Nutrients to help target signs of stress

Nutrients to help target signs of stress

Adaptogens assist indirectly with symptoms of insomnia, pain, digestive issues and many more. As noted in many detailed studies, stress can create cascade responses, which affect hormonal, immune and cognitive function, as well as sleeping patterns.

When we face a stressful event, mental or physical. We experience general adaptation syndrome (GAS). GAS stands for three phases, known as alarm, resistance, and exhaustion. Adaptogens and certain nutrients, help keep our bodies in the resistance stage longer, through an active barrier that holds off the exhaustion. Instead of the crash, during the stressful event or moment, our bodies can regulate and normalise, so we can soldier on.

When our bodies adapt to the stress, we perform better and feel calmer, despite the initial trigger. Therefore, our health and wellbeing is improved. When stressed, our adrenal glands produce a stress hormone, known as cortisol. This provides energy for us in the ‘flight or fight’ response, so we can run away in an emergency. Though too much cortisol too often, can cause issues for our bodies. Cortisol is usually the culprit which causes weight gain, particularly around the tummy, also known as visceral fat. So, adaptogens and some nutrients, help to reduce and regulate the stress hormones, and thus decrease fatty deposits. We’ve made it easy for those who are searching for a solution, to decrease the phases of GAS and related symptoms, in one easy powder, called Melrose Stress Support.

Adaptogens can also assist indirectly with symptoms of insomnia, pain, digestive issues and many more. As noted in many detailed studies, stress can create cascade responses, which affect hormonal, immune and cognitive function, as well as sleeping patterns. (1)

Below are natural ingredients that specifically support resistance to stress. All provide unique features, though when blended, they work synergistically to reduce cascading stress responses.

Rhodiola rosea (R. rosea)

Used for centuries in herbal medicine, to support cognitive function and to reduce physical and mental fatigue. Rhodiola has recently been studied for its effects on the ability to concentrate, due to its action on reducing cortisol, thus giving mental clarity to those who experience burn-out with chronic fatigue (2).

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

Has been researched for its action on reducing symptoms of stress and anxiety as well as supporting normal sleep patterns. Ashwagandha has shown promising effects for those who are suffering from sleep onset and insomnia. Its gentle action on the GABA receptors, which induce melatonin, our sleep hormone, allows for restful, quality-rich sleep (7).

Tulsi/Holy basil (Ocimum sanctum)

Supports and reduces physical and mental stress to assist in balancing mood. Holy basil may be useful in the reduction of anxious tension due to its gentle action on the HPA axis, which controls part of the stress response (9). Recent studies have also shown holy basil may reduce effects of exhaustion, sleep problems and forgetfulness as its antioxidant ability protects tissue damage, thus protecting important neural pathways for healthy nervous system function (8).

Passionflower (passiflora incarnata)

To help in calming nervousness and anxiety as well as relaxing a racing mind to induce restful sleep. Research suggests passionflower may also prolong quality sleep, by regulating circadian rhythm. This action helps to normalise sleep-wake cycles, thus normalising hormones in the response to stress (6).  


Helps to relax muscle and nerve tension, as well as assist in the production of energy. Studies also suggest magnesium to be the first mineral to respond to stress in the body, whether physical or mental. Thus, magnesium regularly needs to be replenished to help support healthy stress response. Magnesium is also important for relaxation and sleep, as well as helping in production of collagen to assist tissues in repairing skin, nerves, muscles and tendons (5). 

Vitamin B6 (P5P)

Is a potent antioxidant which helps to create GABA, serotonin and dopamine, to support mood balance, sustained energy and resistance to stress. Vitamin B6 also provides support to female hormone health, by helping the liver to normalise estrogen and progesterone balance (4).

Vitamin C

Helps to support the body's response to stress and support healthy immune function. Research suggests if vitamin C is in low amounts within the body, it may lead to an increase in anxious tension. Thus, potentially resulting in a cascade of stress response symptoms, including, free radical damage and irregular function of inflammatory cytokines (3). click here to find out more in-depth of how vitamin C can assist in regulating cytokines


Plays an important role in healthy immune function. Studies have found that zinc is vital for cellular function and cell growth of all the body's cells. Thus, zinc is crucial for normal functioning of our stress receptors as well as supporting normal immune responses, when experiencing symptoms of GAS (10).

Furthermore, if you’re lacking energy and focus, you’re not the only one. Click the link to find out more. At Melrose we are here to help educate and fill potential nutritional gaps, to support you on your health journey. 


  • Panossian A, Wikman G. Effects of Adaptogens on the Central Nervous System and the Molecular Mechanisms Associated with Their Stress-Protective Activity. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2010 Jan 19;3(1):188-224. doi: 10.3390/ph3010188. PMID: 27713248; PMCID: PMC3991026
  • Olsson EM, von Schéele B, Panossian AG. A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of the standardised extract shr-5 of the roots of Rhodiola rosea in the treatment of subjects with stress-related fatigue. Planta Med. 2009 Feb;75(2):105-12. doi: 10.1055/s-0028-1088346. Epub 2008 Nov 18. PMID: 19016404.
  • De Oliveira IJ, de Souza VV, Motta V, Da-Silva SL. Effects of Oral Vitamin C Supplementation on Anxiety in Students: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. Pak J Biol Sci. 2015 Jan;18(1):11-8. doi: 10.3923/pjbs.2015.11.18. PMID: 26353411
  • Kim K, Mills JL, Michels KA, Chaljub EN, Wactawski-Wende J, Plowden TC, Mumford SL. Dietary Intakes of Vitamin B-2 (Riboflavin), Vitamin B-6, and Vitamin B-12 and Ovarian Cycle Function among Premenopausal Women. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2020 May;120(5):885-892. doi: 10.1016/j.jand.2019.10.013. Epub 2019 Dec 23. PMID: 31879178; PMCID: PMC7186155.
  • Pouteau E, Kabir-Ahmadi M, Noah L, Mazur A, Dye L, Hellhammer J, Pickering G, Dubray C. Superiority of magnesium and vitamin B6 over magnesium alone on severe stress in healthy adults with low magnesemia: A randomized, single-blind clinical trial. PLoS One. 2018 Dec 18;13(12):e0208454. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0208454. PMID: 30562392; PMCID: PMC6298677.
  • Toda, K., Hitoe, S., Takeda, S., Shimizu, N., & Shimoda, H. (2017). Passionflower Extract Induces High-amplitude Rhythms without Phase Shifts in the Expression of Several Circadian Clock Genes in Vitro and in Vivo. International journal of biomedical science : IJBS, 13(2), 84–92.
  • Langade D, Kanchi S, Salve J, Debnath K, Ambegaokar D. Efficacy and Safety of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) Root Extract in Insomnia and Anxiety: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Study. Cureus. 2019 Sep 28;11(9):e5797. doi: 10.7759/cureus.5797. PMID: 31728244; PMCID: PMC6827862.
  • Saxena RC, Singh R, Kumar P, Negi MP, Saxena VS, Geetharani P, Allan JJ, Venkateshwarlu K. Efficacy of an Extract of Ocimum tenuiflorum (OciBest) in the Management of General Stress: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:894509. doi: 10.1155/2012/894509. Epub 2011 Oct 3. PMID: 21977056; PMCID: PMC3185238.
  • Bhattacharyya D, Sur TK, Jana U, Debnath PK. Controlled programmed trial of Ocimum sanctum leaf on generalized anxiety disorders. Nepal Med Coll J. 2008 Sep;10(3):176-9. PMID: 19253862.
  • Gammoh NZ, Rink L. Zinc in Infection and Inflammation. Nutrients. 2017 Jun 17;9(6):624. doi: 10.3390/nu9060624. PMID: 28629136; PMCID: PMC5490603.

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Danny Urbinder

Danny Urbinder is a qualified naturopath and lecturer. He has been passionate about complementary and integrative medicine for over 25 years.

As a qualified naturopath who graduated from the Southern School of Natural Medicine, Danny lectured in Nutritional Biochemistry at the Australian College of Natural Medicine for many years. He also worked in functional pathology at Australian Reference Laboratories as Technical Services and State Manager.

For 15 years, since 2005, Danny worked at BioCeuticals as Director of Education and Director of Clinical Services. In 2012 he created and headed up FX Medicine, an online education platform bringing together education, research news and stories, to provide a high-quality reference source for those seeking evidence-based information on complementary and integrative medicine.