Stress Supplements

Do you sometimes feel stress in your stomach? Symptoms of stress can often show up as bloating, gas, constipation, and/or diarrhea. And while some of it may be unrelated, there is a physiological reason why you may be experiencing gastrointestinal issues during periods of high stress. Our stress response system was designed to help us survive physical threats, such as being chased by a bear. When activated, our body devotes all of its resources to either fighting, running away, or freezing (as to make the stressor think we’re dead). This, in turn, down regulates systems in the body that are not needed for immediate survival, like our rest and digest state. With our rest and digest state inactive, our bodies can’t process and extract nutrients from the foods we’ve eaten, meaning it could stay longer in the stomach and intestines than it ideally should, or move very quickly without being absorbed. While in our modern day we are not necessarily being chased by bears, many still engage their sympathetic nervous system as if we are. Stressors range from deadlines at work, politics, finances, and relationship difficulties. These feelings of stress are valid AND for our wellbeing, we must make sure we have ways to recover from stress. We’ve discussed in previous blogs ways you can help yourself get out of your sympathetic nervous system and into your parasympathetic nervous system of rest and digest, which you can find here. This week, let’s take a look at supplemental ways you can support your body during periods of high or chronic stress.

If you are feeling stressed, there are a few different routes to take, depending on the symptoms you present with.

  • Acute stressors, like an upcoming deadline or meeting you are feeling uptight about

    • Chamomile tea is an office favorite! Both Dr. Spencer and Brynn drink chamomile tea pretty regularly to aid in a sense of calm. Brands like Yogi, Traditional Medicinals, and Celestial Seasonings are ones we’ve tried and enjoyed.

    • Adaptogenic chocolates from Designs for Health are another option. FX Chocolate Exhale combines chocolate with adaptogens to help your body find a calm state.

  • Overall chronic feeling of too much stress

    • Taking magnesium can have a calming effect on the body. You can take magnesium orally or absorb it through the skin with an epsom salt bath. We recommend forms like magnesium malate, magnesium bisglycinate, or magnesium l-threonate. Magnesium citrate is often used as a laxative and is not one we would typically recommend for stress.

    • Supplemental adaptogens-Adaptogens help your body respond to stress. Our staff go-to in this category is HPA-Adapt. Our patients with chronic stress have said it promotes an overall feeling of calm when taken daily.

  • Finding yourself bloated when stressed

    • For this we suggest a digestive enzyme, like Digestzymes from Designs for Health. Your stress may be lowering the amount of digestive enzymes available to break down your food and when it sits too long in your stomach, it can cause bloating.

    • Probiotics, like MegaSpore, help reduce bloating as well. Stress lowers the amount of beneficial microbes in your gut, so supplementing with a quality probiotic helps to increase your beneficial bacteria levels.

  • Finding yourself too stressed to eat

    • We suggest also taking a digestive enzyme so the nutrients from the little food you are able to eat are absorbed.

    • If this happens frequently, we recommend a nutrient deficiency panel so we can see what nutrients need to be supplemented with for your health and wellbeing. This can be done through our office.

  • Physical options to manage stress, available from our doctors

    • Acupuncture– can move tough emotions out of the body

    • Cupping-helps relieve tension you are holding

Regardless of whether your stress is low and chronic or high but short lived, supporting your body through the stress is important. Growing your toolbox for managing stress is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Find what works and what doesn’t, so when you find yourself in a moment of overwhelm you have resources. Here’s an example from our staff of what might be in your toolbox:


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