Nutrition For Drummers: Killer Stress


The world is a stressful place. We are constantly being forced to adapt to life’s rapid pace, changes in technology, and the demands of family and job. Some of the most stressful events include divorce, getting fired, financial difficulties, and jail time. Anything that requires readjustments of time or attention can be stressful. As many of us know, the music business can be extremely stressful. Traveling on the road, eating out, and worrying where the next gig will come from can take its toll on health.

Studies show that stress depresses the immune system, shortens life, and clearly ages people before their time. Common symptoms are ulcers, heart attack, teeth grinding, headache, digestive problems, fatigue, and exhaustion. When it’s extreme or prolonged, it can kill.

Many of the disorders related to stress are not a result of stress itself but of nutrient deficiencies caused by an increased metabolic rate. The body uses up nutrients faster, and thus has a higher need for vitamins and minerals.

The B complex vitamins and vitamin C are used up the quickest. In fact, in just one moment of stress vitamin C levels can become depleted. Unlike most mammals, humans and apes cannot synthesize this vitamin and therefore must obtain it from food or supplements. Also, because stress is a catabolic condition that causes tissues to be broken down for energy, extra protein is needed for repair.

Here are ten rules to manage stress better:

1. Practice stress management techniques such as exercise, meditation, yoga, or prayer.

2. Cut back on obligations and make time for yourself. Work at 80 percent rather than 110 percent of maximum.

3. Get eight hours of sleep each night.

4. Consume adequate protein and essential fats. Eliminate dietary stressors such as refined sugars and carbohydrates.

5. Eliminate coffee and other stimulants.

6. Take a multi-vitamin/mineral supplement to compensate for increased need of essential nutrients. Complement with extra vitamin C and pantothenic acid (also called vitamin B5).

7. Use adaptogen herbs routinely to help return altered body conditions to normal. Best choices are ginseng, eleuthero, ashwaganda, rhodiola, reishi mushroom, or a combination product.

8. Use calming herbs and nutrients when feeling anxious and stressed. Best choices are calcium and magnesium, theanine, inositol, valerian, or a combination product.

9. For exhaustion and low stamina, supplement with adrenal tissue extract.

10. Remember: There are no stressful situations — only stressful reactions!