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4 Ways Stress Affects Your Health, and How to Cope

Key Takeaways:

  • Although some stress is normal, ongoing stress can affect your muscles and joints, gut, heart, immune system, and more.
  • B-complex vitamins, magnesium citrate, 5-HTP, Solgar® Stress & Anxiety Relief, and Solgar® Triple Action Sleep Tablets are all helpful supplements when dealing with stress.

If you’ve ever felt your hands shaking before you have to give a speech, or had your skin breakout during a stressful exam season, you know that stress can have a direct impact on your physical body. However, stress – especially chronic, long-term stress – can also cause more long-term, detrimental effects on your body as well.

Let’s take a look at a few ways stress makes an impact on your physical body, and what you can do to help cope with its effects.


What is stress?

Put simply; stress is the way your body responds to a challenging situation. These situations include everything from sudden danger, to an ongoing problem. When your body feels stress, it releases hormones. This process starts when the central nervous system fires up in response to a stressful situation. The hypothalamus in the brain sends a message to your adrenal glands to release stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Your body responds by sending blood to where it is needed, including the heart and muscles. When the stress is gone, your central nervous system returns to its normal state. If the stress doesn’t go away, your body experiences chronic stress.1


How stress affects your physical health

Your body is well-equipped to handle stress in small doses, and some stress can even help you reach your full potential. For example, before a big test you may feel stressed, during which your body releases a rush of adrenaline. This adrenaline rush helps the body prepare for what’s about to happen, while helping to ensure you are alert and ready for the test. However, when stress is long-term or chronic, it can have severe effects on your physical health.

Let’s look at a few areas of the body that are commonly affected by stress:

1. Muscle and joint health

When the body is stressed, the muscles tense up. It is almost a reflex reaction – it is the body’s way of protecting against injury or pain. When the stress goes away, your muscles relax.

Chronic stress may cause the muscles in the body to be in a state of constant tension, and when they are taut and tense for too long, it may trigger other reactions in the body, or even stress-related disorders. For example, tension headaches are often related to chronic muscle tension in the shoulders, neck, or head.2

2. Gut health

The mind and gut are in constant communication and are closely connected. The mind-gut connection makes you feel “butterflies” in your stomach when you are nervous or makes you feel nauseous at the mere thought of something unsettling.

Stress can also affect this mind-gut connection and is associated with gut bacteria changes, which can influence your mood. Stress can also trigger bloating and gut discomfort to be felt more easily.3

3. Heart health

Acute stress – stress that is short-term such as meeting a deadline or being stuck in traffic – causes an increase in heart rate and stronger contractions of the blood vessels, while stress hormones act as messengers for these effects.

Stress can also cause elevated blood pressure, known as the fight or flight response. Once the acute stress has passed, the body returns to its normal state.

Chronic stress, however, can contribute to long-term issues for the heart and blood vessels. The consistent increase in heart rate and elevated stress hormones and blood pressure can take a toll on the body and the cardiovascular system.4

4. Immune system health

Your immune system is your body’s defense against harmful antigens, and when stressed, its ability to do this is reduced. The stress hormone corticosteroid can suppress the immune system’s effectiveness by lowering the number of T and B cells.

Stress can also have an indirect effect on the immune system by promoting unhealthy habits like smoking or neglecting sleep, which ultimately impacts the immune system’s health.5


Supplements for stress


Solgar® Daily Stress Support is a 100% drug-free and non-habit-forming way to support your ability to deal with occasional mental and physical stress.* This unique formula combines the power of clinically-studied Rhodiola and PANMOL® organic B-Complex.* Each serving helps:

  • Build your body’s resistance to stress*
  • Aid in your ability to deal with mental and physical stress*
  • Provide relief from occasional stress-related mental fatigue*
  • Support your ability to stay calm*
  • Support energy metabolism and nervous system health*

And, they’re vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free, and dairy-free!


A healthy nervous system is essential for dealing with the symptoms of stress. Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, and B12 help to maintain a healthy nervous system and provide nourishment for the occasional stress of daily living. Our formula also includes 500 mg of vitamin C to help support a healthy immune system.


Magnesium citrate can help relieve stress by binding to and stimulating GABA receptors in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter that promotes a calm and relaxed mood. Solgar® Magnesium Citrate Tablets provide 420 mg of magnesium per serving and are vegan, non-GMO, and gluten-free.

4. SOLGAR® 5-HTP 100 MG

5-HTP is a precursor to serotonin, known as the “happy chemical” because it plays a role in mood.7 Each serving combines the calming effects of 5-HTP to promote a calm and relaxed mood, vitamin B6 to support nervous system health, magnesium for its involvement in nerve impulses, and valerian root extract.


This herbal-based formula combines KSM-66® Ashwagandha, the most clinically-studied form of this herb, with affron® Saffron, which is clinically-studied to help maintain a positive mood and support emotional wellbeing. Together, they help your body better manage the disruptive symptoms of occasional emotional stress.*


This unique, layered tablet provides three sleep-promoting ingredients in one: melatonin, L-theanine, as well as a nighttime herbal blend which includes chamomile, lavender, lemon balm, and valerian root extract. Solgar® Triple Action Sleep also leverages clinically-studied time-release technology that allows each layer of ingredients to dissolve at different times throughout the night to help support occasional sleeplessness.* This unique formula releases melatonin in the system when you want it, then gradually over 8 hours. This mimics the body’s natural release profile.

And, it’s vegan, non-GMO, gluten-free & dairy-free!


Stress and sleep go hand in hand. Solgar® Sleep & Stress Support is a melatonin-free, clinically-studied plant-based blend of sleep-supporting herbs plus L-theanine for stress support for occasional sleeplessness and occasional stress.* Each serving helps you:

  • Fall asleep quickly*
  • Improve sleep quality so you can wake up feeling ready to take on the day*
  • Feel calm and relaxed*
  • Stay rested throughout the night*

This 100% drug-free and non-habit forming formula is also vegan-friendly, non-GMO, gluten-free, and dairy-free!


More tips for managing stress

The not-so-good news: stress is normal, and there is no way to avoid it entirely. However, the good news is that there are many ways to deal with stress and manage its effects.

Here are a few:

Exercise regularly

Engaging in regular physical activity can not only help your physical body stay healthy, but it can benefit your emotional and mental health as well. When you exercise, the brain releases endorphins that improve your mood, as well as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin – brain chemicals that regulate your mood.

Connect with supportive people

Talking to someone about your problems, whether it is a licensed therapist or a trusted friend or family member, can help relieve stress. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or let others know when you’re struggling, as people often want to help, but they may not know how.

Get adequate sleep

When stressed, sleep is often the first thing to be affected. However, a good night’s sleep is one of your most powerful ways to combat the physical and emotional effects of stress. Learn more about the science behind sleeping when stressed here.

Practice meditation or yoga

We can’t all be yogis, but the good news is that you don’t have to be a professional to reap the benefits of meditation or yoga. Simply setting aside ten minutes a day to practice deep breathing or stretching can help ease your mind and body.

Write in a journal

Journaling can help increase self-awareness and help you process the things which are causing you stress. You can simply write down the things you feel as they come to you or follow guided journal prompts.



Summing up

Stress can affect many areas of your physical health, including your muscles and joints, gut, heart, and immune system. And while some stress levels are natural and expected, it is essential to learn effective coping techniques to keep your stress levels in check. Supplements along with stress-reducing habits like journaling or meditation, are great ways to cope with stress.

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*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The information on this website is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Never disregard medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the Solgar® site.