These days it seems that there is no shortage of stress to go around. Some of us have stressors coming from every direction and will “wear our stress” like a badge of honor that we wish we never earned. There are physical, emotional, financial, environmental, vocational, spiritual and nutritional stressors just to name a few. We are moving faster to get more things done while distracting ourselves at the same time. We work longer hours and spend less time at leisure or recharging our bodies through exercise. There is no other way to say it, we are stressed, and this stress slowly wreaks havoc on our bodies and leave us less effective at self-management.
Knowing that our systems are being overly stressed is one thing but understanding what can be done to help reduce or cope with it is another thing. There are many proven remedies that can help eliminate stress or at least reduce the negative effects of it on the body. Exercise and sleep are probably the most effective options for overall reduction and management of stress. Massage, nutrition, and energetic healing are other avenues that help ameliorate our bodies resistance to the negative effects of stress. All of these, with the exception of sleep(which can be indirectly improved through the other options mentioned), are approaches that our experts at SIMIO are equipped to help with. Massage, health coaching, yoga, fitness classes, energetic healing, and physical rehab to optimize physical ability and eliminate painful limitations to exercise, are all options available under one roof here at SIMIO. In addition to these options many people are turning to Dietary Supplements to help better their health. Supplements and other holistic healing tools are becoming a part of many people’s health and wellness Regimens. In a 2018 Consumer Survey of Dietary Supplements performed by The Council for Responsible Nutrition(CRN) they show that 75% of people in the U.S. are trying Dietary Supplements, up from 65% in 2009(October 18, 2018 - https://www.crnusa.org/CRNConsumerSurvey). Adaptogenic Herbs are one class of supplements that show promise in attenuating the negative effects of stress.
Adaptogenic Herbs, or Adaptogens, are defined by Jennifer Potruff DPM, DNM, DO as “agents that support the bodies ability to accommodate varying amounts of physical and emotional stressors”. They work on multiple systems of the body and can help modify and regulate hormone production and flow. One of these hormones is Cortisol, sometimes referred to as the Stress Hormone, which is produced in the Adrenal Glands and is involved in blood sugar reduction, inflammation reduction, metabolism regulation, and memory formation. Cortisol is important to our health however too much Cortisol can be associated with weight gain, extreme fatigue, Acne, slowed healing, irritability, headaches, high blood pressure, and difficulty concentrating. Ashwagandha, a well-known Adaptogen, has been shown to decrease Cortisol levels from 14.5%-27.9% in stressed, but otherwise healthy individuals. Research also supports its ability to reduce anxiety during periods of chronic stress or in people with Anxiety Disorder. Panax Ginseng offers benefits related to Subjective Well-Being, blood sugar control, and cognition in periods of stress and fatigue. Rhodioloa Rosea has strong evidence supporting it’s effect on cognition, fatigue, and depression during periods of chronic stress and fatigue.
Adaptogens are effective, and by and large safe for consumption for most people, but it’s important to do your own research and also consult with your physician. There are many exaggerated and sometimes false claims promoting new “Miracle Drugs”, therefore resources such as Examine.com (where the previous research claims were derived from) are becoming incredibly valuable and I highly recommend starting there for a thorough and informative overview of what the research shows. They compile, organize, and deliver it in an easy-to-understand format and they are non-biased (they do not promote products, just expose what the research shows). I hope this article intrigues and offers help to some of you who may be looking to supplements for help in stress management.
Nathan Dykema PT, DPT, Cert. MDT