Supplement stress-reducing benefits last a month after discontinuing: Study

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

A decline in magnesium status is associated with various symptoms such as depression, psychosis, irritability, or confusion. ©iStock
A decline in magnesium status is associated with various symptoms such as depression, psychosis, irritability, or confusion. ©iStock

Related tags: Vitamin, Psychological stress

A blend of probiotics, magnesium, vitamins and minerals can reduce stress and fatigue even after users stop taking it, a study has shown.  

Results from a trial involving 242 volunteers found stress and fatigue levels were lowered after taking the supplement - and this was maintained even one month after discontinuation. 

The observational cohort study from healthcare company Merck and contract research organisation CenNutriment involved subjects complaining of psychological stress.

This was defined by a Perceived Stress Scale (PSS 10) score of more than 21.

The volunteers, with a mean age of 38.6 of whom 79.8% were women, were supplemented with a product containing probiotics (Lactobacillus gasseri PA 16/8​, Bifidobacteriumbifidum MF 20/5​, Bifidobacterium longum SP07/3​), vitamin A, vitamin B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B8, B9, B12, vitamin C, zinc, iron, selenium and magnesium (100 mg) for one month.

After this month period the subject reported stress- or fatigue-inducing events.

One month after discontinuing use of the supplements, a follow-up self-questionnaire was sent to subjects to track any continuing effect of the supplements.

“This real-life study shows that after intake of the food supplement, the PSS of the subjects decreased significantly from 34.1 to 26.2, which corresponds to an average reduction of 22.7%,”​ the French researchers wrote.

“Fatigue decreased significantly from 16.8 to 8.7 (on the Pichot scale), corresponding to an average reduction of 45.0%.”

Support for supplements

Much existing evidence points to the use of food supplements in preventing fatigue and oxidative stress caused by chronic stress exposure.

These include the antioxidant activity of vitamins A, C, and E​ as well as beta-carotene, omega-3s and polyphenols.

Probiotics have been linked to anxiety and stress relief in some studies.

probiotics-lactobacillus-petridishes-lab-science
Probiotics have been linked to mental health via what has come to be known as the 'brain-gut axis'. ©iStock

The results of this latest paper tally favourably to a previous study​that compared a high-dose B vitamin complex with vitamin C (14.2% vs. 12.7% reduction in scores recorded on the Profile of Mood States (POMS), Perceived Stress Scale (PSS) and General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12)) even though the subjects were initially less stressed.

In addition, the decrease in stress shown in this current study is similar to the figure obtained with a product containing magnesium​(31.9% reduction in Measure of Psychological Stress 9 (MPS-9)) score.

In a study​ conducted by the same team, a 32.9% decrease in Pichot scale scores was seen with a food supplement containing calcium, magnesium and iodine.

“Results for the persistence of the effect are questionable because there is no comparator, but it is worth pointing out that the patients’ answers were sent by mail, which meant they could answer more freely.

“Further studies should be conducted to investigate the long-term duration of the effect or its half-life,”​ the study concluded.

Source: Panminerva Medica

Published online, Panminerva Medica

“Effect of magnesium, probiotic, and vitamin food supplementation in healthy subjects with psychological stress and evaluation of a persistent effect after discontinuing intake.”

Authors: Francois A. Allaert, Stephanie Courau, Anne Forestier

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