Supplements That Fight Stress

By Dr. Tasneem Bhatia, Medical Director and Founder of the Atlanta Center for Holistic and Integrative Medicine and medical expert for ABC and Headline News. Dr. Bhatia is also Integrative Medicine adjunct faculty at Emory University.

Posted on | By Dr. Tasneem Bhatia | Comments ()

Deadlines. Holidays. Relationship hiccups. Stress has become an unwelcome addition to our daily discourse. While it is tempting to declare one stressor more significant than another, our bodies perceive all stress equally. Cortisol levels rise, neurotransmitter levels become erratic, key nutrients are depleted, and hormone levels become difficult to predict.

Stress-management strategies are critical in maintaining wellness and disease prevention.  Supplements are an easy, cost-effective method of managing stress, as long as they are targeted at the right symptoms. Many of my patients are often confused about what supplements to take. I typically encourage them to develop a supplement plan based on their symptoms.

Stress Symptom: Insomnia

Restless nights, obsessive thoughts, counting sheep. Sound familiar? Losing sleep when stressed can wear down the immune system and worsen an already crabby mood. Instead of staring at the clock, look to supplements that help coax the mind to sleep, such as:

Magnesium: This multipurpose supplement helps to relax the body while also easing anxiety. The starting dose of magnesium is usually 200 mg and is best in a glycinate or chelate form. Take at least one hour prior to bedtime.

Melatonin: For those who have trouble falling asleep, melatonin is a natural time shifter. It will help patients fall asleep and is also taken one hour prior to bedtime. It works best in a slow-release formula. The starting dose of melatonin is 1 mg. I will often combine melatonin and magnesium in patients with sleep difficulties.

Valerian Root: Unlike magnesium and melatonin, valerian root works better to maintain sleep. The starting dose is 400 mg.

Dr. Tasneem Bhatia

Article written by Dr. Tasneem Bhatia
Integrative Health Expert Medical Director, Atlanta Center for Holistic and Integrative Medicine Author, What Doctors Eat Contributing Editor, Prevention