You can't control the waves, but you can learn to surf.
If 2020 has taught us anything this year, it's to expect the unexpected.
The unexpected can be stressful. Extra stress means extra cortisol. Extra cortisol means extra demand on nutrient stores. Extra nutrient demand without topping them back up means exhaustion.
Nutrients are utilised in thousands of pathways in our bodies.
When it comes to stress, there are three particular aspects that nutrients are essential for supporting.
1. Production of neurotransmitters and hormones
2. Energy production
3. Ease of return to homeostasis post-stress
The production of neurotransmitters and hormones such as cortisol—the hormone that regulates our stress response—are dependent on a wide range of micronutrients.
Cortisol in particular is essential of our short-term survival, and so the production of it is always top priority over other functions such as digestion and reproduction. We can't do anything else if we're not alive, can we?
If we are constantly for often in a state of stress, our body is burning through our nutrient stores just to keep on top of cortisol production. When we're not topping the stores up each day, energy production becomes a taller ask, too.
When we're stressed and deficient in some or many nutrients, our bodies also struggle to make energy efficiently. That leaves us tired and stressed! And naturally when we're stressed, tired and nutrient depleted, life feels hard.
Even when stressors pass or are dealt with, our bodies require nutrients to function well, and for us to feel healthy and happy. Nutrients support us in coming back to a place of homeostasis—a state of balance in our autonomic nervous system.
So, that's a very brief overview of how stress and nutrients interact with each other. All nutrients are important, but here are five that are extra special during times of increased stress:
Top 5 Key Nutrients for Dealing with Stress
Best taken in the form of magnesium biglycinate.
2. Broad spectrum B Vitamins
Best taken in methylated forms for B12, B9 and B6.
Best taken in the form of sodium chloride (salt).
Best taken in the form of zinc picolinate.
5. Vitamin C
Best taken in the form of buffered ascorbic acid.
Professor Julia Rucklidge at the University of Canterbury researches the role of micronutrients support in mental health.
After the Christchurch earthquake, trials were run examining the benefits of b vitamins, and high doses of a high-quality multivitamin on the mental health of the participants. While b vitamins have already been proven to support mental health and resilience in times of stress, participants taking the high-strength multi consistently showed better mental health outcomes than participants taking just the b vitamins.