Stress-Fighting Supplements

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Vitamin C

Along with its beneficial effects as a connective tissue regenerator and in maintaining proper immune system function, vitamin C has been shown to help modulate high levels of cortisol brought about by stress. A study in 2001 examined the effects of supplemental vitamin C on high cortisol levels brought about by physical stress in marathon runners. In a randomized, placebo-controlled study, ultra-marathon runners were given 500 mg a day of vitamin C, 1500 mg a day of vitamin C, or a placebo seven days before a marathon, the day of the race, and two days after the race. Researchers found that athletes who took 1500 mg per day of vitamin C had significantly lower post-race cortisol levels then those taking either 500 mg a day or placebo.

Another study published in the journal Psychopharmacology reviewed evidence showing that vitamin C can reduce high cortisol levels brought about by psychologically induced stress. In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, researchers gave 3000 mg per day of vitamin C or a placebo to 120 volunteers who were subjected to psychological stress through the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST), which consists of 15 minutes of psychological stress induced via a mock job interview, followed by a mental arithmetic challenge. Subjects who took vitamin C had lower blood pressure, subjective stress, and cortisol measures compared to those who were given placebo.

Recommended dosage: 1,000-3,000 mg/day.

Omega-3 Fish Oil

It is important to get enough omenga-3 fatty acid in our diet for overall health, weight loss, and bone strength maintenance.

In a number of clinical tests, fish oil has also been shown to reduce cardiovascular risk in women and men.  Now, preliminary research has shown that fish oil may also help individuals cope with psychological stress and lower their cortisol levels. Thanks to a flood of research published in recent years, we now know that the omega-3 essential fatty acids in fish help prevent or ameliorate a wide range of mental disorders and disturbances, ranging from depression, bipolar disorder, and Alzheimer’s disease to aggression, memory loss, and learning difficulties.  In fact, it appears clear that these and many other conditions result from or are exacerbated by America’s dietary deficiencies of omega-3s, and not solely from environmental or genetic risk factors.

Now, the results of a new clinical study add to existing evidence indicating a close connection between low intake of omega-3s and angry, aggressive behavior. Emerging clinical evidence—including landmark studies funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health—suggests that low dietary levels of omega-3s—specifically, the omega-3 fats called EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), which are found only in fish and marine organisms—promote anger, depression and aggression.

It might seem hard to believe that something as simple as a few meals of fish or capsules of fish oil could confer such huge health and cosmetic benefits.  But the available evidence indicates that humans evolved and thrive on diets high in omega 3-rich seafood, which is why marine omega 3 fatty acids make up much of the fat in our brain cell membranes, and are such critically important anti-aging nutrients and agents of good mental health.

It well may be that our depressed, overweight, society—plagued by inflammatory “lifestyle diseases” like arteriosclerosis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer—is suffering unnecessarily.  Never before in human history have diets been so low in omega 3 fatty acids, and the intake of inflammatory omega-6 fatty acids been so high.  In fact, it is estimated that omega 3 intake has dropped by about half over the past 50 years, while intake of inflammatory, cancer-promoting omega-6 fats has risen even more sharply: a preventive-health disaster of epic proportions. This crucial imbalance needs to be rectified if we are to regain and maintain optimal mental, physical and emotional health.

To redress this fatty acid imbalance, you need to take two simple steps:

  1. Cut way back on omega-6-rich vegetable oils (corn, soy, canola, safflower, etc.) which are abundant in most processed, frozen, and fast foods—and switch to heart-healthy extra virgin olive oil, which is high in non-inflammatory monounsaturated fats and potent anti-inflammatory antioxidants.  Then, add fatty cold-water fish such as wild salmon, sardines, anchovies, trout, sablefish, and herring, to your diet at least three times per week and take fish oil capsules daily.

Recommended dosage: 1-4 gm/day

Have you stocked up on your Omega 3 supplements?

3 thoughts on “Stress-Fighting Supplements

  1. i want to thank you. you have totally turned my life around on how i takecare of my skin. i have tried soo many diffrent companys that promise they could do this or tat. you simply stated fact,i listened. i owe you so so much. thank you
    sincerly dawn talley

  2. Dr. Perricone. I follow your diet and lifestyle religiously. I recently started training to run a marathon and wanted to know if you have any diet recommendations. I saw the vitamin C supplementation, however, eating pasta and hi-carb foods are recomended additions to marathon nutrition. I know this isn’t on the perricone diet. Do you have any advice on how to eat a diet that will provide me with the energy needed for long distance running, while still sticking to the perricone diet?

  3. Pingback: Stress Relief: Part of the Doctor Perricone Anti-inflammatory Lifestyle

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