Stress and Supplementation With Vitamin B

July 29, 2020

We all get stressed, that’s for sure.  Most days this stress is manageable.  These days, however, are not like most days!   Unfortunately, stress can be more than we can handle during uncertain times (dare I say COVID-19). While we cannot change all the negative stress in our lives, it’s important to know that there are tools available to help us cope.  Eating right, getting plenty of exercise, and meditation and mindfulness activities are excellent ways to deal with stress.  In addition to these, supplementing with vitamins such as Vitamin B can help to support our stress response.  

Our Body And Stress: The HPA System

The Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis, HPA for short, is the hormonal signalling system in our body responsible for our stress response.  When we are stressed, the hormone cortisol is released by adrenal glands in response to other HPA hormones.  Cortisol has different effects in our body that help us deal with stress, such as our fight or fight response.  Over time, however, excess stress can overwhelm our HPA system and impair our ability to respond to stress.  When this happens we may feel fatigued, unable to cope and overwhelmed.  Sound familiar?  Good thing there are a number of different products we can take to support our HPA system and our stress response. Cue Vitamin B for stress!

What Are B Vitamins and How Can They Help?

The family of B vitamins are an excellent place to start when looking to support our HPA system and stress. This group of water soluble vitamins are essential in the diet.  They are necessary for hormone production and cell signalling within the HPA system.  Some important B vitamins include:

B5 (Pantothenic Acid): Support cortisol formation in the adrenals (1).
B6 (Pyridoxine): Supports the manufacturing of the neurotransmitter serotonin, which aids in the body’s ability to deal with depression and anxiety (2).
B9 (Folic Acid):  Critical for its role in energy production. A deficiency of folic acid can produce fatigue and lethargy, giving you less ability to cope with daily stressors (3).
B12 (Cobalamin):  B12 is critical for methylation,  which involves the elimination of chemicals and hormones, the production of neurotransmitters, as well as the production of energy and cell membranes. Lower levels of B12 are associated with depressed states.  Treatment with this vitamin may be a good first step when dealing with poor stress reactions (4).

The B vitamins are available in many food sources, including whole grains, legumes, vegetables, and leans meats.  They can also be taken as a B-complex supplement (multiple B vitamins together).   Talk to your Naturopathic Doctor about whether B vitamins are the best defense for you when it comes to supporting your stress response.  Take that COVID-19!

For more information on helping you cope more effectively with stress, especially during these uncertain times, please contact Dr. Linda Shih, ND at Spine Stretch Studio. I look forward to helping you on the road to wellness!

Author: Linda Shih

Dr. Linda Shih, ND is a licensed Naturopathic Doctor who is passionate about preventative and personalized health care, always striving to understand the root cause of her client’s conditions and concerns. She hold an Honors Bachelor of Science Degree from the University of Toronto, a Diploma of Naturopathic Medicine from the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, Toronto, and is a member of the College of Naturopaths of Ontario.
Naturopathic Doctors are considered primary care physicians, and while Dr. Linda Shih maintains a wide scope of practice in her family clinic, she has a special interest in pain management, infertility, as well as digestive concerns.
Using a variety of different modalities, including acupuncture, botanical medicine, and nutritional counseling, Dr. Shih, ND, always aims to help her clients achieve their best health, both now and for the future.
Linda Shih Linda Shih
July 29, 2020 July 29, 2020

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