A Simple Way to Lower Feelings of Stress

>> Friday

Scientists give rats a lot of stress and then see what they can do to reduce stress hormones. Something that successfully lowers stress hormones is vitamin C.

Researcher P. Samuel Campbell and his colleagues found that 200 mg of vitamin C per day reduced the level of stress hormones in the rats' blood. That's a pretty big dose for a little critter. It is the equivalent of several grams of vitamin C per day for you or me, which is actually in the range of what the famous chemist, Linus Pauling recommended. It is also in the range of what chimpanzees — our closest genetic relatives — get in their daily diet in the wild.

Other things that indicated a generally lower stress level for the rats taking the vitamin C were: 1) their adrenal glands didn't enlarge as much as they normally do when rats are constantly stressed, 2) they didn't lose as much weight as the stressed but unmegadosed rats (stress tends to make people put on weight), and 3) their spleens and thymus glands didn't shrink as much.

I'm not a biochemist or a doctor. You can do your own research and draw your own conclusions. I'm noting it here because it is relevant to our topic (improving your mood by reducing stress and anxiety) and can give you an avenue to pursue you might not otherwise have thought about.

If you feel particularly stressed out, it probably wouldn't hurt to take some extra vitamin C and it might even help you feel better.

2 comments:

Adam Khan 10:44 PM  

One gram equals 1000 milligrams. Most grocery stores sell vitamin C in 1000-milligram tablets. Next time you're feeling stressed out, take three tablets per day for a few days and see if it helps.

Since vitamin C is water-soluble, it would probably be best to take the three tablets at three different times during the day. Always take them with food (just so it doesn't irritate your stomach).

Adam Khan 10:50 PM  

Just for more motivation to try it, check this out from Answers.com on vitamin C:

Certain health conditions may cause vitamin C depletion, including diabetes and high blood pressure. People who smoke and women who take estrogen may also have lower vitamin C levels. In addition, men are more likely to be vitamin C depleted, as are the elderly. High stress levels have also been linked to vitamin C deficiency.

In addition, certain medical and surgical procedures may lower the levels of vitamin C in the body. It has been found that hemodialysis causes patients with kidney disease to lose as much as 66 mg per session. Similarly, patients who have had kidney transplants are at increased risk of vitamin C deficiency.

Severe vitamin C deficiency leads to scurvy, a disease common on ships prior to the eighteenth century, due to the lack of fresh fruits and other dietary vitamin C sources. Symptoms of scurvy include weakness, bleeding, tooth loss, bleeding gums, bruising, and joint pain. Less serious vitamin C depletion can have more subtle effects such as weight loss, fatigue, weakened immune system (as demonstrated by repeated infections and colds), bruises that occur with minor trauma and are slow to heal, and slow healing of other wounds.

Low vitamin C levels have also been associated with high blood pressure, increased heart attack risk, increased risk for developing cataracts, and a higher risk for certain types of cancer (i.e., prostate, stomach, colon, oral, and lung).

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