Nutraceutical For Stress: The role of nutrition in mental health has shown that a healthy diet can potentially play a significant role in the prevention and management of mental illness. A related question that researchers are trying to answer is what happens when we give specific nutrients, rather than a whole diet, to people experiencing mental illness. There is some research in this area that allows us to get an idea of the effect of specific nutrients, in the form of nutraceuticals, on mental health.
Nutrients such as fish oil, B vitamins, and vitamin D have all been shown to interact with multiple pathways in our body that are can affect mental illness. These include pathways such as inflammation, an imbalanced gut microbiome (learn more about the gut here), a reduction in the growth of brain cells (also called neurogenesis), and the production of free radicals. Furthermore, some people might be more susceptible to mental illness because they have inborn errors in some of these pathways which could result in an increased need for certain nutrients to prevent malabsorption and/or deficiencies.
Stress is everywhere. In today’s world, “too much work and too little time” is adding up to higher and higher stress levels as consumers try to fit more and more into their day and get less and less satisfaction out of it. “Stress affects 35% of the population and it increases with age. Twice as many women as men are affected and 80% of illnesses can be traced back to stress, depression, and diet. He continued, “Stress slowly destroys the immune system, it destroys your resistance and allows degenerative and opportunistic diseases to flourish. Stress causes depression.”
In the herbal arena, valerian is related to sleep issues more than stress, in any consumers associate the two. Likewise, St. John’s Wort-while primarily used for depression is also associated with stress reduction and anxiety. The Valerian herb is a staple. Only a few botanicals have been able to transcend the herbal market to become a common word in our everyday language,” he said, giving examples like garlic, Ginkgo Biloba, ginseng, and echinacea. “Valerian is a candidate to join the ranks of the transcended herbs. It has a great future because it had a great past.
Stress in animals is evident through the disruptive behaviors exhibited, including excessive barking, restlessness, repetitive behavior, extreme vigilance, etc. Sociability is a key factor in determining the successful adaptation of pets to their environment Sociable dogs are more comfortable with strangers and unfamiliar situations Thus, reducing stress and anxiety in pets is essential in providing positive social interactions and improving the quality of their life and that of the owners. y-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the main inhibitory neurotransmitter in the mammalian brain, and many anxiolytic drugs exert their action through interactions with the GABA receptors. In addition to the GABAergic system, serotonergic, dopaminergic, and noradrenergic systems are also implicated in the development of anxiety and stress in various animal models and humans. Furthermore, the involvement of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and dysregulation of the immune system, and may also mediate social stress in animals that produces aggression and/or depression. While several anxiolytic drugs are available on the market, dietary supplements and herbal extracts are shown to exert equivalent calming effects with no or minimal addictive or aversive side effects.
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