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Taking Supplements for Stress: What You Need To Know

Published by Dr. Venn-Watson
Dr. Eric Venn-Watson’s Highlights

For many of us, stress has become a routine part of our daily lives. While not all stress is bad, but chronic levels of high stress can lead to:

Mental health problems like anxiety, depression, and feelings of hopelessness

  • Heart disease, heart attack, and stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Excess weight gain and disordered eating
  • Skin and hair issues like dermatitis and hair loss
  • Reproductive issues
  • Digestive and gastrointestinal issues

Managing stress properly can help ensure that we avoid these types of issues and stay well. 

From meditation and yoga, to acupuncture and therapy, there are a variety of ways to manage our stress. One such way is taking supplements to help reduce our anxiety. 

Whether you’ve begun a supplement regimen or are thinking of starting one, you should know what stress is, how it affects the body, and how supplements may help support your physical and mental health. 

Symptoms of Stress

Stress is the feeling of being overwhelmed and unable to handle situations life may present to you. Stress can be short-term, and acute. 

For example, you can experience short-term stress when you’re under a deadline at work, or when you quickly remove your hand from something that is too hot. 

In short term situations, stress is beneficial to us. Short term stress helps fuel our fight-or-flight response, activates our immune system when we are sick, and helps us power through to meet that work deadline. 

However, chronic levels of continual stress are not beneficial to the body, and can eventually result in the medical conditions listed above. 

If you aren’t sure if you’re experiencing short-term or long-term stress, you can look for these symptoms. 

Symptoms of Short-Term Stress

Short-term, acute stress refers to stress that onsets suddenly and ends quickly. This can be due to increased pressure at work for a particular event or deadline, an upcoming surgery or medical event, or even a positive life event, like planning for a wedding. 

Symptoms of short-term stress include:

  • Headache
  • Racing heartbeat that can come and go
  • Chest pain
  • Lethargy
  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Shortness of breath

These symptoms usually start when you first experience the stressful situation, and can come and go until the situation has passed. 

Symptoms of Chronic Stress

Chronic stress happens when we experience stress for a longer period of time. Common causes of chronic stress include financial issues, relationship problems, loss of a loved one, long-term medical problems like disease and illness, and unhealthy work environments. 

Symptoms of chronic stress include:

  • Persistent feelings of being overwhelmed
  • Body aches and pain, especially in the neck and back
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities you once loved
  • Less social engagement
  • Increased alcohol and/or drug use
  • Inability to control emotions
  • Weight loss or gain without diet or exercise changes

Chronic stress leads to health problems that can affect you for an entire lifetime. It’s critical to get a handle on stress before it begins to negatively impact your health. Using supplements to help support your stress management can be a supportive solution. 

Supplements for Stress

On the heels of a global pandemic, stress levels are definitely on the rise. Turning to supplements to help support the body and mind while we deal with stressful situations is not a new solution, but it’s one that has become increasingly more popular. 

Here are some of the most popular supplements for stress that can help you manage stress better. 

Rhodiola Rosea

This plant has been used to calm nerves for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine and by indegionous people living where it naturally grows. Rhodiola grows in extremely cold climates like mountainous regions of Europe and Asia, and even in the Arctic. 

This herb is usually administered in either a capsule or tincture form, and may help alleviate both behavioral and physical stress. As such, it is sometimes given to athletes to help with bodily recovery after they perform. 


Your body produces melatonin naturally. Melatonin is a hormone that helps your body prepare for sleep. Because melatonin relaxes your body, melatonin supplements can help ease feelings of high tension and restlessness. 

Because melatonin has a sedating effect, it’s best to use it only in the evenings, allowing it to work synergistically with your body’s own production of melatonin. If your high stress levels prevent you from getting adequate sleep, taking a melatonin supplement may be able to help you get more rest. 


Amino acids are commonly referred to as the building blocks of life. They are the compounds that string together to form proteins that make up the tissues in our bodies. 

L-theanine is an amino acid that can be found in green tea. This particular amino acid has been studied for its potential effects on stress levels, sleeplessness, and mood disorders like depression and anxiety. 

Kava Root

Another herbal remedy very popular in traditional Chinese medicine is kava root. Kava is a member of the pepper plant family and is native to islands in the South Pacific. 

Kava is traditionally used in teas which can help calm nerves and soothe stress. Although kava is generally well tolerated, some users may experience negative side effects like tremors and decreased liver function. 

Supplementing With … Food?

Taking an herbal supplement may be a solution for helping you manage your stress. However, many of us turn to food when we are stressed or upset. The term “comfort food” exists for a reason; eating a pint of ice cream scientifically reduces stress. Why? 

It all has to do with fatty acids. 

The fatty acids we consume in foods that contain fats can help support our moods by interacting with receptors in our brains called PPARs that control stress, mood, and feelings. That’s why we crave Ben & Jerry’s when we’re feeling overwhelmed or grab a donut from the break room when work gets hectic. 

Although fatty foods can help us feel better emotionally, they probably won’t do our waistlines any good. Thankfully, there’s a way to use fatty acids as a supplement for stress without packing on additional calories.

Pentadecanoic Acid

Fatty acids can help support our mood, but the excess calories, refined carbohydrates, and sugar contained in our favorite comfort foods don’t support healthy weight. Taking fatty acid supplements can help.†* 

Pentadecanoic acid, also known as C15:0, is an odd-chain, saturated fatty acid that an increasing body of research shows may be the first essential fatty acid to have been discovered in over 90 years. 

C15:0 can help support healthy stress management.†*

C15:0 helps support and balance mood by binding to PPAR receptors in the brain that influence emotion, mood, and stress. This can help stabilize your mood, which helps you experience less feelings of high tension. 

The greatest benefit of C15:0 is that it supports much more than just healthy mood and stress levels. It’s beneficial for your entire body. When you’re dealing with high levels of stress, supporting your body is important to help avoid negative health impacts. 

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C15:0 helps support your body on the cellular level by:†*

  • Strengthening cell membranes. Our cells become fragile when the cell membranes (protective outer walls) become flimsy. C15:0 is a sturdy fatty acid that dives into our cell membranes, fortifying and keeping our cells strong and protecting them from external stressors.
  • Supporting healthy cell metabolism. Your cells function from energy produced by mitochondria. If the mitochondria in your cells are sluggish, cellular energy decreases, and cellular stress increases. 

C15:0 repairs mitochondrial function, so cells can have the proper energy to keep you healthy. 

C15:0 also helps support healthy metabolism, heart, and liver health by supporting the cells that are the building blocks for those organs.* Taking a C15:0 supplement can help your body thrive, even when you are under stress.* 


Fatty15 is the first and only supplement to offer FA15™, a pure powder and vegan-friendly form of C15:0. Fatty15 is a once-a-day, easy to take capsule to support your long-term health and wellness, with the added potential to help lower your stress.* 

You can try fatty15 risk-free and experience the mind and body health effects this fatty acid has to offer. 

The Takeaway

Stress is healthy for us when it is short-term and manageable. Stress that becomes chronic can lead to negative health impacts that make us sick. Managing stress with the use of supplements can be a beneficial way to support our minds and bodies while we deal with periods of long-term stress. 

Fatty15 offers an easy way for you to manage your stress and support your body, bolstering your cells and helping to restore balance to your body when you feel overwhelmed and unbalanced.†* 


Good stress, bad stress | News Center | Stanford Medicine 

Chronic Stress > Fact Sheets|Yale Medicine 

Rhodiola Rosea L|NCBI 

Effects of L-Theanine on Stress-Related Symptoms|NCBI
Profile photo for Eric Venn-Watson

Eric Venn-Watson M.D.

Eric is a physician, U.S. Navy veteran, and Co-founder and COO of Seraphina Therapeutics. Eric served over 25 years as a Navy and Marine Corps physician, working with the special forces community to improve their health and fitness. Seraphina Therapeutics is a health and wellness company dedicated to advancing global health through the discovery of essential fatty acids and micronutrient therapeutics.

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