By: Shravani P.T.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety, in simple terms, is the body’s response to fear and stress. It is a state of mind you may experience when you’re about to sit for an interview or perform onstage. While this might sound normal, if you or someone you know has been feeling anxious for over a period of six months without any plausible reason, they may be experiencing an anxiety disorder.
Signs & Causes of Anxiety
Anxiety disorders are very common. In fact, this mental illness affects over 40 million adults in the United States alone. Anxiety disorders are almost always hundred percent treatable. However, only 36.9 percent of patients reach out for treatment due to a lack of awareness (x).
When a patient experiences anxiety or a panic attack, every organ system in the body goes through a change and releases a number of chemicals that produce certain sensations. The body goes through changes in the brain, the respiratory, cardiovascular, immune and digestive systems. Here are a few symptoms of anxiety (x):
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
- Chills or heat sensations
- Racing pulse
- Fear of dying or losing control
- Disorientation & detachment
Types of Anxiety Disorders
There are a number of types of anxiety disorders including, but not limited to (x):
- Generalized anxiety disorder: Excessive and persistent worrying about specific things (x)
- Panic disorder: Patients who experience panic attacks out of the blue (x)
- Social anxiety disorder: Anxiety and fear over being judged or rejected in social situations (x)
- Phobias: Excessive, irrational fears of specific things (x)
Supplements for Anxiety
Anxiety is a complicated mental health disorder, the result of a variety of chemical reactions that cause turmoil inside the body. In addition to conventional treatment with prescription medication and therapy, patients may be able to use natural herbs, vitamins and mineral supplements. However, always consult a doctor before taking any supplements for anxiety. They are not intended to cure or treat anxiety or any other condition on their own.
Vitamin D is one of several natural vitamins that may help reduce stress. Scientific studies show decisive results that vitamin D may help patients with depression. Based on studies, researchers claim that there may be a link between this vitamin and anxiety. Studies indicate that patients who suffer from anxiety may have a considerable lack of calcidiol, which is a byproduct of vitamin D (x). The recommended dosage for vitamin D3 as a dietary supplement is 50 mg per day with a meal with a doctor’s approval.
According to research, vitamin B12 plays a role in several different systems in the body, including digestion, brain function and mood. Deficiency may cause symptoms similar to depression, bipolar disorder, panic disorder, phobias and dementia. According to studies, these symptoms may be a manifestation of vitamin B12 deficiency (x). As a dietary supplement, take 100 or 200 mg of vitamin B12 powder once a day, with a doctor’s approval.
Minerals like magnesium play a significant role in almost all processes and systems in the body. Its effects spread to mental health disorders as well. According to studies, magnesium may play a role in the stress response because it affects the functions that control the adrenal and pituitary glands in the brain, which help regulate mood (x). As a dietary supplement, the recommended dosage for magnesium citrate powder is 4,400 mg per day in a beverage, with a doctor’s approval.
L-theanine is a non-protein-forming amino acid and it is also an active ingredient in green tea. It plays a role in mood, cognition and stress responses. According to research, patients who regularly consume L-theanine in their diets may experience a reduced stress response and fewer anxiety symptoms (x). As a dietary supplement, the recommended dosage for L-theanine powder is 100 to 250 mg one to three times a day, with a doctor’s approval.
Research claims that calcium may also be an effective anti-anxiety supplement. The catch, however, is that it is often prescribed in combination with a magnesium supplement. Both of these minerals relate to mental disorders including anxiety and depression because of their effects on the nervous system (x). As a dietary supplement, the recommended dosage for calcium citrate powder is 2,400 mg once or twice a day, with a doctor’s approval.
Zinc plays a distinct role in maintaining the nervous system and mental health. It is a key ingredient in manufacturing neurotransmitters, a lack of which can interfere with mood. Studies show that low zinc plasma levels may relate to anxiety and that supplementation may be effective in managing it (x). The recommended dosage for zinc gluconate powder is between 225 and 450 mg per day, with a doctor’s approval.
Valerian root is not new to the world of natural medicine. In fact, it is a veteran in the field of supplements for anxiety and has been used for thousands of years. Studies indicate that this herb, in fact, reduced anxiety symptoms in its subjects (x). As a dietary supplement, the recommended dosage for valerian root extract powder is 300 to 600 mg per day, with a doctor’s approval
Omega-3 fatty acids make up the natural fats in the human body. They play an important role in the nervous system function, and consequently, mental health in general. The body can’t make them on its own, so it’s important to get them from food or supplements. Seafood and flaxseeds often are good sources of omega-3 (x). As a dietary supplement, take three omega 3-6-9 softgels once or twice per day, with a doctor’s approval.
Like valerian root, chamomile is an herb people have used for thousands of years. According to studies, short- and long-term use may help manage symptoms of anxiety and depression. It has calming properties that helped relax the subjects’ blood vessels and muscle fibers (x). As a dietary supplement, the recommended dosage for chamomile extract powder is 800 mg once or twice a day with water, with a doctor’s approval.
Melatonin is the hormone that the pineal gland releases naturally into the body. This particular hormone is responsible for controlling and regulating sleeping patterns. According to clinical studies, it may also help patients with anxiety and those who experience disrupted sleep as a complication (x). As a dietary supplement, the recommended dosage for melatonin powder is between 1 and 3 mg per day before bedtime.
The Bottom Line
Anxiety is a network of brain reactions and a number of chemicals flowing out, working together to create a response to fear and stressful stimuli. Without treatment, it can lead to a host of physical effects that can culminate in further illness, such as sleep disruption, depression and chronic pain. Treatment for anxiety disorders often involves therapy and prescription medication. However, there are also natural remedies that patients may try to calm the mind and relax the body. Always consult a doctor before taking any supplements for anxiety. They do not treat anxiety or any other condition. Instead, they aim to support overall health.
These statements have not been regulated by the Food & Drug Administration.