TOP 10 WAYS TO MAXIMIZE CBD FOR ANXIETY & STRESS
Updated: Feb 24
Anxiety and stress can undoubtedly be a constant weight on your shoulders and an uphill battle in this modern, fast-paced world. The reason for making this list is to provide tools and tips based on research that may help battle these damaging, inevitable emotions we all face to varying degrees. There is always hope for improvement in your quality of life and overall mental, emotional, physical balance, please don't forget that. Here is a list of 10 tips that can potentially create good synergy with CBD. We hope it helps improve and add to your overall quality of life in some small way.
1. Gynostemma Pentaphyllum/ Jiaogulan -
This interesting and powerful adaptogen is dubbed "miracle grass" in China where it grows abundantly. Jiaogulan is a great tool in the fight against anxiety and stress. Adaptogenic substances have fluidity and adaptability in the body, depending on what each individual needs at the moment. Gynostemma excels at counteracting stress, balancing the nervous system, and supplying the body with powerful compounds called gypenosides that cause a host of positive physiological reactions in the body.
Studies show that jiaogulan may help to increase incredibly important endogenous antioxidants like superoxide dismutase and glutathione, which are oftentimes depleted.
Jiaogulan may help to protect the nervous system, positively influence memory, increase overall emotional balance, balance the immune system, and help protect cardiovascular health. (1) As an added bonus, jiaogulan may also help to a small degree with fat loss, improve certain markers of type 2 diabetes, and may even have some anti-aging properties when used as part of a program. There are many poor extracts on the market that may give people greater anxiety. When the extract is pure though, jiaogulan is one of the most powerful, yet gentle adaptogens in the world. There is a tea called Spring Dragon Longevity Tea that is reliable in quality. (2,3)
2. NAC (N-acetylcysteine) -
NAC isn't very well known as a supplement for anxiety and stress, but it's a shame because of how excellent it performs for a wide variety of conditions. NAC has emerged as one of the safest and most cost feasible tools for greater mental and emotional wellness and balance. NAC acts as a precursor to glutathione, one of the most important compounds that we're often low or depleted in without ever knowing it. Surprisingly positive research has been emerging in areas such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorders, stress, compulsive disorders, addictions, certain types of cravings, PTSD, schizophrenia, and more. (4,5,6,7) NAC is also known to help protect against certain toxins and help make life for your liver a little easier. TUDCA, picrorhiza kurroa, and milk thistle phospholipids are also amazing for the liver. Many people have mentioned that NAC can reduce internal negativity and negative thoughts to some degree. Try and source and find a product that isn't made in China and has been lab-tested for purity. It’s important not to take too much of it, 3-400mgs twice a day is enough.
3. Honokiol/Magnolol & Baicalin -
These phytocompounds have some efficacy towards anxiety and stress according to some research. These three compounds have multifaceted effects on the nervous system. Research is showing that honokiol and magnolol may help in upregulating and increasing GABA and serotonin in the brain, which can modulate and calm the brain and body.(8) Magnolol and honokiol are extracts that come from the herb magnolia bark and baicalin is extracted from skullcap. What's interesting is that research shows honokiol and magnolol may even activate cannabinoid receptors, which would further strengthen the effects of CBD. (9) Another piece of research showed that honokiol was as effective as diazepam for anxiety, and helped to inhibit adrenaline stress-based compounds from being released. (10)
4. Potassium & Magnesium -
Potassium and magnesium are often overlooked in the world of mental, emotional, and even physical health at times. Magnesium has received more attention in the last 10 -15 years or so because of research showing that nearly all people are deficient in this critical mineral. The importance of maintaining ideal magnesium levels cannot be overstated. Magnesium is needed for over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body. If our bodies don't have this critical mineral in abundance, many critical processes may suffer. There are heavy ties to many diseases including cardiovascular disease with magnesium and potassium deficiencies. When it comes to stress and anxiety, magnesium has a way of really helping to smooth out the system and relax the body and mind. It takes time to improve and raise our internal levels, but it’s an absolute must for stress and anxiety. (11) One of the best forms of magnesium for anxiety and stress and overall absorption is magnesium glycinate.
Potassium is one of the most important minerals and electrolytes, and the most abundant cation in the cell. Research has clearly shown that potassium is critical for the nervous system, it may lower the chances of strokes and heart attacks, it’s needed for fluid balance, and helps to regulate the body in many ways. (12) We only have around half the amount of potassium as would be ideal from our diets, sometimes even less. Supplementing with potassium citrate powder or another form has helped many people feel more balanced, energetic, mentally sharp, and less anxious (especially when paired with magnesium). It is CRITICAL to start out taking a small amount of potassium if you decide to supplement with it. Many companies may not have pure products as well.
5. Red Reishi -
Reishi has garnered so much respect and reverence over hundreds of years in Asia, and has won people over in the western world in the past 20-30 years as well. Reishi, specifically red reishi grown on duanwood logs, is a fantastic and medically potent mushroom with vast benefits. Pertaining to stress and anxiety, reishi is a valuable tool and seems to impart this subtle feeling of goodness and zen that builds over time. Reishi helps to replenish internal energy, balance the mind, protect different parts of the body, improve gut health, fight fatigue, and balance the immune system. Reishi acts as an immune modulator rather than a stimulator, which is analogous to the effects on our mind and spirit. Many people speak very highly about how they feel on reishi, but the problem is that most of it on the market is either fake or poor quality. Look for a red reishi grown on duanwood logs and feel free to incorporate a spore powder into a blend as well.
6. Holy Basil -
Holy Basil, also known as Tulsi, is another stellar adaptogenic herb that's well known and highly beloved in the system of Ayurvedic medicine. It's considered a very sacred herb in India and is sometimes called "The Queen of The Herbs". There are dozens of good-quality studies showing the medicine effects of tulsi. For anxiety and stress, holy basil seems to enhance calmness and help make stress feel a little less abrasive. Studies have shown that holy basil helps lower cortisol and other corticosterones that go through the roof when we feel perpetually anxious and stressed. This helps our system handle that response and not burn out the adrenal glands and perpetuate the stress response. One double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed an almost 40% improvement in stress symptoms in only 6 weeks when supplementing with holy basil! As an added bonus, tulsi may help to protect against some of the damaging effects of several toxins we face on a regular basis. (13,14,15)
7. Essential oils -
Although essential oils are more popular than ever, they're still underutilized for stress, anxiety, depression, infections, and so much more. Essential oils are very powerful and can deeply affect the mind and body when used the right way. Some of the best essential oils for stress and anxiety are bergamot, sandalwood, lavender, vetiver, palo santo, basil, clary sage, ylang ylang, and jasmine. Certain compounds within the oils can actually enter the brain by sniffing through a cupped hand and alter neurochemistry in a positive manner. There are many ways to harness the power of essential oils besides sniffing.
Lavender has both animal and human studies showing positive effects on the brain and behavior. (16) Bergamot is highly regarded for a mood boost and anxiety reduction with a couple of studies backing it up. Vetiver and sandalwood have very calming, relaxing effects on the nervous system. (17)
8. Inositol -
Inositol is an interesting and relatively unknown substance in the world of holistic medicine. It’s categorized as vitamin B8, although it has some differences than many of the other B vitamins. Inositol is necessary for cell membranes and many different functions in the body, but may be of importance to those looking to decrease their anxiety levels. It is sometimes used for panic attacks and obsessive-compulsive disorders. People with depression, anxiety, and high levels of stress may have lower levels of inositol in their spinal fluid. Insufficient inositol supply may also be a contributing factor to the development of fatty liver disease. (18) Some people see very good results when supplementing with inositol, while others not quite as much. Many people have reported that it helps to slow down racing, anxious, stress-based thoughts at times.
9. B-Complex, especially B6 -
A methylated B-complex is an important part of any stress and anxiety reduction supplement stack. Most B-vitamins that are within multivitamin formulas aren't methylated and need to be processed and altered by the liver, which can be tough for some people. It's advantageous to buy a B-complex where all the vitamins are in their ideal form. B3, B6, and B12 may be the most important B-vitamins for anxiety, with B6 probably at the top of the list. B6, or pyridoxine, is a critical element in helping the brain produce several relaxing neurotransmitters in the brain like GABA and serotonin. It is also important in helping convert glutamate, which can act as an excitotoxin and contribute to anxiety. (19) Try and find a methylated B complex with P5P for the B6 version. Most companies put very large amounts of B-vitamins derived from unhealthy sources in the wrong form and recommend mega doses, which can cause people to feel a bit off. Opening up like 1/4th of a capsule into water or juice several times a day of a methylated or activated B complex is far superior to one large dose. Solaray has a good methyl B complex.
10. Omega 3 fatty acids -
We all hear how great omega 3 fats are for many different issues, but many people don't know that it can sometimes be quite helpful for anxiety and stress. These polyunsaturated fats are often deficient when compared to omega 6's, 9's, and other fatty acids. There's an ideal ratio that helps to balance inflammation and many processes in the body. In one study, researchers found that those with anxiety actually had lower circulating levels of omega 3 fatty acids. (20) An analysis of 19 clinical trials and over 1200 participants came to the conclusion that a significant reduction of anxiety was seen in people that were taking omega 3 supplements compared to placebo. (21) Something very important to note is that the EPA was much more powerful at mood balance and anxiety reduction than DHA. Most fish oil supplements and foods contain a ratio of DHA and EPA. Many of them actually have more DHA, which is important in its own right, but it's crucial to choose a supplement that has a higher amount of EPA by at least 40-50%.
9. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sleep-newzzz/201809/is-magnolia-bark-the-missing-link-your-sleep-and-health 10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3769637/ 11. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5637834/
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