How do you deal with stress? Between long work days and commutes, growing addiction to technology, and disengagement from nature, the pressures of everyday life drastically increase stress, which can lead to a severe impact on mental health and sleep. Constant stress can also create health consequences including high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. With the amount of damage stress can bring, it’s not surprising how it is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
But, the issue of stress has only increased as a 2017 Gallup poll found that 44% of Americans claim to frequently encounter stress in their lives, while another 35% claim to sometimes encounter stress. More than half of the participants within the 18-29 and 30-49 age ranges reported to have frequent stress. Tight deadlines, hours in front of the computer, client meetings and the pressure of high productivity are the usual job requirements for these demographics as they lean toward on-the-go lifestyles. This has led stress management to become a top health concern among consumers under 40, according to HealthFocus International.
As the search for stress relief continues to grow, people are turning to plant-based solutions and supplements to relieve themselves.
As one of the most popular ingredients for sleep support, melatonin stabilizes the sleep cycles through the circadian rhythm and endocrine system. Basically, melatonin won’t knock you out but rather help your body know when to relax for easier sleep. Other benefits of melatonin may include the ability to alleviate heartburn and reduce seasonal depression, which are symptoms of illnesses that are caused by stress and lack of sleep.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is an amino acid and neurotransmitter that is responsible for delivering information from one cell to another. GABA is mainly known for its ability to boost the brain’s levels that treat stress, anxiety, and depression as a study from Biological Psychiatry discovered people with major depression were more likely to have low levels of GABA. Some other effects of low GABA activity also include difficulty concentrating, muscle pain, and insomnia.
Fatigue and low energy are contributors to stress levels. Vitamin B-Complex protects the body from rising stress levels by maintaining high energy levels and improving cognitive performance. There are eight vitamins within the complex including: thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), folate (B9), and cobalamin (B12). Though each of these essential vitamins play an important role, the body is unable to store them for long periods of time, creating a need to regularly consume B vitamins.
Adaptogens are non-toxic plants that train the body to resist stressors of all kinds such as physical, chemical, or biological. Each adaptogen claims to have a different restorative property to help the body adapt to stress. These can be categorized as:
- Long-Term Stress: Ashwagandha and Asian ginseng will soothe stress and hormone imbalances. Research has found that holy basil may also lower stress levels.
- Intense Stress & Anxiety: Some studies have found that Siberian ginseng, rhodiola, and Schisandra may have the ability to mediate fight-or-flight stress responses.
- Immune Health: Reishi and ginseng are believed to boost immunity.
For many adaptogens and other wellness solutions, they can be consumed as capsules, pre-mixed powders, and even as aromas, opening the door to endless possibilities to incorporate them into any lifestyle. This is great news as the Natural Marketing Institute found that 35% of consumers reported that they are very likely to use supplements to handle their stress, while 34% stated they would use supplements to maintain mood states. This significant increase is up 102% from 2009, along with a 65% increase for products for sleep disorders.
As a direct correlation to this increased interest, SPINS discovered that products supporting mood gained an 11% year-over-year growth, while products for sleep received a 20% growth. Additionally, sales for mental health and stress supplements skyrocketed from $334 million in 2006 to almost $600 million in 2016, according to the Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ). Significant growth can also be seen in the sales for sleep supplements as they escalated from $198 million to $584 million in the same period.
Stress may not go away forever; but, with new studies coming out and the growing demand for mental health supplements, it can be reduced immensely from our everyday lives. For now, just take a breath and keep calm.