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3 Natural Ingredients That Can Help With Holiday Stress

A naturopath explains how supplements with SAMe, saffron and L-theanine can help with stress, mood and energy, especially during the holiday season.
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3 Natural Ingredients That Can Help With Holiday Stress
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‘Tis the season for merriment and quality time with loved ones. Unfortunately, stress often sneaks in as an uninvited guest. Fewer sunlight hours and busier schedules can leave us feeling more stressed and lacking energy. That means we’re more susceptible to colds and flu and forced to stock up on cold and flu medicines, but with the current supply shortages it’s even more timely to look to natural health products. To understand how to get started on supplements we sat down with a naturopath to find out how different natural ingredients can help combat stress.

How does stress affect you?

First off, think about how your stress presents. “Stress can manifest in many ways: insomnia or poor-quality sleep, feelings of isolation, low mood, low immunity leading to frequent colds, sugar cravings, digestive disturbances like constipation, diarrhea, bloating and abdominal pain,” says Dr. NavNirat Nibber, a registered naturopathic doctor based in Canada. “Building a toolkit of solutions to prevent or mitigate these concerns is important, especially with upcoming holiday chaos.”

Nibber recommends starting with an assessment—identify your health concerns and try to determine the triggers of these symptoms. You can consult with qualified health care practitioners who can help you understand nutrient levels and “build a supplement plan that has synergy, safety and sense,” she says. Synergy between products ensures they work together while safety involves correct dosing and avoiding interactions with other medications or interventions. “You also want to feel safe with the companies you buy from,” she adds. Nibber recommends choosing those with reliable sources, testing and production practices.

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Building a supplement plan

Your supplement plan also needs to make sense to you. “You should have a clear understanding of why you are taking what you are taking, how it works, what symptoms it is likely to help with, and how long it will take to see a positive difference,” emphasizes Nibber. From there, you can set realistic expectations and determine if you need to stop or reassess the treatment.

“Supplementation can very effectively bring individuals back to peak health using the right form and dose of vitamins and minerals our bodies need to properly function,” Nibber says. She points to three natural ingredients that can help with stress, mood and low energy.

3 Natural Ingredients That Can Help With Holiday Stress

1. SAMe

S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine or SAMe is a natural compound that has demonstrated effectiveness in improving mood. SAMe, which was first introduced in Canada by AOR as a supplement, works by helping to boost serotonin, dopamine and melatonin levels in the brain—low levels of which are associated with anxiety and depression.

3 Natural Ingredients That Can Help With Holiday Stress

2. Saffron

This highly prized herb has widespread traditional health-related uses from inflammation to PMS to digestive support. “Saffron is known as the most luxurious and expensive herb in the world due to its wide variety of uses in cooking, as a dye and in healthcare,” says Nibber. It’s also known for its therapeutic antidepressant effect and has been used in clinical trials for depression, anxiety, PMS and cardiovascular disease. It’s a natural support for neurotransmitters, which affect sleep and mood, and has been clinically proven to help manage stress.

3 Natural Ingredients That Can Help With Holiday Stress

3. L-theanine

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A calming amino acid found almost exclusively in green tea, L-theanine benefits those with stress and anxiety related to performance, or those who find it difficult to focus, relax or fall asleep. “It’s great for individuals who want to relax without feeling drowsy,” says Nibber. “This gentle and safe option shows effect within as little as 30 minutes after ingestion.” L-theanine, found in AOR’s Zen Theanine, alters brain wave activity, calming racing thoughts while promoting alertness and concentration. It does this by influencing levels of dopamine, serotonin and GABA (an amino acid) in the brain. It also reduces the feeling of stress by inhibiting norepinephrine (a stress hormone) in the central nervous system.

A winter must-have

Nibber also advises supplementing vitamin D during winter as it’s important to so many functions including immunity, energy and mood. “Holidays can be a time when our wellness routines fall by the wayside. You may feel inclined to fill the social calendar but slowing down and taking time for yourself is truly the gift that will keep on giving.”

To learn more about AOR supplements, visit aor.ca.

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