Every year at Rejuvenate retreat I’m asked what vitamin regimen helped me get back to health after a doctor told me I was going to die if I didn’t get rid of my stressors. I figured I’d finally write it up in a post it so people can more easily share it. For me, in my situation, these truly are the best vitamins for stress.
To be clear, I’m not a doctor, but I’ve worked with my doctor and a dietitian and done a lot of research on which vitamins and nutrients help to counter our body’s stress response. It has taken me years, but I feel like I’ve to come up with a regimen that works for me when I’m stressed. Hopefully it can help you discover what works best for you.
Quick Disclaimer: I have no relationship with any of the companies who manufactures the these supplements, I chose the products below for myself because they came highly recommended by my doctor as a good product (yeah there are some bad ones out there). HOWEVER, if you buy these products from the links below, amazon does give us a small portion of the proceeds to support the work we do.
Before I go into the specific vitamins I recommend, I want to make sure to explain a few things. When our brain perceives a threat (and it doesn’t distinguish between a hungry lion chasing you or a three year old throwing a temper tantrum on the floor), our body responds by releasing a flood of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. Certain nutrients help counter the effects of stress on our bodies and help them recover more quickly. These vitamins are quickly depleted during times of stress and need to be replenished.
Vitamin C is one of the first vitamins depleted by stress. According to Psychology Today, “The researchers believe that vitamin C should be considered an essential part of stress management.”
For a year and a half, I had a terrible eye twitch. It looked like I was winking at everyone. I also was feeling high levels of anxiety and struggling to sleep. Turns out, I was low in magnesium. Magnesium aids with sleep and mental function. It helps counter the stress response in the body, so it becomes depleted quickly under times of high stress. Magnesium provides the body with sugar for energy and helps relax muscles.
There are several ways to get magnesium. One is in a supplement form. I like using chelated magnesium, because it’s not as likely to cause diarrhea. I really like this brand.
The other way to get magnesium is through the skin. I like to take baths with magnesium flakes. They are made from magnesium chloride, which is supposed to be a better form to be absorbed through the skin. It’s amazing to me how much better I sleep after doing that.
You can also use epsom salts, which are less expensive but are made from magnesium sulfate to me seem a little less effective.
The B Vitamins
When I added Vitamin B supplements to my regimen, I noticed my energy level increase. Vitamin B helps the body manufacture neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, which help us cope with stress, balance mood, and sleep better. It’s another vitamin that our bodies use up rapidly rapidly during times of stress. I really like the raw vitamin brands like this one.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids can prevent the rise of stress hormones and can protect us against depression. You can find Omega-3’s in fatty fishes, like salmon. I really like this brand for a dietary supplement.
Rhodiola is another supplement that can help support our bodies during stressful times. This root is an adaptogen, which helps the body adapt to and resist physical, chemical and environmental stressors.
Melatonin, L-theanine, 5-HTP
During stressful times I’ve struggled with sleep. One product that I love (and don’t go anywhere without taking it with me) is Somno Pro. It combines melatonin, 5HTP and L-Theanine. This one tastes amazing as well…..just a little added bonus.
Something else that happens during high-stress times is that blood is diverted away from our digestive system and sent toward the brain, heart, lungs and large muscle groups. Because blood is diverted away from the digestive system, many people, including me, have struggled with digestive issues. Chronic stress can cause the bad bacteria to overtake our digestive system, so a good probiotic can help bring it back to balance. I personally take the Klaire Lab brands. They come in 25 billion or 50 billion. One thing to make sure you know is that if you start taking the probiotic and you do have an overgrowth of bad yeasts and bacteria, you could experience nausea and other symptoms as the good bacteria kill off the bad.
Something else I found helpful for both energy level and hydration was electrolyte tablets. When our adrenals are not working well due to chronic stress, they actually flush out sodium and other important electrolytes. With sodium levels low, we don’t retain water like we should. For the longest time I was constantly thirsty. In fact, I thought I had diabetes. What I didn’t realize at the time was that as I was downing the water, my adrenals were just flushing out my electrolytes. I’ve found several products that help with keeping my electrolyte levels where they should be. When I start to feel dehydrated despite drinking plenty of water, I know that I need some extra supplementation.
These are my favorite. They are a little more pricey but worth the extra money in my opinion. There are a ton of different flavors. The one thing you need to know is that if it says “Energy” on the tube, it contains caffeine in addition to the electrolytes.
Hopefully my personal regimen will help you discover what works well for your body when you’re under a lot of stress. I’d love to hear about products you have found helpful during times of stress!
I’ve found that most moms are hesitant to spend much money on themselves, but I can tell you that making sure we are caring for our bodies is an important part of being there for our children.