No one gives stress the respect it deserves. When we’re suffering from it we’ve been taught if we just ignore it, it will go away. (It doesn’t, of course.) Even worse, it’s seldom taken seriously by those in the medical profession, the very people who ought to know what a threat to your health it actually is.
Yet, astoundingly, at least 60 per cent of all doctor’s visits can be linked back to stress, according to a 20 year study by the Kaiser Permanente Medical Group. Other clinical studies estimate that stress-related visits may run as high as 75 per cent!
We know that stress can increase blood sugar levels, raise blood pressure, suppress digestion and alter your immune system response. Chronic stress can eventually lead to a number of health issues including weight gain, heart disease, memory issues, sleep problems and depression.
Yet the only treatments that your conventional doctor has to offer are heavy-duty – and potentially addictive drugs – such as the benzodiazepine Xanax or the antidepressant Prozac. And that’s if he takes your complaint seriously enough to even bother with a prescription.
Far too many patients are given a condescending pat on the head and are told they just need to learn to relax. As a result many people turn to ‘self-treatment’ with alcohol or marijuana to cope. But those ‘solutions’ come with harmful side effects of their own.
There is another option, however. It’s one you’ll never hear about in any conventional doctor’s surgery. But it’s so effective that it tops my personal list of preferred treatments for stress relief and overall mental well-being.
Vital vitamin complex key to stress relief
I’m talking about B vitamins, otherwise known as a B complex.
In one randomised, double-blind placebo-controlled study published in the journal Human Psychopharmacology: Clinical and Experimental patients were given a high-dose B complex vitamin. After three months, the group that got the B vitamins reported significantly less stress in their workplace.
And there’s a good reason for that; B vitamins, and in particular folic acid and B12 and B6, play a critical role in mood and mental function. Without adequate levels of B on board your body is unable to properly utilise amino acids such as tryptophan and tyrosine to form the brain chemicals, or neurotransmitters, which are necessary to deal with stress including serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine.
Antidepressant failure often caused by low vitamin B levels
In fact, a lack of building block B nutrients lies at the heart of why many re-uptake inhibiting antidepressants fail. When you don’t have enough B vitamins available and your neurotransmitter levels drop, antidepressants that are designed to recirculate your available brain chemicals end up having very little to recirculate. This means, of course, that you aren’t getting any of the drug benefits, but you’re still facing all of the risks and side effects.
Unfortunately, when an antidepressant drug fails far too many doctors will simply switch the drug without ever considering that the nutritional well may simply have run dry.
But a quality B complex could keep you from ever needing the drug in the first place. I’ve found that the majority of stressed patients respond incredibly well to a B complex.
A quality supplement will typically only cost you pennies a day, and if you’re battling stress yourself I encourage you to consider giving one a try.
Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing
Vol. 9, Issue 10, October 2015