Can supplements provide actual sustainable stress and mood support?
Stress. The “silent killer” as it is sometimes described. We experience stress to trigger short-term reaction to recognize and fend off danger, kickstart our adrenaline and our fight-or-flight instincts. But consistent, long-term stress over time can be not just emotionally and physically draining, it can be life-threatening. Stress causes inflammation, and constricting blood vessels. It can lead to lethargy, restlessness, and intensify depression and anxiety.
For generations, we have leaned on prescription drugs to reduce stress and anxiety. We want a “quick fix” and, in the short-term, prescriptions can have an immediate, calming effect on our bodies. But more and more research is showing that, taken over time, the long-term effects of medications can be damaging. That same research is showing that a healthy diet consisting of leafy greens, high potency omega oils, complex B vitamins and other nutrients can help support our body’s resistance to stress.
Because of the long-term side effects of pharmaceuticals, a shift is occurring to alternative medicines and natural supplements to help alleviate stress.
But can supplements truly boost our stress receptors and provide long-term relief form stress and anxiety?
Truths About Stress and Anxiety
Whether you take natural or prescription medication, there is no quick fix solution for stress, panic attacks or anxiety. Nutrition alone, without combining it with a program of professional therapy, will likely not produce lasting improvement. Stress and panic attacks are not merely physical phenomena, they are mental health issues that need to be treated, worked on and resolved to achieve lasting peace. Ultimately, no one wants to take any medication for extended periods of time unless absolutely necessary.
Taking medication implies one has an illness, or disease. For an infection, you can take some antibiotics to treat your physical illness. Stress and Anxiety are different. They are not something you need only physically treat like an infection. Anxiety needs a much more holistic approach to treatment that may or may not involve medication initially, but should involve therapy for lasting benefit. The antibiotic-treated infection, of course, needs no therapy to heal.
Before we offer natural supplements that can have a positive effect on reducing stress, anxiety and panic attacks, note that a plant-based, nutrient-rich diet should provide all of us with most of the healthy nutrition we need on a daily basis. But those who suffer from mental illness, or who have high stress, are often deficient in crucial nutrients that can normally help ward off stress. Hence, understanding which supplements can provide support is important.
The Dangers of Prescription Medications for Anxiety
Medication loses its benefits over time because long-term use can alter behaviors and essentially “re-program” one’s brain. Additionally, as soon as you stop taking medication, the symptoms may return. Long-term side effects may become as issue as well.
The Potential Dangers of Taking Herbs, Supplements and Vitamins for Anxiety
Vitamins and supplements are similar to medication in the sense that, while they are an aid in helping you get better, they are alone not a cure.
Also note that the ingredients in this article are naturally occurring substances. Taken in reasonable doses, and not in conjunction with prescriptions, they should be safe and effective for most people. But pregnant or nursing women need to be especially aware of both medications and natural supplements, as both can pose potential risks to your child. Some herbs are quite powerful and consuming them in large quantities can have negative side effects.
As an example, we believe research shows St John’s Wort can help with mild depression and anxiety. However this product may have an effect on prescription medications, including birth control pills.
While Kava may be effective in reducing anxiety, it may take up to 8 weeks to work. And some organizations have linked KAVA in high dosages to liver and nerve damage. Kava should also not be taken by breast feeding women, and some people taking alprazolam (Xanax) have noted negative reactions when Kava is in their system.
But herbal remedies tend to be safer, because of their plant-based, natural origin and their non-addictive properties. Nonetheless, always consult with your doctor before taking any supplement, especially if you are taking medications.
Natural Ingredients and Supplements We Support at The Center
At The Center, we have worked as advisors with the founder of Redd Remedies on the formulation of a stress and anxiety reducing formulation. Their founder, Dan Chapman, is an advisor to The Center on nutritional and supplemental health. We believe strongly in the ingredients in their At Ease stress and anxiety reducing product. The key ingredients:
- GABA is a key neurotransmitter, controlling mood changes, concentration, attentiveness, and relaxation. *
- L-Theanine is indicated in research to promote a state of relaxation while maintaining daytime alertness.*
- 5-HTP is an amino acid compound that promotes proper brain serotonin levels.*
- Bacopa is a traditional Ayurvedic herb clinically studied to support healthy emotions.*
- Choline is necessary for brain health and function.*
- Schizandra is an adaptogenic herb that promotes increased resistance to physical and emotional stress.*
- B-vitamins are crucial to thousands of metabolic reactions, including those specific to the central nervous system and the brain.*
- Magnesium is responsible for relaxation of the skeletal muscles and smooth muscles of the blood vessels.*
- Suntheanine®, a patented form of L-Theanine, is a trademark of Taiyo International, Inc.
Finding all of these ingredients in one product makes At Ease an outstanding supplement for stress reduction. We use it daily at The Center.
We also believe Redd Remedies Curcumin C3 is the best, bioavailable and absorbable form of Turmeric available on the market. Curcumin has outstanding health benefits and aids the body in reducing inflammation and stress.
There are many other supplements that can support stress response and have positive impact of reducing anxiety symptoms. Common one’s include:
- Vitamin D
- Green Tea
- Omega 3 and 6 Essential Oils
- St John’s Wort
By no means is this an exhaustive list. Conduct your own research and speak to your healthcare professional about his or her recommendations for natural stress relief and natural anxiety supplements.
Why Does The Center • A Place of HOPE Recommend Vitamins and Supplements For Stress and Anxiety in Addition To a Healthy Diet?
Supplements and vitamins have benefits over prescription drugs:
- They do not effect/alter the human body like medications can
- They do not provide the dramatic initial results of medication, but are often a safer and more effective longer term solution for many
- They are not addictive
- They do not have withdrawal symptoms like many medications
- They do not induce personality changes, or large mood swings
- They do not promote drowsiness
- Generally much safer than medications
If you or a loved one are experiencing consistent stress, moderate or severe anxiety or any form of panic attacks, please call The Center • A Place of HOPE at 1.800.985.0270 to speak with an anxiety treatment specialist. Receive a free assessment and discuss what a treatment program might look like for you.
Our experience is that anxiety and panic attacks not only do not go away over time, they tend to worsen. But there is hope, and long-term help is available.
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.