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6 of the best ingredients to help manage stress

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Reviewed byHeeral Patel

6 of the Best Ingredients to Help Manage Stress
Feeling overwhelmed and stressed out? Discover our six top picks of the best vitamins and other ingredients for stress management.
Stress is an inevitable part of life. From demanding deadlines to money worries, it's a universal experience that affects us all at some point.

While moderate stress can be a normal response to challenges, prolonged or excessive stress can have a negative impact on our physical and mental well-being. In this article, we’ll be looking at the vitamins, minerals, herbs, and amino acids that have demonstrated their potential in supporting the body's response to stress.

Six of the best ingredients to help manage stress

1. Vitamin B

Vitamin B refers to a group of eight water-soluble vitamins: B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), vitamin B3 (Niacin), vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid), vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine), vitamin B7 (Biotin), vitamin B9 (Folate) and vitamin B12 (Cobalamin).2

This family of B vitamins is crucial for maintaining a healthy nervous system and promoting energy production.3 Vitamin B also play key roles in metabolism, cortisol regulation, energy production and various other important processes in the body, including the stress response and overall well-being.4,5,6

2. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb that’s been used for centuries in Ayurvedic practice to manage stress and enhance overall wellbeing.7

Some small studies have shown ashwagandha to reduce the levels of cortisol, the primary stress hormone, although further research needs to be done.6 Elevated cortisol levels are associated with the body's "fight or flight" response to stress.8

Ashwagandha is also believed to enhance the activity of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) receptors, a neurotransmitter that promotes relaxation.9

3. Rhodiola

Another adaptogen! Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea) is a herb that’s been used in traditional medicine for centuries to help with symptoms associated with stress, such as fatigue, exhaustion, and mild anxiety.10

While the exact mechanisms of how Rhodiola works aren’t fully understood yet, early-stage studies have shown promising results on Rhodiola’s potential effects on helping reduce the impact of stress.11 Like many of these herbal remedies, further research is needed to confirm these favourable outcomes.

Rhodiola is thought to influence the body's stress response system, including the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis.12  This modulation may help regulate the release of stress hormones, such as cortisol, which play a role in the body's fight-or-flight response to stress.13

Rhodiola is known to increase the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the primary energy-carrying molecule in cells.14

4. Saffron

Saffron, a delicate spice harvested from crocus flowers, has been studied for its potential to help with stress and mood-related issues. While the mechanisms through which saffron may affect stress aren‘t fully understood, several studies suggest that it may have a positive impact on stress levels.16

Safr’Inside™ is a stable, clinically studied Saffron extract that has demonstrated potential in 20 healthy men to modulate biological stress response and improve psychological reaction to stressors.17

5. Magnesium

If you’ve been on TikTok lately, you may have seen the flood of creators raving about the amazing results that they’ve seen from taking magnesium (magnesium glycinate in particular). While you can’t always believe everything you see on social media, there’s some truth to this.18

It plays a role in the nervous system and normal muscle function relaxation, all elements that make up your stress response.19

With over one in ten adults living in the UK currently not meeting the Lower Reference Nutrient Intake (LRNI) for magnesium, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing magnesium increase in popularity.20

6. Bach’s Rescue Remedy

Another stress-busting antidote that has been getting a lot of attention online is BachTM flower remedies, including the infamous Rescue Remedy drops. They can be used as a type of alternative helping people get through stressful times.

These ‘remedies’ were developed by Dr. Edward Bach in the early 20th century and are based on the belief that emotional imbalances can contribute to physical and mental health issues, including stress.23

Complementary stress solutions

There are other ingredients that fall into this category that we couldn’t ignore, but there might not be quite as much compelling evidence for, including: 

Omega 3 Fatty Acids

These healthy fats are thought to support brain function, potentially aiding in stress management.21 Omega-3s can influence neurotransmitter production and receptor function, possibly contributing to a more stable mood, according to one double-blind randomised trial in 33 participants.22

Taurine

Taurine is an amino acid naturally found in the human body. It plays a role in various physiological processes, including the regulation of neurotransmitters and calming effects on the central nervous system.23

Some research suggests that taurine may have stress-relief potential by promoting relaxation.24  While more studies are needed to confirm its specific stress-alleviating mechanisms, anecdotal evidence suggests that taurine could be effective in promoting a sense of calm and mental well-being.

Maca Root

Some people believe Maca Root can help the body cope with the physical and emotional toll of stress.25  Maca is rich in amino acids and antioxidants, which can promote balance in the body, potentially leading to reduced stress levels.26

While scientific research on maca's stress-relief properties is ongoing, many individuals have reported feeling more relaxed and energised after adding maca into their dietary and wellness routines.

The final say…

While a little bit of stress can give you that boost you need to power through an exam or business meeting, if you’re in a high-stress state for a prolonged period of time, it could have a detrimental effect on your health.

Some of our favourite ingredients for tackling stress include Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, and Rescue Remedy.

Disclaimer

The advice in this article is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP or healthcare professional before trying any products.
 

Sources

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