Curb Symptoms of Stress with Vitamins
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Consider for a moment the amusement park roller coaster ride. Depending upon your circumstances, you may find the prospect of a ride exhilarating, terrifying or somewhere in between. Physician Hans Selye originally coined the term “stress” after noticing patients suffering from different diseases often exhibited identical signs and symptoms. Dr. Selye eventually defined stress as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change.” The American Institute of Stress believes stress is difficult to define because stress is so different for each of us. Each of us responds to events differently, like with the prospect of a roller coaster ride. A unifying component of stress is the sense of having little or no control.
Stress is an inevitable part of daily life. Kenneth H. Cooper, MD, MPH, wrote “Can Stress Heal? Converting a Major Health Hazard into a Surprising Health Benefit” in 1998 to explain why stress-induced inflammation causes many chronic conditions and diseases. The book also advises readers to re-frame stress to their advantage to improve mental and physical wellbeing.
The nutritional supplement market at large does not make the choices any clearer. Countless supplements and functional foods claim to help reduce stress. Before getting overwhelmed by the options, read about the vitamins below and the science that shows how they may help.
Many stress management strategies require significant time and effort, but did you know something as simple as taking a daily multivitamin may help? In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 300 men and women took either a standard multivitamin or a placebo for 30 days. The results showed those taking the multivitamin experienced less anxiety overall and coped better with stressful situations.
Similarly, a researcher in New Zealand found subjects who took a multivitamin after experiencing a devastating earthquake in the area experienced larger improvements in psychological distress symptoms than those who did not take any supplements.
When people face stressful circumstances, the body has high demands for micronutrient resources. It is still somewhat unclear how these nutrients seem to help stress, although we know having the proper nutrient levels improves the function of enzymes that regulate brain processes that conduct mood. The quality of one’s diet can also suffer when under stress. However, regardless of stress level, most Americans would benefit from a daily multivitamin due to less than perfect eating habits.
B Vitamins (Especially B12)
B vitamins are a classic multitasker. They help with cognitive function, mood, energy production, heart health and more. From a stress standpoint, several studies show B vitamin supplements improve symptoms. A three month study focusing specifically on occupational stress reported that participants taking additional B vitamins experienced lower personal strain, a reduction in confusion and an elevated mood.
Folic acid (vitamin B9), vitamin B6 and vitamin B12 unite to form a dynamic trio of nutrients. They play an indirect but crucial role in the formation of serotonin (a neurotransmitter responsible for mood stabilization). Additionally, Vitamin B12 can be an energy booster. B12 deficiency can cause symptoms ranging from mild fatigue to severe exhaustion.
Multivitamins typically include B vitamins, although some brands offer higher levels than others. Because we know the importance of B vitamins, Cooper Complete offers very strong B levels in all of our multivitamins. In fact, clinical research shows Cooper Complete multivitamins lower high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, a marker of inflammation associated with psychological distress. For most, this eliminates the need to take a B complex in addition to a Cooper Complete daily multi.
For those who do need higher levels of B12 than diet and a multivitamin provide, Cooper Complete offers a liquid B12 which contains 1000 mcg in each serving. A blood test will reveal if you have a deficiency. Read this article to see if you may be at risk.
Preliminary research suggests additional vitamin C may reduce mental stress symptoms and blood pressure. According to a meta-analysis of 29 trials with a median dose of 500 mg vitamin C per day, vitamin C supplementation reduced systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure. The trials were short-term, so long-term trials on the effects of vitamin C will help clarify benefits in the future.
Vitamin C is found naturally in produce and fortified foods. While oranges get most of the fame for containing vitamin C, many other types of fruits and vegetables including berries, melons, broccoli, leafy greens and bell peppers also have high levels. All Cooper Complete multivitamins contain vitamin C.
Stress is a normal part of the human experience. While it can have very negative implications if left unchecked, many small, healthy habits make the roller coaster ride of life more manageable. Taking the proper nutritional supplements is a great place to start.
To find out more about multivitamins and the entire line of Cooper Complete products, visit coopercomplete.com or call 888.393.2221.