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5 Vitamins To Combat Stress

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1. Rhodiola rosea

Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea), is an herb that grows in the cold, mountainous regions of Russia and Asia.

Rhodiola is known as a non-toxic herb that stimulates your body’s stress response system to increase stress resistance.

The adaptogenic properties of rhodiola, rosavin and salidroside, are linked to two of the herb’s potent active ingredients.

An 8-week study in 100 people with chronic fatigue symptoms, such as poor sleep quality and impairments in short-term memory and concentration, found that supplementing with 400 mg of rhodiola extract daily improved symptoms after just 1 week and the symptoms continued to decline throughout the study.

In another study in 118 people with stress-related burnout, taking 400 mg of rhodiola extract daily for 12 weeks improved associated symptoms, including anxiety, exhaustion, and irritability.

2. Melatonin

Stress is strongly linked to insomnia so achieving adequate quality sleep can be extra hard if you’re under stress, which also can worsen its severity.

Melatonin is a natural hormone that regulates your body’s circadian rhythm, or sleep-wake cycle. Levels of the hormone increase in the evening when it’s dark to promote sleep and decrease in the morning when it’s light to promote wakefulness.

In a review of 19 studies in 1,683 people with primary sleep disorders — those not caused by another condition — melatonin decreased the time it took people to fall asleep, increased total sleep time, and improved overall sleep quality, compared with a placebo.

Another review of 7 studies involving 205 people investigated the effectiveness of melatonin for managing secondary sleep disorders, which are those caused by another condition, such as stress or depression.

The review demonstrated that melatonin decreased the time it took people to fall asleep and increased total sleep time but did not significantly affect sleep quality, compared with a placebo.

Though melatonin is a natural hormone, supplementing with it does not affect your body’s production of it. Melatonin is also non-habit-forming.

3. Glycine

Glycine is an amino acid that your body uses to create proteins, studies suggest that it may increase your body’s resistance to stress by helping you get a good night’s rest through its calming effect on the brain as well as it’s ability to lower core body temperature.

A lower body temperature helps to promote sleep and staying asleep during the night.

In one study, 15 people who had complaints about the quality of their sleep and took 3 grams of glycine before bed experienced less fatigue and increased alertness the following day, compared with a placebo.

These effects occurred despite no difference in the time it took to fall asleep or time slept, compared with a placebo, suggesting glycine improved sleep quality.

In a similar study, taking 3 grams of glycine before bedtime was shown to improve measures of sleep quality and performance on memory recognition tasks.

4. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an herb native to India, similarly to rhodiola, ashwagandha is thought to enhance your body’s resilience to physical and mental stress.

In one study on the stress-relieving effects of ashwagandha, researchers randomized 60 individuals with mild stress to receive 240 mg of a standardized ashwagandha extract or a placebo daily for 60 days.

Compared with the placebo, supplementing with ashwagandha 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.

What’s more, a review of five studies examining the effects of ashwagandha on anxiety and stress observed that those who supplemented with ashwagandha extract scored better on tests measuring levels of stress, anxiety, and fatigue.

A study investigating the safety and efficacy of supplementing with ashwagandha in people with chronic stress noted that taking 600 mg of ashwagandha for 60 days was safe and well tolerated.

5. L-theanine

L-theanine is an amino acid most commonly found in tea leaves and has been studied for its ability to promote relaxation and reduce stress without having 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 on its own was found to have a lesser impact. Studies also suggest that l-theanine by itself may still help relieve stress.

One study showed that supplementing with 200 mg of l-theanine reduced measures of stress, such as heart rate, in response to performing a mentally stressful task.

In another study in 34 people, drinking a beverage containing 200 mg of l-theanine and other nutrients lowered levels of the stress hormone cortisol in response to a stressful task that involved multitasking.

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