Many people use vitamins and supplements for anxiety. Believe it or not, there are many different vitamins, minerals, amino acids and other supplements that can help support the mind and body and help bring it back into balance, helping you to feel better and achieve good mental and physical health. Mental and emotional stress deplete many of the critical nutrients your body needs to function at its best, even if you have a perfect diet. If you are feeling particularly drained, increasing your intake of specific vitamins and minerals can help.
The Role of Vitamins and Minerals in Psychiatry - "Roughly 90 years of research demonstrate the relevance of dietary nutrients for mental health" - "These are just a few examples of how micronutrients can play a beneficial role in the treatment of several psychiatric illnesses. As researchers continue to investigate the efficacy of nutritional healing, more and more information will be readily available to those wishing to take a more natural course of therapy. For the time being, we can rely on the already thousands of successful studies that “alternative therapies” need not be an alternative anymore."
What Works and Why?
It is important to understand that stress depletes many critical nutrients needed for healthy stress response. Consider the following vitamins and supplements for anxiety, and if you have any questions, you can always ask your local pharmacist or health specialist, and always do your own research.
Stress depletes magnesium. Magnesium is needed to help us with a healthy stress response. So, it makes sense to take in extra magnesium during stressful times and if we are experiencing anxiety and/or panic attacks, it is even more vital. Magnesium helps your muscles relax and can help alleviate tension and even help you sleep better. Magnesium is often used in migraine prevention and help for body aches with conditions like fibromyalgia. Not all magnesium is created equal though, and therefore you should consider the various types and what might better work for you. Varities like Magnesium Malate are often used for muscle pain and are best taken at bedtime since they can cause sleepiness. Magnesium Glycinate, although does not cause sleepiness is most people, it is often used by those who have stomach or digestive issues with other forms of magnesium. If you have colitis, or diarrhea or stomach upset by magnesium, this variety is often the best. Magnesium-Threonate is good for the brain and can cross the blood-brain barrier. It is often the choice for those who want magnesium delivered to the brain cells and are looking to prevent dementia and support memory. A great supplement that includes all 3 (threonate, malate and glycinate) is the Magnesium, L-Threonate (120 Capsules), 2,253mg Per Serving, Providing 420mg Elemental, Bisglycinate Chelate, Malate, for Brain, Sleep, Stress, Cramps, Headaches, Energy, Heart, from Kappa Nutrition.. Be aware that cheaper varities of magnesium, such as Magnesium Oxide and Magnesium Citrate can increase bowel upset. Citrate is often used to help clean our your bowels before a colonscopy. So, be sure that if you want to use magnesium for anxiety, brain fog, or muscle relaxation, you want to make the best choice that does not give you side effects you don't want. To learn more about the miracle of magnesium, and to discover how it plays a role in lowering the risk of heart disease, prevents stroke and obesity, treats diabetes and also improves mood and memory there is an excellent book by Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D. called The Magnesium Miracle (Second Edition), be sure to check it out.
Vitamin C, Vitamin E
Vitamin C is an essential immune-supporting nutrient that is found in high amounts in the adrenal glands and is naturally released in response to stress. So, we lose vitamin C during stressful, anxious times and therefore, this vitamin should be increased in stressful periods. "Growing evidence, which has been recently emerged, suggests that anxiety is associated with Vit C deficit, whereas Vit C supplementation could help reduce feeling of anxiety. The underlying mechanism is not fully understood yet, but Vit C seems to play this role by: regulating neurotransmitters’ activity, attenuating cortisol activity, preventing stress-induced oxidative damage and antioxidant defense in brain or some as yet undetermined effects on anxiety-related brain structures" - Prolonged treatment with vitamins C and E separately and together decreases anxiety-related open-field behavior and acoustic startle in hooded rats
B5, B6, B7 (Biotin)
All Important nutrients that are required for energy production and modulation of adrenal gland activity and the stress response. During times of stress, a higher intake of these vitamins is needed. Dietary intake of B vitamins and their association with depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms: A cross-sectional, population-based survey - "This study suggests that a higher intake of dietary B vitamins, especially biotin, was associated with a lower prevalence of depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms."
A mineral that is common deficient in those who suffer prolonged stress, anxiety and panic attacks. Zinc plays an important role in supporting the immune system and modulating the body’s stress response and increased intake of this mineral is recommended. A systematic review of the association between zinc and anxiety - "As per the studies analyzed in this review, there was a noticeable relationship between serum zinc levels and anxiety, which means that patients with anxiety have lower levels of zinc in their serum, as compared with healthy individuals. Furthermore, zinc consumption was inversely associated with anxiety."
Iron deficiency is a common worldwide problem. In Western countries, iron deficiency is more common in menstruating women, children, and older-age adults. Both psychological stress and excess exercise are associated with changes in iron concentrations. Studies show that prolonged psychological stress lower iron levels in the blood - Effects of psychological stress on serum iron and erythropoiesis - "There are about one billion patients with iron deficiency anaemia all over the world. Recently, researchers have reported successively that stress can cause decrease of serum iron"
Also known as, vitamin B3, is an essential vitamin which every part of our body requires to function properly. It's found in many foods including meat, fish, milk, eggs, green vegetables, and cereals. Niacinamide is believed to have positive mental health effects and is also associated with cardiovascular health. The anti-anxiety effects are only achieved through higher doses. Fortunately, research has shown to be safe up to 3000 mg per day, and is the preferred form. Additional research has also found significant anti-inflammatory effects from niacinamide. Supplemental Niacinamide Mitigates Anxiety Symptoms: Three Case Reports by Jonathan E. Prousky, N.D., FRSH, is an excellent read from the Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine
Also known as Vitamin B1, has been found effective in treating a variety of anxiety disorders. It does this by helping to maintain a healthy nervous system which is important for effectively combating the stress symptoms. There is an excellent study Thiamine Deficiency Causes Long-Lasting Neurobehavioral Deficits in Mice. Thiamine is used to treat patients with anxiety, and it was shown to improve many of the symptoms, suggesting an anxiolytic effect of thiamine. To increase your Vitamin B1 intake naturally, consider incorporating foods rich in thiamine, such as salmon, beef, muscles, pork, nuts, and seeds, into your diet.
Often referred to as vitamin B8, inositol is NOT a vitamin but rather a type of sugar with several important functions in the body. Your body needs inositol for the development and growth of cells. Many patients with panic disorder and agoraphobia don’t respond well to current treatments, or they discontinue drugs because of their side effects. However, there is research showing that inositol can help treat both of these conditions with little to no side effects. You will find a great study here: Double-blind, controlled, crossover trial of inositol versus fluvoxamine for the treatment of panic disorder
GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid)
GABA is an amino acid and a key inhibitory neurotransmitter, may help support a calm mind as well as muscle relaxation. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that carry information between nerve cells or from nerve cells to other target cells. A great article through Life Extention is called, The Chemistry of Calm - Forty million Americans suffer from some form of anxiety disorder. The problems with anti-anxiety drugs are addiction, lost efficacy, and a host of side effects. In this exclusive excerpt from his latest book, The Chemistry of Calm, psychiatrist Henry Emmons outlines proven natural strategies to safely manage anxiety. Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Heidi Yanoti, DC, in May 2022. Written by: Life Extension Editorial Staff.
Melatonin is a powerful hormone made in the brain by the pineal gland. It is known to guard the nervous system, promote a restful sleep and it has also been shown to even prevent painful migraines. Levels of this hormone may be effected by prolonged stress, jet lag, and people who do not get enough sunlight and they oftenturn to supplements for help. Science has some promising research - Melatonin as a Potential Approach to Anxiety Treatment - Since melatonin is freely available, economically undemanding and has limited side effects, it may be considered an additional or alternative treatment for various conditions associated with anxiety. Melatonin supplements are extremely common and can be found in your vitamin sRecommended Readingection of your local pharmacy or department store. The Melatonin Miracle: Nature's Age-Reversing, Disease-Fighting, Sex-Enha by by Walter Pierpaoli, MD., PhD.
L-Theanine (aka Suntheanine)
L-Theanine, also known as theanine and Suntheanine is an amino acid that is derived from green tea. It has been proven highly effective for the relief of stress and anxiety symptoms, and is used to help with other ailments such as insomnia, weight problems, and migraines. Many have found l-theanine to be the perfect natural alternative to prescription medications for anxiety such as benzodiazepines, such as alprazolam, lorazepam, and clonazepam. The following articles belw share some pretty impressive facts about this natural medicine for anxiety supplement. Quick Relief from Anxiety and Stress without Tranquilizer Drugs by Tiesha D. Johnson, RN, BSN - A New Natural Relaxant - Life Extension Article -l-Theanine for Relaxation and Stress by Marcus Laux, ND - Believe it or not, there is a lot to be said for l-theanine. Due to it's safety and minimal side effect risk, this makes it one of the best natural stress relief supplements for stress and anxiety. l-Theanine has also been used in conjunction with other amino acids such as GABA and herbs such as lemon balm for additional benefits.
Garum Armoricum Extract, what exactly is it? Garum armoricum extract is an extract that comes from a deep sea blue fish that lives in the Atlantic Ocean. Due to it's living conditions, this fish has been found to be specifically high in antioxidants and fatty acids. This supplement has been around for centuries and has been used to help to combat stress and alleviate anxiety. Check out GARUM ARMORICUM®: A NUTRITIONAL TOOL FOR CHRONIC STRESS.
Another good read is Natural Therapy For Fatigue and Anxiety: A new European fish extract that's being used as a replacement for FDA approved drugs such as Xanax and Valium. Scientifically reviewed by: Dr. Gary Gonzalez, MD, in January 2021. Written by: Life Extension Editorial Staff.
Additional Scientific Evidence To Support the Use of Vitamins and Supplements for Anxiety
The impact of essential fatty acid, B vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium and zinc supplementation on stress levels in women: a systematic review - "The current review suggests that Essential Fatty Acids may be effective in reducing prenatal stress and salivary cortisol and may reduce anxiety during premenstrual syndrome and during menopause in the absence of depression. Magnesium and vitamin B6 may be effective in combination in reducing premenstrual stress, and vitamin B6 alone may reduce anxiety effectively in older women. High-dose sustained-release vitamin C may reduce anxiety and mitigate increased blood pressure in response to stress." Great supplements for fatty acids are pumpkin seed oil (also great for the bladder and prostate), Cod Liver Oil, Fish Oil, Flaxseed Oil, etc. and when looking for a good EFA (essential fatty acid), be sure to look for keywords such as "cold-pressed", "pure", "organic" and/or "mercury-free". The purpose of a good supplement is to help you feel better and be more nourished, so always be aware of the added non-sense found in cheap supplements. Certified & Pharmaceutical-grade will always be found at Life Extention Vitamins such as Life Extension Provinal Purified Omega-7 (30 Softgels)
A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of B Vitamin Supplementation on Depressive Symptoms, Anxiety, and Stress: Effects on Healthy and ‘At-Risk’ Individuals - "There is increasing consensus that nutrient status is an important modifiable factor in many neurological and psychiatric conditions. This present review provides evidence that B group vitamin supplementation (either alone or with a multivitamin) may also benefit mood in healthy and at-risk individuals. Further research utilising multiple B vitamins in at-risk groups (with suboptimal nutritional status or subclinical mood disturbances) is warranted. An increased understanding of how baseline micronutrient status and dietary habits influence the effects of supplementation will be essential in order to provide evidence-based recommendations on the benefit of B vitamins for mood."
Want to recover without using medication? There are many different kinds of supplements that are available and very effective in helping people combat the physical symptoms of anxiety.