Supplements for anxiety are becoming more popular, and research suggests that they could help alleviate certain symptoms that sufferers of anxiety disorders.
Anxiety is a complicated disorder that is often in hand along with mental health issues like depression, or PTSD. The majority of prescribed medications are required to treat the condition effectively, and are often combined with regular therapy to alleviate symptoms and discover the root of the issue. But, in addition to the most effective magnesium supplement, there are a variety of nutritional supplements you can regularly to support healthy sleep, good health and stress reduction.
It is important to note, however, that you should not take supplements that are not under medical supervision, especially when you are already taking medication because they could cause adverse reactions.
We talked to a few mental health professionals to find their opinion on what supplements can help ease the symptoms of anxiety, and if they are any that you should stay clear of.
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Supplements can help with anxiety?
If you suffer from moderate or occasional anxiety, you might find supplements to be an effective tool for managing your symptoms. Supplements that support sleep, mental health or other common deficiencies that cause negative effects on your mental health can be beneficial, however it is always advisable to consult an expert before including them in your diet.
Roxana Ehsani is a registered dietitian nutritionist, as well as a national public relations spokesperson of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics She explains that supplements don’t alleviate anxiety, but they can help with certain symptoms. “Certain supplements can help reduce the symptoms of anxiety, however they must be approved by your physician prior to taking them,” she says. “Also be aware that taking supplements for anxiety won’t get to the root of anxiety, and therefore it’s not going to fix it or eliminate it longer, but maybe temporarily.”
Roxana Ehsani, registered dietitian nutritionist and registered dietitian
Roxana Ehsani, Board Certified Specialist in Sport Dietetics as well as an official National Media Spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She has a Bachelors of Sciences in Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise from Virginia Tech and a Masters of Science in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Pittsburgh and completed her dietetics internship at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
For patients taking strong medications like antipsychotics and benzodiazepines supplements can cause undesirable adverse effects, and you must be aware of mixing supplements with prescribed medications and not under the supervision of a physician.
Dr Deborah Lee, a medical doctor and author for Dr. Fox Online Pharmacy (opens in new tab) discusses how supplements to treat anxiety could be dangerous because they’re not controlled in the same manner as prescription drugs. “Many sufferers of anxiety issues will use supplements that they buy online or through a pharmacy. It’s hard to provide good recommendations on anxiety supplements due to the fact that natural products, such as minerals and vitamins, aren’t regulated in the same manner as other medicines and drugs,” she says.
After working for many years within the NHS in the U.K beginning as a GP and later as the Chief Clinician of the integrated Community Sexual Health Service, Dr Deborah Lee now works as medical and health writer with a focus in women’s health. She is a specialist in menopausal health.
“There is usually not enough well-designed research that supports their usage. The majority of studies, if they exist, are small short-term ones, and often conducted on animals. Most of the time, they aren’t controlled, randomized trials that include an uncontrolled group.”
A double-blind study published in Current Developments in Nutrition (opens in a new tab) found that a general multivitamin and mineral supplement could be beneficial in reducing adolescents’ experience of anxiety-related symptoms. The study, however, needs to replicated at a bigger scale. Eliminating any possible mineral or vitamin deficiencies will ensure that your body functions optimally, and those who are experiencing anxiety issues should consult their physician about the results of blood tests to rule out deficiency as the cause.
A chronic magnesium deficiency could negatively affect our mental health as well as our capacity to manage stress. A study of the Nutrients (opens in a new tab) journal revealed that prolonged stress and anxiety drains the body’s magnesium stores and magnesium deficiency could result in a dysfunctional stress response. A different review published of Nutrients (opens in a new tab) found that magnesium supplements could aid in the treatment of anxiety that is mild.
If you suspect that you be suffering from a magnesium deficiency consult your physician prior to adding supplements to your diet, since your symptoms could be a sign of other issues.
Ehsani adds that magnesium supplements have been proven to reduce anxiety. “Magnesium supplementation is the first thing I initially think of, since is an important mineral which can help the body to relax,” she says. “Some people may not be eating enough food and it is also lost in tiny amounts through sweat, too. There have been some studies that tested magnesium supplementation on those suffering from depression and anxiety, and they found that it did enhance the effects of supplements for those who took it, in comparison to the control group.”
Sometimes referred to as nature’s sleep aid, a meta study published in the Journal of Evidence-based Integrative medicine (opens in a new tab) found that valerian could be an effective supplement to managing anxiety and improving sleep. However because of the instable quality of this supplement as well as the wide range of dosages that are available on the market and the lack of clarity on what the effectiveness of valerian is.
In addition, valerian may enhance the effectiveness of sleep medication such as benzodiazepines. It also could be a factor in the interaction with other supplements, such as St John’s Wort, according to the Mayo Clinic (opens in new tab).
A study published of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (opens in a new tab) examined twelve papers that evaluated the effectiveness of kava as a treatment option for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). In one study, there was no difference in the results between those who took Kava supplements and those who took a placebo. the review concluded that the current research is not sufficient to justify the use of kava as a supplement for anxiety.
Fish oil supplements may help to treat a deficiency of fatty acids in some patients. This may cause signs of mental illness because of the role the fatty acids play in the brain’s chemistry, as demonstrated in a study in the journal Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience (opens in a new tab). In addition, JAMA network open JAMA Network open (opens in a new tab) medical journal carried out an analysis meta-research that revealed an excessive amount of Omega-3 (found in supplements made from fish oil) could help reduce symptoms of anxiety in patients with clinical.
St. John’s Wort
St John’s Wort can be an extremely well-known remedy for low mood and anxiety, however it is actually quite dangerous to use, especially when you are taking birth control pills or antidepressants because it may interact with and disrupt these medications.
A review published of Systematic Review (opens in a new tab) discovered that St John’s Wort is effective in treating moderate to mild depression (showing positive results compared to placebo) Another review published of the Journal of Psychopharmacology (opens in new tab) discovered that there are many interactions between St. John’s Wort as well as therapeutic medications. In this regard, always consult with your physician prior to including St John’s Wort into your routine.
People living in colder climates are typically advised to supplement with vitamin D between October through April because of the low amount of sunlight that causes deficiencies in a variety of populations. A study published in the Journal of Affective Disorders (opens in a new tab) shows that there is an association between vitamin D deficiencies and mood disorders , and for those suffering from vitamin D deficiencies, taking supplements improves mood. Since vitamin D is among the vitamins that help boost the immune system, it could be beneficial to supplement it to improve your overall health, especially during the winter months.
Ehsani says Vitamin D deficiency is commonplace across the USA. “Vitamin D deficiencies may also create anxiety, and addressing the nutritional deficiencies could aid in calming your anxiety,” she says. “It’s reported that 42 percent of Americans are deficient in Vitamin D.”
A deficiency in B vitamins can trigger various distressing symptoms due to the fact that B12 particularly is essential to maintain the proper functioning of the brain. It is possible to feel tired or irritable, and even confused when you’re deficient in B12 as well as other B-vitamins.
A meta-analysis in The Nutrients (opens in a new tab) journal revealed that taking supplements with vitamin B complex could be especially beneficial for people suffering from mood disorders or who are in poor nutritional health. Although you could consume too much Vitamin B in one sitting, it’s difficult to overdose since it’s water-soluble and your body is adept at flushing out excess. This makes it an extremely safe supplement for mood disorders and anxiety however, an examination of your blood and medical advice is advised if you suspect that you may have an insufficient amount of vitamin B.
Chamomile is among the primary ingredients in sleepy-time tea. It is a relatively safe supplement for the majority of people. According to medical advice, it may interact with certain medicines, including blood thinners when consumed in large quantities, however drinking a cup of tea every day is not likely to trigger any adverse negative effects.
A study published in the Phytomedicine (opens in a new tab) journal revealed that after eight weeks of chamomile supplements resulted in results similar to the results seen during traditional anxiolytic medication. More extensive studies must be conducted to confirm this, however drinking a cup of chamomile tea could be a beneficial supplement to your routine at bedtime in case you suffer from anxiety.
Aromatherapy is a great remedy for anxiety at home, with minimal side negative effects. A couple of drops of the lavender essential oil into your bath or diffuser can help you be more relaxed. While it won’t cure anxiety, it could be an effective part of your routine, especially to aid in relaxing before going to sleeping.
A study published in the Laryngoscope of Investigative Otolaryngology (opens in a new tab) discovered that aromatherapy using lavender was effective in reducing anxiety prior to surgery in patients who were scheduled to undergo day-time surgery. While the journal says that larger-scale studies are required to be conducted however, the overall results were encouraging.
The allergy to lavender is not common however it’s worthwhile to test any new ingredients you may want to try to help with aromatherapy prior to putting them into your bathwater.
Supplements for anxiety There are risks?
It is essential to consult with your physician prior to incorporating any supplements to your diet, especially when you are taking any medication, since some supplements may interfere with prescription drugs and birth control.
Ehsani suggests consulting with your physician when selecting supplements for anxiety. “There are always risks with any supplement, and it’s recommended to consult your physician prior to you take any medication,” she says. “Certain supplements can interfere with medications you’re taking or affect or cause harm to the current health condition you are suffering from, and certain supplements aren’t evaluated for safety or quality So always ensure that the that the supplement you select has been approved by your physician.”