According to a 2014 survey by jobs portal STJobs.sg, stress negatively impacts 25 per cent of Singaporeans. Another study by workplace provider Regus in 2015 reported that 55 per cent of senior managers and business owners here say that they are under more pressure than five years ago.
Stress causes specific physiological changes, such as higher blood pressure, and also triggers the release of stress hormones such as adrenaline, Adreno-Corticotropin Hormone (ACTH) and cortisol. Prolonged stress is harmful to the body and results in stress symptoms, as well as increases the risk of various diseases.
Symptoms of stress include headaches, stomach upset, muscle tension and even chest pain. Stress has also been linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, and depression.
One common symptom of stress is difficulty of falling or staying asleep. Some people may find that they don't feel rested despite having slept through the night.
Sleep problems can create a vicious circle - when you are deprived of a good night’s rest, your body produces more cortisol, resulting in feeling even more stressed.
To get some sleep, some people turn to prescription sleeping pills such as benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines, which include diazepam and temazepam, are a class of psychoactive drugs which can cause side effects such as daytime grogginess, memory loss, dependency, and addiction. A recent study even suggested that people who take such pills are at a higher risk for certain cancers.
Fortunately, there are natural ways of fighting stress and improving sleep. One of them is regular exercise, which can help the brain produce feel-good chemicals called endorphins. When your endorphin levels are high, you feel less pain and fewer symptoms of stress.
Exercise also helps to train your body to better deal with stress and has been shown to improve sleep. A study by Northwestern University found that those who worked out at least three times a week reported improved sleep quality and duration.
Another natural way to relieve stress is through meditation, which helps you to focus on what is happening at present. One simple form of meditation is paying attention to your breathing. There are also mobile apps that can help you get started on meditation techniques. Regular meditation can help to reduce emotional distress especially in stressful situations.
Besides the above solutions, there are also natural supplements that can help you manage your stress symptoms, one of them being PNT200.
From the manufacturer Immunotec comes PNT200, a supplement containing a natural milk protein hydrolysate called Casozepine, that has relaxing properties and is one of the few ingredients to receive a claim authorisation from the French Safety and Control Administration in France, stating that it can “moderate tensional response to stress, in particular for hypertensive persons”.
How PNT200 works is that it binds to the brain’s GABA-A receptors and reduces the brain’s response to perceived stressors, explained Fung and Goh Pharmaceutical Products, the local distributor of PNT200. The pharmaceutical company said that it has the same anxiolytic effect as benzodiazepines, but is clinically proven to regulate stress symptoms without benzodiazepines’ side effects.
Fung and Goh also said that PNT200 has obtained the U.S GRAS Safety certification, and is even suitable for children 12 years and older. PNT200 does not contain any lactose, steroids, hormones and antibiotics that are commonly found in milk and dairy products, so individuals who are hyper-allergic to specific dairy products can also consume it.
Fung and Goh recommends that lactose intolerant consumers should try one capsule of PNT200 for the first couple of days or nights. If there is no negative allergic reaction, the dosage may be increased to four capsules a night.
For better quality sleep, Fung and Goh also recommends that the supplement should be taken half an hour before bedtime. Adults should take four to six capsules for 15 days and four capsules nightly after that whenever necessary. Children and teenagers can take one to two capsules whenever necessary. For individuals who suffer from anxiety or high-stress during the day, they can take two caps of PNT200 to calm nerves and relieve stress.
PNT200 is available at funggohpharma.com.sg. Manufactured by Immunotec Canada, makers of Immunocal®