Vitamins for Stress - Many doctors who practice family medicine comment that real concern in most patient visits is stress.
Stress is not a "disease." For most of us, it's a constant fact of life! This article, however, will help you use nutritional tools like vitamins for stress so you can avoid treating diseases you don't have, or don't have yet, when the real problem is the stress in your life.
Stress is a reaction to excessive demands on your body or emotions. A modicum of stress is an inevitable part of living. It's probably even good for you.
Your body can deal with brief episodes of high stress even without vitamins for stress, whether it's heroics during a natural disaster or earning a high score on a make-or-break examination.
But if constant high stress never abates your body's defenses will eventually break down. This will leave you vulnerable to many kinds of health concerns, both psychological and physical.
Most of us first notice stress in the form "nerves." This is because the stress response is regulated by a complex hormonal system that is designed to switch on and off as it is needed until the stressing event is over.
Many of us deal with stress by eating. This isn't a sign of a lack of willpower.
Dietary protein, carbohydrate, and fat enhance memory performance in healthy persons with age-related memory loss. A rich supply of glucose in the bloodstream is essential for healthy brain function.
Eating helps you use your mental faculties to handle stress. The problem is, the added pounds from eating to deal with stress create one of the potent stressors in modern life, a self-image as overweight.
Unremitting stress with the benefit of vitamins for stress can result in heart disease, constant muscle aches and pains, like fibromyalgia, high blood pressure, migraine headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, and increased susceptibility to bacterial and viral infections and even cancer. Stress can literally kill you.
The good news is, relief of stress does not require medication. Vitamins for stress can help you deal with difficult situations without long-term damage to your health.
Chief among the vitamins for stress is the B complex.
The surest sign you need B12 is forgetfulness. Vitamin B12 is one of the most important memory vitamins and one of the most important vitamins for stress.
The organ most dependent on vitamin B12 for normal functioning is the brain. That's why it should come as no surprise that people who suffer deficiencies of this key of the vitamins for stress tend to develop mental disorders. Vitamin B12 is critical in the creation of the sleep hormone melatonin and the mood hormone serotonin.
Vitamin B12 is also essential to the survival of the nerves themselves. That's because vitamin B12 is that it is essential in the kinds of chemical reactions that "turn on" detoxification mechanisms. These methylation reactions are especially important for detoxifying heavy metals such as arsenic, antimony, and lead.
When vitamin B12 goes through its own methylation reaction it becomes methylcobalamin. This form of B12 is superior to other forms of the item in that it does not have to be activated before it starts its work.
Methylcobalamin is a super nutrient for the brain. It protects the brain from the ill effects of aspartame, glutamate, and nitric oxide. It also saves the brain form the damaging effects of poor circulation and hypoglycemia.
High levels of glutamate and nitric oxide toxicity are hallmarks of both Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. Low levels of glutamate and nitric oxide toxicity are hallmarks of deficiencies in the vitamins for stress.
Poor circulation and the resulting low levels of oxygenation is a chronic problem after heart attack or stroke. Low blood sugar is a constant risk in well-treated diabetes.
Methylcobalamin also protects myelin, the "insulation" for cells throughout the central nervous system. Degeneration of the myelin layer is implicated in most cases of memory loss and progressive diseases like multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), and degeneration of the spinal cord. Recently discovered by French scientists was the fact that the methylcobalamin form of the nutrient promotes regeneration of the insulating myelin and slows the progression of these diseases.
This versatile vitamin assists brain function and acts as one of the vitamins for stress by lowering concentrations of homocysteine. Homocysteine is a naturally occurring amino acid.
By itself, homocysteine isn't bad. It's even part of the process the body uses to make its own SAM-e. But when homocysteine levels build up in the brain, they interfere with the methylation reactions that remove neural toxins.
Studies show that people with elevated levels of homocysteine have trouble remembering and thinking clearly. High levels of homocysteine can cause a condition similar to Alzheimer's disease.
And Alzheimer's disease itself is characterized by high levels of homocysteine, low levels of vitamin B12, and deficiencies of the key ingredient in methylation reactions, SAMe. German scientists have found that giving people with Alzheimer's vitamin B12 reduces belligerence and disturbed behavior. Belligerence and disturbed behavior are only less chronic and less severe when the underlying problem is stress.
All of this fails to overshadow information on vitamin B12 that it helps in neurological conditions occurring outside the brain. Bell's palsy is a temporary paralysis of the facial nerve, usually following a viral infection. People who have Bell's palsy may not be able to open one eye or to close one side of their mouths. Since this condition involves nerves, and vitamin B12 is a key nutrient for nerves, researchers tested vitamin B12 as a treatment.
Sixty people with Bell's palsy were divided into three groups. One group was given standard steroid therapy. The second group was given the form of vitamin B12 known as methylcobalamin plus steroid therapy. The third group was given vitamin B12 alone.
What information on vitamin B12 did the clinical study reveal? The Bell's palsy patients who were given steroids recovered in 2 to 9 weeks. The Bell's palsy patients who were given steroids plus vitamin B12 recovered in 2 to 9 days. The Bell's palsy patients who were given no steroids at all, just vitamin B12, recovered even faster.
Even though injected steroids come from synthetic sources, they are chemically identical to the stress hormones. The experience of the Bell's palsy patients teaches us that vitamins for stress replace the body's need for stress hormones.
How much B12 do you need?
A clinical study in Poland found taking just 1000 micrograms (one thousandth of a gram) of vitamin B12 every week, along with 300 mg of vitamin B6 and 5 mg of folic acid every day for two months cut homocysteine levels in half. Taking a combination of these three B vitamins for stress also reduced levels of thrombin, the clotting agent that sets the stage for a heart attack or stroke.
The B vitamins are the chief vitamins for stress, but they aren't the only appropriate nutritional supplements. Along with vitamins for stress, be sure you get enough magnesium. Extra magnesium, up to 600 milligrams a day, helps relax muscles and relive tension.
The anti-stress herbs American ginseng and Siberian ginseng help to balance adrenal function. They prevent a "burnout" caused by too much release of the catecholamines that become the adrenal hormones.
Melatonin can help insomnia, St. John's wort may help ease mild depression, and kava may be appropriate for stress-induced anxiety. Just be sure you don't use kava for more than 3 months, and avoid kava altogether if you have liver disease.
Your best nutritional tool for stress, however, is a balanced nutritional supplement providing all the nutrients you need to ensure good health in a single, easy to remember daily dose. Be sure that your supplement can be taken any time of day. You shouldn't have to take it with food.
One company that produces a balanced daily nutritional supplement you don't need to take with food is Xtend-Life Natural Products from New Zealand. Their flagship product, Total Balance,
is a balanced daily nutritional supplement containing all the vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytonutrients you need in a single, easy-to-take blend with an enteric coating so you can take it anytime without food.
We take Total Balance ourselves and are very happy with the results. It is in covered it in detail in the "what we take tab" on the upper left hand portion of this page.
And remember, nutrition first. If you get your vitamins for stress and your magnesium, you may be able to avoid the extra expense of melatonin, herbs, and medication.