If you’re not getting happy enough on all the vitamin D we’re getting from the sun these days, then you might want to read today’s guest post by Nick Lewis from Higher Nature. I can really relate to what he says about stress, life and time restraints, maybe you can, too!
Stress is one of the most prevalent problems in modern society. Longer working hours, greater expectations, economic pressures and ‘always-on’ connectivity have normalised high stress levels to an extent never seen before.
For the same reasons, finding the time to fit in regular exercise and a good diet – the things that would reduce stress, is becoming more difficult for many as well. Rather than turning to pharmaceutical measures, here are just three natural supplements that may help deal with with a high stress lifestyle.
5HTP is the abbreviation for 5-Hydroxytryptophan. 5HTP is a naturally occurring brain chemical that is chemically intermediate between tryptophan and serotonin; that is to say, the body converts tryptophan into 5HTP, which it then uses to produce serotonin.
Serotonin is well known as essential for achieving and maintaining a good mood. The inverse is also true: a lack of serotonin can cause depression, insomnia, weight gain and everything that comes with them.
Stress may contribute to serotonin deficiency specifically by impeding the body’s ability to manufacture 5HTP from tryptophan. Taking 5HTP as a supplement bypasses this process, providing greater ready stores of 5HTP for the body to produce serotonin.
Reputedly popular in Russia and used by the Ancient Greeks, rhodiola is a plant that has been used as a traditional remedy for stress for centuries.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that rhodiola may help to combat the symptoms of stress, particularly exhaustion, fatigue and mild anxiety. It is said to help in maintaining high attention levels even whilst under stress, particularly useful for those feeling overworked.
Theanine is found naturally in our bodies. It’s an amino acid thought to aid the production of the neurotransmitter GABA as well as alpha waves. Both of these may help to produce feelings of calm. As such, higher levels of theanine may contribute to feelings of tranquillity.
Outside of our bodies, theanine is only really found in tea – particularly green tea. As green tea consumption is low outside of Japan, the only way to top up theanine levels (short of drinking a lot of green tea) is to take it as a supplement.
It should be noted that theanine has been shown in some studies to be less effective at combating immediate anxiety than inducing feelings of calm in already unstressed people. Naturally, these feelings of calm may help you to deal with upcoming stressful situations – more prevention than cure.
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What do you think about taking supplements? Here are a couple of posts regarding the supplements vs. nature (against) debate (pro: Are Nutritional Supplements Necessary?) to give you more food for thought.