplementation does not affect your body’s production of it. Melatonin is also not habit-forming.
How to use it: A study looking at the safety and effectiveness of ashwagandha supplements in people with chronic stress noted that taking 600 mg of ashwagandha for 60 days was safe and well tolerated. Best Used For: Ashwagandha is good for reducing stress levels, elevating mood, and reducing cortisol levels. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an adaptogenic herb that originated in India, where it is used in Indian Ayurveda, one of the oldest medical systems in the world.
Like rhodiola, ashwagandha is believed to improve your body’s resistance to physical and mental stress. In a study on the anti-stress effects of ashwagandha, researchers randomized 60 people with mild stress to receive 240 mg of a standardized ashwagandha extract or a placebo daily for 60 days. Compared to placebo, ashwagandha supplementation was strongly associated with greater reductions in stress, anxiety, and depression. Ashwagandha was also linked to a 23% reduction in morning levels of cortisol, a stress hormone. Additionally, a review of five studies looking at the effects of ashwagandha on anxiety and stress found that people who took ashwagandha extract performed better on tests measuring levels of stress, anxiety and fatigue.
How to use it: An older study showed that taking supplements containing 200 mg of l-theanine reduced measures of stress, such as heart rate, in response to performing a mentally stressful task. Best Used For: L-theanine is a natural component of tea leaves that has been shown to reduce stress and promote relaxation. 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 taken separately had less of an impact. However, studies suggest that L-theanine alone can still help relieve stress.
L-theanine is well tolerated and safe when consumed at its effective dose for relaxation, which ranges from 200 to 600 mg per day in capsule form. For comparison, L-theanine is 1-2% of the dry weight of the leaves, which translates to 10-20 mg of L-theanine per bag of commercially available tea. That said, drinking tea is unlikely to have a noticeable effect on stress. Nevertheless, many people find drinking tea to be relaxing.
5 B group vitamins
B-complex vitamins generally contain all eight B vitamins. These vitamins play an important role in the functioning of the body. These vitamins play an important role in metabolism by turning the food you eat into usable energy. B vitamins are also essential for heart and brain health.
Food sources of B vitamins are grains, meats, legumes, eggs, dairy products and leafy vegetables. Interestingly, high doses of B vitamins have been suggested to improve symptoms of stress, such as mood and energy levels, by reducing blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine.
High levels of homocysteine are associated with stress and an increased risk of several diseases, including heart disease, dementia and colorectal cancer. Additionally, a review of 8 studies involving 1,292 people found that taking a multivitamin and mineral supplement improved several aspects of mood, including stress, anxiety, and energy. Although the supplement contains several other vitamins and minerals, the study authors suggested that supplements with high doses of B vitamins may be more effective in improving certain aspects of mood.
Another study observed similar results, suggesting that taking B vitamins as part of a multivitamin and mineral supplement may improve mood and stress by reducing homocysteine levels. However, it is unknown whether people who already have low homocysteine levels will experience these same effects.
Vitamin B complex supplements are generally safe when taken within recommended doses. However, they can cause harmful side effects, like nerve pain, when taken in large amounts. Plus, they’re water soluble, so your body will excrete any excess through urine.