6 best stress-beating supplements, according to a nutritionist

Kim Pearson
·3-min read
Photo credit: Maskot - Getty Images
Photo credit: Maskot - Getty Images

From Runner's World

Whether an anxious mind is spoiling your sleep or stress is hampering your recovery, supplements can help. Here are nutritionist Kim Pearson's recommended supplements to ease stress:

Ashwagandha

This adaptogenic herb has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine. Adaptogens are natural substances believed to help the body adapt to stress. Research has shown that ashwagandha (also known as Indian ginseng) can reduce levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as helping to combat symptoms of anxiety. It can be particularly beneficial for runners, as it has also been shown to improve energy levels, stamina and performance.

TRY: Pukka Wholistic Ashwagandha capsules.

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Rhodiola

Also referred to as ‘arctic root’, this yellow flowering plant is another adaptogen linked to lower stress levels. One study of rhodiola supplementation in people experiencing stress found improvements in stress symptoms such as fatigue, exhaustion and anxiety after just three days. It may provide additional benefit for runners, as studies have shown rhodiola can also improve exercise performance by decreasing perceived exertion.

TRY: Holland & Barrett Rhodiola Rosea capsules.

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Valerian

Stress and sleep are intrinsically linked and a quality night’s sleep can be key to a good run the next day. Anxiety is often linked to insomnia and sleeplessness, and valerian herb (native to Europe and Asia) has been used for centuries to address anxiety. Studies have shown a subjective improvement in sleep quality following supplementation, so if stress is affecting your sleep, it’s worth considering a valerian supplement.

TRY: A. Vogel Dormeasan Sleep oral drops.

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Magnesium

Mental stress can affect your running performance, but it’s also possible that the physical stresses of running could increase your body’s stress load. Magnesium supplementation can help your body to calm down by acting as a smooth-muscle relaxant, so supplementing is a good idea if tired, overworked muscles are affecting your sleep and adding to stress. Magnesium is found in foods such as spinach, almonds, dark chocolate and avocado, but it is also widely available in supplement form.

TRY: BetterYou Magnesium Skin Body Butter.

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B vitamins

B vitamins contribute to normal neurological and psychological function, but research has found that chronic stress can deplete your body of certain B vitamins. Studies show that vitamin B complex supplementation can lead to a reduction in the rate of brain atrophy and may benefit mood. B vitamins are also essential for energy production, so if you find that stress is affecting your energy, it’s worth making sure you’re getting enough. Food sources include eggs, meat, legumes and dark, leafy, green veggies but it’s worth considering an all-in-one supplement (complex) to ensure you’re getting the right amount of all eight B vitamins.

TRY: BioCare B Complex capsules.

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L-theanine

L-theanine is an amino acid that can help to relax your mind and body, but has no sedative effect. Studies have shown symptoms of stress can be reduced with regular supplementation, while cognitive function can be improved. Green tea contains L-theanine, giving you another reason to switch your builder’s brew for a healthier cuppa. That said, teas typically don’t contain therapeutic levels of these compounds, while supplements do.

TRY: Higher Nature L-Theanine capsules.

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Kim Pearson is a qualified nutritionist with more than 12 years’ experience. kim-pearson.com

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