Thursday, October 23, 2008
Have a Stress-Less Holiday Season
Stress is common during the holidays, and has multiple sources. There’s the stress of traveling to see family or of hosting family for an extended period of time, the stress of too many family members in one space, the stress of buying gifts for the many people in our lives, and the overwhelming stress that comes from exceeding our budgets to pay for all these gatherings, food, gifts, and the expenses of travel. Stress is frequently more than simply losing our temper or not enjoying ourselves. Stress has physical side effects too.
According to Men’s Health magazine, more than 43 percent of men will experience the physical side effects of stress in their lifetimes. These physical side effects include diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and back pain, plus the stress on your body can impair your immune system.
Reducing stress is not as easy as taking a deep breath and letting it out. But reducing stress can go a long way toward maintaining proper health, and there are many supplements that can aid you.
Probably the most well-known supplement for stress, St. John’s Wort, is still one of the best. Its traditional use in Europe was to “ward off evil spirits,” but today most people make the dried plant into a bitter tea or in capsules and take it to help lift mood. It has been closely studied for many years, and researchers have identified “hypericin” as one of the main compounds in the herb, but believe that there are many more that work with hypericin to lift mood, and that these compounds work by affecting the body’s levels of the hormone seretonin, a brain chemical that affects emotions.
Rhodiola rosea, an herb from the arctic mountain regions of Siberia, is typically considered to be an “adaptogen.” This means that it is an herb that works through the adrenal glands to produce adjustments in the body to help combat stress and increase resistance to stress. Adaptogens generally work by strengthening the immune system or nervous system. In a clinical trial studying Rhodiola rosea’s ability to alleviate symptoms of depression, 128 patients were given an extract of Rhodiola rosea. The Rhodiola rosea extract was effective in reducing or removing symptoms of depression in 65% of the patients.
These supplements are considered very safe, and can be used together for optimal effectiveness. Side effects for these supplements are rare, though it is possible that people may be allergic to the actual plants. St. John’s Wort has been known to interfere with the proper absorption of some prescription medication, including oral contraceptives, anti-depressants, and some medicines used after organ transplant, so it is best to consult with the prescribing doctor if there is any question. Also, it is always important to remember that anyone taking prescription anti-depressants should not discontinue their use without consulting their doctor.
Whole Health MD. Reference Library: Supplements: “St. John’s Wort,”“Valerian.” http://www.wholehealthmd.com/
Supplement Watch. Supplement Library: “Rhodiola rosea.”
Hobday, Erin. “Health Bulletin.” Men’s Health. November 2006. Pg 42.
BIOMETICS’ complete line of advanced liquid nutritional supplements provide vital nutrients in a highly absorbable form. DAILY HARMONY contains St. John’s Wort, Valerian, and Rhodiola rosea, plus chamomile to promote safe and natural stress relief.
* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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