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Best Vitamins and Supplements to Combat Stress

Best Vitamins and Supplements to Combat Stress

While everyone has specific life stressors, factors related to job pressure, money, health, and relationships tend to be the most common.

Stress can be acute or chronic and lead to fatigue, headaches, upset stomach, nervousness, and irritability or anger.

Regular exercise, adequate sleep, and good nutrition are some of the best ways to better equip your body to combat stress, but several vitamins and supplements can also help.

Here are the 3 best vitamins and supplements to help you combat stress.

1. Rhodiola rosea

Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea), is an herb that grows in the cold, mountainous regions of Russia and Asia.

It has long been known as an adaptogen, a natural, non-toxic herb that stimulates your body’s stress response system to increase stress resistance (1Trusted Source).

The adaptogenic properties of Rhodiola are linked to two of the herb’s potent active ingredients — rosavin and salidroside (2Trusted Source).

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An 8-week study in 100 people with chronic fatigue symptoms, such as poor sleep quality and impairments in short-term memory and concentration, found that supplementing with 400 mg of rhodiola extract daily improved symptoms after just 1 week (3Trusted Source).

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The symptoms continued to decline throughout the study.

In another study in 118 people with stress-related burnout, taking 400 mg of rhodiola extract daily for 12 weeks improved associated symptoms, including anxiety, exhaustion, and irritability (4Trusted Source).

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2. Melatonin

Getting adequate amounts of quality sleep is important for relieving stress.

Stress is strongly linked to insomnia, a sleep disorder characterized by difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep — or both (8Trusted Source9Trusted Source).

That said, achieving adequate quality sleep may not be the easiest if you’re under stress, which in turn could worsen its severity.

Melatonin is a natural hormone that regulates your body’s circadian rhythm, or sleep-wake cycle. Levels of the hormone increase in the evening when it’s dark to promote sleep and decrease in the morning when it’s light to promote wakefulness.

In a review of 19 studies in 1,683 people with primary sleep disorders — those not caused by another condition — melatonin decreased the time it took people to fall asleep, increased total sleep time, and improved overall sleep quality, compared with a placebo (10Trusted Source).

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Another review of 7 studies involving 205 people investigated the effectiveness of melatonin for managing secondary sleep disorders, which are those caused by another condition, such as stress or depression.

The review demonstrated that melatonin decreased the time it took people to fall asleep and increased total sleep time but did not significantly affect sleep quality, compared with a placebo (11Trusted Source).

Though melatonin is a natural hormone, supplementing with it does not affect your body’s production of it. Melatonin is also non-habit-forming (12Trusted Source).

Melatonin supplements range in dosage from 0.3–10 mg. It’s best to start with the lowest dose possible and work up to a higher dose if necessary (13Trusted Source).

While melatonin supplements can be purchased over the counter in the United States, they require a prescription in many other countries.

3. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an adaptogenic herb native to India, where it has been used in Indian Ayurveda, one of the world’s oldest medicinal systems (20Trusted Source).

Similarly to rhodiola, ashwagandha is thought to enhance your body’s resilience to physical and mental stress (21Trusted Source).

In one study on the stress-relieving effects of ashwagandha, researchers randomized 60 individuals with mild stress to receive 240 mg of a standardized ashwagandha extract or a placebo daily for 60 days (22Trusted Source).

Compared with the placebo, supplementing with ashwagandha was strongly associated with greater reductions in stress, anxiety, and depression. Ashwagandha was also linked to a 23% reduction in morning levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.

What’s more, a review of five studies examining the effects of ashwagandha on anxiety and stress observed that those who supplemented with ashwagandha extract scored better on tests measuring levels of stress, anxiety, and fatigue (23Trusted Source).

A study investigating the safety and efficacy of supplementing with ashwagandha in people with chronic stress noted that taking 600 mg of ashwagandha for 60 days was safe and well tolerated (24Trusted Source).

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