Got Stress? Balance Your Mood & Anxiety NaturallyJun 22, 2018
Excessive stress triggers a neuro-hormonal pathway that places demands on the body’s nutrient and vitamin stores over and above of what is required for normal function. This over activation of our nervous system can lead to insomnia and anxiety. The good news is that there are a number of natural and safe options to keep you calm while dealing with the extra stress.
L-Theanine is a calming amino acid naturally found in green tea First discovered in Studies show that L-Theanine helps reduce nervousness and restlessness and promotes relaxation without causing drowsiness. It increases alpha waves in the brain which foster a calm and focused feeling without becoming drowsy. L-theanine also influences the levels of the neurotransmitters dopamine, serotonin and GABA in the brain, balancing mood, sleep and learning capacity. It reduces the stress response by inhibiting some of the actions of norepinephrine (a stress hormone) in the central nervous system. The big advantage of L-theanine is that it rapidly absorbed within 30-40 minutes and relaxes the brain, calms racing thoughts while promoting alertness and concentration.
Magnesium is one of the most important minerals in adapting to stress and producing energy. This makes it vitality important for all cellular functions and processes, especially the ability to maintain function in times of stress. When a person in under stress one of the first signs they experience is tense muscles, especially in the neck and shoulders. In muscle tissue and blood vessels, magnesium causes relaxation while calcium levels increase muscle tone. Adequate levels of magnesium are required to offset stress related muscle tightness. Magnesium also has the added benefit of helping with lowering anxiety and promoting sleep when taken before bed. The best supplemental sources of magnesium with the highest rates of absorption are those that are joined with amino acids such as glycine, taurine, or malate. To offset the negative effects of stress and prevent disease consider a daily supplemental dose of magnesium. The right dosage of magnesium for each person can vary so a gradual daily increase in dosage until the loosening of stools is an effective way to reach your optimal level.
Herbs that have adaptogenic properties help the body deal with stress. The most well known ones are part of the ginseng family but one of my hidden gem favourites is called Holy basil. On top if helping the body deal with stress it also has research showing it can reduce anxiety and regulate blood sugar both of which are especially important during the holidays.
People using Holy Basil reported to induce relaxation, promote a feeling of calm and reduce stress and moodiness. It has also been shown to reduce blood sugar and cholesterol in diabetic subjects, and animal studies have shown reductions in cortisol, the stress hormone. Holy Basil is an excellent option for those looking for an herbal anti-stress supplement with additional blood sugar balancing and cardiovascular benefits.
By: Dr. Paul Hrkal, ND