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Stress (particularly distress) is excessive stimulation of the body's resources that eventually manifests negative symptoms such as fatigue or depression. Several supplements, such as adaptogens, are thought to reduce the development of stress.

Research analysis led by Kamal Patel.
All content reviewed by the Examine.com Team. Published: Jul 5, 2013
Last Updated:

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Human Effect Matrix

The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies (it excludes animal and in vitro studies) to tell you what supplements affect stress
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
grade-c Notable Very High See all 4 studies
Ashwagandha appears to significantly reduce the symptoms of stress and its comorbidities (fatigue, temporary cognitive impairment, etc.) as well as biomarkers such as cortisol.
grade-c Minor - See study
There appears to be stress reducing properties associated with supplementation of this herb at 1g daily, although they may be secondary to anxiety reduction.
grade-c Minor - See study
Supplementation of eurycoma in stressed persons appears to reduce subjective perceptions of stress.
grade-c Minor - See study
Self-reported stress in distressed women given fish oil supplementation appears to be reduced
grade-c Minor - See study
There may be some anti-stress properties of ginkgo biloba supplementation when a single dose is taken prior to a stress test
grade-c Minor - See study
Stress as a side-effect of PMS has been reduced with supplemental krill oil
grade-c Minor Very High See 2 studies
Perceptions of stress during acute stressors, as well as related symptoms of acute stress, appear to be reduced following tyrosine ingestion
grade-c Minor - See study
A decrease in self-reported stress has been reported with lemon balm
grade-c Minor Moderate See 2 studies
Possible stress reducing effects that appear independent of cortisol and heart rate, although these effects are unreliable
grade-c Minor - See 2 studies
Might be effective, but the reduction in stress (rating scale) appears to be less than that seen with fatigue
grade-c Minor - See study
Self-reported ratings of stress are reduced with rose oil inhalation
grade-c Minor - See study
May reduce perceived stress during stressful situations
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on parameters of stress
grade-c - - See study
No significant influences on stress
grade-c - - See study
grade-d Minor Very High See 2 studies
Possible antistress effects of kava that requires larger studies
grade-d Minor - See study
A reduction in self-reported stress has been noted after 8 weeks in persons with self-reported sleep problems; this study also noted improvements in sleep