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Stress & Anxiety - Supplements to support (part 4)





In the final part of the stress & anxiety blog series, I show you some of my favourite supplements to support the stressed and/or anxious body and mind. Please note - this is not tailored advice so before taking any supplements please check with your GP or Nutritional Therapist as some will not be suitable for everyone and may also cause potentially dangerous drug-nutrient interactions. Special precaution should be taken when on medication, especially with antidepressant or other psychiatric drugs.

 

Magnesium & B vitamins

Found in green veg, nuts & seeds, wholegrains, and legumes, magnesium is often deficient in many diets, but is a vital mineral for bone health, muscle contraction & relaxation, energy production, and has many other functions in the body. But to stay on topic, lets focus on the nervous system. Magnesium deficiency can lead to anxiety, nervous tension, tension headaches, depression, irritability, insomnia, and behavioural disturbances.


Magnesium may be able to improve insulin sensitivity, supporting stable blood sugar levels and in turn reducing the negative effects of stress resulting from the blood sugar roller coaster discussed in part 1 of this blog series.


B vitamins are found in food such as green veggies and legumes and are best sourced as a complex containing lots of different B vitamins rather than one type alone, as they work synergistically in the body.


Both Magnesium and B vitamins work together to reduce nervous system excitotoxicity, meaning they have a calming effect in the brain. They are co-factors in the production of calming brain chemicals such as serotonin, taurine, and GABA.


This supplement from NutriAdvanced called MegaMag Calmeze is a firm favourite, providing Magnesium and B vitamins, along with other calming ingredients such as L-theanine, L-taurine and L-glutamine. It comes as a powder that you can mix into water, in a variety of subtle flavours.

 

Omega-3

This essential fatty acid is a potent anti-inflammatory agent which is deficient in many diets. We can get Omega-3 from walnuts, flaxseeds, chia, hempseed, and oily fish but for many, it is more convenient to supplement to ensure you are meeting your daily needs.


Inflammation has been posed as a potential contributor to mental health disturbances and mood changes, whether that is inflammation in the gut, nervous system or elsewhere, inflammation can affect the whole body, including the brain.


Specifically, including more Omega-3 sources in your diet can improve the health of cell membranes in the brain which can affect behaviour, mood & mental function. Improving the quality of cell membranes elsewhere in the body too, adding this nutrient to your diet can also improve insulin sensitivity (see part 1 of this blog series).


My favourite Omega-3 supplement is Omega-3 from Vegetology, which is available as a liquid or in capsules.


Click HERE for 20% Vegetology discount.

 

Ashwaghanda

This beautiful herb is from a group of herbs called adaptogens which are so intelligent that they can literally adapt our stress response depending on our individual needs. If we are too stressed it can help us feel calmer (without drowsiness), and if we are too sluggish it can boost our stress response. Another great aspect of ashwagandha is that it may help to relax the digestive system so could reduce digestive spasms seen in some cases of IBS. You can buy it as a powder if you want to mix it into food and drink, or you can buy it in capsules to take daily - my fave is from Cytoplan.


Indigo Herbs 12% discount code: WINTERNUTRI22

 

Rhodiola

Another fantastic adaptogenic herb, rhodiola helps to modulate the stress response when we are on overdrive, making the every day stressors seem a little more manageable. Partly responsible is the phytochemical salisdroside which may help with the symptoms of stress and anxiety. To feel the effects it is advised to take it daily for at least 2 weeks. Available in many different applications, here's one in powder form from Indigo Herbs that you can add to food or drink.


Indigo Herbs 12% discount code: WINTERNUTRI22

 

Teas

Chamomile, lavender, green tea, gynostemma, and valerian are all herbs that are available as loose leaf calming teas that are easy to make and can be taken throughout the day. If you prefer a tea bag to loose tea, try this lovely blend from Pukka.


Lemon balm tea & essential oil

You can grow your own lemon balm very easily in the garden or on a windowsill and simply pick off a handful of leaves, and add to a mug with boiling water. This refreshing tea has a calming effect on the nervous system and may reduce anxiety symptoms. You can also buy lemon balm essential oil (Melissa officinalis) to add to a scent diffuser or to a warm bath. Just smelling the scent has a calming effect thanks to the terpenes, which are rapidly absorbed through the lungs and cross into the brain.


Indigo Herbs 12% discount code: WINTERNUTRI22

 

Biocare NT Intensive

I love this supplement from Biocare as it contains a nice selection of calming ingredients such as magnesium, taurine, lecithin, lemon balm, L-theanine, and L-tryptophan. This supplements calming effect is achieved by reducing the activity of excitatory brain chemicals in the brain and promoting the production and release of calming brain chemicals such as serotonin. You can find it here in powder form to mix into food or drink.


Biocare 10% discount code: P14627

 

Probiotics

You've learned how much gut health can affect mental health in my previous posts so it's no wonder I have included probiotics on this list. Whether the gut is inflammed, the gut wall is 'leaky', or you have an imbalance of flora causing issues for you, selecting appropriate probiotics could just help. Sure, you can go for a broad spectrum option which is like throwing everything in and seeing what sticks, or you could select a more specific product for your needs. Outside of clinic I cannot say what is right for you but you could start off with this Biocare BioAcidophilus supplement containing their LAB4 strains which may be supportive for anxiety.


Biocare 10% discount code: P14627

 

So there you have it, a selection of some of my favourites. Which I choose to use in clinic will depend on the person and as always my intention is to use them supplementally only, and not in place of a balanced diet.


If you're not sure what's right for you, book a 1-to-1 consultation with me to kick start your journey to better health.


Good luck! Annie x

 

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