January 27 at 11:59 AM • Comments: 0 • Views: 4999

Stress and Focus: What's The Correlation?

An important correlation

There is an important correlation between stress and focus when considering an unbalanced diet, particularly one deficient in the Vitamins B12 and B6. These two vitamins are known for stimulating mental processes, and elevating mental mood and energy. We can get these vitamins from certain foods and supplements.

A lack of Vitamin B12

A deficiency in Vitamin B12 can cause a decrease in cognitive function. The ability to focus, make decisions, plan activities and events, learn, and draw conclusions are all cognitive functions that can be impaired without enough Vitamin B12. In other instances, the lack of this vitamin can lead to memory loss, confusion, and depression. A lack of this important vitamin in the body can therefore cause symptoms, which, when left unchecked, can increase overall stress.

Some examples of not being able to focus, and their consequences include:

  • Poor performance at work. The inability to focus can cause stress when deadlines are not met, projects are not completed, or communication with important contacts is impaired.
  • Inability to complete personal projects or keep commitments. Starting a project, then dropping it when you can't maintain focus or interest can be stressful; a sense of failure can set in. Likewise, when we make commitments to our family, friends, or community organizations that we cannot fulfill due to lack of focus, we may feel like we have let others down. The failure to commit can cause anxiety and stress.
  • Difficulty learning or retaining new information. Work often dictates that we take continuing education classes in order to stay abreast of new technology and company policies. Not being able to focus can be an obstacle to learning, and can create stress when we are called upon to demonstrate our knowledge. Feeling left behind can be stressful.

The role of Vitamin B6

A deficiency of Vitamin B6 can impair our overall mental health, including focus. The vitamin supports neurotransmitters such as serotonin that stimulate positive thinking, elevate the mood, and help us to focus. Vitamin B6 has been known to alleviate a lot of conditions that may cause stress:

  • PMS. The impact of dopamine and serotonin in the body help in aiding a sense of well-being. This may be of particular importance to PMS sufferers who experience fluctuations in hormones, irritability, and pain in their abdomen or lower back. Vitamin B6 stimulates the production of those neurotransmitters, decreasing the stress related to PMS symptoms. When that stress is lifted, women can potentially focus on things other than their symptoms.
  • Painful joints. Exercise is supposed to be part of our daily routine in order to provide us with increased energy and a rush of endorphins, hormones that elevate our mood and decrease our stress levels. If we have painful joints due to nerve damage, past injuries or arthritis, we may not be inclined to exercise. Vitamin B6 lessens this pain, and even the tiredness of our muscles. Maintaining exercise gives us the energy we need to focus on our work and other activities.

Foods containing Vitamins B6 and B12

Try incorporating these foods rich in Vitamins B6: garbanzo beans, bananas, oatmeal and potatoes. Foods containing Vitamin B12 are: chicken breast, low-fat yogurt, and raisin bran.

In conclusion

A link can be made between increases in the Vitamins B6 and B12 and their role in decreasing stress and improving focus. A balanced diet is also recommended for overall mental and physical health. Ask your doctor about any stress or focus related issues.

Sources:

http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-HealthProfessional/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/vitamin-b12/background/hrb-20060243

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