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Supplements for Reducing Stress

By Natasha Turner, ND

Elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol have been found to be related to memory loss and poor concentration. Phosphatidylserine (PS) belongs to a special category of fat-soluble substances called phospholipids, which are essential components of cell membranes. High concentrations of PS are found in the brain. According to studies PS may help preserve, or even improve, some aspects of mental function in the elderly.

PS may also help reduce the negative effects of cortisol on muscle tissues during exercise. In addition, PS is ideal for nighttime worrying as it prevents the inappropriate release of stress hormones and protects the brain from the negative effects of cortisol.

Plant sterols
Sterols have been found to reduce cortisol levels, reduce inflammation and regulate the immune system. If the immune system is running too low, they help boost it, aiding in the prevention of infection; if it is overactive, as in the case of autoimmune disease or allergies, sterols help to make it less reactive.

This adaptogenic herb has a calming effect and helps the body recuperate from the effects of stress. It is useful in reducing excess cortisol. Ayurvedic practitioners use this dietary supplement to enhance mental and physical performance, improve learning ability and decrease stress and fatigue. Ashwagandha is a general tonic that can be used in insomnia, restlessness or when you are feeling overworked.

Siberian ginseng
This is also an adaptogenic herb found useful for normalizing cortisol levels. It is safe for long-term use.

Vitamin B6
Vitamin B6 is useful for correcting abnormally high cortisol levels during the night. Frequent awakenings, particularly at 2 am, 4 am and then 6 am may benefit from B6 supplements.

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