Vitamins and Minerals To Consider During Stressful Times

Vitamins and Minerals To Consider During Stressful Times

As well as using lifestyle tips to help manage stress on a day-to-day basis like prioritising tasks, asking for help, using the support system around you, having a healthy, balanced diet, adequate amounts of exercise and good hydration, here are some vitamins, minerals and botanicals that can provide energy and protect your cells during times of stress.

B Vitamins

B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12) are water soluble vitamins which means they can easily be lost from the body and don’t require to be taken with a meal. During stress, these B vitamins can become easily depleted. They provide us with the energy required during this phase. Research has shown that there is a strong correlation between low levels of B12 and increased rates of anxiety and depression1. Vitamin B12 contributes to normal red blood cell formation. This helps to increase oxygen supply around the body and increase concentration.

All the B vitamins work together and therefore taking a B complex vitamin can be beneficial during demanding times. In a 12-week study involving 60 people with work-related stress, those taking a form of vitamin B complex supplement experienced less work-related stress symptoms and improved mood compared with those in the placebo group2

B vitamins, particularly folate (B9), B6 and B12 play a role in lowering homocysteine (an amino acid produced in the body) levels. High levels have been associated with damage of the lining of the arteries, affecting the heart, brain and lungs.


A mineral that also becomes depleted easily during stress and works as a natural relaxant for the nervous system and to normal muscle function. Magnesium contributes to normal functioning of the nervous system and normal psychological function. It helps in regulating neurotransmitters, which sends messages between the brain and body. In supplements, magnesium can be found to be bound to different compounds like oxide, glycinate, citrate, chloride, sulfate (Epsom salt) and lactate. To get high bioavailability and help with muscle function look out for magnesium citrate and glycinate. A systematic review analysing nearly 20 different studies found that taking a magnesium supplement improved all measures of anxiety.3

Vitamin C

Vitamin C, commonly known to support the immune system, also contributes to the normal functioning of the nervous system and normal psychological function. This vitamin maintains homeostasis in your central nervous system and protects cells from oxidative stress. High stress levels increase cortisol levels and Vitamin C helps your body better manage these levels.

Vitamin D

The sunshine vitamin that is absorbed by the body from sunlight is mainly available between March and September in the UK, the sun rays are not as strong during the winter months and therefore not easily absorbed by the skin. Research has shown a correlation between low vitamin D levels and higher rates of anxiety and low mood4. It is recommended that everyone takes a vitamin D supplement of 10µg during the winter months.

Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega 3 is a polyunsaturated fatty acid consisting of three types of fatty acids: ALA (alpha-lipoic acid), EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). DHA has been linked to normal brain function, this beneficial effect is obtained with a daily intake of 250mg of DHA. It is involved in the production of serotonin, a hormone known as the ‘happy hormone’ needed to regulate our mood. Oily fish is a good source of omega 3 and it is recommended to have at least two servings of fish a week. Omega 3 supplementation is also available.



Reading next

Your gut and brain are closely interlinked

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.