Who doesn’t have stress? If life wasn’t stressful enough pre-pandemic, it is now. The World Health Organization claims that the COVID-19 pandemic triggered a 25% increase in the prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide.1 And nearly 80% of Americans say the COVID-19 pandemic is a significant source of stress in their lives.2 Stress can also lead to many other health concerns including cardiovascular health3, immune health4, gastrointestinal problems5, hormone issues6, weight control7, elevated blood sugar8, pain9, not to mention our relationships, difficulties at work, home, school, etc.
As daily stress becomes the “new norm”, consumers are seeking alternatives to help reduce the negative impact on their mental wellness and general health. Consumers are seeking ingredients that help reduce the feelings of stress and do not lead to drowsiness. The best suited ingredients for stress fall under the adaptogenic category. Adaptogens are botanical or mushroom-based ingredients which help the body adapt to physical or emotional stress. When consumed, these plants target specific stressors in your body.10
Outside the Ordinary Adaptogens
While botanicals such as ashwagandha, rhodiola and ginseng are found in stress formulations, perhaps it is time to think “outside the box” and consider two other cutting-edge botanicals: saffron and turmeric. While these two botanicals are not often thought of as adaptogenic, their properties make them an excellent option. Affron® is the gold standard saffron extract – it is a patented saffron with nine human clinical studies. Standardized to 3.5% Lepticrosalides®, Affron® has shown to improve mood in those with occasional stress and anxiety, and to improve sleeplessness. One of the reasons Affron® should be a top consideration is due to its multiple mechanisms of action which support neurotransmitter production and concentrations, reduction of oxidative stress from stress in the central nervous system, anti-inflammatory action in neuronal tissue.
Affron® also has been shown in clinical studies to positively impact sleep and sleep quality. Since poor sleep is linked to increased stress, Affron® provides a multifaceted approach to stress mitigation.
Staying outside the box, curcumin is another excellent approach to mental wellness and stress. HydroCurc®, the patented, clinically studied and most bioavailable curcumin in the marketplace, offers multiple mechanisms of action which proved an adaptogenic benefit. Curcumin impacts mental wellness i.e. stress by positively impacting cortisol levels, glutathione levels during stressful periods and memory. Curcumin’s adaptogenic actions are based on the ability of curcumin to support the body’s innate antioxidant function while helping the body to maintain healthy levels of cortisol. The antioxidant actions and decrease in cortisol secretion are believed to be responsible for its adaptogenic actions.11 HydroCurc® is a cold water dispersible form of turmeric extract specifically designed to increase the absorption of curcuminoids, solving the bioavailability and functional challenges of curcumin. Utilizing the patented, award-winning LipiSperse® technology allows curcuminoid’s normally limited ability to disperse in aqueous environments (such as the stomach), to be enhanced.
Another mental wellness benefit attributed to HydroCurc®, is its ability to increase brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) when consumed with iron sulphate (Fe). BDNF is a protein involved in memory formation and energy metabolism and thus can be a unique ingredient in brain-related products to boost cognitive function and health.
A Rising Star
Not be left out, another player can be Caralluma fimbriata (CALMalumaTM). This botanical has clinical evidence on its ability to reduce stress and anxiety in healthy individuals.12 CALMaluma™, has a demonstrated a beneficial outcome - an overwhelming feeling of calmness and has been clinically researched for both its safety and functionality.
While adaptogens are not a new concept, finding new ingredients with unique and different mechanisms of action can be a challenge. When looking to improve how we feel due to stressful situations, the addition of some new and cutting-edge ingredients such as Affron®, HydroCurc® and CALMalumaTM would add exceptional benefits and outcomes. Safe and proven effective!
2. American Psychological Association website, https://www.apa.org/images/sia-2020-covid-stress_tcm7-279798.jpg , COVID-19 Is a Significant Stressor for Most Americans.
3. Yaribeygi H, Panahi Y, Sahraei H, Johnston TP, Sahebkar A. The impact of stress on body function: A review. EXCLI J. 2017;16:1057-1072. Published 2017 Jul 21. doi:10.17179/excli2017-480
4. Dhabhar FS. Effects of stress on immune function: the good, the bad, and the beautiful. Immunol Res. 2014;58(2-3):193‐210. doi:10.1007/s12026-014-8517-0
5. Yaribeygi H, Panahi Y, Sahraei H, Johnston TP, Sahebkar A. The impact of stress on body function: A review. EXCLI J. 2017;16:1057-1072. Published 2017 Jul 21. doi:10.17179/excli2017-480
6. Yaribeygi H, Panahi Y, Sahraei H, Johnston TP, Sahebkar A. The impact of stress on body function: A review. EXCLI J. 2017;16:1057-1072. Published 2017 Jul 21. doi:10.17179/excli2017-480
7. Van der Valk ES, Savas M, van Rossum EFC. Stress and Obesity: Are There More Susceptible Individuals?. Curr Obes Rep. 2018;7(2):193-203. doi:10.1007/s13679-018-0306-y
8. Wong H, Singh J, Go RM, Ahluwalia N, Guerrero-Go MA. The Effects of Mental Stress on Non-insulin-dependent Diabetes: Determining the Relationship Between Catecholamine and Adrenergic Signals from Stress, Anxiety, and Depression on the Physiological Changes in the Pancreatic Hormone Secretion. Cureus. 2019;11(8):e5474. Published 2019 Aug 24. doi:10.7759/cureus.5474
9. Ahmad AH, Zakaria R. Pain in Times of Stress. Malays J Med Sci. 2015;22(Spec Issue):52-61.
11. Epub 2011 Apr 11. PMID: 21479964.
12. Kell G, Rao A, Katsikitis M. A randomised placebo controlled clinical trial on the efficacy of Caralluma fimbriata supplement for reducing anxiety and stress in healthy adults over eight weeks. J Affect Disord. 2019 Mar 1;246:619-626. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2018.12.062. Epub 2018 Dec 21. PMID: 30609411.