To chill out, your parents’ generation might have chanted “om.” Tat was so then. Our world is diferent now—a 24/7 anxiety-generator, what with
work, commuting, parenthood, staying connected and trying
to cram more than ever into every waking hour.
“Stress generates anxiety, and anxiety keeps our minds in
motion,” says Mark Stengler, NMD, of Encinitas, California.
“Luckily, we can choose from several natural substances to
help us stay calm when the world around us is in turmoil.”
Tose words ring particularly true during the holiday
season when long lines, slow trafc, packed schedules and
bad weather add more stress to the mix. Meditation, soft
music and disconnecting from the stresses of life (at least for
a while) can add a semblance of balance. And as Stengler
suggests these supplements can help, too.
B-Complex. Many Americans don’t get enough B vitamins,
making this supplement a good frst defense. Researchers
determined way back in 1943 that B vitamins had antistress
and antianxiety benefts. Since then they’ve discovered the
brain uses B vitamins to make neurotransmitters, the
chemicals that infuence mood. For example, in a study of
stressed-out ofce workers, taking high-potency B-complex
supplements eased stress, confusion and anger. A high-potency
multivitamin, which contains the B’s, is equally efective.
Dose: Take a daily multivitamin or B-complex supplement
with at least 50 mg each of vitamins B1, B2 and B3. If you
develop overactive dreams, cut back on B6.
Phosphatidylserine. Found in brain cell membranes,
phosphatidylserine protects against the damaging efects
of cortisol, the body’s stress hormone. A study by German
researchers found that high doses reduce cortisol and stress
levels in men. College students who took phosphatidylserine had
better moods, experienced lower stress and had less “neurotic”
behavior. In seniors, phosphatidylserine can improve memory.
Dose: Take 200–400 mg daily.
Omega-3s. We need omega-3s—specifcally EPA
(eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid)—
for brain development as infants and children and to maintain
healthy moods as adults. Studies have shown omega-3s have
a powerful calming and antistress efect. Medical students at
Te Ohio State University found that omega- 3 supplements
led to a 20-percent reduction in anxiety symptoms. Other
studies show that omega-3s have broad mood-enhancing
efects, diminishing anxiety, depression, irritability and
hostility. Good news for vegans: Omega- 3 supplements
are now available from both fsh and plant sources.
Dose: Take 1,000– 2,000 mg daily.
Passionfower. Tis often-overlooked herb has been shown
to efectively minimize anxiety in healthy people and those
about to undergo surgery. It also promotes sleep without
causing druglike sedation or grogginess.
Dose: Follow label directions whether taking passionfower
as a supplement or tea.
BY JACK CHALLEM