Do you struggle with anxiety and depression? Has standard therapy failed to help you cope with these symptoms? Consider the benefits of taking supplements for anxiety.
At grocers and drug stores, the aisles are stacked with vitamins, minerals, and herbal supplements widely believed to relieve anxiety symptoms. Therefore, if you’re deficient in certain nutrients, it could explain some of your anxiety and stress.
So what are these supplements, and how do they help you manage anxiety?
20 Supplements for Anxiety
- Vitamin D
- Vitamin B complex
- Valerian root
- Lemon balm
- Licorice root
- Ashwagandha extract
- Amino acids
1. Vitamin D
Research indicates that people with low levels of Vitamin D are more prone to suffer depression and anxiety. People deficient in calcidiol, which stems from the breakdown of Vitamin D, typically experience negative moods.
The most Vitamin D-rich foods include fish, especially salmon. Another way to improve your Vitamin D levels is to spend more time in the sun. If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, you might need a supplement as there are few fruits or vegetables with sufficient Vitamin D content.
2. Vitamin B complex
The Vitamin B complex comprises of eight nutrients that work in concert with the body to regulate the two leading anxiety indicators: mood and stress. Recent studies indicate that B12 levels in the human body correlate to an individual’s anxiety level. People with healthy B12 intake generally have less anxiety than people with deficient levels of the nutrient.
Foods with high B12 and B2 (riboflavin) content include salmon, tuna, lamb, cheese, yogurt, carrots and leafy greens. If you avoid animal products, you might need to take B-vitamin supplements.
Researchers found that magnesium levels might play a role in an individual’s anxiety levels in several recent studies, though the evidence is inconclusive.
Foods that contain high levels of magnesium include almonds, spinach, cashews, and dark chocolate. However, magnesium can cause diarrhea when consumed in large quantities. It’s best to avoid consuming more than 350 mg of magnesium per day without consulting your physician.
L-theanine is an amino acid that, as of recent studies, is recognized as an anxiety-reducing agent. The acid is found in green and black tea. It can also be taken as a supplement, usually in 200 mg tablets.
Compared to placebo, L-theanine tests favorably as a stress-reducer in subjects who’ve just partaken in strenuous tasks. Evidence indicates that L-theanine is a sedative. As such, you should not exceed 200 mg per day without consulting your physician.
Multivitamin supplements are among the most widely consumed anxiety-reducing products on the market. Products like Flintstones Complete, which contains 20 different vitamins and minerals, include lots of nutrients that the average person lacks in a typical diet. Multivitamins are especially effective at reducing stress in young adults.
Different multivitamins contain varying dosages of the vitamins and minerals in question. You can easily get these products at any grocery store, some in flavored varieties. If uncertain about which brand to choose, ask your physician about which multivitamin will best meet your health profile’s needs.
Omega-3 fatty acids are present in flax seeds and fish. Evidence indicates that Omega-3 acids effectively reduce stress levels. The human body doesn’t naturally produce Omega-3; it must be consumed or taken as a supplement.
If you eat fish regularly, you might have sufficient levels of Omega-3 in your system. If not, a supplement like fish oil or a flaxseed product could help. However, these fatty acids can interfere with blood-thinning medications. If you are on medication or have an existing health condition, consult your physician before upping your Omega-3 intake.
7. Valerian root
Valerian root, which comes from the white flower found in Europe and Asia, is believed to work as a stress-reducing agent. While studies have yet to see any conclusive results, the root has tested favorably over placebo among postmenopausal women.
Regardless of its effects as an anxiety manager, the valerian plant has been used in medicines for centuries. For now, the NCCIH has approved valerian as a short-term supplement for healthy adults. Its safety as a long-term supplement is not currently known.
Chamomile has long been popular as a sedative and calming herb. People often drink chamomile tea in the evening as they wind down for the night. Due to its calming effects, chamomile is widely believed to be an anxiety reliever.
In a recent eight-week study, subjects with generalized anxiety disorder showed fewer symptoms after taking 1,500 mg of chamomile on a daily basis. However, no hard data exists to verify its effects on GAD symptoms.
You can access the herb in chamomile tea, oil, and supplements.
Lavender, derived from the purple flowering plant found across Eurasia, is often used in aromatherapy. Like chamomile, lavender has a relaxing effect that is widely believed to work as an anxiety-reducer.
So far, science has yet to determine whether lavender can alleviate anxiety. Case studies have shown that the extract can work as a calming agent in pregnant women and subjects before and after surgery.
Lavender can be inhaled in scented baths or applied to the skin if mixed with coconut or olive oil.
10. Lemon balm
Lemon balm is derived from Melissa officinalis, a Eurasian mint leaf with a lemon-like scent, hence its name. It is often consumed in tea as a calming evening beverage.
Recent studies indicate that lemon balm can reduce anxiety and improve sleep in subjects who’ve suffered burns. Capsules that contain 1.5 grams of lemon balm are said to reduce anxiety in subjects before and after heart bypass surgery. In that regard, the herb has ranked favorably over placebo.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) plays a vital role in the serotonin production, the positivity transmitter in the human brain. As such, GABA directly affects an individual’s mood and management of anxiety triggers.
It’s possible to improve GABA levels by taking multivitamins. You can also take GABA supplements directly to boost serotonin production.
Passionflower is a herb derived from the Passiflora incarnata, an exotic wildflower native to the southern United States. The herb is a common household remedy for sleep deprivation, depression, and mood swings. Many users believe that its calming properties help lower anxiety.
Passionflower is sold in stores as an extract and supplement. You can also consume the herb in passionflower-flavored teas.
13. Licorice root
Licorice root, a common ingredient in beverages and candies, can help regulate the body’s adrenaline and cortisol production, the two main stress hormones. It does this by regulating the adrenal glands, the source of these hormones. Licorice can also ease gastrointestinal flareups, another anxiety trigger.
Though it’s a common ingredient, the “licorice” in most of today’s food products is merely an artificial flavoring. To reap the nutritional benefits of licorice, look for deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL). You can find it in capsules, tablets, and select teas.
14. Ashwagandha extract
Ashwagandha, alternately known as Indian ginseng or winter cherry, is a medicinal herb derived from the Withania somnifera, a shrub native to India. The herb is used in medicines as a mood regulator. and many people use it to relieve anxiety.
This herb’s nutrients are best found in the orange-red ashwagandha fruit, though it’s not readily available in much of the world. However, ashwagandha herbal supplements are easy to find at most drug stores.
Rhodiola, alternately known as the golden root, is a herb derived from the Rhodiola rosea, a flowering plant found in mountainous parts of the northern hemisphere. The herb is often used in Chinese medicine as an adaptogen to promote homeostasis in the mind and body. As with ashwagandha, many users see Rhodiola as an anxiety inhibitor.
Rhodiola is commonly available in herbal capsules, teas, and extracts.
Probiotics are microorganisms found in fermented foods like pickles, yogurt, sardines, and tuna. For people with digestive issues, probiotics are a popular remedy. According to recent studies, probiotics can also improve mental health and alleviate anxiety.
If you’re a pescatarian, you can get these amino acids from most types of fish. You can also get probiotic supplements at most drug stores.
Kava, derived from the root of the Piper methysticum of the Pacific Islands, is used in sedative products. For anxiety treatment, research shows that Kava is more effective than a placebo.
According to the World Health Organization, moderate consumption of root-tapped, liquified Kava presents a low human risk. However, kava can cause liver damage if consumed in high quantities. Kava is sold in capsules, powders, and liquid extracts.
18. Amino acids
The amino acids L-lysine and L-arginine are both essential to the human body. A combined daily dose of 2.64 grams of both Lysine and Arginine can reduce stress and anxiety symptoms.
A protein-high diet should help you sustain healthy Lysine and Arginine levels. Foods with high Lysine content include red meat, pork, poultry, eggs, cod, sardines, cheese (especially parmesan), peas, beans, and soy. Likewise, foods with Arginine include meat, dairy, eggs, beans, nuts, and grains.
Magnesium is the ninth most common element on Earth. In mineral form, it’s used as a food additive (magnesium lactate), migraine and constipation remedy (magnesium oxide), and muscle reliever (magnesium glycinate). Limited evidence suggests that magnesium can lower anxiety.
You can find magnesium tablets and caplets in 250 mg and 500 mg formulations at most drug stores.
The antioxidant vitamins C and E are vital to good health. While they don’t directly combat disease or prolong lifespans, antioxidants fight the free radicals that damage cells in the human body. Select studies show that people with high anxiety have suboptimal levels of antioxidant vitamins.
When taken for six weeks straight, multivitamin supplements rich in vitamins C and E can reduce anxiety.
How do supplements curb anxiety?
Select supplements can help ease anxiety by calming the nervous system. The most effective and natural are the vitamins for anxiety, including vitamins D, E, C, and B complex supplements, all vital for body and brain health.
D and B vitamins are beneficial at easing conditions like stress, fear, phobia, and other anxiety disorders. Additionally, natural remedies and green tea products, which contain the L-theanine amino acid, may help ease anxiety-related symptoms.
Can anxiety supplements be dangerous?
Supplements that cause sedation, such as Kava, should only be taken in moderation. The side effects of overuse may include chronic fatigue and liver damage.
Regular multivitamins are safe to use, and they may help you maintain good health. However, even the best vitamins won’t reverse preexisting health conditions. If in doubt about your mental or physical state, go to a healthcare provider at least one time each year for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
Every year, millions of adults struggle to improve symptoms related to anxiety. Vitamins and supplements can help with anxiety, but they are only part of the remedy. You need to take good care of yourself mentally and physically to stay emotionally well.
If you’re one of the more than a million adults who struggle with anxiety and depression, speak with a medical professional. That way, you can learn the best regime for your mental health.
Taking B vitamins and getting plenty of sleep can help with brain health, but your anxiety and stress symptoms may differ from the next individual. Whatever supplements you take to calm your nervous system, stop if you feel adverse side effects.
Remember, supplements can help, but anxiety disorders are caused by numerous factors, including mental and physical health and life situations. Healing is a process that takes time and effort on multiple fronts.