Being low in magnesium is associated with various symptoms such as depression, psychosis, irritability, or confusion. [Photo: Bigstock]

Lasting stress relief? Supplements may help

7 November, 2016

Natural Health News — People who are stressed often feel their bodies are missing some essential nutrient – but finding the best supplement to support times of stress can be a bit of a lottery.

In a recent study by French scientists, a blend of probiotics, magnesium, vitamins and minerals was found to lower stress and fatigue levels – and this benefit was maintained even one month after discontinuing the supplement.

The study involved 242 volunteers (mostly women), complaining of psychological stress and with an average age of 38.

What you need to know

» Stress can cause multiple nutrient deficiencies in the body. How best to supplement to address stress is still unclear.

» In a new study French researchers found that a magnesium-containing supplement significantly decreased both stress and fatigue. This element, say the researchers, is a key component of any stress supplement regimen.

They were supplemented with a product containing probiotics (Lactobacillus gasseri PA 16/8, Bifidobacteriumbifidum MF 20/5, Bifidobacterium longum SP07/3), and magnesium (100 mg) as well as vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B8, B9, B12 and C, zinc, iron and selenium for one month.

Results showed that the stress levels of the participants decreased significantly by on an average 22.7%. Fatigue also decreased significantly – on average by 45%.”

One month after discontinuing use of the supplements, a follow-up self-questionnaire revealed that these benefits were still apparent.

Magnesium is key

The researchers suggest that magnesium may be particularly key in times of stress. A decline in magnesium status is associated with various symptoms such as depression, psychosis, irritability, or confusion.

In another study conducted by the same team, a 32.9% decrease in stress was seen with a similar food supplement containing calcium, magnesium and iodine.

This is similar to the figure obtained in another study of a magnesium-containing supplement, which showed a 31.9% reduction in stress.

The researchers suggest, that although magnesium seems to be key we are still some way from understanding what nutrient or combination of nutrients contributed to the long-term effects seen in the study.

Support for supplements

There is, in fact, a great deal of evidence to suggest that supplements can help reduce fatigue and reduce the oxidative stress caused by chronic stress exposure.

Vitamins A, C, and E as well as beta-carotene, omega-3s and polyphenols have been shows to be particularly helpful. Probiotics have been shown to boost emotional health via what has come to be known as the ‘brain-gut axis’.

A 2010 study that compared a high-dose B vitamin complex with vitamin C and found that they improved symptoms of stress by 14.2% vs. 12.7% respectively – though participants in this study were less stressed than in the current study.

If you are stressed and uncertain about how best to supplement, it is advisable to consult a qualified nutritionist.