The 5 Best Mood Enhancing Vitamins and Supplements for Anxiety and Stress

A supplement blend is like a symphony. If one ingredient is wrong for your body, it can throw off the intention of the whole formulation.” - Teri Cochrane

There are hundreds of supplements for anxiety and stress on the market these days. Many of them have ingredient lists a mile long and are chock full of harmful preservatives. So how supportive are they really? 

If you’re familiar with our philosophy at BodyBio, you know that we prioritize using the highest quality and most effective ingredients for our supplements—instead of jam packing every vitamin and trendy nutrient into one product.

And in the case of our new product, BodyBio Calm, we knew we needed to get the formulation just right.  We collaborated with many experts in the medical and functional nutrition fields to create this simple yet extremely well-rounded and supportive supplement, designed to help you manage the stress in your life with ease. 

Throughout this blog, you’ll hear from our friend and holistic health specialist, Teri Cochrane, about her perspective on supplements, the genetic variables that can disrupt some key ingredients, and of course the choice ingredients in BodyBio Calm.

But first, let’s take a quick look at why we even need a stress support supplement in the first place. 

Modern Life Means More Stress Than Ever 

So many of us are overwhelmed by stress on a daily basis, from work to raising kids to financial concerns—the list seems never ending. And since stress is such a huge driver of acute and chronic illness, we have to be vigilant about taking measures to reduce it in our everyday lives. 

It starts by identifying what our stressors are in the first place—like our personalities and histories, everyone’s main stressors are a little different. Just taking inventory, perhaps by journaling or simply speaking your stressors out loud, can help us begin to make sense of them and find ways to minimize them. 

Common stressors (especially the ones we don’t think about)

Stressors are all around us every day, from the obvious (an angry boss taking out their frustration on you) to the relatively unnoticed or seemingly inconsequential (sighing every time you put a mask on when you go to the grocery store). 

This could get to be a very long list, but these are some of the most common stressors that we often numb ourselves to or just accept as the “way things are.”

  • Work stress, not to mention the added stress of being out in the world with other people right now, if you don’t work from home.
  • Relationship stress: not communicating, breakups, one-sided personal growth, etc.
  • Family stress: parent/child relationships, sibling relationships, being a caregiver for a family member, etc. 
  • Low-quality nutrition: eating processed foods, eating mindlessly, not getting adequate minerals and nutrients from low-quality soil, GMOs, foods sprayed with pesticides, etc. 
  • Technological stress: eye strain, lack of sleep due to blue light exposure, mental stress from watching violent or triggering content, etc. 
  • Lack of social connection: Not seeing others in real life, especially close family and friends, but also generally not being connected to a community
  • Lack of connection to nature: Staying inside and not exposing our skin to the earth and the soil, not getting enough sunshine and fresh air
  • Change: Living through a pandemic and suddenly adjusting to a completely different routine, for example. Moving, changing jobs, losing a job, unknown financial situations, constant technological development, etc.[19, 20]

From this list, it’s easy to see that stressors are everywhere, and when we are exposed to them every single day, we might become blind to just how much of an effect they have on our mental, emotional, and physical health. How many of the stressors above play a role in your life? 

Stress and chronic disease

Chronic stress wears down our nervous and endocrine systems and causes our body to first overproduce, and eventually underproduce, stress hormones. This leaves our bodies ill equipped to deal with future stressors and the problem only compounds over time. 

Dysregulating these hormones can wreak havoc in the body and mind: mood swings, depression, anxiety, fatigue, sleeplessness, low body temperature, infertility, suppressed immune system, and more are common results. 

It is possible to heal your stress hormones, but it’s a better plan to avoid depleting them in the first place. To accomplish this, you have to combine a healthy balanced diet, mindfulness practices like meditation and gratitude, low-intensity exercise like yoga or walking, supplementing key nutrients where necessary, and generally practicing self-care, whatever that looks like for you. 

When you choose to take supplements to support your health, often the less complicated the better. Let’s take a closer look at some common supplement ingredients for stress management. 

Common Supplement Ingredients That Can Actually Increase Stress

Supplements packed with vitamins, adaptogens, polyphenols and other trendy ingredients may seem healthy and supportive, but the truth is that most people will have some kind of sensitivity to these ingredients, making the supplement useless or even harmful for them.

“When consulting with clients in my private practice, I look for the lowest common denominator of supplements that their body needs to be optimally healthy, and when selecting those supplements, I look for the least amount of ingredients that will get me that desired outcome. As a rule of thumb, the more ingredients a supplement contains, the more likely it is that there will be a mechanism of action that is counter-productive, that disrupts another process or triggers an unfavorable genetic tendency.” - Teri Cochrane

GABA for stress and anxiety

“Based on empirical evidence observed in my private practice, I have found that the receptor activation of GABA can actually be excitatory under certain conditions,” Teri reported. 

Rather than promoting a feeling of calm and relaxation, for some systems GABA can act as a stimulant, actually increasing feelings of activation and anxiety. For this reason, GABA was excluded from the formulation of BodyBio Calm.

L-theanine for stress and anxiety

L-theanine is another popular stress supplement that we omitted because for some people, it can also cause nausea and irritability.

Keeping this in mind, we prefer the amino acids glycine and taurine. Taurine in particular promotes the conjugation of bile acids, helping the body to better manage fat metabolism. Because the neurohormones involved in our stress response are fat-soluble, taurine is a particularly synergistic ingredient, helping to support the processes that modulate our dopamine transmitters. It’s not that L-theanine is a bad ingredient, but taurine is better all-around stress support.

Other potentially problematic ingredients

Licorice root can help heal the gut, but it also increases cortisol—not good for those of us trying to soothe our HPA axis. Adaptogenic mushrooms may promote relaxation for some, but they can also be firestarters for mold-driven pathogens like candida. Turmeric, touted as a superfood detoxifier and anti-inflammatory, can actually back up the lymphatic system and slow phase 1 liver detox for those with certain genetic predispositions.

When choosing a supportive supplement for any condition, be very selective about the ingredients and consult with a practitioner to find what works for you. 

Keep it simple. A good formula has an elegance to it. Each ingredient should work synergistically with every other ingredient in the blend to create a melody that the body responds to and resonates with. This means avoiding any ingredient that could create a potential epigenetic firestorm. Steering away from potential genetic firestarters like licorice root, soy, adaptogenic mushrooms, turmeric and sulfur-based compounds is a great start for many of us.” - Teri Cochrane

Our New Anti-Stress Supplement: BodyBio Calm 

Designed with common genetic sensitivities in mind, BodyBio Calm contains just five supportive, anti-stress ingredients: rhodiola rosea, phosphatidylserine, taurine, glycine and manganese.

Rhodiola Rosea

Rhodiola rosea is an adaptogenic herb useful for managing stress and mental fatigue[14, 15, 16]. It also has the potential to protect athletes from exercise-induced susceptibility to infections by reducing virus replication, as well as providing other benefits such as reducing inflammation and depression[17].

Phosphatidylserine

Phosphatidylserine is an amino acid derivative that helps maintain the structure of cell membranes, improves memory and blunts the pituitary-adrenal reactivity hormones, ACTH and cortisol, in response to emotional or mental stress[1]. Phosphatidylserine may also positively impact Alzheimer’s associated symptoms[2], slow age-related cognitive decline[3], combat depression, reduce ADHD symptoms[4], and support athletic performance[5]. Importantly, the phosphatidylserine in Calm is soy-free and derived from sunflower seed lecithin.

Taurine

Taurine, an amino acid important for cellular health, helps to regulate multiple biological processes in the body such as anti-oxidation, detoxification, neuromodulation, osmoregulation, anti-inflammation, cholestasis prevention, the conjugation of bile acids, and thermoregulation[18].

Glycine

The amino acid glycine is involved in a wide range of functions including digestion, inflammation, depression, and overall metabolic function[10, 11, 12, 13]

As the work of Dr. Stephanie Seneff has illuminated, widespread exposure to the herbicide glyphosate has impaired our ability to properly digest and assimilate proteins. One particularly harmful way that glyphosate disrupts this process is by creating mimic analogues of the essential amino acid glycine. Tricked by these mimics, our body believes that it has already produced sufficient glycine and ceases production of real glycine, a deficit that impairs our ability to properly methylate and digest protein[6]

Manganese

Lastly, manganese is an essential metal necessary for the development, growth, and normal functioning of our bodies. Crucially, manganese has been also shown to lower histamine levels [9]. Manganese deficiency is associated with reduced fertility, ovarian and testicular dysfunction, PMS symptoms, and defective insulin production[7, 8]

Support a Healthy Stress Response

Our unique stress support supplement allows us to address the daily physical and emotional challenges that today’s world poses. Between compound stressors like the standard American lifestyle, the depletion of nutrients in our food sources, and the increasing threats to our mental health compounded by a lack of community and connection to self, few supplements provide the kind of holistic, big-picture support we need. 

Informed by the Cochrane Method, BodyBio Calm looks towards the larger constructs of modulating neurotransmitter response, protein metabolism, histamine levels, and the interplay of our genetic tendencies with environment, emotion and food.

BodyBio Calm is designed to not only help you achieve homeostasis but to help you maintain a healthy stress response during the dynamics of everyday life. Our bodies are always in a state of flow and change, and adapting to the ever-evolving circumstances of life is a dance. A gene-smart solution for stress, BodyBio Calm is a beautiful symphony that can help support you on the journey to a balanced life.

References

1)  Hellhammer, J., E. Fries, C. Buss, V. Engert, A. Tuch, D. Rutenberg, and D. Hellhammer. “Effects of soy lecithin phosphatidic acid and phosphatidylserine complex (PAS) on the endocrine and psychological 

responses to mental stress.” Stress 7, no. 2 (2004): 119-126.


2)  Hashioka, Sadayuki, Youn-Hee Han, Shunsuke Fujii, Takahiro Kato, Akira Monji, Hideo Utsumi, Makoto Sawada, Hiroshi Nakanishi, and Shigenobu Kanba. “Phosphatidylserine and phosphatidylcholine-containing liposomes inhibit amyloid β and interferon-γ-induced microglial activation.” Free Radical Biology and Medicine 42, no. 7 (2007): 945-954.


3)  Kato-Kataoka, Akito, Masashi Sakai, Rika Ebina, Chiaki Nonaka, Tsuguyoshi Asano, and Takashi Miyamori. “Soybean-derived phosphatidylserine improves memory function of the elderly Japanese subjects with memory complaints.” Journal of clinical biochemistry and nutrition 47, no. 3 (2010): 246-255.


4)  Hirayama, S., K. Terasawa, R. Rabeler, T. Hirayama, T. Inoue, Y. Tatsumi, M. Purpura, and R. Jäger. “The effect of phosphatidylserine administration on memory and symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.” Journal of human nutrition and dietetics 27, no. s2 (2014): 284-291.


5)  Parker, Adam G., Josh Gordon, Aaron Thornton, Allyn Byars, John Lubker, Michelle Bartlett, Mike Byrd et al. “The effects of IQPLUS Focus on cognitive function, mood and endocrine response before and following acute exercise.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 8, no. 1 (2011): 16.


6) Seneff, Stephanie, and Laura F. Orlando. "Glyphosate substitution for glycine during protein synthesis as a causal factor in Mesoamerican Nephropathy." J Environ Anal Toxicol 8.1 (2018): 541.


7)  Shamberger, Raymond J. “Calcium, magnesium, and other elements in the red blood cells and hair of normal and patients with premenstrual syndrome.” Biological trace element research 94, no. 2 (2003): 123-129.


8)  Penland, James G., and Phyllis E. Johnson. “Dietary calcium and manganese effects on menstrual cycle symptoms.” American journal of obstetrics & gynecology 168, no. 5 (1993): 1417-1423.


9)  Foreman, J. C., and J. L. Mongar. “The action of lanthanum and manganese on anaphylactic histamine secretion.” British journal of pharmacology 48, no. 3 (1973): 527-537.


10)  Wang, Weiwei, Zhenlong Wu, Gang Lin, Shengdi Hu, Bin Wang, Zhaolai Dai, and Guoyao Wu. “Glycine Stimulates Protein Synthesis and Inhibits Oxidative Stress in Pig Small Intestinal Epithelial Cells, 2.” The Journal of nutrition 144, no. 10 (2014): 1540-1548.


11)  McCarty, Mark F., and James J. DiNicolantonio. “The cardiometabolic benefits of glycine: Is glycine an ‘antidote’to dietary fructose?.” (2014): e000103.


12)  Altamura, Carlo, Michael Maes, Jin Dai, and H. Y. Meltzer. “Plasma concentrations of excitatory amino acids, serine, glycine, taurine and histidine in major depression.” European Neuropsychopharmacology 5 (1995): 71-75.


13)  McCarty, Mark F., and James J. DiNicolantonio. “The cardiometabolic benefits of glycine: Is glycine an ‘antidote’to dietary fructose?.” (2014): e000103.


14)  Palmeri, Agostino, Leonardo Mammana, Maria Rosaria Tropea, Walter Gulisano, and Daniela Puzzo. “Salidroside, a bioactive compound of rhodiola rosea, ameliorates memory and emotional behavior in adult mice.” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease 52, no. 1 (2016): 65-75.


15)  Xia, Nan, Jie Li, Hongwei Wang, Jian Wang, and Yangtian Wang. “Schisandra chinensis and Rhodiola rosea exert an anti-stress effect on the HPA axis and reduce hypothalamic c-Fos expression in rats subjected to repeated stress.” Experimental and therapeutic medicine 11, no. 1 (2016): 353-359.


16)  Panossian, Alexander, Georg Wikman, Punit Kaur, and Alexzander Asea. “Adaptogens exert a stress-protective effect by modulation of expression of molecular chaperones.” Phytomedicine 16, no. 6-7 (2009): 617-622.


17)  Ahmed, Maryam, Dru A. Henson, Matthew C. Sanderson, David C. Nieman, Jose M. Zubeldia, and R. Andrew Shanely. “Rhodiola rosea exerts antiviral activity in athletes following a competitive marathon race.” Frontiers in nutrition 2 (2015): 24.


18) Marcinkiewicz, Janusz, and Ewa Kontny. “Taurine and inflammatory diseases.” Amino acids 46, no. 1 (2014): 7-20.


19) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4306016/


20) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9456075/

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