Vitamins are micronutrients that are required in very small quantities by the body due to their antioxidant properties, which aid in proper glandular functioning and the synthesis of neurotransmitters.
While the role that vitamins play in regulating biochemical processes in the body is undisputed, their role in stress is an issue that has been debated for a long time. There seems to be dearth of medical evidence that supports taking vitamins to relieve stress as a recommended option. Differing opinions on the efficacy of stress-vitamins suggest that at its best, the connection between vitamins and stress relief is indirect.
- Vitamin A, C and E have antioxidant properties that neutralize free radicals. Free radicals are high-energy particles that ricochet wildly and damage cells. In stressful conditions, the body produces more free radicals, and extra antioxidants prove useful during stress situations to protect against free radical damage.
- Vitamin B is essential for the activity of some enzymes responsible for metabolic reactions in the body. Niacin, for example, is a B vitamin necessary for normal functioning of the nervous system. It is also required for synthesis of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that keeps you calm. Pyridoxine, another B vitamin, is essential for metabolism of amino acids and starch that indirectly strengthen the nervous system.
- Pantothenic acid, found in many foods, is a vitamin of the vitamin B complex that performs an important role in the oxidation of fats and carbohydrates and certain amino acids. Along with folic acid and Vitamin C, it regulates the functioning of the adrenal glands, which produce stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol.
In the absence of conclusive research findings, it can only be said that vitamins may probably help you to stay calm. At the same time, it must also be put on record that during emotionally stressful conditions, your body needs more energy to help you to stay calm. Vitamins can provide the body with the necessary nutrients to meet body’s energy requirements during stress.
The best source of vitamins is the food that you eat. A balanced diet ensures sufficient vitamin intake. Supplemental vitamins can be taken on prescription if your diet does not provide you with enough vitamins. Normally, excess supplemental vitamins are washed away and pass out through urine, but they can interact with other medication that you may be taking. Pregnant women and nursing mothers, in particular, should be more careful.
Even if they do not give any significant benefits, vitamins can be taken safely, as they cannot harm you. While taking vitamins, you should keep in mind that vitamins become more potent when taken along with minerals like magnesium and zinc.References: