The Secret to Staying Calm in a Stress-filled World
A few years ago, I read about a fascinating study conducted in a British prison.
Psychologists worked with a large a group of disruptive prisoners. But they didn’t do any counseling. Instead, they gave half the prisoners a multivitamin/mineral supplement every day. The other half received a similar pill with no active ingredients.
Within two weeks, the vitamin group was getting in trouble one third less often as before. But the placebo group continued to be as disruptive as ever.1
In Phoenix, Arizona, researchers tried something similar – but with schoolchildren.
Half a group of 468 disruptive students were given daily multivitamins. The rest received a placebo.
In this case, the behavior problems in the vitamin group dropped by nearly half. And once again, the placebo group continued to misbehave.
But in this study, the researchers looked a little deeper. They noted a positive change in the levels of water-soluble vitamins in the group that improved.2
You see, most vitamins are fat-soluble, and your body can store them. But vitamin C and the B vitamins are water-soluble. This means your body disposes of any “extra” – mostly in your urine – so you need a fresh supply each day.
What does this all mean to you? Just this:
I’m convinced that the people in these studies – and many similar studies – discovered the benefits of B vitamins.
Convicts and school kids don’t always eat the best of diets. But when they did get the nutrition they needed – especially those elusive B vitamins – they were able to relax and take life more in stride.
That’s what B vitamins seem to do. They’re involved in many of your body’s processes linked directly to calm, “de-stressed” behaviors. When you’re getting enough B vitamins…
- Your body can make the melatonin it needs. This is the hormone that gently lulls you to sleep each night… if you’re getting enough vitamin B5.
- You can boost your supplies of calming neurotransmitters such as GABA. Thanks to vitamin B6, GABA helps slow down the “racing brain” that can keep you up at night.
- You could improve your mood and outlook, too. Vitamin B12 and folate – another B vitamin – have both been linked to overall improvements in mood and attitude.3
- You may even be able to face more stress with less effort. Stress increases the activity of your nervous system – burning up extra B vitamins. Plus, stress requires more energy – another function of the B family. So getting plenty of B vitamins during periods of stress could help you cope more effectively.
Fish, chicken and leafy green vegetables are all good sources of B vitamins. But different foods are rich in different B’s. You’ll need to eat a variety of foods “rich in vitamin B” to get enough of all of them.
That’s why I take a supplement that contains all the B vitamins. It’s a little extra insurance. And considering how hard it can be to stay cool and calm in this high-stress world, I think a little insurance is well worth it.
Dr Kenneth Woliner, M.D.
Best Life Herbals
1 Gesch CB, et al. Influence of supplementary vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids on the antisocial behaviour of young adult prisoners. The British Journal of Psychiatry (2002) 181: 22-28.
2 Schoenthaler SJ and Bier ID. The effect of vitamin-mineral supplementation on juvenile delinquency among American schoolchildren: a randomized, double-blind placebo-controlled trial. J Altern Complement Med. 2000 Feb;6(1):7-17.
3 Gariballa S and Forster S. Effects of dietary supplements on depressive symptoms in older patients: a randomised double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Clin Nutr. 2007 Oct;26(5):545-51. Epub 2007 Jul 26.