As you know, I’m a family doctor. I’ve been through medical school, residency and more than 10 years in professional practice. I’m also a wife and mother. I’ve survived the newborn period TWICE, once with a baby who was born with his days and nights backwards and didn’t sleep through the night until he was 8 months old.
I know a little bit about stress.
Stress can make you sick. Stress can make you gain weight. It can keep you from sleeping well at night, hurt your relationships with friends, family and coworkers, and in short make your life miserable!
How does stress do all that?!
Well, let’s talk about how your body handles stress. Cortisol is a major regulatory hormone released by the adrenal glands in response to stress. Serotonin, norepinephrine, GABA and dopamine are signaling molecules in the brain that are targeted by the antidepressant and anti-anxiety classes of medication. Epinephrine, also called adrenaline, and norepinephrine are released in response to stress as part of the “fight-or-flight” reaction. Melatonin is a cousin of serotonin that regulates sleep.
Many folks prefer to use a supplement to control stress rather than a “drug.” Please be aware that anything you use for the purpose of controlling or changing the way your body works IS A DRUG. All supplements and vitamins are drugs and can interfere and interact with medications prescribed by your doctor. As always, make sure your doctor knows what supplements you are taking and gives you the thumbs-up.
B Complex The production of serotonin and melatonin (they are created from tryptophan) in the brain is heavily dependent on B vitamins. Deficiency of any of them can produce irritability, poor sleep, depression, anxiety and fatigue. If you choose a B-complex supplement make sure it has 100% RDA of all 8 B-vitamins, especially biotin. Biotin is very expensive, so supplement companies tend to skimp on it to save money. In fact a patient brought me a B-Complex supplement she had bought at the drugstore that had NO biotin in it at all! Since the B vitamins function as a group, deficiency of one affects the whole complex. B complex is my favorite supplement for young people suffering from stress and anxiety. I have had children as young as 8 years old benefit from using it.
St. John’s Wort This is the most commonly prescribed antidepressant in Europe! It is well-documented that extracts of St. John’s wort increase serotonin in the brain the same way medications like Prozac do.
L-Theanine This is an amino acid that has the effect of reducing mental and physical stress, improve mood and increase cognition. It increases GABA activity in the brain.
Ashwaghanda This is a traditional Indian herb that has been used to blunt the physical responses to stress including increases in cortisol.
L-Tyrosine This is an amino acid which is a precursor to many chemicals in the brain including dopamine, epinephrine and norepinephrine. Interestingly, it has no effect on the mood under normal circumstances but seems to blunt the stress hormone response to stressful events such as divorce and death of a loved one.
Not sure what supplement is right for you? That’s OK, I’ve created three Stress Control Packages to make it easier for you, based on your level of stress:
Deluxe Stress Control Package
For the EXTRA stressed! Not only will you receive a two-month supply of Shaklee’s Stress Relief Complex, but you will also get B Complex as well. If you’re undergoing a lot of stress, the B complex will help your brain make stress-related neurotransmitters. Again, your Shaklee membership, tax and shipping are included.
Standard Stress Control Package
This package contains a two-month supply of Shaklee’s Stress Relief Complex, the best stress management supplement I’ve ever found. As always, I cover your membership, tax and shipping!