“This has been a year unlike any other in living memory,” said Arthur C. Evans Jr., PhD, APA’s chief executive officer. “Not only are we in the midst of a global pandemic that has killed more than 200,000 Americans, but we are also facing increasing division and hostility in the presidential election. Add to that racial turmoil in our cities, the unsteady economy and climate change that has fueled widespread wildfires and other natural disasters. The result is an accumulation of stressors that are taking a physical and emotional toll on Americans.”
Stress is a bipartisan issue, with impacts felt across party lines. “Stress affects everyone at some point in their life. During an election year in the US it is even more apparent,” said Franziska Weichmann, PhD, Manager of Scientific Communications and Product Development at Horphag Research.
Not just Americans on edge
“Stress is a global issue,” said Weichmann.
Even before the COVID pandemic hit, the World Health Organization declared stress a global epidemic. Add on the pandemic, election and holidays, and it’s a recipe for stress.
“Recent events, including the pandemic and presidential election, have intensified the stress issue in the US. One recent study by Harvard Medical School and UNC Chapel Hill found that 55% of Americans are feeling more stressed now than they were before the pandemic,” said Weichmann.
“In the current global pandemic of COVID-19, physical health problems and severe psychological issues occur, which should not be underestimated,” said Weichmann. “The social distancing and stay-at-home procedures, which affected one third of the world population at times, can have long-lasting psychological effects, such as mood swings, fatigue, stress, burnout or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Lockdown or isolation for several months, home schooling, risk of unemployment and the unprecedented situation itself affect people all over the world and leave them stressed out, anxious and exhausted.”
“The effects of prolonged stress on our bodies can be seen in higher than average blood pressure levels, brain fog and even gastrointestinal issues. Our bodies react to stressors with inflammation, which can lead to an imbalance of free radicals and antioxidants called oxidative stress. This causes cell damage and accelerates the cell aging process, which can contribute to the development of other health conditions. Fatigue, moodiness and chronic stress can all lead to more severe problems, such as burnout syndrome,” explained Weichmann.
Ingredients for stress
According to Weichmann, several clinical studies have shown Robuvit to boost energy, reduce fatigue and improve physical performance and mood. The ingredient is a standardized, patented extract of French oak wood and a registered trademark of Horphag Research, the exclusive worldwide supplier of Robuvit.
In one study, “Robuvit was supplemented to people suffering burnout syndrome due to particularly stressful circumstances. Symptoms were assessed by a survey form, including criteria such as satisfaction at work, level of intolerance, emotional drainage and fatigue. After four weeks of daily Robuvit intake, the burnout symptoms were significantly relieved in comparison with the control participants.”
Weichmann added that post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is a very severe form of psychological trauma that can last for months or even years if left untreated. “In a clinical trial, Robuvit was supplemented for four weeks to patients suffering from PTSD. Robuvit was able to reduce the subjects suffering from recurrent nightmares, memories and intense emotional distress, improved sleep and reduced fatigue.”
The market for stress supplements
Whether it be politics, the holidays the pandemic or a combination of the three, this year stress management supplements sales have surged. Stress management supplements, which include mood support and sleep products, have increased in sales over 35% year-on-year, according to data provided by SPINS.
The data also revealed that the vast majority of the growth fell into the sleep category, which grew 43% year-on-year to reach over $48 million in sales for January to July. Supplements designed for anxiety, depression, and stress, and/or marketed for mood or stress support are also up by nearly 10% year-on-year for the first seven months of 2020.
“With stress on the rise as a result of the ongoing pandemic, consumers are looking for safe, effective ways to help them manage their anxiety and stress,” said Weichmann. “We have noted a shift in consumer interest from prescription medications to more natural options backed by science to help them with their symptoms.”