I’m Under a Lot of Stress What Supplements Should I Take

Q: I have a very high-stress job and often I don’t have time to eat as well as I should. Sometimes I don’t have much energy and the stress starts to build up. Are there vitamins or nutritional supplements that could help?

A: Chronic stress profoundly affects the body by depleting both vitamins and minerals. While herbal remedies or multi vitamins can’t replace poor eating habits, they can supplement what is missing nutritionally, hence the term “nutritional supplement.” Lack of good nutrition compounds the effects of stress on both body and mind, so attention must be given to promoting health in a combination of both healthy foods and a common-sense vitamin nutritional supplement regime.

Here are the main vitamins and minerals to consider taking if you suffer from chronic high stress:
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin B complex, but especially pantothenic acid
• Vitamin E
• Vitamin A
• Vitamin D
• Calcium
• Magnesium
• Potassium
• Chromium picolonate
Q: When I feel stressed, I sometimes reach for alcohol. Do I need to take a higher dosage of nutritional supplements because I drink?

A: Take the dosage recommended by your health practitioner, whether you drink or not. Keep in mind that alcohol consumption can prevent proper vitamin and mineral absorption and assimilation, so let your health provider know how much you drink. In addition, excess alcohol use can increase stress levels, and does not actually address the root causes of stress. Doctors often advise patients to take nutritional supplements after quitting drinking alcohol, because ex-drinkers can suffer from malnutrition which needs to be corrected as soon as possible. They can also help with withdrawal symptoms.

Q: It seems that whenever I get really stressed out, I get a cold or some other illness. Is there a connection? Also, I usually don’t think of taking nutritional supplements unless I’m actually sick. Should I take them all the time?

A: Stress can directly reduce immune function, and leave the body vulnerable to all kinds of illness. Going off and on a vitamin supplement regime is usually not harmful. But being inconsistent with nutritional supplements may not be helpful to adequately address ongoing concerns of the effect a high-stress lifestyle is having on the body and mind. There is ample evidence to suggest that taking a multi vitamin and mineral supplement on a consistent basis reduces the effects of stress and reduces the incidence of colds and certain other illnesses.

Q: I have a hard time remembering to take supplements, especially when I’m really stressed. What can I do about that?

A: Taking good care of yourself has got to be placed as a priority in your life. Your health is important. You cannot avoid stress; nor can you constantly overreact to stress. Reducing the effects of stress on the body and the mind needs to be made into a lifelong ritual. Begin a daily health journal where you record your health goals and are able to see your own progress in meeting them. If you forget to take your nutritional supplements for a day or two, you will have your journal to give you that extra impetus. Write a friendly reminder to yourself to take your vitamins and put it on the refrigerator. You’ll be glad you did!