We are all familiar with the feeling of stress. Sometimes stress can be a positive thing, motivating you to perform well at your piano recital or job interview. But often — like when you’re stuck in traffic or suffer financial loss — it’s a negative force. If you experience stress over a prolonged period of time, it can become chronic.
When stress starts interfering with your ability to live a normal life for an extended period, it becomes even more dangerous. The longer the stress lasts, the worse it is for both your mind and body. You might feel fatigued, unable to concentrate or irritable. Chronic stress causes wear and tear on your body, too.
Chronic stress can lead to disease, either because of changes in your body or the overeating, smoking and other bad habits people use to cope with stress. Stress at work has been associated with increased risk of coronary disease. Other forms of chronic stress, such as depression and low levels of social support, have also been implicated in increased cardiovascular risk. And once you’re sick, stress can make it harder to recover.
B vitamins can help with stress by working with brain chemistry and balancing neurotransmitters, helping to achieve balance over stress.
Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, is important in keeping the nervous system healthy and plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy mental attitude. This water-based vitamin is essential to converting glucose into energy. B1 can help stabilize mood and improve memory and concentration.
Vitamin B3 supports the functions of the nervous and digestive system. The body can produce niacin from the amino acid L-tryptophan. A deficiency in B3 can cause depression, irritability, stress and mood disturbances. Niacin functions to help the body release energy from carbohydrates. This can control blood sugar and maintain nervous system function.
Vitamin B12 is often referred to as the memory vitamin because the organ that depends on it the most is the brain. B12 deficiencies may cause mental confusion, neurological changes and make it more difficult to cope with stress. This water-based vitamin is significant in the creation of the sleep hormone melatonin and the mood hormone serotonin.
Vitamin B6 can help the body manufacture neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, which aids in the body’s ability to cope with depression, stress and anxiety. Vitamin B6 may also help boost the immune system during times of anxiety.
B9, Folic Acid
Folic acid is an essential vitamin needed for energy. The body is unable to produce folic acid on its own. If there is a deficiency in folic acid, people may experience depression and fatigue, which may produce higher levels of stress.