How Nootropics Supplements Can Help You Stress Less
One of the funniest things about modern life is that as things become faster and more convenient, we seem to be getting more stressed as a population. Work, schcool, relationships, money, status, things we have that aren’t good enough, things we want, keeping up with friends on social media, feelings of inadequacy because of social media…the list goes on and on.
It’s almost as if the speed at which things happen today don’t make our lives easier, they just speed up the amount of stress we feel. Stress doesn’t have to be a negative thing all the time. A little here and there can spur growth and adaptation from a personal and physical perspective. But too much will wreck you.
6 Signs You’re Too Stressed Out
- Vomiting. The first one is nasty, yet true. During the 2008 financial meltdown, the US Secretary of Treasury Henry Paulson admitted to getting so stressed he would start to uncontrollably dry heave. This condition is called “cyclic vomiting syndrome” and results in repeated vomiting over a period of time.
- Hair Loss. Stress-induced hair loss can rear it’s ugly, balding head through two main conditions. The first is alopecia areata, which is basically just hair falling out. The second, and more terrifying is telogen effluvium. If you’re suffering from this one you can suddenly lose up to 70% of your hair fairly quickly. The good news here is that after your stress has reduced, the hair usually regrows.
- Nosebleeds. According to the British Medical Journal, nosebleeds could be connected to stress through spikes in blood pressure. There’s not a clear consensus on how related stress and nosebleeds actually are, but there’s some correlating data that supports the theory.
- Memory Loss. At the base level, stress is simply a hormonal response that puts your body in “fight or flight” mode. The stress hormones like cortisol can shrink the hippocampus, an area of your brain associated with memory.
- Weakened Immunity. There are a few avenues stress takes to weaken your immune system. First, it can disrupt the overall regulation. Second, you produce less white blood cells. Finally, it destroys genes that help white blood cells reproduce. In short, if you’re stressed out, stay away from anyone with the sniffles for a while.
- Excessive Sweating. We’ve all heard of sweaty palms when you’re nervous, right? This condition is brought on by stress and called hyperhidrosis. It doesn’t always keep to the palms and will keep you sweating no matter what the temperature is. This sweat could also possible send stress-signals to other people and cause them to become stressed as well.
There’s a caveat to all of this, of course. Stress can be managed, even stress from the sources that seem unavoidable can be mitigated. Most articles on stress, like the one linked above, give the same advice: take a break, meditate, exercise. Few mention an additional way to reduce stress: nootropics and supplements.
Supplements to Reduce Your Stress Today
- L-Theanine: Reduces stress and when taken with caffeine can boost focus and reduce the jitters.
- Rhodiola Rosea: An adoptogen that can regulate stress hormones.
- Magnesium: Stress depletes magnesium; depleted magnesium causes you to react more to stress. Supplementation helps you avoid this cycle.
- B-Vitamins: A non-stimulant energy source, B-Vitamins also reduce the effects of physical and mental stress.
L-theanine is a key stress-reducing ingredient in green tea, which has been shown to reduce stress on its own. L-theanine is highly effective and reducing stress and anxiety when taken alone or combined with other supplements. If you’re suffering from stress or anxiety and are a caffeine user, adding l-theanine is a must. It can help keep away the caffeine jitters and give you a more calming sensation to go along with the energy boost.
This supplement is known as an adaptogen which basically means it can help your body achieve its natural balance more effectively. Stress causes hormones and chemicals to go crazy in the brain and body. Rhodiola Rosea can naturally help get things back to normal.
Despite being a mineral and not a fancy nootropic, magnesium is critical when it comes to managing stress within the body. Stress causes magnesium depletion and lower magnesium levels can make you more reactive to stress from the start. It’s a wicked cycle that can be stopped in its tracks with a high quality magnesium supplement.
Supplementing with B-complex vitamins can provide two benefits. First, they can give you more energy. Stress can suck the life-force out of you, so having a non-stimulant source of more energy can keep you going along. Second, it has been shown to effectively reduce the physical and mental symptoms of stress like confusion and depressed mood.
Remember, the human body is only designed to withstand short periods of stress, so when a situation perceived as stressful arises, it kicks into “survival mode” and focuses only on staying alive with the minimal amount of possible resources. Supplementing with nootropics, vitamins, and minerals during periods of stress can help replenish some of the depleted fuel your body needs to keep going.
Nootropics to Manage Your Stress
School, work, and life in general can be stressful from time to time, it’s a simple fact. However, this does not mean you have to accept that stress will always pervade your day-to-day experiences. If you want natural but effective stress relief, then check out the following nootropics. Whether you need more energy, better moods, or less stress, they are sure to deliver.
What Are Nootropics?
Nootropics are cognitive enhancers available in bulk powder and capsule form. Derived from the Greek word ‘noos’ (mind) and ‘tropos’ (a bend), these substances work by increasing the brain’s supply of neurotransmitters, improving the oxygen flow in the brain, or stimulating nerve growth.
They have become popular for improving cognition, mood, memory (in both healthy individuals and those suffering from age-related memory loss), and relaxation. Because of their low toxicity they are considered reasonably safe.
While the racetam family of nootropics are the most well known, other nootropics are derived from natural substances and also exhibit the same neuro enhancing properties.
Nootropics for Stress Relief
One of the most common uses for nootropics is to manage stress. Here are the top five nootropics that many turn to when they need stress relief.
Whether you know it or not, you’ve likely ingested theanine before as this stress reliever is commonly found in teas. One of the hallmark benefits of theanine is that it relaxes you without making you drowsy (a common side effect of many relaxants).
In one study, participants who took L-Theanine showed a marked reduction in their heart rate among other physiological stress-responses. This suggests that supplementing with theanine is a natural way to help reduce stress levels.
Like many nootropics that have stress-relieving properties, Theanine works by affecting the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain, GABA.
When GABA levels in the brain are too low, individuals experience anxiety and stress. Theanine works by increasing the amount of GABA that the body produces and distributes to the brain, which helps creates a natural calming effect.
As it positively impacts GABA levels within the brain as well as reducing physiological responses to stress within the body, theanine is a great choice when it comes to relaxation.
Theanine also pairs very well with caffeine, boosting your focus and concentration without the jitters.
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
Commonly referred to as balm mint, lemon balm is an herb in the mint family native to centre-southern Europe and the Mediterranean region.
One study involving 20 participants found lemon balm to be an effective way to manage lab-induced stress. Following a 300mg dose the participants self-rated calmness (based on the Bond-Lader mood scales) was significantly increased while alertness was decreased, but with no reduction to their accuracy when taking cognitive tests.
Basically this means that individuals taking lemon balm can expect to feel relaxed and nearly stress-free without suffering dips in cognition or focus.
Ginseng has been used for centuries to relieve stress.
In one experiment, mice were given 100mg/kg of ginseng. Scientists then observed the effects of the herb in regards to alleviating chronic stress; results were very promising.
Additionally, ginseng directly affects the adrenal glands, which is where the stress hormones adrenalin and cortisone are made.
By reducing chronic stress as well as the levels of stress hormones in the body, ginseng is an excellent supplement for those seeking relief from anxiety.
Inositol is a vitamin B like supplement that acts as an alternative energy source for brain and muscle tissue.
Inositol is also a proven mood booster. Two clinical studies observed depressed patients while taking Inositol, with the result that their Hamilton Depression scale scores were significantly decreased.
As anybody suffering from stress knows, more than just your sanity takes a hit. Your energy levels and your mood suffer as well, so why not supply your brain and body with a supplement that will improve both?
B vitamins are anti-stress vitamins that play a role in keeping the nervous system healthy. B vitamins also supply you with energy.
One 90 day study set out to record the effect of a high dose of Vitamin B complex on work stress with the result that individuals experienced lower personal strain and improved moods.
As they provide energy and reduce stress, B Vitamins are a definite positive addition for anybody looking for a respite from stress.
Everybody needs a pick-me-up from time to time, and these supplements should do the trick. Not only can they help you relieve stress, improve your mood, as well as amp up your energy, many of them have the added benefit of being all natural.
Here is a quick recap of these Supplements and Nootropics and their benefits.
- Theanine Relief from stress and anxiety; improved cognition when taken with caffeine
- Rhodiola Rosea
- Lemon Balm Relief from stress; relaxing agent
- Ginseng Relief from chronic stress
- Inositol Improves mood; energy booster
- B Vitamins Energy booster, mood booster; stress reliever
- L-Theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress responses.
- Modulation of mood and cognitive performance following acute administration of Melissa officinalis (lemon balm).
- Anti-stress effects of Ginkgo biloba and Panax ginseng: a comparative study.
- How Ginseng Works – Stress
- Inositol reduces depressive-like behaviors in two different animal models of depression
- The effect of 90 day administration of a high dose vitamin B‐complex on work stress
- The effects of l-theanine, caffeine and their combination on cognition and mood