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Tax Stress Relief

Natural Times, April/May/June 2014

By Jessica Dangelmaier, RD, Wellness Staff

Whether you’re studying for finals or preparing your taxes, spring can be a stressful time of year. Staying hydrated, getting adequate sleep, exercising and meditating are tried and true remedies to relieve stress and anxiety. Other tools to reduce stress include dietary supplements. Noteworthy ones include:

  • L-Theanine is an amino acid and glutamic acid analog primarily found in tea. L-Theanine can cross the blood-brain barrier and works by promoting alpha-wave production in the brain. It has been studied for its potential ability to reduce mental and physical stress, improve cognition, and boost mood and cognitive performance. Brands such as Natural Factors combine L-Theanine with 5-HTP, or 5-hydroxytryptophan. 5-HTP is a precursor to serotonin—one of the “feel good” chemicals in the brain.  This one-two punch can help you handle stress quickly.
  • Relora is another favorite stress-busting supplement. It is derived from the bark of magnolias (Magnolia officinalis) and phellodendrons. This supplement is oftentimes marketed as a weight-loss supplement because it helps to reduce cortisol levels. Cortisol is released when your body enters “fight or flight” mode, but can continue to be secreted at high levels when we are chronically stressed.  The phytochemicals in relora help to suppress over-production of cortisol and get your body out of its stressed state.
  • Taking a B-Complex can also be beneficial in times of stress. B-vitamins, specifically B-6, B-12, and folic acid, help to reduce homocysteine levels in the blood, which can increase when you’re stressed. B-vitamins are important for metabolism and nerve health in addition to brain function.
  • Omega-3s are also important supplements to promote a healthy disposition. While they may not be as fast-acting as the previously mentioned supplements, Omega-3’s have a large body of published evidence behind them. A recent study at The Ohio State University College of Medicine showed a statistically significant reduction in anxiety in participants that consumed 2,000mg of EPA for 3 months. By supporting your brain and nerves, you can help to nip stress in the bud!

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