Resistance to stress is an individual body parameter that varies across humans. Stress resistance that is too low is bad for health. On the other hand, high levels of stress resistance can help in protecting the body and in de-stressing; something that is positive for us.
Our immune system is a very important “control center”. When stress resistance is low, we can be sure that our immune system is down.
The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is the main area of stress control. Our immune system watches and guides the HPA. It serves us as a protective wall against viruses, bacteria and parasites and any other pathogen that may assault our body.
In this article, we will discuss some specific supplements, vitamins and foods like vitamin B, vitamin C and other nutraceuticals and a variety of mushroom that can help in normalizing low stress resistance.
Vitamin B2, B5 & B12 – More Power for your Individual Stress Resistance
Vitamin B Complex is a group of B vitamins. All B vitamins are important for the body. This article focuses on special B vitamins such as riboflavin (B2), pantotenic acid (B5) and Cyanocobalamin (B12).
Vitamin B2: Vitamin B2 is another name for vitamin B2 or riboflavin. It is a water soluble vitamin, a deficit of which can reduce your natural resistance to stress. Low levels of riboflavin in the body can lead to negative reactions when presented with a stress situation. While I recommend some anti-stress supplements and combinations of nutraceuticals with herbs, amino acids, minerals and vitamins in my stress consulting sessions, riboflavin (at least 50 mg/day) is always one of the supplements that I include.
Benefits of Riboflavin
There are various benefits of riboflavin. Some of these that are related to stress management are:
- Regulating red blood cell growth
- Supporting the immune system related to skin and mucosa
- Production of energy for the body
- Assisting in metabolism of carbohydrates
- Detoxifying environmental toxins and pollutants
The best sources of riboflavin are milk, yoghurt, dadhi, dried apricots, mango and papaya, dark green vegetables and fish.
Vitamin B5: Vitamin B5 also known as pantothenic acid is a good addition to any nutrition-programs. It helps in supporting adrenal glands and can work wonders for short term stress situations. In combination with other vitamins and minerals, pantothenic acid is an optimal addition for better long term stress management as well.
Benefits of Pantothenic Acid
Among the various benefits of Pantothenic acid are:
- Protection of skin and mucous (especially the stomach and intestinal linings)
- Better management of inflammations caused due to the side effects of certain
- medical drugs or medical conditions
- Regulation of low cortisol levels
- Better control of Hypoglycaemia or low blood sugar
- Avoidance of the chronic fatigue syndrome
- Reduction in low energy levels
- Relief from anxiety and depression
- A reduction in cholesterol problems
The best sources of pantothenic acid are peanuts, soya beans, tofu, soya milk, soya yoghurt and other soya products, rice, sweet potato, avocado, legumes, mung dal, mushrooms, yoghurt (it has a very good vitamin B5 level).
Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12, also known as cobalamin, is a water soluble vitamin that I recommend for indications of Methylcobalamin stress. This coenzyme form of vitamin B12 is another version indicating that no metabolic steps are required for its assimilation and therefore it can be used in its normal form. Vitamin B12 is important for maintaining a healthy nervous system and increasing energy levels in our body too.
Benefits of Vitamin B12
Some of the important benefits of VitaminB12 are:
- Management of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
- Protection against toxins and allergens
- Reduction in stress related low energy levels
- Reduction in inflammations of all mucosa in the body
- Freedom from problems related to iron deficit
- Better management of food allergies, sulphite allergies or environmental induced reactions
- Aid in control of multiple sclerosis (vitamin B12 as Methylcobalamin improves synthesis of myelin)
- High copper levels that are induced from long term chronic stress. Vitamin B folic acid (200 to 400 mcg) in combination with Vitamin B12 (500 to 1000 mcg) as Methylcobalamine (or adenosylcobalamine) can be ingested in order to elevate the histamine level and to reduce the high levels of copper in the blood or serum.
The best sources of vitamin B12 are milk, dadhi such as yoghurt, egg, cheese, fish, edible algae and dietary supplements such as Spirulina and bee pollen.
Special foods for chronic stress relief
Some foods are particularly good for better management of long term stress. Some of these have been listed below for your review.
- Wheat germ – Wheat germ, the ’embryo’ of the wheat kernel is an ideal source of vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, minerals and trace elements.
- Molasses – Molasses are by-products of sugar refining. It contains carbohydrate, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, copper, selenium and B-vitamins.
- Bee Pollen – Bee pollen contains vitamin-B complex (including B12), proteins, carbohydrate and important trace elements such as chromium and manganese and minerals like magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron and zinc. Provitamin A for better immune support is also a part of bee pollen.
- Barley grass – Barley grass contains a wide spectrum of B vitamins and some minerals. It contains magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron, copper and zinc. I generally recommend that barley grass be consumed in the form of fine powder or juice powder. The chlorophyll and enzyme super oxid dismutase (SOD) found in barley grass is extremely beneficial for some detoxification functions in our body too.
- Spirulina – Spirulina is microscopic blue – green algae and is associated with a wide range of nutritional benefits.
- Nutritional yeast – Nutritional yeast is an excellent source of protein (52%), minerals such as zinc, manganese, molybdenum, cooper, chromium and B-complex vitamins (including B12).
Vitamin C — The Base Vitamin Number One
Vitamin C is typically called the anti-stress vitamin. It is very helpful and effective in managing short term stress situations but has a role to play in chronic stress too.
Ascorbic Acid or Ester C — What is better?
The acidic levels of vitamin C (ascorbic acid) may cause stomach irritation in some people who have relatively high levels of sensitivity towards acids. The natural metabolites of ester C provide quicker absorption and longer retention than any other form of vitamin C, such as ascorbic acid. Ester C is an acid- neutralized form of vitamin C that does not irritate the digestive system. I prefer acid-neutralized forms of Vitamin C like Ester C and Ascorbyl-Palmitate.
Our daily food contains carbohydrates in various forms. This is true whether you live in India or America and is particularly true for Texas where large amounts of sugar are consumed. Intake of ‘pure’ (mono) vitamin C can be helpful for long term stress.
If your daily food contains more vegetables and lower amounts of carbohydrates like bread, rice, millet, then you should consider taking a combination of Acai Extract, wheat germ, molasses and bee pollen (helps in providing natural carbohydrate balance).
The best sources of vitamin C are citric fruits like oranges, lemons, fresh kiwi fruit and dried kiwi, mango, papaya and guava, broccoli, spices like green pepper and red pepper.
Acai Berry a powerful fruit from the Amazon
Acai Berry is a fruit that grows on Acai palm trees in the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil. Acai has many healthy natural ingredients.
The antioxidant power that Acai berry has is 10 times higher than that of red grapes and twice that of blueberries.
There are three plant sterols have also been identified in Acai such as B-sitosterol, campestol and sigmasterol. These natural substances are known to have numerous health benefits. They are good for the heart, digestive function, rheumatic pain and a weak immune system. Plant sterols also regulate cholesterol metabolism.
Acai has a good fiber profile as compared to other fruits. It contains 27 grams of fiber in every 100 grams of frozen and dried Acai powder.
Acai berry is also very rich in healthy omega fats. Frozen and dried Acai powder (or capsule/juice or other forms of Acai nutraceuticals) is the perfect natural supplement that should be consumed for highly stress resistance. It is a powerful antioxidant and provides immense immune support.
Benefits of Acai
Acai provides various benefits to the body. These are:
- Higher energy levels, even at times of stress
- Improved digestion
- Good quality sleep
- Support for the immune-stress-balance
- Cholesterol reducing properties
Acai is specifically recommended for specific indications like:
- To obtain high energy level during short or long term stress
- For acute flu and/or cold infections
- Resistance to pollutant or other toxin-induced diseases or symptoms
- Better antioxidant power
Acai helps to produce HGH
The perfect complex of amino acids found in Acai fruit is vital for the production of HGH.
HGH stands for Human Growth Hormone and is a complex that contains 191 amino acids. HGH is produced mainly by the pituitary gland and has anti aging properties, as well. Some positive effects of the Human Growth Hormone are:
- Strengthening and repair of the immune system
- Better disease resistance at an overall level
- Faster wound healing
- Controlled blood pressure
- Reduction in cholesterol
- Increase in energy levels and endurance capability
- More efficient stress regulation
Consuming HGH supplements in the form of capsules, spray, powder or the transdermale form is one of the best solutions to acute and short term stress. Acai is a ‘complex’ that is 100 % natural and the ingredients activate HGH production in the body. You can take Acai for acute, short term and chronic, long term stress.
Cordyceps mushroom — Better stress resistance
Cordyceps sinensis is a mushroom that grows in the high altitudes of Tibet, Nepal and parts of China. While there are over 680 species in the Cordyceps, we shall be focusing on Cordyceps sinensis and the benefits associated with its consumption.
Benefits of Cordyceps
- Increase in energy levels
- Reduction in asthma incidents and other respiratory problems
- Better regulation of blood sugar (since long term stress levels can induce high blood sugar)
- Increase in oxygen capacity
- Boost in lung function and capacity
- Overall boost to the immune system
- Support for acute stress resistance
- An improvement in sexual virility
- Increased endurance levels
- Better ability to fight weakness and fatigue
- Increased adrenaline production Reduction in the affect that stress has on the heart
- Creation of a calming effect on the nervous system
How can Medical Drugs Cause B-Vitamins and C Deficiency?
There are some medicines that can cause vitamin B or vitamin C deficiency as a side effect. Some of these medicines have been listed for your convenience
|Name of drug that causes deficiency||Specific vitamin deficiency caused||Possible alternate medicine|
|Adrenocorticotropic hormone, also known as ACTH (is a stress hormone).||Vitamin B6||Dietary supplements for acute and chronic stress management|
|Tincture, an alcoholic extract derived from leaves||All Vitamin B’s and Vitamin C||Plant powder, capsules, liquid (without alcohol or dry extracts|
|Amitriptyline, for the treatment of major depression||Vitamin B2||Amino acid dietary supplements, vitamin B-complex, especially B12|
|Imipramine, an antidepressant medication||Vitamin B2||<same as above>|
|Aluminium-containing antacids used to treat high levels of stomach acidity||All Vitamin B and C||Licorice (DGL-form), complex of zinc and l-carnosine or mushroom Hericium erinceus.|
|Chloramphenicol, a broad-spectrum antibiotic drug||Vitamins B12, folic acid, B6, C||Origano oil|
|Barbiturate, a drug that acts on the central nervous system||Vitamins B12, B6, B2, folic acid, C||Passion flower extract, amino acids, vitamin B12 (the best as Methylcobalamine or adenosylcobalamine). The dietary supplement inositol can also be used.|
|Metformin, an oral antidiabetica drug (the number one drug to treat diabetes type 2)||Vitamins B12, folic acid||The dietary supplements to first-line are chromium GTF or chromium as picolinate. Neem extract (nimba), Gymnema sylvestre or the mushroom coprinus comatus can also be used.|
|Cimetidine & ranitidine hydrochloride, histamine H2-receptor antagonist, used for the treatment of heartburn and peptic ulcers||Vitamin B12||Complex of zinc and l-carnosine or/and mushroom hericium|
|Clofibrate, a lipid lowering agent for the treatment of high cholesterol||Vitamins B12, Provitamin A||Dietary supplement policosanol (the best can be obtained from the standardized extract of sugarcane or from rice)|
|4-aminosalicyl acid, an antibiotic drug used to treat tuberculosis||Vitamins B12, C||Olive leaf extract (at least 20 to 25 % standardised of oleuropine) and a good vitamin C|
|Phenothiazine, an anti psychotic, antihistaminic drug||Vitamin B2||l-methionine, an amino acid), vitamin C or quercitin, a bioflavonoid and vitamin C|
|Probenecid, a uricosuric drug primarily used in treating goat and hyperuricemia.||Vitamin B2||Amino acid l-glycin as dietary supplement or the shiitake mushroom.|
|Tetracycline, a broad-spectrum antibiotic drug used to treat acne||Vitamins B2, C||Pantethine, a coenzyme form of vitamin B5, also known to be ideal of acute stress.|
|Thiazide-like diuretic||All B-Vitamins, C||The mushroom polyporus umbellatus.|
|corticoids or steroid hormones||Vitamins B2, B6, folic acid, C||Standardised extract from dulcamarae stipites|
|Psyllium Husk, dietary supplement for intestine indications||Vitamin B2||Inulin, a dietary supplement or higher intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, dried plums, dried apricots.|
|Oral contraceptives pill for hormonal birth control or other hormonal drugs||Vitamins B2, B6, folic acid, C||Use of alternate contraceptive methods|
|Thyroxine, a form of thyroid hormones||Vitamin B2||Vitamin B2 as riboflavin-5-phosphate. Note: Vitamin B2 as riboflavin-5-phosphate is not an alternative for thyroxine. I recommend to take this type of vitamin B2 together.|
|Neomycin, an amino glycoside antibiotics||Vitamins B12|
|Acetylsalicylic acid, also known as Aspirin for pains, fever and inflammations||Vitamins C, folic acid||Dietary B-complex. Note: Dietary B-Complex is not an alternative for acetylsalicylic acid. I recommend to take this medical drug and B-complex together.|
|Phenytoin sodium, a commonly used antiepileptic drug||Vitamin B12||Folic acid or vitamin B6. Aroma oil like salvia officinalis. Note: Folic acid, vitamin B6 or Aroma oil of type salvia officinalis are not alternatives for phenytoin sodium. These dietary vitamins and the aroma oil may increase epileptic.|
|Azathioprine, a drug to suppresses the immune system. It is the treatment for some autoimmune disease and used in organ transplantation too||Vitamin B6|
Foods that Reduce Vitamins B & C Absorption
There are some foods and drinks that can cause a reduction in the capability of the body to absorb various nutrients. This can be dangerous because it means higher levels of intake to ensure that the required levels are obtained by the body. Some of the foods that should be avoided to ensure adequate and efficient absorption are given below.
Black tea and coffee can have a negative effect on the absorption levels of vitamin B1. If you are a heavy coffee or black tea drinker, you may need to tale take an extra dose of a dietary supplement of vitamin C in the form of ester-c, buffered-c or ascorbyl-palmitate in order to avoid vitamin B1 deficiency.
Dark chocolate can lower the levels of vitamin C in the system too.
- 1. Acai Berry — Fruits of Paradise, Jeremy Appleton, ND., CNS., Woodland Publishing.
- 2. Ascorbate — The Science of Vitamin C, by Dr. Steve Hickey, Dr. Hilary Roberts.
- 3. Cordyceps: China’s Healing Mushroom, by Georges M. Halpern, M.D., Ph.D. .
- 4. Melvyn R. Werbach, M.D., Nutritional Influences On Illness – A sourcebook of clinical research, Third Line Press.