TREND WATCH

Get ahead of hol­i­day stress with th­ese four sup­ple­ments de­signed to keep you calm and fo­cused

Better Nutrition - - CONTENTS - BY LISA TURNER

Stress- Bust­ing Sup­ple­ments Get ahead of hol­i­day stress with th­ese four sup­ple­ments de­signed to keep you calm and fo­cused.

Mul­tivi­ta­mins. A sim­ple daily multi can go a long way to de­creas­ing stress. Stud­ies have linked stress with de­fi­cien­cies in mi­cronu­tri­ents, so it makes sense that a broad- spec­trum multi with a wide range of nu­tri­ents can boost mood. In one study, men who took a daily multi con­tain­ing vi­ta­mins, min­er­als, and an­tiox­i­dants showed a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion in anx­i­ety and stress, and an im­prove­ment in alert­ness and gen­eral daily func­tion­ing, com­pared with men tak­ing a placebo. An­other study showed sim­i­lar re­sults, and sug­gested that en­hanced B vi­ta­min sta­tus played a large part in the find­ings. A re­view of eight dif­fer­ent stud­ies found that mul­ti­vi­ta­min sup­ple­men­ta­tion re­duced lev­els of per­ceived stress and anx­i­ety, as well as fa­tigue and con­fu­sion.

Tulsi. Also called holy basil, tulsi comes from an In­dian plant that’s been used for thou­sands of years in Ayurvedic medicine for its calm­ing prop­er­ties and other ben­e­fits. Mod­ern stud­ies show that tulsi can ad­dress psy­cho­log­i­cal stress and im­prove mem­ory and cog­ni­tive func­tion. It also has pow­er­ful an­tianx­i­ety and an­tide­pres­sant ac­tions. Other stud­ies sug­gest that tulsi has an­ti­stress ef­fects com­pa­ra­ble to an­tide­pres­sant drugs.

Pas­sion­flower. A climb­ing vine na­tive to the south­east­ern United States, pas­sion­flower has a long his­tory of use in herbal medicine to re­lieve stress and anx­i­ety. Now, mod­ern re­search sup­ports its use as a treat­ment for rest­less­ness, ner­vous­ness, and anx­i­ety, and three hu­man tri­als have doc­u­mented the ef­fi­cacy of pas­sion­flower as a treat­ment for anx­i­ety- re­lated dis­or­ders. In one study com­par­ing pas­sion­flower with a pre­scrip­tion an­tianx­i­ety med­i­ca­tion, no dif­fer­ence was found in ef­fec­tive­ness be­tween the two, and sub­jects from the pas­sion­flower group re­ported lower job im­pair­ment per­for­mance than those in the drug group.

L- thea­nine. This amino acid, found in green tea, has a mea­sur­able calm­ing ef­fect on the brain; it’s able to cross the blood- brain bar­rier and in­crease the body’s pro­duc­tion of both GABA and dopamine, neu­ro­trans­mit­ters that in­duce feel­ings of well- be­ing. In one study, peo­ple were given L- thea­nine and an an­tianx­i­ety drug, then sub­jected to ex­per­i­men­tally in­duced anx­i­ety. The peo­ple who re­ceived L- thea­nine had lower anx­i­ety through­out the trial than those who took the pre­scrip­tion drug.

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