Supplements to Reduce the Effects of Long Term Chronic Stress on the Brain
Studies show that chronic stress can cause inflammation in the brain, re-wire neural pathways, literally change the structure of the brain, and cause shrinkage of the brain – which can all negatively impact the brain’s ability to function. When your stressed, electrical signals in the brain associated with factual memories weaken while areas in the brain associated with emotions strengthen (making you more prone to emotional instability).
Most people are completely unaware that there are scientifically researched nutrients you can take to help your brain deal with this sensory stress load, combat the effects of stress on the brainm and improve cognitive function. In fact, these nutrients can completely change how your brain performs. The fact that brain-boosting supplements even exist goes unnoticed by the average person, but can literally save your brain and be life-changing if you know about them.
One of the effects that stress has on the brain is that it causes inflammation, according to studies. Inflammation on the brain is one cause of memory loss and depression. Therefore, nutritional supplements for inflammation are important to take when you are under chronic stress in mitigating the effects on the brain and reducing the possibility of inflammation. Supplements such as curcumin and fish oils (omega fatty acids) are important in reducing inflammation.
- Fish Oil (Omega Fatty Acids)
Source: Harvard Health – Foods that fight inflammation
- olive oil.
- green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards.
- nuts like almonds and walnuts.
- fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines.
- fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges.
Popular Science magazine wrote about a recent study in mice published in the Journal of Neuroscience shows that one of the effects of chronic stress on the brain is Inflammation, and inflammation is a cause of memory loss and depression.
In the study, several mice were stressed by periodically putting a much more aggressive mouse into their cage. After six days of exposure to the stressful conditions, the stressed mice could no longer recall the location of a hole to escape a maze, which they remembered easily before the stressful period began. Jonathan Godbout, a neuroscience professor at Ohio State University and one of the study authors said in a press release. that while the stress mice didnt remember about the hole at all, another group of mice that weren’t exposed to stress had no problem remembering it. Moreover, for four weeks after the trauma, the stressed mice continued to cower in corners, the mouse equivalent of social avoidance, a major symptom of depression.
The researchers hypothosize that the stress was affecting the mice’s hippocampi, a part of the brain key to memory and spatial navigation. They found cells from mice’s immune system, called macrophages, in the hippocampus, and the macrophages were preventing the growth of more brain cells.
The researchers concluded that the stress caused the mice’s immune systems to attack their own brains, causing inflammation. Later the mice were given a drug known to reduce inflammation to see how they would respond. Although their social avoidance and brain cell deficit persisted, the mice had fewer macrophages in their brains and their memories returned to normal, indicating to the researchers that inflammation was behind the neurological effects of chronic stress.
Vitamins & Minerals
B6, B12, as well as all B Vitamins – take a good Vitamin B Complex supplement.
- Ginkgo Biloba: made from the leaves of the ginkgo biloba tree and has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Ginkgo biloba improves memory, attention, and blood flow to the brain, and reduces anxiety, inflammation, and oxidative stress. It’s easy to find in supplement form, just be sure to buy a high-quality brand that you trust.
- Artichoke Extract: also made from leaves, artichoke extract has potent antioxidant effects and enhances learning and memory.
- Tryptophan: a naturally occurring amino acid that is commonly known to make people sleepy, tryptophan has strong nootropic effects. Tryptophan has been shown to decrease memory deficits, alleviate depression and anxiety, and improves sleep. To ensure you’re consuming balanced ratios of amino acids, it’s best to take an essential amino acids blend like Kion Aminos.
- L-Theanine: also a naturally occurring amino acid, L-Theanine is found in high amounts in green tea and has been shown to reduce anxiety and neuroregeneration, improve mood and cognitive performance, and induce relaxation. It combines well with caffeine (see below).
- CBD: naturally comes from the cannabis plant and is considered a very powerful nootropic. CBD has been shown to enhance focus, creativity, and mood, and reduce general anxiety, social anxiety, chronic pain, stress, ADHD, insomnia, headaches, and inflammation.