Rhiannon Harris, athlete, model and ambassador of nutrition website, Miss Nutrition, is well versed in the health arena and staying on top of your game.
‘Strength of mind and body will help you perform. Nourishing food, vitamins and mineral supplements will give you the fuel to get you where you need to go,’ she says.
So where do supplements fit in? Rhiannon spilled the beans on supplements for stress.
RESCU: Daily life can get a little overwhelming sometimes, for stress and sleepless nights what supplements and nutrients will help us get the relief we need?
Rhiannon Harris: In regards to sleep Magnesium deficiencies is one of the most common causes so a good quality magnesium supplement is important. Also the hormone Melatonin is very important. We need to make sure we take compounds to help build the reserves of melatonin such a L-Tryptophan which can be found in high amounts in meats such as turkey and also as a standalone supplement.
Stress and anxiety can certainly be a contributing factor in sleep disorders for females. Certain amino acids and nutrients can calm and ease some of these symptoms. These include amino acids like taurine, glycine and gabba. Some natural remedies can also be found in lemon balm, chamomile and L-thenine extracted from tea.
Are there any nutritional deficiencies that cause hormonal imbalances and what can we do to help this?
Rhiannon Harris: One of the most common deficiencies causing hormone disruption is a lack of omega 3 fats. To ensure you are getting the right amount women should make sure they are eating plenty of fatty fish such as salmon or sardines and taking an omega 3 supplement such as omegalogic, which also has GLA found in evening primrose oil which helps alleviate PMS symptoms.
Women prescribing to a very low fat diet often open themselves up to hormone imbalance due to insufficient dietary fat as cholesterol found in fats is the building block for hormones.
RESCU: If we’ve got a bun in the oven, what should we change to make sure we’re getting the vitamins and minerals we need for mum and bub?
Omega 3 – The omega-3 fatty acids make up the number one most important nutritional component for maternal and fetal health.
L-Carnitine – Research shows that maternal carnitine levels decrease to about half of normal. Things get even more interesting when we learn that the most important function of carnitine is its role in the transport of fatty acids—omega-3 and -6s—in the body. Basically this means taking a little L-Carnitine daily amplifies the effects of everything mentioned above.
Iodine – Iodine is required for thyroid hormone production and it plays a primary role in brain development.
Vitamin D – Women are VERY commonly deficient. Vitamin D is essential for fetal brain development. Vitamin D deficiency can result in insulin resistance and diabetes development in pregnant women and their offspring
Magnesium – Almost all people are magnesium deficient. Pregnant women even more so as maternal magnesium stores are shuttled to placenta and fetus.
RESCU: How does vitamin D affect our mood and how can we make sure we’re getting enough?
Rhiannon Harris: Many studies have shown a link between vitamin D deficiency and everything from depression to hormone and immune system disruption. Vitamin D should be commonly tested through your doctor and supplemented accordingly.
RESCU: Can anxiety and stress be alleviated with a multivitamin?
Rhiannon Harris: Many nutrient deficiencies can lead to depression and neurological disorders. A good quality multivitamin may help to prevent such deficiencies.
A multivitamin should never replace a good quality diet however.
RESCU: Magnesium isn’t a vitamin we hear about as much others – how does it contribute to our anxiety levels?
Rhiannon Harris: Magnesium is an extremely important nutrient. It’s involved in over 300 enzymatic processes, many of which will relate to anxiety and mood disorders. Ensuring adequate magnesium intake is a must in a fight to help prevent these problems.
It is estimated by some specialists that almost 70% of people suffer from magnesium deficiency and almost 100% of athletes and sporting types due to a much higher functional utilization.
RESCU: Omega 3 we associate with brain food, is it the secret to getting that natural buzz? Can you have too much?
Rhiannon Harris:The Omega 3 DHA has been found in many studies to be linked to brain studies and cognition. The omega 3’s in general also help to build serotonin – that feel good brain hormone. Although Omega 3 deficiency is more common than excess, like anything else it should not be overdone. Always discuss dosages with a qualified health professional.
What are your three top tips for internal stress management and your three top tips for external stress management?
- Diet – I ensure to eat a diet that is diverse and rich in micro-nutrients and good quality fats
- Supplementation – magnesium and vitamin D
- Exercise – promotes feel good endorphins to help ensure a healthy body and mind
- Meditation or deep breathing – has been shown to help regulate stress levels