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How To Beat Holiday Stress and Tension

With These Three Supplements

Q: I literally fall apart around the holiday season. I’m exhausted, I’m tense, and my digestion is a mess from holiday indulgence.  What can you suggest to help prevent this?  

-Joan, 37 Toronto.


A:  As demands increase at this time of the year at work, at home, socially etc., it’s no surprise that people ask for tips on how to better handle the holiday season. They often refer to feeling stressed, sluggish, bloated and experiencing more tension and headaches.  


To help, try and maintain some generally healthy habits like drinking plenty of water and eating your veggies daily during the holidays. A sense of balance can also be achieved by incorporating modified or simplified wellness practices such as 30-minute instead of one-hour workouts, or 5-10 minutes of meditation instead of 20-30 minutes.  In addition to this, supplements can provide an extra boost.


Good bacteria and fermented herbs/food:

Fermented foods provide a perfect ecosystem of beneficial bacteria that promote a healthier gut and thus, improve digestive function. Many cultures across the world ferment foods such as soy, cabbage, maca, turmeric, ginseng etc. Why?  Because of those health promoting bacteria, but also because the colour, the smell, and the taste all become more vibrant, and more importantly, nutrients are transformed into a more potent and bio-available form for the body to utilize. Supplement companies are now catching on and developing fermented products to deliver both medicinal herbs and good bacteria as a solution for creating, and supporting healthier digestive function.  Improved gut health means enjoying the holiday indulgence with a bit more ease.


Magnesium Malate and Bisglycinate:

Deficiencies in magnesium are common in North America, and may be related to fatigue, weakness, irritability, muscle stiffness and mood imbalances. Various forms of magnesium are available, and each differs in its absorption and therapeutic effects in the body.  Both magnesium (bis)glycinate and malate are well tolerated and readily absorbed. Magnesium glycinate has a relaxing effect because the magnesium is bound to glycine, a calming amino acid. This form is beneficial for chronic pain and muscle stiffness.  Magnesium malate combines magnesium with malic acid. Malic acids play a pivotal role in the production of ATP, the main energy currency for every cell in the body.  This combination helps both fuel muscle function and relax tight muscles, and has been shown to reduce muscle pain and tender points in fibromyalgia patients.



Rhodiola rosea is classified as an adaptogenic herb because it supports the body’s ability to handle stress by balancing the levels of hormones and neurotransmitters normally associated with the stress response. It has been found to increase energy, reduce fatigue, improve mental performance and physical endurance, reduce the stress hormone cortisol, and improve mood due to its effects on serotonin and dopamine.  Look for a product with a standardized extract containing at least 3% rosavins and 1% salidroside.  If you are currently on antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication, please consult your MD or ND to verify if Rhodiola is safe for you to take.  

Dr. Michelle Pobega, ND, runs a naturopathic practice near the Annex neighbourhood of Toronto. Stay connected with her at, Facebook and Twitter @MPobegaND