Most of us will experience stress at some time. It could be because of something happening at work or some unexpected incident like suddenly having to deal with a large expense. Your nervous system deals with this by releasing adrenaline and cortisol. Much like what might happen if you were logged into and playing at a PlayCroco Casino. This is normal and healthy in small amounts and your body is built to deal with this.
Your nervous system has a built- in response “rest and digest”. According to the American Psychological Association, after a stressful situation your body will stabilize your nervous system and bring the body back to a more relaxed state.
Stress is considered to have turned chronic when cortisol is running high regularly and your body hasn’t returned to its normal relaxed state. Being constantly anxious and stressed out will be emotionally exhausting and you will likely develop physical symptoms such as gastrointestinal problems, headaches, rapid heart rate, insomnia, high blood pressure and others. These will impact your overall health and wellbeing.
The American Psychological Association found that well into the Covid Pandemic a large percentage of adults, 84%, said that they had felt one stressful emotion over an extended period of two weeks, and this emotion was related to long term stress. The pandemic has been overwhelming for many of us so you are not alone but there are ways handle stress.
Ways to manage chronic stress
According to The Nutrition Twins, Tammy Lakatos Shames and Lyssie Lakatos “If you are someone under mild to moderate chronic stress, depression and anxiety, there’s really a lot you can do in terms of diet and nutrition to offset those effects.”
There are ways in which you can lower your stress levels by introducing some new habits into your life. However, you can also help yourself by using certain supplements. The following advice was gleaned from The Nutrition Twins and also from Sydney Greene, MS, RD. on different ways that specific supplements can help to alleviate on-going stress.
There is a connection between higher stress levels and lowered levels of magnesium. It is therefore, possible to affect chronic stress with taking some magnesium supplements. A study carried out in 2017 found that supplements of magnesium had positive effects on anxiety levels in people who have a tendency to experience a lot of anxiety. According to Greene, “Magnesium is required for more than 300 enzymes to function properly in the body. Unfortunately, about half of Americans are deficient in magnesium.” He goes on to say that “Inadequate intake of magnesium can be linked to high blood pressure, poor digestion, and poor stress resilience. Many of the symptoms related to chronic stress (fatigue, irritability, muscle tension, headaches) can also be seen with magnesium deficiency.”
Taking a magnesium supplement is, therefore, recommended to help with the physical symptoms of stress. It is also recommended that you include foods that are rich in magnesium to your daily diet. In this way you will ensure that you are getting the daily amount required for your body. For men that is 400-420 milligrams and for women it is 310-320 milligrams.
L-Theanine is found in an assortment of teas, black, white, green and oolong and its properties are known to increase the production of dopamine and serotonin, both of which are associated with feeling good. According to The Nutrition Twins “It gives you mental calmness while still promoting alertness by positively impacting neurotransmitters that are involved in sleep, mood and stress.”
It has also been found that L-Theanine aids the brain in producing GABA – a particular neurotransmitter that reduces nervous system activity. A study carried out in 2008 found that L-theanine was able to enhance brain relaxation without the subject becoming drowsy. A dose of 50 milligrams was used and results were clearly demonstrated in subjects with high stress levels.
The Nutrition Twins recommend supplements over drinking tea because tea does have caffeine. However, drinking two cups of green tea you will feel the benefits. If you are taking medications for health issues like blood pressure or hypertension, you should consult your doctor before you start taking L-theanine.
Continual stress can lead to all kinds of health issues, one of which is inflammation. Curcumin is known to alleviate inflammation. It has micronutrients that our found in the turmeric root and these have been found to have anti-inflammatory properties. According to Greene, “When the body is under long term stress, adding turmeric to recipes, smoothies, or taking a turmeric supplement can help prevent damage from inflammation.” One caveat – don’t overdo using turmeric as too much can have some health risks.
Omega 3 has properties that reduce inflammation in the body and help to maintain health and lowering the risk of disease. And according to the Nutrition Twins Omega 3 helps to lessen the long- term consequences of anxiety and depression. “They affect the physiological and physical effects of stress because they cross the brain-blood barrier, and they have anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve depression”.
Using Omega 3 supplements that include high amounts, up to 2000 milligrams, of eicosapentaeonic acid (EPA) have been found to improve the situation of those suffering from depression and to reduce anxiety.
It is possible to get omega 3s via your diet, eating fatty fish, sardines, herring, salmon and whitefish. It is recommended to include these in your diet two or three times a week in order to get the recommended amount of omega 3. However, if you are suffering with some anxiety and depression, you can buy supplements which have a higher amount, 200 to 2200 milligrams which will help to combat these feelings. Omega 3 does have some risks associated with it. If you have low blood pressure or take blood thinners, you should consult your doctor before taking supplements.
According to Greene, “Ashwagandha has received a lot of hype for its supposed ability to mitigate stress. An adaptogen, ashwagandha adapts to your body’s nervous system and it can support the body’s resiliency to a stress response.”
Over the years a number of studies have been carried out looking at the effects of this evergreen shrub on anxiety and stress.
One took place in 2019 and calculated the cortisol and other hormone levels of people with high stress levels. They were measured before and after they had been given 240 milligrams of ashwagandha extract on a daily basis. In comparison to the placebo group included in this study, they found a considerable reduction in stress markers, those self-reported and measured ones.
However, you should consult with a doctor before embarking on using this daily. Greene says that “An important note about ashwagandha is that, in some, it can increase levels of anxiety.” He goes on to say that “It is always important to check with your doctor before taking a new supplement, and if you are on prescription medications, you should check for interactions.”