Supplements For Stress, Anxiety, Sleep & Hormones
This is one of the top discussions I have with people when we talk about their health. People are stressed, have excessive worry, anxiety and can't sleep. And they have some form of hormone imbalance. Some are even on numerous prescription medications for all of these issues. As well, I have to always preface this by saying - I am not a doctor! I'm not trying to be a doctor, nor do I want to be one. :) I'm just sharing my own journey of healing and that includes what I've learned along the way.
When I became sick I had some normal worry and anxiety but nothing compared to when my body, hormones and nervous system became compromised and I had toxins to contend with in my brain. I got a crash course in what supplements to take and what to do for my body to help it calm down, relax, and to activate my parasympathetic nervous system (the calming system).
I'm going to preface what I write with this as well - every body is different and every body responds differently to supplements. Always start with one supplement so you can see how your body responds. One person's nutrient might be another person's toxin. I recommend starting with a low dose and titrate up slowly if you are sensitive to see how you tolerate the supplement. With that said, most of these particular supplements are pretty easily tolerated, except perhaps the B-12 for some people who are like myself with methylation issues. As well, there are many of my other supplements that I take that are going to help with these issues, but these are a few of my top supplements I'd recommend starting with.
*As always, consult your own physician prior to taking any supplements and read my disclosure statement.
Supplements I Recommend
3. L - Theanine
4. B -12 in the form of adnenosylcobalamin and methylcobalamin
6. B Vitamins
7. Progesterone Cream - for women in perimenopause/menopause
11. Calcium D-Glucarate - for estrogen dominance
12. DIM - Diindolylmethane - estrogen metabolizer and detoxifier
13. Vitamin D - CRITICAL for optimizing progesterone in the body
Other Recommendations for Anxiety
1. Meditation - Adrenal Breathing
2. Organic Food - avoid all excitotoxins
3. Detox your world
5. Get your genetic testing done
What I Take Each Night Before I Go to Bed:
1. Magnesium - 200 mg.
2. GABA - 490 mg.
3. Omega 3 Fish Oil - 1-2 capsules
4. L - Theanine at dinner - 100 mg.
4. 1 spoonful of raw honey
*You can also buy Dr. Lam's Adrenal Sleep supplement to take at nighttime. It contains GABA, melatonin, L - Theanine, magnesium and all kinds of helpful supplements for a good night's sleep. I haven't tried it as I take my own supplements, but Adrenal Sleep contains many of the same supplements I take individually.
I will write extensively about magnesium because my name for magnesium is 'MIRACLE MAGNESIUM'. I LOVE magnesium! It's that important. Every single person in my family is on magnesium citrate.
Magnesium is a co-factor for the enzyme ATP, which is created in the mitochondria, which is the main source of energy for our cells. In short, magnesium helps your body have energy and supports the very 'LIFE FORCE' of your body.
Magnesium LOWERS CORTISOL. I can literally feel it when it gets absorbed in my body much like a drug works. Thirty minutes and I can feel the magnesium take effect in my body and start lowering cortisol.
Magnesium had a significant impact on bringing my out of balance cortisol levels, back into better balance, particularly in the morning when they were much too high. When my cortisol was way to high I would wake up in the morning around 4:00 a.m. with terrible tremors and shaking. When I started the magnesium, this improved and then stopped altogether. The effect was immediate. Controlling cortisol levels will help alleviate your stress.
It CALMS NERVES and RELAXES the body.
Too much stress and adrenaline in the body depletes the body of magnesium. Conversely, magnesium depletion in the body, magnifies stress. According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, author of The Magnesium Miracle, any time we experience stress, our magnesium stores are tapped to create energy. This magnesium depletion itself stresses the body, which can result in panic attacks, which equals more stress and overworked adrenals.
Magnesium helps the body protect against the damage of heavy metals and helps the body EXCRETES HEAVY METALS. Mercury drastically increases the secretion of magnesium from the body, so it's very important for those with heavy metal toxicity.
Magnesium is used to produce SEROTONIN in the body, which is your feel good brain chemical.
It will help you SLEEP BETTER and stay asleep. Should you wake up in the night, take a small dose and it will help you fall back asleep.
It is a natural PAIN RELIEVER.
It helps REGULATES YOUR HORMONES and neutralizes excessive estrogen in the liver. Excessive estrogen creates anxiety, insomnia and depression, among many other thing.
Helps prevent and stop tension and migraine HEADACHES.
Magnesium helps to regulate your BLOOD SUGAR levels. It has been called the natural metformin, which is the medicine for diabetics. According to Dr. Carolyn Dean, the people with the highest levels of magnesium in their diets, have the lowest chance for developing diabetes.
Magnesium helps PROTECT YOU FROM HEART DISEASE by preventing muscle spasms in the blood vessels in the heart, and also prevents calcium buildup in cholesterol plaque in arteries, which leads to clogged arteries.
Magnesium helps PREVENT AND DISSOLVE KIDNEY STONES, and helps them PASS through the urinary tract. If you've got kidney stones, get on the magnesium quick. Balanced amounts of magnesium helps to prevent the calcium from solidifying into kidney stones. Calcium and magnesium balance is critical for preventing kidney stones. Magnesium will help the kidney stones to dissolve. If you have an active kidney stone that is passing, ramp up your magnesium. It will help relax the urinary tract so it can pass easier, and will help eliminate the pain. Trust me, I know. I have gotten through a few kidney stones since I've become sick and unable to take pain meds, by using only magnesium. IT WORKS.
If you're CONSTIPATED, all you need is magnesium citrate. It will help get the pipes moving and keep your regular. If this is your issues, take your magnesium citrate all at once, instead of splitting up your daily dose like I have recommended, and wait for nature to call. Because it will.
The kind of magnesium you take is very important because not all kinds of magnesium are absorbed at the same rate. A few that I recommend taking are magnesium citrate, or dimagnesium malate.
Dr. Carolyn Dean recommends taking 3-4 times your body weight in milligrams. For example. If you weigh 100 pounds, you could tolerate 300-400 mg. of magnesium. If you get loose stools with mag. citrate, back off your dose a little or split up your doses through out the day. I take mine 3-4 times a day.
Magnesium citrate will keep your digestion moving and I recommend splitting up your doses during the day for this matter if you take citrate. I actually like this aspect because it helps with detoxification by keeping you regular.
If you take too much magnesium citrate all at once you will get what we have affectionately termed in our house...'MAGNESIUM MOMENTS.' Magnesium moments will send you running as fast as you can to the bathroom. We also call them 'disaster pants'. This might be TMI, but you have officially been warned. :)
I buy my magnesium from supplementclinic.com, which sells high quality vitamins.
I LOVE MAGNESIUM! I cannot say this enough! It is one of the most important supplements for you to take!
WHEN IN DOUBT.... TAKE MAGNESIUM! :)
GABA is an amino acid that is in itself a neurotransmitter. It has a calming effect on the brain. Tranquilizers such as Valium and Xanax, work by increasing the effectiveness of GABA.
One of the first things I had to do when I found out I was high in mercury was get my glutamate and GABA levels balanced. Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter and in excess creates anxiety.
GABA had a huge impact on settling my brain down and calming my racing mind due to the mercury and imbalance of hormones. The effect was immediate, which is probably due to how out of balance I was.
It does not make me loopy or tired, but helps relax and calm my brain while I stay alert.
You can read about GABA and glutamate balance here.
I buy my GABA from holisticheal.com, which is Dr. Amy Yasko's supplement website.
Another supplement to consider, especially for children, is the Be Calm Spray from holisticheal.com. This is one of the first things that is recommended for autistic/ADHD children is to get GABA and glutamate in balance. It has GABA and L - Theanine in it.
L - Theanine is an amino acid and is what is predominant in green tea leaves.
Creates a sense of relaxation by directly stimulating alpha brain waves.
L - Theanine helps with the production of the neurotransmitter GABA.
Helps calm you down without sedating you in the process.
I buy my L - Theanine from holisticheal.com.
B-12 is essential to help support the central nervous system.
Vitamin B-12 promotes energy production in multiple ways. It supports the adrenal glands and red blood cell formation.
Helps support a healthy cardiovascular system.
I use methylcobalamin and adenosylcobalamin which are the methylated most bio-active forms of B-12. This is important! Not all B-12 is the same. I use the Vegan Safe B-12 that I buy from globalhealingcenter.com.
The first day that I took probably 1/8 of one drop of this methylated B-12, I noticed my nervous system calm down within the hour. It was immediate and fast for me and it felt so good. That's how bad my nervous system was functioning with the toxins. I felt like I could take a deep breath and relax briefly without feeling so wired, agitated, and uptight. This was a year and a half after I first became sick that I discovered B-12.
Omega 3 oil is brain food supplement, decreases inflammation and also neuro-inflammation. It helps decrease depression.
Studies have shown that Omega 3 oil helps people become more resilient to stress and better able to regulate their mood.
Here's one of the best parts - it helps me sleep! I noticed this when I started taking it years ago. It was like sleeping pill for me. If I took two capsules at night, I almost had a hard time waking up. I've learned that it enhances the secretion of melatonin, which is a hormone that helps regulate sleep.
I take a different Omega 3 oil than I did years ago and I can take two capsules at night and it works great.
Dr. Habib Sadeghi, one of my doctors a few years ago, put me on his Ultra Healing Omega supplement. You can buy this high quality Omega 3 at his supplement website at behiveofhealing.com.
B-vitamins work with your brain chemistry to help balance your neurotransmitters.
They help reduce stress and anxiety by supporting the nervous system.
Both vitamin B6 and magnesium are necessary for the neutralization of estrogen in the liver, according to Dr. Lam. These vitamins are all important for hormonal balance. When the hormones are imbalanced, you get stress and anxiety.
In the years prior to menopause (35-50 years) progesterone typically declines about 75% according to Dr. Lam, while estrogen levels either drop up to 35%, stay the same or even rise. When progesterone levels drop, estrogen dominance happens. This is not good for your health.
Symptoms of low progesterone or estrogen dominance include fuzzy thinking, depression, irritability, PMS, anxiety, nervousness, trouble sleeping and mood swings.
Estrogen dominance also contributes to other health issues for women: breast cancer, PCOS, auto immune disorders, infertility problems among many things.
Progesterone helps CALM and RELAX the the body. It's a FEEL GOOD hormone. It is a natural diuretic, natural anti-depressant, protects against breast cancer, helps normalize blood sugar and sex drive, and normalizes your cycle among so many things.
So how does stress impact progesterone? Excessive stress lowers progesterone, leaving you anxious and depressed and unable to sleep because of estrogen dominance. Pregnanolone is the mother of all hormones, including one pathway of hormones that includes progesterone and cortisol. Whenever a woman is under stress, the body uses the pregnenolone to make more cortisol (what is produced when stressed), instead of progesterone. This leaves you low in progesterone, and estrogen dominant. This has been called 'the great progesterone steal.' It also compromises your adrenal function due to the excessive stress and insomnia as a result of too much estrogen.
Currently I take 60 mg of natural progesterone cream. I hope to increase that to a minimum of 100 mg. Please refer to the website progesteronetherapy.com for great information about dosing and how to use progesterone to balance your hormones and drive down estrogen. Always do your research, talk to your own doctors, and make your own decisions about dosing. I am not a doctor.
I take 125 mg. of rhodiola root every day in the morning. This is a lower dose, and the recommended dose is about double that amount.
Rhodiola root lowers cortisol and helps with the bodies stress response. It helps to calm the body when it goes into the fight/flight mode. Because of this rhodiola root is a very good herb to help heal the adrenal glands.
Rhodiola root helps fight mild depression and improves the health of your brain. According to Dr. Josh Axe, it increases the sensitivity of two neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, which in turn increase focus, pleasure, memory and improve mood.
Increases energy and stamina by increasing red cell blood
It has been said that all disease begins in the gut. Gut health is crucial for the overall health of your body. When in doubt, start with your gut.
Your gut contains both harmful and beneficial bacteria. The ideal ratio of gut flora is 85% good to 15% bad.
If this ratio gets out of balance it is known as gut dysbiosis.
Probiotics help protect and heal the lining of the gut, a condition called leaky gut.
Probiotics metabolize unhealthy estrogen (estradiol) to prevent estrogen dominance.
Probiotics kill yeast, fungus, and help eliminate bad bacteria.
80% of your immune system is located in your digestive tract. Probiotics help strengthen your immune system.
The enteric nervous system is located in the gut - this is why its called the second brain.
Gut health is directly related to brain health. The vast majority of your serotonin is produced in your gut.
Gut health = brain health.
Probiotics are essential for optimal digestion of food and absorption of nutrients
Good bacteria help eliminate toxins.
Probiotics help increase energy and heal leaky gut.
Some top probiotic killers in the gut are antibiotics, sugar, toxins, grains and emotional stress.
If you want balanced hormones, you MUST have a healthy liver that is detoxifying properly.
In fact, THIS is the first thing I would suggest to someone who wanted to balance their hormones - DETOX your liver.
If your liver is not functioning properly, hormones begin build up, start re-circulating throughout the body and create imbalance instead of being detoxified and eliminated.
Fermented liver rebuilder supports a healthy liver, healthy digestion, healthy intestinal flora and increased energy.
When your liver is functioning properly your whole body will feel better and your hormones will be better balanced as well.
Calcium D-Glucarate inhibits beta-glucuronidase.
When the neutralized hormones travel down the digestive path and encounters beta-glucuronidase, beta glucuronidase breaks the bond of the neutralized hormone or toxins tagged for excretion, reactivates it and it gets reabsorbed through the intestinal walls. The estrogen then starts circulating throughout the body again instead of getting excreted as it should have been.
Estrogen dominance causes all kinds of health issues, hormone imbalances and cancer.
Calcium D-Gluracate helps estrogen to be detoxed and eliminated by preventing beta-glucuronidase from unbinding it before excretion.
Someone once said that Calcium D-Glucarate is one of the most important supplements to take, yet one of the least known about supplements.
Dave Asprey of Bulletproof considers it to be one of the most important supplements he takes to support healthy detoxification and hormone balance.
Promotes metabolism of estrogen sending it down the healthy C-2 detoxification pathway
Reduces estrogen dominance
Lipid based formula increased bio-availability of supplement- absorbed orally and goes straight into the lymphatic system
The ONLY brand I recommend is Quicksilver. It has had a profound impact on lowering my estrogen levels. The effect is immediate.
Critical for optimizing progesterone in the body.
1,000 iu per 25 pounds of body weight is recommended
Has the highest amounts of gamma linolenic acid of any known substance.
GLA is anti-inflammatory and helps promote healthy hormone production.
EPO helps lower estrogen, reduce/eliminate hot flashes, reduced PMS and heavy periods.
Reduces hormonal depression due to estrogen dominance, foggy thinking and headaches.
Quite helpful for women in peri-menopause or menopause.
ADRENAL BREATHING - MEDITATION
Meditation CALMS and centers the brain while activating the parasympathetic nervous system.
The parasympathetic nervous system will help the body relax, promotes a calm mood, and lower cortisol which helps relieve anxiety and also improves sleep.
Proper breathing releases tension from the body and clears the mind, which reduces anxiety.
Read Dr. Romie's article here regarding the Relaxation Response. She is a Western trained neurologist, integrative medical doctor, mindfulness expert, and yoga teacher. Adrenal breathing and meditation is one way to elicit relaxation and lower anxiety and stress in the body and promote overall healing.
One of my favorite guided meditations is the Mind Calm Meditation by Sandy Newbigging you can get on ibooks. Specifically, I love to listen to track 6 when I have a short 15 minutes for meditation. It is very healing, calming, and soothing.
Eat as much organic food as possible while also limiting sugars.
Eat as healthy as you possibly can.
Avoid eating foods that contain excitotoxins. Foods with excitotoxins stimulate the neurotransmitters and can increase anxiety. Please read this article by Dr. Amy Yasko which explains so beautifully how important it is to keep the GABA and glutamate neurotransmitters in balance in the brain.
Raw honey contributes to the release of MELATONIN in your brain, which helps relax the body and helps you sleep better. I take a spoonful each night before I go to bed.
I inadvertently discovered raw honey when I was sick and taking it at nighttime to help control my cough. It works amazing as a cough suppressant by the way.
Raw honey is also anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. I love it.
Y.S. is my favorite brand of raw honey.
This is going to be a new concept for some of you. I discovered earthing a little over a year ago, but didn't start earthing (or grounding) until late Spring of this year. The results have been pretty dramatic in helping to reduce all the inflammation I've had in my knees and hips due to the mercury toxicity and I will write about this more in another blog post.
Scientifically, earthing is connecting to the earth where your body is suffused with negative-charged free electrons, as explained in the book 'Earthing' by Clinton Ober and Dr. Steven Sinatra. Your body immediately equalizes to the same electric healing energy as the earth.
You can earth (or ground) by sitting or walking barefoot outside, or by physically touching an earthing device.
Earthing cools down the NERVOUS SYSTEM and LOWERS CORTISOL - which lowers stress and anxiety.
Earthing REDUCES INFLAMMATION in the body.
Earthing thins the blood and improves blood pressure and flow.
Earthing protects the body against environmental electromagnetic fields (EMF's)
Earthing IMPROVES SLEEP and increases energy.
I put an earthing mat at the bottom of my bed where my feet are when I sleep, so that I am earthing for about 9 hours each night.
You can purchase an earthing mat here.
DETOX YOUR WORLD
Toxins are in everything from your food, to your beauty products to the water you drink. Not only are these toxins harmful to your health, many of them are estrogenic, meaning they contribute to estrogen dominance in your body, which increases anxiety, insomnia, and depression.
Toxins damage your very cells in your body.
Toxins create dis-ease in your body.
Toxins disrupt and damage your brain and your entire body and keep them from functioning properly.
USDA Organic is our best friend - from food, beauty products, your mattresses, your cleaning products, to your pest control. Get the toxins out of your world.
Cleanse your liver. Everything will function better from your hormones to your entire body when your liver is functioning better.
EVERY tiny drop DOES matter. Some doctors say that we have livers and they work just fine to detoxify the body. Yes, we have livers, but never before have our bodies been assaulted with the level of toxins in in our food, water, beauty and personal care products, and even as mercury in our teeth - as we are today!
Our bodies were not designed to deal with these amounts of toxins and our toxic buckets are filling and overflowing more now than they ever have. People reach their limits and become 'tox-sick.'
Our livers and kidneys cannot perform properly when they are overloaded with so many toxins.
TRUST ME - IT HAPPENED TO ME! MY BUCKET REACHED IT'S LIMIT AND OVERFLOWED!
Never before have people been so chronically ill and sick with every kind of disease imaginable.
It is essential to detoxify our cells if we want to achieve good health again.
DETOX, DETOX, DETOX!
One thing I would like to mention to women, in addition to what I've already shared above about hormones. Hormonal imbalances are a big contributor to anxiety and an inability to sleep for women in the perimenopause/menopause age.
Getting your hormones in balance with bioidentical hormones and getting the right supplements into your body will help significantly with anxiety and sleep. Hormones or lack of hormones are so powerful on the body and mind!
'The Female Brain Gone Insane' by Mia Lundin is a great resource book.
I cannot recommend this book enough! It will guide you step by step through all the supplements you need to take and will also help you if something isn't working, and how to know when to add more or back off of a supplement. It will be one of your guidebooks to getting your hormones in better balance.
Progesteronetherapy.com is a website that I highly recommend. It discusses driving down estrogen with the right amounts of natural progesterone cream. Many practitioners, mine included, didn't prescribe a high enough dose.
Hormonesbalance.com is also another excellent website to understand your hormones and get them in balance NATURALLY.
If someone is having issues with anxiety/stress/depression that becomes excessive or starts to interfere with their quality of life - there are a few things I would personally do first.
Get a simple test run to see if you have genetics methylation issues that might be contributing to the UNDERLYING CAUSE of the anxiety/depression/stress. THIS IS KEY! You can work on the issue forever, but if you have chemical issues that are underlying all the anxiety/depression it will never be fixed until the chemicals in the body/brain are fixed. Sometimes it's as easy as just adding a certain kind of B-12.
You can order the genetics tests at holisticheal.com or 23andme.com. This will pinpoint with exactness, if you have any genetics methylation issues that might be the root cause of your excessive anxiety/depression/stress. With these tests, it will tell you precisely what supplements you should start taking for your body and brain to function optimally.
With Dr. Amy Yasko's test, the results comes
with all the supplement recommendations. This test is more expensive. If you test with 23andme, they will recommend other sites to plug all your genetic results into to get your recommendations. I am not as familiar with this testing as I am with Dr. Yasko's, as that's who did mine.
Please refer to this blog post for more information: Genetic Testing and Analysis.
If you want a doctor that will take your test results and then help you navigate and figure out what you need to do, I have listed several on my resources page. A few of these doctors who are qualified to help you are:
A Few Books I Recommend for Anxiety, Stress, Sleep and Hormones:
1. The Female Brain Gone Insane by Mia Lundin
2. Before the Change: Taking Charge of Your Peri-Menopause by Anne Louise Gittleman
3. Earthing by Clinton Ober and Stephen Sinatra, M.D.
4. 10% Happier by Dan Harris
5. Feel Good Nutrigenomics by Dr. Amy Yasko
6. The Magnesium Miracle by Dr. Carolyn Dean
7. Adrenal Fatigue Syndrome by Dr. Michael Lam
7. Body Calm and Mind Calm Guided Meditations by Sandy Newbigging