Ingrid Pilz, Naturopath
Naturopath Ingrid Pilz suggests four top vitamins.
Although it’s easy to think of stress as “just a state of mind”, the reality is a little more complicated. Yes, of course stress is partly mental. It starts the moment you experience a situation that your mind tells you is too much for you to cope with.
But just because stress starts in your mind, doesn’t mean it stays there. As soon as you get that “just can’t cope” feeling, a chain of natural physical responses cascades its way through your body. Each response helps you to either fight off whatever’s stressing you, or get as far as away from it as possible.
So blood gets channelled away from your central core and out into your muscles where you can use it “fight or flee”. Your heart beats faster and you breathe more shallowly. You produce more of the hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol, that make you feel alert and energised. And meanwhile, non-essential functions like digestion temporarily shut down.
All these stress responses are ideal if the stressor you’re facing is something immediate, physical and unusual (like an angry wild animal, for example). But for most of us today, stressors are a little more subtle. They tend to be more mental or emotional – deadlines at work, arguments with friend, or ongoing family issues. And we seem to have to deal with them day after day after day – not just every once in a while. All of which means that our bodies’ automatic responses to stress can end up playing havoc with the nutrient levels in our bodies. This can be because:
So really, it’s no wonder that ongoing stress can leave our bodies feeling worse for wear! That’s why we need to know which nutrients our stress responses use up, and make sure we get more of them in our diets.
There are a whole raft of important stress response nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and amino acids. Entire books could – and have been – written about them all. But this is a short article, so we’re going to concentrate on the four top vitamins, which are:
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