There are many options for treating different kinds of anxiety. It is important to remember that a medication that’s effective for one person with an anxiety disorder might not work for another person with an anxiety disorder. This is because people have different health conditions and different bodies. One common natural medication that people with anxiety take is supplements.
However, the problem with supplements for anxiety is that there are a lot of varieties on the market so it’s hard to know what works effectively and what is safe. Another problem is that sometimes supplements have side effects and have effects on the body if taken for a long period of time. Even different brands might work differently for different people. How can you determine what kinds of supplements for anxiety is good for you? Here are some of the best and most commonly used supplements for anxiety. Note that the links point to products that have received the best reviews and are working for most people, and/or from which I have personal experience and thus can recommend those.
Natural Supplements for Anxiety
One kind of supplement for anxiety that is safe and effective is the supplements derived from plants and other natural sources. You also might want to see my post about taking herbs for anxiety. Be sure to check this post about magnesium as well, as magnesium is one of the most important minerals and can have a tremendous impact on your body and your mind. Most natural supplements have positive attributes and don’t cause dependency or any side effects. You can rest assured that these natural supplements won’t do harm to your body while effectively treating your anxiety. Here are some of the commonly known natural supplements for anxiety.
Herbal Supplements for Anxiety
Chamomile has a relaxing effect on the body. Sipping a cup of chamomile tea gently relieves your anxiety. Studies on chamomile supplements are not done to a great extent. But it won’t hurt if you try because chamomile supplements don’t have any adverse effects on health. Chamomile is safe and very gentle and therefore suits also kids and babies.
Kava supplements are derived from the roots of kava plant found in the west Pacific. It is effective in muscle relaxation, mild sedation, and improved cognitive ability. It was traditionally consumed in tea forms by native Pacific islanders. But today, it comes in kava supplements and can be bought in stores. There even exist handy instant kava powders that dissolve in any beverage and taste mild. Taking kava supplements for anxiety may yield different results so it’s best to consult your doctor first before taking it.
In any case, kava should be taken with caution due to its possible effects on the liver especially to those who are regular alcohol drinkers. It is believed that those with a healthy liver and who do not take alcohol are not prone to its side effects. It also interacts with medications. Kava shouldn’t be taken at a higher dosage and it should be taken with food because it is fat-soluble.
Valerian root has been taken to relieve anxiety for centuries. People believe that it can ease insomnia but valerian root can also actually relieve anxiety. Valerian’s role is to make GABA more available in the brain. However, it may not be effective for panic attacks. It’s also good to remember that mixing valerian root with alcohol is not a good idea.
Valerian root doesn’t have any smell or taste but it’s not consumed as tea, it’s taken in the form of a pill, though some prefer valerian root extract or tea. This tea with valerian and peppermint is my personal favorite.
People with anxiety usually take valerian root before bedtime while others take it during the day. Did you know that the amino acid valine is named after this plant?
Green tea supplements
Green tea is known to have many health benefits. It’s known to help burn fat, boost anti oxidants to fight cancer, and supply the body with some nutrition. But did you know that it can also ease anxiety and calm those suffering from sleep problems because of anxiety? Green tea has an amino acid called L-theanine that helps in the maintenance of healthy heart rate and blood pressure. However, you have to drink a lot of green tea to feel the effects. So instead of green tea, take L-theanine supplements because it has a higher dose without leaving you drowsy. This particular L-theanine supplement is clinically proven and a real best seller.
Feeling restless, anxious, or nervous? Passion flower is a natural medicine for anxiety and has a natural calming effect. It comes from Peru but is known throughout the world for its health benefits. It’s recommended that passion flower is taken before bed time because it may cause drowsiness or sleepiness other than a merely calming effect.
Passion flower is one of the oldest medicines and it does not interact with alcohol unlike many other supplements and medicines. However, it is not suitable for treating anxiety disorders and severe anxiety. It can also be used to reduce symptoms of irritability, agitation, insomnia and anxiety when combines with clonidine medication.
Other supplements can also be found in pills medically prescribed by doctors and mental health professionals. Here are some of those:
1500 mg of lemon balm per day can help relieve people from insomnia, anxiety, and stress. Lemon balm can reduce the symptoms of anxiety disorders. For people going through insomnia, lemon balm can be taken by itself or alongside with other ingredients. It can improve the length and quality of sleep with sleeping disorders or even for healthy people. A dosage of lemon balm also increases the calmness and awareness of adults. Taking lemon balm for four weeks might even lower the agitation and edginess of people experiencing anxiety caused by stress.
Essential oils from plants such as those of jasmine, lavender, bergamot and rose are useful in reducing anxiety, with the best essential oil being lavender, which helps in reducing sleep problems, and anxiety. There are also effective blends that help ease anxiety, this one being the most effective and of high quality.
Minerals, Vitamins and Other Supplements for Anxiety
Omega 3 fatty acids – DHA and/or EPA
Another surprising use of omega 3 fatty acids is the prevention of the development of full psychotic illness in people who manifest mild symptoms. It also improves the symptoms of depression and increases the length of time between episodes of depression. Recommended daily dosage is 500 – 1000 mg. Natural sources for Omega 3 fatty acids are fatty fish like salmon, sardine and mackerel. Also grass-fed beef should be preferred over grain-fed. Remember that only animal sources contain DHA and EPA, vegetable sources, such as seed oils, contain alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which the body cannot utilize. ALA has to be converted first to DHA and EPA, but only a few percent of it gets converted! So never ever imagine to get proper Omega 3 intake from vegetable sources. (Yeah, you vegans can bash me, I couldn’t care less, but for your own good please face the facts first.)
In the Western diet Omega 6 fatty acids often play a far too big role, so balancing the Omega 3 to Omega 6 ratio near to the ideal 1:1 is beneficial. Naturally, reducing Omega 6 filled food like vegetable oils (other than coconut oil and olive oil which are really healthy) should be the first step. Omega 6 bursting seed oils are highly inflammatory, get easily rancid and surprise, surprise: worsen anxiety. You can see that I’m enthusiastic about this topic so please expect some more extensive posts in the future!
This is a popular amino acid for supplementing anxiety. Its role is in synthesizing melatonin and serotonin. Melatonin is responsible for inducing sleep while serotonin is the feel good hormone. Both help to reduce anxiety.
Personally, I’m a big friend of 5 HTP, not only because of its anxiety reducing and calming effects – it’s a great appetite suppressor as well! (And the only one that has worked for me…) However, as 5 HTP tends to work differently for different people, you might want to check your reaction to it. Needless to say, you should start with a small dosage, 50 mg of 5 HTP is a good dose to start with. Personally, I have used ZOI Research 5 HTP as well as Healthy Origins 5 HTP. I preferred the latter one.
Various categories of vitamin B such as B12, B6, B3 and B1 can help to deal with anxiety. The vitamins affect the nervous system positively by stabilizing the lactate levels responsible for anxiety. Natural sources for vitamin B are sunflower seeds (B1), pork meat (B1), liver (B2 & B3 & B12, talk about superfood!), tuna (B3), crayfish (B6) and kidney (B12). There are also effective formulas against anxiety that contain vitamin B.
When taken in large doses, vitamin C provides tranquilizing effects to decrease anxiety. Its role is ensuring that the adrenal glands and brain chemistry are functioning properly. My favorite is pure ascorbic acid (I use it also in my homemade facial treatment!) but some other people prefer sustained release formulas.
The supplement helps to transport oxygen to the brain, which might help to relieve anxiety. There are also some scientific studies supporting this, though most of them are done with rats. In any case, vitamin E is an important antioxidant and it doesn’t do any harm if you get some. I use regularly vitamin E oil, both internally and externally. You just have to be careful with the dosage.
Known as gamma-aminobutyric acid, its role is of a neurotransmitter. This is an amino acid found in fish such as mackerel, bananas, nuts and GABA tea. The supplement also helps to induce sleep through its relaxation abilities as well as help with anxiety symptoms. Ketogenic diet — the best diet against anxiety — is a natural GABA booster. So, skip your bananas and enjoy fatty meat fried in coconut oil to increase your ketone levels and curb your anxiety.
Research shows that a lack of folate can lead to depression. Patients who lack folate have a hard time responding to treatment and often experience relapse. Therefore, folic acid helps patients with anxiety. But the brain has to convert folic acid into L-methylfolate before it can create enough serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine to alleviate depression. Unfortunately, some patients lack the ability to convert folic acid to L-methylfolate, so L-methylfolate supplements help in the reduction of anxiety and depression. Take the recommended daily dose and your anxiety will be eased.
Before Taking Any Supplements for Anxiety
Many anxiety supplements are in the market today whose role is to reduce the symptoms associated with anxiety. Supplements are best used as one waits for a permanent solution to dealing with anxiety such as therapy and learning ways of coping with it. The supplements can be categorized in to minerals, vitamins and herbal supplements. Minerals and vitamins such as GABA, vitamins B, C and E, minerals such as potassium, zinc, calcium, and magnesium help in reducing the anxiety symptoms. Herbal supplements include kava, valerian, passion flower, lemon balm and green tea and essential oils such as lavender among others.
If you feel that you are going through anxiety, it is best to consult a counselor or mental health expert first. This is to help you understand yourself more and help recommend medications that can help you relieve or treat your anxiety. You should be honest when talking to your doctor and tell everything your doctor needs to know such as your allergies and other health conditions. Supplements for anxiety can be very beneficial if taken with proper dosage and with doctor’s prescription.
It should also be understood that some supplements for anxiety can also yield different results, have side effects, and even make you dependent on them. Before taking any supplement, know more about it and decide if you can take its side effects. You don’t have to feel that anxiety is ruining your life if you know what to do, which kind of medication is best, which supplement is safe and effective for you, and the sort of people who can support you no matter what happens. May you have a more relaxed day ahead!