Sep 30, 2023
Best Supplements For Managing Your Anxiety
In today’s fast-paced, highly-competitive, demanding, and uncertain world, stress and anxiety are the most pressing public health issues and the leading causes of the global health-related burden.
In this blog, we’ll outline a few nutritional interventions designed to improve anxiety symptoms. With the rising cost of prescription medications and their production of unwanted side effects, people are exploring effective alternatives to manage and find relief from mental health conditions.
WHAT IS ANXIETY?
Anxiety is our body’s natural response to stress, anxiety is characterized by persistent, excessive, and unrealistic worry about future events. In many cases, anxiety can be helpful as it prepares individuals to respond to potential threats and challenges. But when anxiety becomes excessive, or when there is overstimulation of perceived threat, it can lead to interfere with a person’s daily life and well-being.
SYMPTOMS OF ANXIETY
Irritability, feeling tired easily, having trouble falling asleep, stomach aches, headaches, muscle pain, dizziness, cotton ball sensation in the ear, ringing in the ear, dry mouth, visual distortions, frequent colds, muscle tension, shooting pain in joints, tightness in the chest, tired and wired, concentration problems, unsteady walk, jitteriness, numbness, restless leg syndrome, weight loss or weight gain, extreme sensitivity to sensations, rapid heartbeat, shivering, frequent urination, burning eyes, concentration problems, mood swings.
L-Theanine is a phytochemical, a non-protein amino acid found in green tea that helps mitigate and prevent anxiety.
L-Theanine functions as a neuroprotective, cognitive-enhancing agent, it has been reported to have anti-stress or anti-depressant-like effects, which has been associated with an increase in the expression of brain-derived neurotrophic factor.
Studies have shown that L-Theanine may help reduce physiological responses to stress, and anxiety by directly reducing glutamate by binding to glutamate receptors in the brain. L-Theanine can help reduce cortisol levels (the hormone released in response to stress), and increase the production of neurotransmitters, such as GABA which has an anti-anxiety effect on the brain.
Vitamin B6 acts as a cofactor in the synthesis of neurotransmitters such as GABA, serotonin, and dopamine. Adequate levels of vitamin B6 are necessary for the production and balance of these neurotransmitters. GABA has an inhibitory effect, it helps inhibit excessive neural activity. GABA counters the effects of excitatory neurotransmitters like glutamate, which can lead to anxiety and overstimulation. GABA helps to counteract the body’s stress response and has an important role in promoting sleep and relaxation. Serotonin can promote a positive mood, promote healthy sleep patterns and reduce feelings of sadness and anxiety. Vitamin B6 plays an essential role in the remethylation of homocysteine to methionine (high homocysteine levels have been associated with mood disturbances). Vitamin B6 supplementation helps reduce the impact of stress and anxiety on mental health.
Magnesium is involved in the regulation of neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin, dopamine, GABA, and norepinephrine. These neurotransmitters are critical for mood regulation, and imbalances in their levels have been associated with mood disorders like anxiety. Magnesium is a co-factor in hundreds of enzymatic reactions involved in energy production.
Magnesium has a calming effect on the nervous system, it helps block excessive activity in the brain related to stress by reducing stress hormones like cortisol, thereby reducing anxiety. As per studies, magnesium deficiency induces anxiety, magnesium modulates hypothalamic pituitary axis (HPA). Dysregulations in the HPA axis may contribute to hyperemotionality and anxiety symptoms. Magnesium reduces neuronal hyperexcitability by inhibiting N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor activity.
Melatonin is a hormone primarily known for its role in regulating sleep-wake cycle. While melatonin is not directly involved in mood regulation, its impact on sleep can indirectly influence mood and emotional well-being. Sleep disturbances can contribute to mood disorders like stress and anxiety. Melatonin’s role in promoting healthy sleep can potentially help prevent or reduce the severity of mood-related symptoms.
Melatonin may influence the activity of GABAergic transmission by modulating GABA receptor activity. Melatonin has calming effects on the nervous system and can potentially help protect the brain from stress-related damage that could contribute to anxiety. Melatonin has antioxidant properties, and some studies suggest that oxidative stress might be linked to anxiety disorders.
Probiotics can affect mood by regulating the gut-brain axis (a specific pathway that involves the neural, endocrine, and immune system). Probiotics produce neurotransmitters like serotonin, and GABA, both of which have a crucial role in mood regulation. Probiotics help support the production of serotonin, contributing to improved mood.
Chronic inflammation is associated with mood disorders like anxiety, probiotics have anti-inflammatory effects and may help reduce systemic inflammation, which can have a positive impact on mood. By positively impacting gut microbiota composition and influencing neurotransmitter production, probiotics might indirectly contribute to anxiety relief.
L-Lysine has been shown to act as a partial serotonin receptor antagonist, decreasing the brain-gut response to stress as well as decreasing blood cortisol levels. High and prolonged levels of cortisol have been associated with increased anxiety.
Ashwagandha is classified as an adaptogen that has been suggested to modulate the production of stress hormones like cortisol, which are responsible for the ‘fight or flight’ response. By controlling cortisol levels, ashwagandha may promote a sense of calmness and relaxation, leading to a reduction in anxiety symptoms.
Ashwagandha has been found to interact with GABA receptors in the brain. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that helps reduce brain activity, promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety. By enhancing GABA receptor activity, ashwagandha may have an anxiolytic effect.
Anxiety and sleep often have a bidirectional relationship, where anxiety can disrupt sleep, and poor sleep can exacerbate anxiety symptoms. Ashwagandha has been linked to improving sleep quality, promoting better rest and potentially reducing anxiety-related sleep disturbances.
Ginkgo biloba contains flavonoids and terpenoids, which are known for their antioxidant properties. Antioxidants help combat oxidative stress in the body, which can contribute to anxiety and other mood disorders. By reducing oxidative stress, ginkgo biloba may have a positive impact on anxiety symptoms.
Better circulation can support brain function and potentially help with cognitive aspects related to anxiety, such as racing thoughts or difficulties in concentration.
Ginkgo biloba has been found to modulate the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters play a crucial role in regulating mood and emotions. By influencing these chemicals, ginkgo biloba may have a mild anxiolytic effect.
Ginkgo biloba has neuroprotective and antiapoptotic properties, such as inhibition of amyloid-beta neurotoxicity and protection against hypoxic challenges and increased oxidative stress.
Lower serum selenium concentrations have been associated with a greater incidence of depressed, anxious, confused, and hostile mood states in adults.
The critical role of selenoproteins in fighting oxidative stress and modulating neuronal growth has led to a growing body of research examining the role of selenium in mental health disorders, including depression. Selenium plays a role in the synthesis of glutathione peroxidases, which are important antioxidant enzymes present in brain tissues. These enzymes reduce reactive oxygen species in the brain.
Taking care of anxiety involves a combination of strategies. While these supplements can play a significant role in managing anxiety and promoting better mental health, some of the self-care techniques can be complementary approaches. Practice mindfulness, eat a well-balanced diet, get adequate sleep, limit exposure to stressors, practice relaxation techniques, spend good time in nature, engage in regular physical activity to enjoy a better mental health.