Nutrition and exercise can help ease stress. Learn more in this issue of Science & Health Today. 5 Key Nutrients to Soothe Stress:
1. GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). GABA, “nature’s relaxant,” is a key neurotransmitter in the brain that calms cells down. Studies show GABA has the ability to induce relaxation, reduce anxiety and stress, and increase focus. GABA also helps the brain prepare for better sleep by activating brain receptors and calming nerves. In addition, GABA may enhance immunity when the body is under stress.
2. L-Theanine. This anti-stress amino acid from green tea leaves is a valuable partner in relaxing the body. Studies suggest that L-theanine increases the soothing brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine as well as GABA levels. L-theanine also reduces heart rate under stress and tames the body’s “fight-or-flight” reactions overall.
3. B Complex Vitamins. Essential B vitamins affect the calming neurotransmitters in the brain such as serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. They also optimize the function of your nervous system during stressful times. In addition, B vitamins help release energy from your cells, which is important since stress increases your body’s demand for energy.
4. Valerian Root. This extract is useful to help reduce anxiety, nervous tension and the physical reaction to stressful situations. Valerian root’s benefits may also result in “alert relaxation” — key when you’re under stress.
5. Magnesium. This mineral helps muscles relax, helps you fall asleep easier and stimulates production of calming neurotransmitters such as dopamine. When you’re under stress, your body loses more magnesium. In addition, a magnesium deficiency activates a stress response that can result in muscle tension and cramps.
Run away from stress…
While smart nutritional choices can boost your body’s ability to handle stress, exercise is another important stress-relieving tool. Exercise produces a relaxation response and reduces the body’s level of cortisol, a stress hormone. Exercise also helps elevate your mood and reduces the risk of depression. Maybe that’s why Team Reliv Fitness Club members are such a happy, healthy bunch! Learn more.
The Dangerous Toll of Stress
Stress comes in two forms: acute or chronic. Acute stress response is your garden-variety, short-term “fight-or-flight” reaction. Your body releases stress hormones, including cortisol and adrenalin, to increase your ability to react and boost your strength. Your heart rate and blood pressure increase. After this short-term stress, your body calms down again.
Chronic, long-term stress is the real troublemaker. Ongoing stress causes your body to produce higher and higher amounts of stress hormones that eventually build up in your body and cause health problems. For example, long-term exposure to stress hormones produces damaging effects on your heart. Stress also makes your heart work harder, which can lead to heart attack, abnormal heart rhythm or stroke.
In addition, long-term stress assault can impair the immune system and “age” your body. This can lead to functional decline, heart disease, osteoporosis, inflammatory arthritis, type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. Obesity is another health risk of stress.
Some stressed-out symptoms include:
• High blood pressure
• Increased heart rate and cholesterol
• Increased blood sugar levels
If you’re experiencing stress symptoms, it’s time to take control. Eating a healthy diet is an ideal first step.
Solutions to Stress
More heart attacks occur on Mondays than on any other day of the week. Why? All indicators point toward stress. Today, stress is becoming the norm thanks to worldwide political unrest, an unstable economy, job worries, decreased incomes, rising prices… Some of these factors are beyond your control. But you do have control over how you take care of your body so you can better handle stress.
When you’re under stress, good nutrition may be more important than ever. Fiber is one stress reliever. Stress slows digestion, decreases the body’s ability to absorb important nutrients and raises blood sugar. So fill up on fiber to aid digestion, level out blood sugar and increase regularity.
Many other vitamins, minerals, herbs and nutrients ease stress too, including vitamin C, magnesium and B vitamins found in nutritional products such as Reliv Classic® and Reliv Now®. And now there is 24K. The 24K ingredients that zero in on stress include B vitamins, Gama Aminobutryric Acid (GABA), L-theanine and valerian root, among others.
While stress is part of life, it’s comforting to know Reliv offers nutritional answers to help us better handle whatever life throws at us.
To your health,
Reliv Vice Chairman & Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Carl W. Hastings