Americans are more stressed than ever – and it shows.

According to a study by the American Psychological Association, stress is up again this year. Americans rated their stress higher in January 2017 than in August of last year, up from 4.8 to 5.1 on a 10 point scale. Causes include money, work, family responsibilities, health concerns, and the economy. Nearly one-quarter of adults surveyed reported their health as “fair” or “poor” and reported a higher stress level on average.

Symptoms of stress and fatigue

High levels of stress can lead to physical symptoms like headaches, moodiness, dizziness, inability to concentrate, and more. Feeling stressed out from time to time is normal, but cases of chronic stress can interfere with work, health and relationships. Americans are reporting increased pressure this year than before – 80% experienced at least one stress-related symptom compared to 71% in 2016.  If you’ve been feeling stressed out lately (who hasn’t!), you might benefit from adding a natural mood-booster.

5 natural cures for energy and cognition

If you’re looking to add a little pep to your step, here’s a list of vitamins and herbs that have been linked to increased energy levels. Studies have shown these compounds can be useful for stress management and fatigue reduction.

  1. B12 – Vitamin B12 is one of 8 B vitamins that the body uses to convert food into energy. Adding more of this vitamin can improve cell function and raise energy levels. Vitamin B deficiency can be a common cause for fatigue and lethargy.
  2. Iron – This mineral is essential for oxygenating red blood cells in the body. An iron deficiency can lead to fatigue, weakness, dizziness and difficulty concentrating. If you suffer any of these symptoms, make sure you’re getting enough iron in your diet!
  3. Rhodiola – Rhodiola has been used for centuries to help boost physical and mental performance (by Vikings no less!). Studies have shown this herb can help reduce mental and physical fatigue, especially under stress. It may also be useful for improving focus, concentration and mental stamina.
  4. Panax Ginseng – Also known as “true ginseng”, panax ginseng is not to be confused with American ginseng. This plant grows in Asia and can improve stress and mental function. Panax ginseng has been used as a panacea for millennia, warding off depression, anxiety, and infection.
  5. Coenzyme Q10 – This compound is found in every cell in your body. Q10 acts as an antioxidant, protecting your heart and muscles and improving digestion. Studies have suggested that taking this as a supplement can alleviate heart conditions, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.

Adding antioxidants and vitamins to your diet can help combat low energy, stress and fatigue. The National Institutes of Health is another excellent resource for information about dietary herbs, minerals and vitamins. You should also consult your physician whenever adding new supplements to your diet:

  • Check that there are no harmful interactions with any medications you may be taking
  • Check that you are not allergic to any of the ingredients
  • Keep in mind “natural” does not always mean it is 100% safe or pure.

If you suffer unusual or chronic fatigue or stress, make an appointment with a physician. This could be caused by a thyroid problem or other serious condition.

For day to day stress, a combination of a good diet, proper sleep and regular exercise can all work wonders.  If you’ve still been feeling sluggish, adding a supplement might be the pick-up you’re looking for. These vitamins and herbs can be easily found at most grocery and fitness stores. Remember to always shop at reputable sources.