11 Supplements to Reduce Stress
- Although we face stress on a daily basis, certain supplements can target and help tame it.
- Key compounds like L-tyrosine, L-theanine and magnesium citrate and adaptogenic herbs like rhodiola and ashwagandha may help you achieve mind-body balance.
- Learn more about the stress-curbing benefits of various supplements, along with science-backed ways Bulletproof can offer support.
As much as we’d all love to live stress-free lives, the reality is that it’s present in some form or fashion on a daily basis. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t take measures to combat it.
In addition to getting quality sleep, fueling up with nutritious foods and exercising, you can use another tool to help fight minor, daily stress: supplements. So, if you’re looking for science-backed ways to support your ability to stay balanced, here are our best picks to get an extra dose of calm.
11 supplements for stress relief
When you need some assistance dealing with stress, there are plenty of supplement options available. From familiar ones like vitamin C and melatonin to a few lesser-known ones, let’s take a look at 11 you can turn to for support.
This supplement is a building block for major brain chemicals. L-tyrosine is a precursor to some of the most important neurotransmitters in your brain, including dopamine, norepinephrine and adrenaline. Take l-tyrosine to support your mental performance while under stress.
If you drink green tea, you’ve felt the calming effects of l-theanine. This compound is a natural component of tea leaves that encourages relaxation and mental focus. When l-theanine combines with caffeine, it increases your mental recall and reduces mental fatigue.†  Think of it as just another reason to enjoy a cup of green tea.
Getting good sleep helps with stress levels, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a more well-known sleep supplement than melatonin. Produced naturally by your brain, this hormone helps with the timing of your circadian rhythms.
However, supplementing can be a great way to increase your melatonin levels. Bulletproof Sleep Mode contains both plant-based melatonin (300mcg per serving) and L-ornithine to support better quality rest.
Or, if you rather go the sippable supplement route, Bulletproof Sleep Collagen Protein combines collagen protein, melatonin, chamomile and magnesium in a delicious, slightly sweet Lucuma Vanilla flavor.
4. B complex
Talk about the power of teamwork. Taking B-complex means you’ll be obtaining eight key vitamins, including vitamin B12, biotin and thiamine. A meta-analysis on the effects of B vitamin supplementation showed that it can be beneficial for healthy populations when it comes to stress.
Of course, you can obtain B vitamins via foods like eggs, meat and dark green vegetables. But if you want to put yourself in a better position to handle stress, you can use a supplement to fill in any deficiencies.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is an amino acid that serves as the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in our brains. Originally discovered in plants, there has been ample research conducted on its potential to combat stress and enhance sleep.
A study conducted on eight stressed volunteers supported GABA’s benefits for relaxation by monitoring the immunoglobulin A (IgA) levels in their saliva while crossing a suspended bridge. The placebo group experienced a marked decrease in IgA levels, with the GABA group experiencing significantly higher levels. Ultimately, the study supports GABA’s effectiveness as a solid supplement choice for combating minor, daily stress.
6. Magnesium citrate
Magnesium is a mineral that wins MVP status. It’s involved in more than 300 bodily functions, including synthesizing proteins, regulating blood sugar levels already in the normal range and controlling neurons. A specific type of magnesium, magnesium citrate, has been found to promote mental and muscle relaxation.† It also reduces the occasional muscle cramping that can happen at night.
Bulletproof Magnesium provides 320mg of highly absorbable magnesium citrate per serving, and you can take all three capsules at one time, or spread them throughout the day. Either way, this supplement will support a healthy nervous system, brain function and cellular health.†
This ancient spice comes from the stamen of the crocus flower and has been added to dishes for thousands of years. Saffron extract has been clinically proven to support your mood. In a trial of 60 people, saffron was shown to have a significant effect on mood versus those given a placebo.
To get it naturally, integrate saffron into your meals. Try this paleo Poached Cod in Tomato Broth recipe. It’s packed with healthy macros and is seasoned to perfection with nutrient-rich herbs, including saffron. Be sure to wear an apron because this reddish spice leaves permanent stains.
Bulletproof Zen Mode contains saffron, plus other calm-inducing ingredients on this list. You can take three capsules at the same time every day, or time it around big presentations, social events or stressful projects.†
8. Valerian root
Seeking better quality zzz’s and a less-stressed mind? Adding valerian root to your supplement routine may be the answer. A popular herbal supplement that’s been used for centuries, it’s often consumed via teas, tinctures or capsules.
Results from an in vitro study suggest valerian root extract may cause GABA to be released from brain nerve endings.Plus, a meta-analysis of 16 studies determined evidence suggests that supplementing with this perennial plant may support improved sleep quality.
9. Lemon balm
Melissa officinalis, better known as lemon balm, is typically used as a calming agent. And there is research that supports its effectiveness in assisting our ability to handle stress.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled experiment on 18 volunteers showed that a 600mg dose of lemon balm helped reduce the negative mood effects of the Defined Intensity Stressor Simulation (DISS) battery.The subjects reported increased self-ratings of calmness and reduced self-ratings of alertness. Ultimately, the results of the study suggest lemon balm has the potential to mitigate some effects of stress, though more research is needed.
You’ve probably heard about the importance of omega-3 fatty acids before. And if you want to combat stress, supplementing with omega-3s can be a beneficial strategy.
Researchers at Ohio State University found that daily supplements that contained 2.5 grams of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids were the best at helping the body resist the negative effects of stress. Meanwhile, the placebo group produced higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol.
11. Vitamin C
The benefits of vitamin C range from healing to supporting brain function. Plus, it may offer a helping hand in combating stress.
Several studies show that vitamin C supplementation can help improve mood. And considering our bodies can’t produce this key micronutrient on their own and vitamin C is easily damaged by heat, supplementing can make up for any gaps.
Adaptogens for Stress Support
Looking for additional stress support? Luckily, Mother Nature provides us with plants that have the ability to do just that.
Adaptogens are natural substances that help your body and brain adapt to stress. And while these herbs have been utilized in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries, they’ve become even more popular in the Western world and are now readily available in various supplements.
Rhodiola is an herb that grows at high altitudes or in the northern latitudes. Multiple studies show it helped curb minor fatigue after a span of two weeks to 28 days. Some participants also felt an improvement in their overall well-being.
With more than 140 active compounds, rhodiola offers intriguing mind-body balance benefits. Available in capsules or tablets, it can easily be fit into your supplement routine for combatting stress.
Related: Adaptogenic Turmeric Latte
Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb native to north Africa and India. It has reddish orange fruits and roots that have been used in Ayurveda for thousands of years. This adaptogen has been shown to help balance the relationship between your hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands, also called the HPA axis.
Zen Mode contains ashwagandha root and leaf extract, along with other science-backed ingredients that support your body’s stress-busting abilities.†
Holy basil, also known as tulsi, is another Ayurvedic herb with thousands of years of use behind it—and science is starting to confirm its benefits. Studies have found that holy basil effectively reduced minor, daily stress.
Another study found it provided a 39% improvement in general stress symptoms compared to placebo. Also, participants reported no adverse effects over the six-week study period, making this another low-risk supplement for stress to add to your regimen.
Need more motivation to get moving? Discover how exercise can help you manage stress and achieve better quality sleep.
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This article has been updated with new content.