If you've ever gone through a very stressful situation, you know it can wreak havoc on your body. It can knock you completely out of whack, causing damage to all of your organs. But the damage most people notice the most is the effect it has on your memory. Multiple studies have showed conclusively that stress can take a tremendous toll on our brain. In fact, many people begin to decline significantly after they lose a spouse, a child, or have some other major emotional trauma. Fortunately, there's a way to protect your brain and even help it recover after a stressful situation.
When your body gets out of whack during stressful events, it's important to bring it back to normalcy. One of the best ways to do that is to use herbs and other nutrients that act as adaptogens. Adaptogens help the body rebalance. And there are an abundance of studies to show it does just that.
Back in 2011, researchers conducted a review of 11 randomized placebo-controlled human studies on the adaptogen Rhodiola. Rhodiola has been used for centuries to combat stress, anxiety, mental illness, and memory loss. Of these 11 studies, six investigated the effects of Rhodiola on physical performance. Four of them looked at mental performance. And two of them focused on patients diagnosed with a mental health condition. The researchers conducting the review considered all of the studies to be of moderate to good quality. And the participants experienced only a few mild adverse events, usually headaches.
The reviewers found that the Rhodiola clearly had beneficial effects on physical performance, mental performance, and certain mental health conditions.
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But Rhodiola isn't the only adaptogen that can have similar effects. Siberian ginseng (also known as Eleuthero), cramp bark fruit, hawthorn, and schisandra (among others) all can help your body deal with stress.
Schisandra, in particular, seems to be a very potent memory enhancer, stress reliever, and all-around performance booster. Many studies have shown how berries like schisandra act as adaptogens to help overcome stress. One study on rats completely reversed spatial memory impairment. So it's definitely worth a try if your stress has impaired your memory.
Unfortunately, you're not likely to find schisandra in its berry form at your local grocery store. Its flavor isn't for the faint of heart, as it's commonly called the five-flavor berry. That's because it can feature all five of the taste senses at once. These include sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and pungent. Most people want sweet berries. So schisandra hasn't caught on in the U.S. That means it's easiest to take this berry in supplement form.
You can get all of the adaptogens in a new liquid supplement by Advanced Bionutritionals called Advanced Adaptogen Complex. I've been using this supplement for several months and I've been very impressed with the energy it's given me through some very stressful times. My mind has been sharper. I haven't felt the need for a nap - even on some extremely busy, stressful days. And it's slowed my weight gain (I eat comfort food during high-stress times, which packs the pounds on - this product kept my energy up in spite of the poor diet and stress). I just add it to my coffee in the morning. It doesn't change the taste, so it's easy to take. Give it a try and let me know how it works for you.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening, ND.