Julie Wendt, MS, CNS, LDN | Mar 15th, 2021

5 Supplements That Fight Stress

Stress- it’s everywhere and yet, you can’t quite define it and everyone you ask will have a different perspective on what it feels like and what causes it. Technically speaking, stress is a biochemical process that your nervous system uses to prepare for survival. Back in the day, our stressors were much different, more of a physical nature as we were running from the proverbial tiger, and our nervous system hasn’t developed many nuances since. Thus, we end up with a mismatch between our environment (stress being more emotional than physical) and how our nervous system is built. Knowing enough about how the stress response works allows us to support ourselves in a way that helps level the playing field between our modern world and our archaic on/off stress response system.

I think that the key to health and longevity is self-knowledge. When we know and understand ourselves, we can accept the things we cannot change and work to create an environment in which we can thrive. This has a lot to do with how we each handle stress differently. When we understand how we operate, we can choose the interventions that not only work for us but support this better version of ourselves that is only possible when we can truly see ourselves.

I am ALWAYS going to promote the use of all our tools in order to manage a concern and thus when it comes to managing stress I have to give a shout out to our fabulous lifestyle habits of
Healthy food choices!
And some kind of Breathwork/Meditation/Prayer

But even when we are attending to all of those habits, we may need some extra support and this is where supplements can do what their name says- supplement our lifestyle to help us get the rest of the way to our health goals. 

In the case of stress, here are my top 5 supplements that I keep on hand

1. Magnesium: a mineral that is a cofactor in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body. Over 50% of Americans do not get an adequate amount of magnesium from their diet (1) and more are likely sub clinically deficient due to factors such as soil depletion, medication, and disease processes.

Pro tip: Look for magnesium glycinate as it’s a highly absorbable form that will help support the breakdown of the stress neurotransmitters.   

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2. L-Theanine: an amino acid that is found in Green Tea which research has found to help moderate the stress response

Pro tip: If you want to get L-theanine from green tea instead, consider using decaffeinated green tea to avoid the stimulating effect caffeine can have on the stress response. 

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3. Holy Basil: an adaptogenic herb used in the Ayurvedic tradition, helps regulate mood by supporting homeostasis in the stress response. Studies show that holy basil, taken regularly, lowers symptoms of stress such as anxiety and sleeplessness 

Pro tip: Avoid pill fatigue by getting your holy basil from Tulsi tea. You can brew up a cup and while enjoying a hydrating and great tasting drink while you support your stress response.

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4. Rescue Remedy:  a Bach Flower remedy, this combination of 5 Bach flower essences delivers instant relief to acute stressors.   

Pro tip: available in many different forms, keep the pastilles in your purse or backpack so you have it handy when you are out and about! 

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Costello RB, Elin RJ, Rosanoff A, et al. . Perspective: the case for an evidence-based reference interval for serum magnesium: The time has come. Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal 2016;7:977–93. 10.3945/an.116.012765
Williams JL et al. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2019 Nov 22.
3. Sampath S, Mahapatra SC, Padhi MM, Sharma R, Talwar A. Holy basil (Ocimum sanctum Linn.) leaf extract enhances specific cognitive parameters in healthy adult volunteers: A placebo controlled study. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. Jan-Mar 2015;59(1):69-77.