The essential supplement list for burnout recovery

The essential supplement list for burnout recovery

 In the latest edition of the World Health Organization’s International Classification of Diseases1, 

ICD-11, burnout is defined as a syndrome that results from unmanaged chronic (workplace) stress with distinct symptoms: 

• energy depletion or exhaustion 

• a sense of mental distance from one’s work 

• a feeling of ineffectiveness or lack of accomplishment 

Emerging research shows that the chronic psychosocial stress that typifies burnout not only impairs a person’s personal and social functioning, and as well as their professional growth, but it can also overwhelm their cognitive skills and neuroendocrine systems. 

Nutrients and the stress response 

Our emotions are, in fact, controlled by biochemical processes in the brain. When the body is undergoing excessive stress or severe emotional strain, we need more nutrients. * Here’s why: 

In a paper published by the University of Adelaide on the effectiveness of micronutrients for managing stress, researchers explain that our bodies need certain key nutrients for cognitive functioning, hormone and neurotransmitter synthesis, and stress response regulation. When we’re under stress (regardless of it being a stressful experience or stress-inducing thoughts), it stimulates a biochemical reaction that triggers the fight-or-flight response by the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal axis. 

Many of the B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium and zinc that help regulate the stress response and synthesise hormones adrenaline and cortisol (necessary for increased physical activity), are the same nutrients that are needed for the synthesis of the calming neurotransmitter, serotonin. But since the stress response is a survival mechanism, it takes precedence over the synthesis of hormones and neurotransmitters that regulate mood and sleep. Therefore, when you’re experiencing chronic stress, the body and brain are potentially being depleted of these nutrients, as well as the ability to synthesise other hormones and neurotransmitters. Even after the stressful episode, the body will, subsequently, take longer to recover due to nutrient deficiencies. 

Furthermore, some studies suggest that there may be a vicious cycle of stress: external stress 

factors trigger the release of stress hormones; this leads to increased micronutrient requirements; if unmet, it lowers the resistance to stress and compromises cognitive and physical well-being. 

The supplements you need to manage stress and recover from burnout 

Vitamins and nutrients can be used as a support therapy for recovering from burnout. Lack of the following vitamins and micronutrients affects cognitive functioning and impacts your body’s ability to cope effectively with stress, so ensure that you are getting enough of these nutrients through diet or supplementation. 

1. Vitamin B 

• The B-vitamins help the body adapt to stress and support adrenal gland function. Specific B vitamins are co-factors during the stress response to synthesise adrenaline and to synthesise neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine. 

• B vitamins are also used during glucose metabolism in the brain. They promote neural and energy metabolism and have a positive effect on mental and physical performance. 

2. Vitamin C 

• Vitamin C is an antioxidant**. Severe emotional and physical stress leads to oxidative stress, increasing our susceptibility to infection. 

• In addition to cell and tissue damage, lack of vitamin C also negatively affects mood. 

• It is involved in nerve metabolism and protects the nerves from damage. 

• Vitamin C is a co-factor in adrenalin and neurotransmitter synthesis. 

3. Magnesium 

• The micronutrient magnesium is also an important co-factor in adrenalin and neurotransmitter synthesis. 

• It’s involved in neuronal cell metabolism and a range of biochemical processes which affect mood and have a relaxing effect on the muscles. 

4. Zinc 

• The micronutrient zinc is involved in neuronal cell structure and metabolism. 

• It’s a co-factor in adrenalin and neurotransmitter synthesis. 

5. Vitamin D 

There is a definite link between vitamin D deficiency and depression, though its antidepressant effects have not yet been fully understood. 

Section 2:
Are you suffering from burnout? Ask yourself: 

• Have you become cynical or critical at work?
• Do you drag yourself to work and have trouble getting started?
• Have you become irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers or clients?
• Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
• Do you find it hard to concentrate?
• Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements?
• Do you feel disillusioned about your job?
• Are you using food, drugs or alcohol to feel better or to simply not feel?
• Have your sleep habits changed?
• Are you troubled by unexplained headaches, stomach or bowel problems, or other physical complaints? 

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might be experiencing job burnout. 

Source: Mayo Clinic

When choosing your supplement, always check if there is a full list of ingredients on the product, a package insert, a valid company address with contact details and compliance to Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP), which is a prerequisite for health product manufacturing. Click here for further info. 

* Released February 2022.
**
Antioxidants are substances that can prevent or slow down the damage to cells caused by free radicals. Free radicals are waste substances produced by cells as it processes food and reacts to the environment.  

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References 

1. Anon. (2021). Treating burnout syndrome naturally with vitamins. Vitamin Doctor [Online]. Accessed on 4 April 2022. Available from https://www.vitamindoctor.com/en/getting-healthy/mental-health/burnout-syndrome# [VD] 

2. Huskisson, E., Maggini, S., & Ruf, M. (2007). The influence of micronutrients on cognitive function and performance. The Journal of International Medical Research, 35(1), 1–19. https://doi.org/10.1177/147323000703500101 [IMR] 

3. Integris Health. (2021). What Are the 5 Stages of Burnout? Accessed on 4 April 2022. Available from https://integrisok.com/resources/on-your-health/2021/november/what-are-the-5-stages-of-burnout [IN] 

4. King, K. (2022). Three Antidotes to Relieve the Burden of Burnout. Psychology Today [Online]. Accessed on 1 April 2022. Available from https://www.psychologytoday.com/za/blog/lifespan-perspectives/202203/three-antidotes-relieve-the-burden-burnout [PT] 

5. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Job burnout: How to spot it and take action. Mayo Clinic. Accessed on 4 April 2022. Available from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/burnout/art-20046642 [MC] 

6. McCabe, D., & Colbeck, M. (2015). The effectiveness of essential fatty acid, B vitamin, Vitamin C, magnesium and zinc supplementation for managing stress in women: a systematic review protocol. JBI Database of Systematic Reviews and Implementation Reports, 13(7), 104–118. https://doi.org/10.11124/jbisrir-2015-2298 [JBI] 

7. Michel, A. (2016). Burnout and the Brain. Association for Psychological Science [Online]. Accessed on 19 July 2022. Available from https://www.psychologicalscience.org/observer/burnout-and-the-brain [APS] 

8. Pranjić, N., Nuhbegović, S., Brekalo-Lazarević, S., & Kurtić, A. (2012). Is adrenal exhaustion synonym of syndrome burnout at workplace?. Collegium Antropologicum, 36(3), 911–919. Accessed on 7 April 2022. Available from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23213952/ [CA] 

9. Turner, N. (2013). The Best Fixes for Burnout. Huffpost [Online]. Accessed on 4 April 2022. Available from https://www.huffpost.com/archive/ca/entry/tips-for-burnout_b_2167121 [HP] 

10. WebMD. (2020). Burnout: Symptoms and Signs. WebMD. Accessed on 4 April 2022. Available from https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/burnout-symptoms-signs [WMD] 

 

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