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5 Nutrients Drained by Stress

5 Vital Nutrients Drained by Stress & the use of Nutrition and how using Acupuncture increases vitality

Most people know when they’re stressed or realise the negative effect is has on our bodies. When stress strikes, most people do the opposite; they skip meals, eat junk, guzzle alcohol, drink more coffee, and throw out of the window all those nurturing self-care habits that help to protect health and build resilience.

Stress is perhaps one of the ‘biggest anti-nutrients’ known to man, and when you add this to the mix of unhealthy diet and lifestyle habits that usually accompany it. There’s lots you can do to protect against the negative effect of stress. The first step is to ensure that your diet supplies plenty of the key nutrients that are rapidly depleted when the emergency stress response kicks into action.

Top 5 nutrients used up rapidly during stress:

Magnesium – There is a lot written and talked about magnesium that you’ll likely be in no doubt that it’s a powerful mineral with widespread benefits. It is well known that stress depletes magnesium and yet magnesium helps us to deal with stress. Multiple studies have now demonstrated improved stress response, anti-depressant and anti-anxiety effects of magnesium supplementation.1-4 The key takeaway message is that if you’re going through a particularly stressful time, you need top up on your magnesium intake. Finding the correct type is also crucial; that why seeing the correct Nutritional Kinesiology Practitioner can put you on the correct path.

Vitamin C – Best known for its immune-supporting qualities, vitamin C can often be overlooked when it comes to stress, yet is crucially important. Vitamin C is found in high amounts in the adrenal glands and is released in response to ACTH (a hormone secreted during stress).5-6 Humans are among only a few mammals that cannot produce vitamin C; and for most other mammals, vitamin C production naturally increases during stress. Since human bodies can’t do this, we have to rely on our diets to regularly keep vitamin C stores topped up, and this is especially important during times of stress.

Vitamin B5 – Pantothenic acid or vitamin B5 as it is more commonly known is a member of the water soluble vitamin in the B complexes. It is an important nutrient co-factor needed during the stress response; when stress levels increase, the body’s requirements for vitamin B5 is higher. Vitamin B5 is converted in the body into acetyl-CoA as an essential part of the energy production process. Acetyl-CoA is present in all cells, but in much higher quantities in the adrenal glands, and this is simply because so much energy is needed to produce adrenal hormones. Hence why more vitamin B5 is needed during stress; an important one to keep topped up during a stressful patch.7-8

Vitamin B6 – This is an important member of the B complex vitamin family. Vitamin B6 is an important co-factor in several of the biochemical pathways in the adrenal stress response. The hypothalamic / pituitary / adrenal (HPA) axis modulates adrenal activity and the stress response. Vitamin B6 is important for the proper function of the HPA axis so helps to maintain balance and harmony. Vitamin B6 helps to relieve stress, yet stress depletes B6 so it is crucial that your diet supplies plentiful levels of this nutrient during stressful periods.7 It is important to define which B6 your body requires as some individual’s require an activated form. By seeing the correct Nutritional Kinesiology Practitioner can put you on the correct path.

Zinc – Perhaps the most commonly deficient mineral, it’s fair to say that most people don’t get enough zinc. And not only are typical Western diets low in zinc; this vital mineral is used up rapidly during times of stress too, further adding to the problem. Zinc plays an important role in modulating the brain and body’s response to stress and tissue repair. It is found in high amounts in meat, poultry and oysters, and organ meats such as liver are a particularly rich source. Strict vegetarians may be at higher risk of zinc deficiency and so should pay even closer attention to including plenty of this vital mineral in their diets during stress.


Three ways acupuncture increases the assimilation of nutrients in the body:

1. Acupuncture strengthens digestive organs and reduces inflammation

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has proclaimed the basis for good health is maintaining a strong digestive system. Acupuncture improves the function of the spleen and stomach which then is , the key organs involved in digestion, absorption of nutrients and metabolism, reducing complaints such as abdominal pain, bloating, heart burn, diarrhoea and constipation. Modern research has demonstrated acupuncture's effects on the nervous, endocrine, immune, cardiovascular and digestive systems. Stimulating the body's various systems, acupuncture can help resolve digestive complaints and pain, reduce inflammation, improve function and a general sense of well-being.

2. Acupuncture regulates serotonin levels

Serotonin is one of the main neurotransmitters, chemicals that help the brain communicate with the rest of the body, for brain function (mood, memory and learning) and digestive system health. The gut is where roughly 95% of serotonin is made. Serotonin affects the motility of the bowel and mucous secretion in the intestines. Acupuncture has proven effects of regulating serotonin levels. By regulating this neurotransmitter acupuncture can effectively treat depression, anxiety and other psychological disorders while also strengthening digestion.

3. Acupuncture relives symptoms of stress

Stress often can be one of the main reasons for a health imbalance and gut problem. Constant stress accompanied with poor food and lifestyle choices can be a perfect recipe for weak digestive health. Acupuncture significantly reduces stress, anxiety, promotes relaxation and helps circulate blood by calming the sympathetic nervous system or the fight or flight response. It activates the parasympathetic nervous system, responsible for resting, digesting and healing and stimulates the release of endorphins, the feel-good hormones. Calming the body can relive symptoms of IBS, which people tend to face when stressed.

4. Acupuncture and Absorption

Acupuncture improves the body functions of digestion, absorption and metabolism. It not only reduces ulcers and neutralizes excessive stomach acid, but calms abdominal distention—all common symptoms of IBS and colitis. Acupuncture even addresses overeating and sugar addictions!

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the digestive systemcfff- the stomach receives food, while the spleen transports, distributes and transforms nutrients. They both share the work and coordinate to fulfil the task of the digestion and absorption of food. When the function of the spleen in transporting and transforming the nutrients is in disorder, symptoms such as poor digestion, poor appetite, abdominal distention, weakness of the limbs, weight gain, and constipation may occur.

The small intestine receives the food content that has been partially digested by the stomach and then completes the digestion and absorbs it into the body. In the light of modern medicine, most of the carbohydrates, proteins and fats in the food are absorbed by duodenum and jejunum, while the bile salts and vitamin B12 are absorbed by ileum. Water and electrolytes are also exchanged in the small intestine. This is what supplies your body with most of its energy and vitality, or Qi, as it is called in TCM. By treating the main digestive organs you can assimulate nutrition better.

If you would like to know more how Nutritional Kinesiology and Acupuncture could help increase your vitaility please call or text ☎ 07941 660036. — @heiwahealing



1. Wienecke E, Nolden C. Long-term HRV analysis shows stress reduction by magnesium intake. MMW Fortschr Med. 2016 Dec; 158(Suppl 6): 12-16.

2. Boyle NB, Lawton C et al. The effects of magnesium supplementation on subjective anxiety and stress – a systematic review. Nutrients 2017 May; 9(5): 429

3. Tarleton EK, Littenberg B, MacLean CD et al. Role of magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression: A randomized clinical trial. PLOS One June 27 2017.

4. Barragán-Rodríguez L, Rodríguez-Morán M, Guerrero-Romero F. Efficacy and safety of oral magnesium supplementation in the treatment of depression in the elderly with type 2 diabetes: a randomised, equivalent trial.Magnes Res 2008; 21: 218–23.

5. Hooper MH, Carr A et al. The adrenal-vitamin C axis: from fish to guinea pigs and primates. Crit Care. 2019; 23: 29.

6. Padayatty SJ. Human adrenal glands secrete vitamin C in response to adrenocorticotrophic hormone. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007; 86:145–149.

7. Stough C, Scholey A et al. The effect of 90-day administration of a high dose vitamin B-complex on work stress.Hum Psychopharmacol. 2011 Oct; 26(7): 470-6.

8. Hurley LS, Mackenzie JB. Adrenal function in the pantothenic acid-deficient rat: liver glycogen, blood glucose, adrenal cholesterol and adrenal ascorbic acid levels. The Journal of Nutrition, Vol 54, Issue 3, 1 Nov 1954, Pages 403-415

9. Swardfager W, Herrmann N et al. Potential roles of zinc in the pathophysiology and treatment of major depressive disorder. Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2013 Jun;37(5):911-2

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