It’s a new year, time for a new you. As an attorney, stress is probably at the top of your list. Is your resolution to lower your stress, manage your stress or eliminate it altogether? There are many techniques that can help mitigate the effects of stress. We use a variety of supplements to assist our clients manage the symptoms that stress creates. Read on to learn more about some easy options. Please discuss the suggested supplements with your functional medicine physician in case there are contraindications not disclosed here.
- Joint Pain – The easiest thing to remember during a time of stress is to increase your hydration. We often turn to coffee or alcohol to help combat two other stress symptoms (sleep difficulties and irritability). Both coffee and alcohol can increase dehydration and joint pain. After adding in more water look for a high quality Glucosamine-Chondroitin-MSM supplement. We highly recommend Joint Support to many clients. It is made of shellfish so if you’re allergic stay away but otherwise it’s fantastic for nourishing connective tissue and cartilage. We also recommend tumeric-cucumin to help reduce inflammation and promotes circulation.
- Insomnia – Sleep difficulties come in many forms. Not sleeping at all? Sleeping but not feeling rested upon waking or wake up multiple times during the night? Each has it’s own cause and contributing factors but the good news is they can all be helped! 5-HTP is a serotonin precursor and helps not only improve sleep but mood as well! A B6 deficiency can cause insomnia and increase stress so conducting a WBC vitamin test is imperative to test for these levels.
- Anger, Irritability – Do you find that you have a short fuse? That you are quick to anger, irritable or easily annoyed? Do you lash out over seemingly innocuous behaviours? You may be exhibiting anger and not realizing it. Especially if you notice this happens after drinking alcohol it should be addressed immediately. Zinc and Ashwagandha are fantastic supplements to curb angry outbursts. Ashwagandha can decrease estrogen – excessive estrogen can sometimes cause unexplained irritability. Zinc helps not only impact the level of anger but can also assist with depression and anxiety.
- Headaches – Does your stress cause headaches in the base of your skull or do you get frontal headaches that span above both eyes? Do you feel tight muscles pulling in your neck or a band wrapped around your head tightening like a vice? Typically a mild to moderate version of any of the above is due to stress. Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxant and can help these pains almost immediately. Since headaches can be due to mitochondrial dysfunction we often also recommend CoQ10 which acts to improve the energy of mitochondria of the cells and thus improving their function. CoQ10 can also lower blood pressure!
- GastroIntestinal Problems – High stress will disrupt your brain – gut interactions and result in a variety of gastrointestinal issues from constipation and diarrhea to more severe conditions like IBS. This happens by multiple pathways backfiring: blood flow decreases, gut permeability changes and even the bacteria in the gut can be modified. We us colostrum to heal the gut and probiotics to repopulate the gut with healthy bacteria. Colostrum should be taken on an empty stomach twice daily. Start at 1/4 tsp and work your way up. Probiotics should always be taken with food, they should be refrigerated and should contain a variety of strains. We most often use one that has 12 different strains of bacteria and 25 billion CFU’s per pill (I take the powdered version which contains 100 billion CFU’s in 1/4 tsp).
There are many diet modifications that can improve stress levels. Lowering sugar and alcohol, increasing hydration and activity can automatically help you to feel better. If the stress is getting to be too much, make sure to reach out for help or assistance. There are many lawyer assistance programs waiting and ready to help. For information on local lawyer assistance programs, click here.