May 13, 2024 5 min read

Stress is a major player in our daily lives, hitting our bodies, minds, and emotions hard. According to the American Psychological Association, about 78% of U.S. adults are feeling the pressure from the pandemic (1).. It's clear we need powerful ways to manage stress now more than ever.

Among the various strategies to combat stress, natural supplements can be a great way to balance stress in the body. This article explores these supplements and offers guidance on selecting the best supplement to help manage your stress levels effectively.

The Best Supplements for Stress Support:

Below is our list of the best supplements for stress support.

1. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha, a renowned adaptogen used in Ayurvedic medicine, is celebrated for its ability to balance stress. It works by regulating the body's stress response systems, providing a more gentle approach to handling daily stressors*.

When choosing an ashwagandha supplement, look for products that contain standardized root extract, ensuring a consistent level of withanolides (the active compounds).

Utzy Pick: We include ashwagandha in our Adapto-Calm formula. We use an ashwagandha extract that is standardized to contain 1.5% withanolides.

2. Holy Basil (Tulsi)

Holy Basil, also known as Tulsi, is revered in traditional medicine for its ability to support resilience to stress and mood stabilization. It's thought to balance cortisol levels, the stress hormone, and promote a sense of calm*.

When shopping for Holy Basil supplements, look for labels that specify that it’s an "extract" to ensure you're getting a consistent dose of its active components. Also, the leaf is the beneficial part of this plant, so ensure that you are getting a product that only contains the leaf (avoid whole herb blends).

Utzy Pick: We include holy basil in our Adapto-Calm formula. We use an 10:1 holy basil extract made from the leaves of the plant.

3. Passionflower

Passionflower is another powerful herb known for its calming effects, it’s particularly useful for stress reduction and sleep issues linked to stress*. Its active compounds, including flavonoids, help soothe the nervous system.

When looking for a passionflower supplement, it's important to check for a few key factors to ensure quality and efficacy. Look for products that contain standardized extracts, indicating consistent levels of active compounds. Verify the supplement is made fromPassiflora incarnata, the most commonly studied species for its calming effects. 

Utzy Pick: We include passionflower in our Adapto-Calm formula. It’s part of our relaxing blend of herbs designed to promote relaxation.

4. Magnesium

Magnesium plays a pivotal role in hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body, including those that govern the stress response*. Research has found that magnesium levels are highly associated with stress levels (2). Maintaining healthy levels of magnesium may help to relax the body and mind.

When choosing a magnesium supplement, consider the form: magnesium glycinate is often recommended for stress due to its superior absorption rates and gentle effect on the stomach. It is also thought to have a relaxing effect that can help to improve sleep quality. 

Avoid forms like magnesium oxide, which is less bioavailable and harder on the digestive system.

Utzy Pick: Our MagnositolPM formula contains a daily dose of magnesium glycinate, the best form of magnesium for relaxation and sleep.

5. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids, particularly EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), are crucial for maintaining brain health and emotional balance*. These essential fats help modulate neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, which play significant roles in mood regulation. 

Studies have shown that people with adequate levels of omega-3s report feeling less stressed and more capable of handling stressful situations.

When selecting an omega-3 supplement, prioritize those containing high-quality, purified fish oil to ensure they are free from contaminants like heavy metals and PCBs. Look for supplements that provide a balanced ratio of EPA and DHA, with a higher concentration of these essential fatty acids per serving. 

Utzy Pick: Our Omega-3 product is made with fish oil that is purified and tested for over 150 different contaminants. This pure fish oil is safe and easy to take in softgel form (with a pleasant lemon flavor).

6. L-Theanine

L-Theanine, an amino acid found in tea, supports relaxation without sedation, making it ideal for stress relief while maintaining alertness. It boosts neurotransmitters like GABA, serotonin, and dopamine, which help regulate mood and cognitive functions. L-theanine is also thought to protect neurons from stress-related damage*.

When buying L-theanine supplements, choose products with at least 100 mg per serving for effectiveness. Opt for pure L-Theanine to avoid counteractive additives like caffeine. Ensure quality and safety by selecting supplements verified by third-party organizations such as USP (United States Pharmacopeia) or NSF International.

Utzy Pick:Our Stay Asleep formula contains L-theanine as part of a relaxing bedtime blend. We use the Suntheanine® form of theanine, which is the most clinically studied form of theanine.

7. Vitamin D

Vitamin D, also known as the "sunshine vitamin," helps improve mood and reduce stress by regulating brain chemicals like serotonin. For best results, choose Vitamin D3 supplements, as they are more effective than Vitamin D2 in maintaining Vitamin D levels in the body.

When buying Vitamin D supplements, opt for those verified for purity and potency by third-party testers such as USP (United States Pharmacopeia) or NSF International. 

Utzy Pick:We sell both a dedicated Vitamin D3 supplement, as well as a multi-vitamin called Essentially-U that contains vitamin D. Both options are a great way to ensure that you get adequate amounts of this important vitamin.

Integrating Supplements into Your Daily Routine

Safely integrating these supplements into your daily routine requires understanding the best time and way to take them. 

Lifestyle Practices for Mitigating Stress

While natural supplements can play a significant role in reducing stress, they are most effective when used in conjunction with a comprehensive lifestyle strategy.

Integrating a variety of supportive practices can enhance your resilience to stress and promote overall well-being. Here are some effective techniques to complement your supplement regimen:

1. Regular Physical Activity

Exercise is a powerful stress reliever. It not only helps to manage physical stress by improving your health but also boosts endorphins, chemicals in the brain that are the body's natural painkillers and mood elevators. Consistent activities such as walking, jogging, yoga, or dancing can help maintain mental fitness and reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.

2. Balanced Diet

Eating a balanced diet is crucial for stress management. Foods rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants can ward off oxidative stress and support brain health, impacting overall mood and energy levels. Incorporate plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains into your diet. Additionally, minimizing caffeine and sugar intake can stabilize your mood and improve your stress response.

3. Quality Sleep

Sleep and stress have a bidirectional relationship where poor sleep can lead to increased stress, and increased stress can lead to poor sleep. To promote better sleep, establish a regular bedtime routine, limit exposure to screens before bed, and create a comfortable sleep environment. Supplements like magnesium and passionflower can also support sleep quality.

4. Social Support

Maintaining a supportive network of friends and family can provide you with a buffer against stress. Social interactions can help release oxytocin, a natural stress reliever. This effect is often called "tend and befriend," and is the opposite of the fight-or-flight response. Regularly connecting with others, whether through social events, phone calls, or social media, can help reduce stress levels.

Conclusion

Incorporating natural supplements such as Ashwagandha, Passionflower, Holy Basil, and Magnesium into your lifestyle can be a significant step towards better stress management.

By selecting high-quality products and integrating them thoughtfully into your daily routine, you can harness their full potential in combating stress. Remember, a holistic approach that combines these supplements with healthy lifestyle choices offers the best chance for reducing stress effectively.

 

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Daniel Powers (co-founder of Utzy Naturals) is a health fanatic and writer. Obsessed with optimizing every aspect of life, he is passionate about teaching others how to live a healthier, happier life.

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