Stress has several long-term affects on the body. The nutrients provided by the food we eat and produced within our bodies are used up more rapidly in times of stress. Therefore our bodies require additional supplementation otherwise the bodies resources will be depleted and normal function will suffer or cease. The adrenal glands are chiefly responsible for the release of stress hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol, GH, epinephrine and norepinephrine. During times of stress, these hormones are released into the system and can stay at a raised level for up to 72 hours after the stress has been relieved. Increased levels of stress hormones have several reactions in the body including mobilizing energy from storage in muscles, increasing heart rate, blood pressure and breathing rate and shutting down metabolic processes such as digestion, reproduction, growth and immunity. By supporting the adrenal glands with proper nutrients during stressful times, the body can adapt and management stress until it can be resolved.
Nutrients within the body include carbohydrates, fats, proteins, amino acids, vitamins, minerals, water, and oxygen. These chemical substances are required for humans or any organism for that matter to live, and grow. Through our metabolism we use these materials for normal body functioning. Without these substances in adequate amounts the body cannot function normally. Stress causes the body to use up the nutrients faster than normal body function, which normally renders the body deficient. Deficiency caused by stress can lead to depleted energy storage, high blood pressure, hypertension, ulcers, decreased growth, decreased testosterone, and increased likelihood of disease.
Thus, a simple blood test can show if you have a vitamin deficiency. Your daily stress can be causing this deficiency, which can lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, nervousness, withdrawal, irritability, and decreased energy. Depending upon how depleted your body system is will determine if therapeutic dosages of vitamins are needed to restore your levels. However, taking a multivitamin regularly can help you avoid the symptoms of stress. Here are the vitamins that can help in the reduction of stress levels in the body.
Vitamin A- Vitamin A is a rich antioxidant that protects the body from free radicals. It is essential for vision, skin, mucous membranes and immunity. In times of stress vitamin A cleans the body of toxins that can deplete energy levels. Low energy levels are a sign of stress influence. Vitamin A can be found in foods such as liver, carrot, broccoli, sweet potato, butter, kale, spinach, pumpkin, collard greens, Cheddar cheese, cantaloupe melon, egg, apricot, papaya, mango, pea, broccoli, and milk.
Vitamin B Complex- The group of B vitamins is made up of several different B vitamins that work conjunctively in hundreds of different cellular reactions within the body. Although, each B vitamin has its set responsibilities they all are incorporated into increasing energy, decreasing fatigue, increased alertness, and uplifting mood. Vitamin B makes adrenal gland hormones and manufactures brain chemicals.
Thiamine/B1- Improves mood, is vital to nerve function, helps heart function, and assists in the Central Nervous System. It improves attitudes, increases energy production by converting blood sugar into energy, promotes a healthy mucous membrane, promotes muscular and cardio function, nerve health, and mental function through focus and memory improvement. Thiamine relieves stress and muscle tension. Thiamine breaks down carbs and fats to release energy to every cell in the body to use. Thiamine is important in the health and function of nerves because it is needed to make the chemical messenger acetylcholine, which is vital for memory and muscle tonicity within organs. As an antioxidant, thiamine protects the body from aging, and the damage from alcohol, and cigarette smoke. For athletes, thiamine reduces fatigue, increases energy and mental function. Thiamin is found in whole-grain cereals, bread, red meat, egg yolks, green leafy vegetables, legumes, sweet corn, brown rice, berries, and yeast
Riboflavin/B2- Riboflavin assists in energy production through breaking down carbohydrates, fats and proteins. B2 is needed to activate B6 to regulate the Central nervous system and minimizes the damage to the nervous system that is caused by excess stress. Riboflavin is necessary for cell regeneration, growth and reproduction, the production of antibodies, the antioxidant glutathione and protects the moist tissues of the eyes, mouth, and nose. Vitamin B2 is found in whole-grain products, milk, meat, eggs, cheese and peas.
Niacin/B3- Regulates sleep and metabolizes tryptophan a precursor to serotonin the neurotransmitter that keeps the mind calm. Niacin is pertinent to energy production, vasodilation for blood circulation, red blood cell formation, health of skin, digestive tract, nervous system function, brain activity, synthesis of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. Additionally B3 aids in the production of enzymes that produce energy, regulates blood glucose levels, and supports the body’s response to insulin. Vitamin B3 is a key for over 100 functions within the body. Niacin is found in meats, fish, brewer’s yeast, milk, eggs, legumes, potatoes and peanuts.
Pantothenic Acid/B5- Pantothenic acid is known as the “anti stress” vitamin. Pantothenic acid vital in the production of hormones and energy within the adrenal glands, therefore it can be helpful in stress relief. Pantothenic acid along with folic acid, and vitamin C are needed to regulate the adrenal gland functions, which create the stress hormones adrenalin and cortisols. Additionally, Vitamin B5 also removes toxins from the body, which can be caused by stress. Pantothenic Acid is found in calf’s liver, sunflower seeds, crimini mushrooms, yogurt, corn, broccoli, winter squash, cauliflower, egg and strawberries.
B6- Vitamin B6 helps to produce serotonin a neurotransmitter that keeps the mind calm. It is essential in neurotransmitter synthesis and amino acid metabolism. B6 is a coenzyme for many chemical reactions and converts tryptophan to serotonin. Vitamin B6 can supplement to increase mood, depression and memory function. B6 can be found in liver, meat, brown rice, fish, butter, wheat germ, whole grain cereals, and soybeans.
B12- Vitamin B12 is responsible for releasing endorphins, the “feel good” chemicals in the brain. Endorphins can enhance mood and state of mind. Vitamin B12 is involved in metabolism of every cell in the body, DNA synthesis, proper red blood cell formation, and energy production. Vitamin B12 can be found in shellfish, beef, eggs, and cheese but is also available in supplements and injections.
Vitamin C- Vitamin C is an antioxidant which can relieve mental stress and tension. Vitamin C is involved in the synthesis of stress hormone cortisol, which is produced during stressful times and released into the body. Therefore vitamin C is used up quickly during stress and needs to be replaced daily. Deficiency of vitamin C can reduce the functioning of the adrenal glands and cause symptoms of anxiety, irritability, and stress. Vitamin C boosts the immune system to stave off stressful problems such as headaches, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. Vitamin C can be found in Kiwifruit, Broccoli, Strawberry, Orange, Kale, Lemon, Cauliflower, Spinach, Lime, Tomato, Blueberry, Pineapple, Grape, Apricot, Plum, Watermelon, Banana, Carrot, Avocado, Cherry, Peach, Apple, Asparagus, Pear, Lettuce, Cucumber, Eggplant and many more.
Vitamin E-Vitamin E is an antioxidant, which controls the production of free radicals. As an antioxidant it works to relieve stress by fighting the bodies physical reaction to stress. Vitamin E works even better to combat stress when combined with another antioxidant selenium. Vitamin E can be found in almonds, mangoes, broccoli, fortified cereals, seeds, nuts, green leafy vegetables, pumpkin, sweet potato, blue crab, asparagus, olives and corn oil.
Graduated with a BA in exercise science and have worked in the medical field since. My focus is alternative medicine however all aspects of health interest me. Check out my health website!
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