As summer reaches its blazing height, we all continue to face supreme challenges that call upon our best abilities to cope with stress, practice patience, and deal with each day as it comes, now more than ever.
Consider these self-care tips:
- Practice healthy sleep habits
- Exercise to reduce stress--even a brisk, five-minute walk can make a difference (but thirty minutes is better)
- Limit "comfort food" consumption. Sugar feeds inflammation in the body, reduces immune system function and ultimately increases stress.
- Make time for fun. Give yourself permission for at least one fun activity each day, where you can break away from the headlines and just be in the moment enjoying your family and something you really like to do.
And remember that supplements can play a key role in helping you feel your best. In these studies, echinacea, B vitamins and vitamin D showed promise in mood support. Find out more.
Relax with Echinacea
New research shows echinacea may have anti-anxiety effects. In this study, 64 adults with scores over 45 on a standard anxiety scale, took a placebo or 40 mg of echinacea twice per day. After seven days, anxiety scores decreased by 11 points, or 24 percent, for echinacea and 3 points for placebo. The anti-anxiety benefits continued through three weeks later for those who had taken echinacea, and were greatest in those who began the study with the highest anxiety scores.
Doctors said echinacea contains alkamides, which bind to a cannabinoid receptor, CB1, which then inhibits an enzyme that decreases a brain nerve-signaling fatty acid linked to anxiety.
Reference: Phytotherapy Research; December, 2019, ptr.6558, Published Online
B-vitamins improved mood, reduced stress
Stress is often the most pressing health complaint today. Researchers in this study identified 18 available placebo-controlled mood trials covering 2,015 participants using at least three types of B vitamins, and lasting at least four weeks.
All the studies contained vitamins B6 and B12, except one that included folate. Vitamins B1, 2, 3, and 5 were present in 16 of the 18 studies. Most used dosages twice the U.S. recommended daily value, with some as much as 10 to 300 times.
Eleven of the 18 studies reported positive effects for B vitamins compared to placebo for overall mood or some facet of mood. Eight of the studies involved people who were more vulnerable to mood disorders, and five of these found a significant mood benefit. While findings were not significant for depression or anxiety, B vitamins did have a positive effect on stress.
Reference: Nutrients; September, 2019, 11092232, Published Online
Vitamin D in older adults
In a new study of 78 adults over age 60 with moderate to severe depression, participants took a placebo or 50,000 IU of vitamin D every week for eight weeks. Both groups began the study with levels of vitamin D below normal, with the vitamin D group achieving normal levels by the end of the study. After eight weeks, depression symptom scores had decreased to normal, non-depressive levels for vitamin D while increasing slightly for placebo.
Discussing the findings, doctors said the area of the brain linked to depression, the hippocampus, has many vitamin D receptors, and that several vitamin D molecules can cross the blood-brain barrier, helping to explain the depression benefit of vitamin D.
Reference: Clinical Nutrition Journal; 2019, Vol. 38, No. 5, 2065-70
As always, if you take any medications or have any medical conditions, it is best to consult your healthcare provider before beginning a supplement to ensure it's safe for you to take the product. Together, we will persevere through this prolonged challenge of COVID-19. Take care of yourself--and each other.
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The study information in this article is copyright 2020 by Natural Insights for Well Being. All rights reserved. Used with permission.
BetsyHealth Note: This article is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Consult your healthcare provider before beginning a supplement, especially if you have a medical condition, including being pregnant or nursing, and/or if you take prescription or over-the-counter medications.