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.

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Stress Symptom: Headaches

Poor sleep is not the only symptom of stress. Many patients will also complain about worsening migraines or tension headaches. My favorite supplements for headache prevention include:

B6: The B vitamins generally get depleted in stressful conditions, but vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) depletion has been linked to all types of headaches. B6 is best taken as a complex with the other B vitamins. Starting doses of 25 mg per day help to keep headaches away.

B6: Along with B6, vitamin B2 is also helpful in headache prevention. I start with 25 mg of vitamin B2 as well.

Feverfew: This headache remedy is better for migraines than for tension headaches. Feverfew is a flower, belonging to the daisy family. Most of my patients will begin with 50 mg of feverfew.

Stress Symptom: Pain

Whether it’s in your neck, shoulders or hips, stress will enhance the overall sensation of pain. Stress can create pain through stiffening muscles and joints. Keeping muscles relaxed to prevent muscular aches and pains can also prevent headaches that result from exaggerated muscle tension. Here are a few supplements that I recommend to prevent stress-related muscle stiffness and tension:

Omega-3s: The omega-3 oils (EPA and DHA) act as potent anti-inflammatories. Omega-3 fats work to lubricate both muscles and joints, thereby decreasing pain. Most of my patients take approximately 2-3 grams per day of total omega-3.

Curcumin: There are many natural anti-inflammatories that prevent worsening pain in stressful conditions. These include curcumin, willow bark and boswellia. Curcumin is extracted from turmeric and appears to boost the immune system while also preventing pain. The starting dose of curcumin is approximately 2 grams per day.

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