Which Supplements Are Best For Anxiety?
At some point, all of us experience stress. Whether it’s preparing for an exam or getting ready to go on stage to take part in a debate. There is also the seemingly fun stress of meeting new people or going out on a date. But not everyone responds to stress the same way. Around 40 million adults in the U.S. are affected by anxiety. Anxiety is the body’s response to stress and for some, this response can be debilitating.
Those who require some relief from their anxiety may think that medication is the only respite, however, researchers have discovered that nutrition plays a big role in managing anxiety. While supplements aren’t a replacement for medical attention and potentially medication, they can be a good starting block for those who want to try a holistic approach to treatment.
Along with supplements, researchers recommend a balanced diet and regular exercise. It’s also recommended to research foods that could trigger episodes of anxiety.
Magnesium is one of the most important supplements for full body function and also happens to be a key contributor to managing episodes of anxiety. Studies also reveal that magnesium supplements can relieve premenstrual anxiety. Foods that are rich in magnesium include whole wheat, spinach, and quinoa. For better absorption into the body, it’s recommended that magnesium is not taken with calcium or zinc-rich foods. Magnesium absorption is also improved when vitamin D levels are good. While magnesium plays such an important role in managing our energy levels, overall wellbeing, and anxiety, it’s important to stay within the recommended daily allowance.
Often referred to as the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is more than just a supplement and actually takes on the characteristics of a hormone. While the body can naturally produce vitamin D through cholesterol when exposed to sunlight, there are parts of the world where sunlight is not as easily available. A vitamin D deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies in the world and affects around 1 billion people. Vitamin D is essential in managing anxiety, as it promotes a general feeling of wellbeing. Low levels of vitamin D are believed to lead to anxiety and depression.
Perhaps one of the standout features of the amino acid L-theanine is its ability to calm you down without causing drowsiness. This ability to encourage calmness is a drawcard for those who deal with anxiety and the ingredient is commonly found in tea leaves. While it’s considered safe to drink several cups of tea per day, there are some reported instances where L-theanine has interacted with medication that regulate blood pressure and ADHD. There is also the possibility of ingesting too much caffeine, which can counter the calming effect of the tea.
The science behind L-theanine’s calming effect is the effect it has on brainwave activity and the neurotransmitter. It lowers the molecular effect of acute stress. Acute stress is not only a key factor in anxiety but is also known to be responsible for other neurocognitive disorders. L-theanine works as an interceptor of these stress messages, which means that the overall effect on the brain is reduced. Long term results, however, require better stress management.
One of the key components of the passionflower is an amino acid often referred to as GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which relaxes the nervous system through the reduction of brain activity. This allows those who struggle with insomnia to get a good night’s rest. While it’s no longer as common to ingest the passionflower in its natural form, natural extracts and supplements are readily available at health stores. The passionflower’s influence on anxiety is well documented and was used for centuries to calm hysteria.
There are eight different nutrients that make up the vitamin B-complex, and these components are all important to improve various functions within the body. When some of these components are not present, it can place the body under stress and increase anxiety. While many of the B-complex components are available in our diet, restrictive eating plans might require supplements to ensure that the full spectrum of vitamins is ingested.
Essential Fatty Acid (EPA)
One of the top contributors to anxiety is inflammation, which is why omega-3 is such a critical component of our diets. Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids which include eicosatetraenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are critical for brain health. These fats are present in fish such as herring and sardines, and even some vegetable-based oils. Nutritionists recommend that a healthy diet includes omega-3 and omega-6 for better absorption and overall health, and to combat inflammation that leads to anxiety.
Another amino acid that translates into GABA is found in the Valerian Root. Valeric acid has a calming effect on the body, which helps in managing anxiety. The extract is available at health shops and can be added to smoothies, teas, or water.
Widely used in Ayurvedic practices, the Ashwagandha shrub is known as the Indian ginseng. The roots and fruit of the shrub are used for medicinal use in India and is said to have a sedative-like effect on anxiety. Ashwagandha can be taken as a powder or tablet and is also known to helpful in the prevention and treatment of other ailments. The active ingredients in this root once again refer to amino acids that translate to GABA.
Those who have their anxiety paired up with insomnia might have come across Melatonin, which is also referred to as the sleep hormone. The body naturally produces Melatonin and research reveals that excessive stimulation and the blue light emitted from our devices might curb the body’s natural ability to produce enough melatonin to sleep soundly. Disruptive sleeping patterns also influence our natural ability to produce the hormone. Supplements provide a simple solution and naturally relaxes the body, which is helpful for sleep and to reduce anxiety.