I used to believe stress was a modifiable risk factor for disease, today I understand there is no human being out there who can honestly say they have never experienced anxiety (stress) for some reason or another. The degree of that anxiety, and therefore the response, both mental and physical, depends on the perceived challenge they’re facing. It is obvious, due to the market for stress-reducing remedies, that reducing daily anxiety it is a legitimate concern for most Americans. There are a multitude of triggers for stress and anxiety inducing feelings, therefore your solution needs to be just as divers. Get better sleep, practice meditation, try yoga, have a good social network, try herbal or botanical remedies and there are also medications designed to help the body deal with occasional stress/anxiety.
But let’s consider those individuals who have obvious physical reactions to anxiety/stress. Those individuals that get to a point where deep breathing and other convention therapies may not help ease the sudden onset of overwhelming physical and emotional…
There is a growing interest in exploring the importance of essential vitamins and minerals, more specifically their deficiency in the body and how that pertains to certain individuals that react to stressful situations with extreme effects.
The neurotransmitter Serotonin is considered a natural mood stabilizer and also helps with sleeping, eating, and digesting. Even the mildest of stressors can influence the production and adequacy of serotonin. The precursor to Serotonin creation is the essential amino acid Tryptophan. Tryptophan found in beef, poultry and fish, as well as nuts/seeds and legumes. The process of “creating” serotonin from tryptophan cannot happen without essential vitamins and nutrients. Two of the major players in this process are Vitamin B6 and iron.
A study conducted in 2013 by the Okayama University Medical School may have made an invaluable discovery that could help anticipate or even prevent the extreme physical and emotional reactions certain individuals exhibit when faced with a stressful or anxiety inducing event. The finding of this study found a correlation between healthy levels of B6 and iron in those individuals that had normal/healthy reactions to stressful situations, where as those individuals occasionally hospitalize due to extreme reactions to stress were found to have much lower levels of B6 and iron.
Natural approaches to general wellbeing often utilize a diverse combination of vitamins, botanicals and amino acids to promote healthy lifestyles. Vitamins, like a complex of B’s and vitamin C, omega three fatty acids and minerals like magnesium are all natural building blocks for neurotransmitters. An individual’s relative access to these natural building blocks may be limited when you consider the increased physical and mental demands of our jobs, our social life and our family life. Often these three parts of our life are at odds with each other, and yet each is so necessary to complete us as social beings.
(1) L-Tryptophan: Basic Metabolic Functions, Behavioral Research and Therapeutic Indications. Dawn M Richard, Michael A Dawes, Charles W Mathias, Ashley Acheson, Nathalie Hill-Kapturczak, Donald M Dougherty Int J Tryptophan Res. 2009; 2: 45–60. Published online 2009 Mar 23.
(2) How to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs. Simon N. Young. J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2007 Nov; 32(6): 394–399.