With the global prevalence of anxiety increasing and increasing, researchers are discovering that nutrition could play more of a role in mental health than was previously thought.
A fascinating aspect of these discussion is the role that the natural supplements can play in easing anxiety.
Check out the latest research and expert advice on supplements for anxiety. Find out who can benefit, who may not and some specific types of supplements that may provide relief for some people.
What is anxiety?
According to the American Psychological Association, anxiety is a continuous, uncontrollable anxiety that won’t end. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that approximately 12 percent in the U.S. adult population has frequent feelings of anxiety, nervousness or anxiety.
If your feelings are strong enough and consistent enough to cause severe disruption to everyday routines, it’s possible that you may be living with an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders are the most frequent type of mental illness in the U.S., with 40 million adults (19.1 percent part of population) suffering from it annually.
Traditional treatments and therapies for anxiety include psychotherapy, which is similar to cognitive behavior therapy, and medication like antidepressants. These therapies are well-researched and scientifically proven effective for treating anxiety.
While traditional treatments are highly effective, some people suffering from anxiety might find that these therapies don’t work in the way they’d prefer. In fact, it’s estimated that close to half of people receiving common treatments of generalized anxiety do not respond to first-line treatments for anxiety, like antidepressants. In addition, antidepressants may come with some negative effects such as fatigue, weight gain and loss of libido that can cause people to be hesitant or to stop using the medication (although you should never quit taking your medication without consulting with your physician prior to doing so).
A majority of people suffering from moderate mental stress, which can include anxiety, have a tendency to turn to alternative and complementary medicine methods, such as supplements, for natural stress relief.
So, can supplements help alleviate anxiety? The short answer is maybe–and it’s contingent on the source and severity of the anxiety. It’s a good idea to speak with your physician before adding any supplements to your diet or pursuing alternative therapies.
Supplements for Anxiety: significance of a personalized approach
“Anxiety can manifest differently between two individuals who have the same diagnosis,” says Ripal Shah M.D., clinical assistant professor at the Stanford University School of Medicine. “One may exhibit primarily physically-based symptoms (palpitations) when stressed or anxious, while another might be calm and physically relaxed but internally restless (racing thought patterns).”
A supplement that affects the nerve system that manages our “fight or flight” stress response can help someone suffering from physical symptoms lessen their anxiety. However, this supplement might not be beneficial for those suffering from emotional problems.
So, it’s very important to adopt a personalised approach when navigating anxiety-related supplements.
The other thing that’s very clear about the purpose supplements might play as a therapy for anxiety is that they’ren’t an individual, “cure-all” solution–and they’re typically just one aspect of additional lifestyle approaches aimed at easing anxiety
“If we are looking for supplements to enhance the brain’s activity, but you haven’t altered your fitness routine, established an ongoing mind-body exercise routine and discovered a practical whole foods dietary approach or a holistic approach to eating, etc., supplements are going to have a less-than-hoped-for impact,” says Brent Bauer, M.D., director of the Mayo Clinic’s Integrative and Complementary Medicine Program.
“I always tell my patients that supplements are just supplementary.’ If there is a vitamin deficiency you may want to look into supplements, but there may be risks when taking unneeded and/or multiple supplements” says Michelle Loy, M.D., an integrative medicine physician with the Integrative Health and Wellbeing Center at Weill Cornell Medicine.
In all honesty that, supplements to the diet for anxiety might be beneficial for certain people, especially for individuals who:
Have a known nutrient deficiency
Are afflicted with only mild symptoms
Are you unable to take medication
Haven’t been able to respond to any other traditional therapies
Who should stay clear of supplements to treat anxiety?
Experts emphasize the importance of regularly reviewing and discussing any new supplements aimed at relieving anxiety with a licensed, knowledgeable physician prior to starting any new supplements.
“Anything capable of generating a beneficial effect must also have the power to have an adverse effect, too,” explains Dr. Bauer.
There are risks of risks and side effects in taking supplements to treat anxiety for the following people:
People taking certain medications that might interfere or interact with certain supplements.
People with other mental health conditions or medical ailments, in which supplementation could create stress or anxiety symptoms worse or lead to new symptoms.
Individuals with severe anxiety need access to immediate treatment.
Anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding (unless they consult an experienced doctor first).
“In my practice as a physician I’m adamant about encouraging my patients to engage in various practices for the mind and body (in addition to nutrition, exercise, etc.) for at least three months before we look into supplements,” notes Dr. Bauer.
Supplements That Could Help To Reduce Anxiety
There are numerous supplements that claim to ease anxiety. The process of finding the most effective one can be somewhat of trial and error, however it must always be conducted with the assistance of a doctor.
“If you are a patient of mine who is considering an alternative, we will go over the benefits and risks and then use databases to look for any known interactions with their current medications,” says Dr. Bauer.
Common supplements that could help reduce anxiety are listed below.
An Ayurvedic herb that could work particularly well for those suffering from insomnia or anxiety, Ashwagandha has been proven to help improve sleeping patterns and stress resistance. It’s also a herb Dr. Loy recommends.
Recent reviews of the safety and efficacy of ashwagandha for anxiety suggest that the effects are typically positive, the study size is very small. More research on the ideal quantity and duration of time ashwagandha must be considered as a replacement or as an adjunct to traditional treatments are needed.
L-theanine is an organic compound most commonly present in tea leaves. “L-theanine is associated with positive research for its effect on sleep , but there are conflicting studies on anxiety,” the Dr. Shah.
A review of 2022 studies in Pharmacological Research found that compared to groups not receiving L-theanine, the groups taking L-theanine saw no significant improvement in treatments for anxiety. However, a study in 2015 in Journal of the American College of Nutrition does point to L-theanine’s effectiveness in helping to improve sleep quality. Therefore, people with sleep issues may find this supplement helpful
Recent clinical studies suggest that magnesium supplements, in conjunction with other vitamins, such as vitamin B6 or zinc, may be a promising solution to reduce anxiety in a range of groups, such as individuals who are stressed, as well as those suffering from type 2 heart disease and diabetes. Additionally, a majority of Americans suffer from a deficiency in this mineral and often don’t get enough from their diet.
When it comes to specific guidelines on magnesium for anxiety in general However, further studies must be conducted. “Currently there’s not much and inconsistent evidence regarding magnesium and its effect on anxiety” Explains Monique Richard Dietitian who is integrative and a National media spokesperson on behalf of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
“While there are studies that suggest the potential benefits of vitamin D for depression or anxiety However, the research is in the dark on whether supplementation with vitamin D can reduce symptoms,” according to doctor. Loy.
Researchers, for instance, have to determine how vitamin D supplementation impacts people of different ages as well as different types of anxiety. Scientists are also studying whether supplementing vitamin D with other nutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids has any effect.
A 2022 randomized controlled trial on Human Psychopharmacology randomly assigned 478 young adults that were mostly females to take tablets of lactose, vitamin B6 tablets or vitamin B12 tablets for a month. The participants who supplemented with high doses of vitamin B6 self-reported a lower level of anxiety.
But, a previous study from the year 2019 revealed that generally, B vitamins did not have a noticeable effect on anxiety. Taken together the two pieces of research demonstrate the need for more studies on B vitamins as well as anxiety particularly with regard to B6.
Cannabidiol (CBD) CBD is an organic bioactive compound that can be found inside the marijuana plant. One of the main reasons why people choose to use CBD is to combat anxiety.
However, scientific evidence regarding CBD’s impact on anxiety are quite limited.
Incredibly, a tiny 2021 study conducted in Psychopharmacology investigated what might have caused the self-reported reputation CBD appears to enjoy in terms of reducing anxiety, despite its limited and inconsistent scientific evidence.
The researchers randomly allocated 43 healthy adults to consume CBD-free hemp seed oil in two possible sessions. In the firstsession, they were told it contained CBD (expectancy situation) and the second they were told that it was not.
The people who had the strongest convictions prior to this study, that CBD can reduce anxiety also experienced less anxiety when they were expectedly taking CBD supplements. CBD supplement. The study verified that there was a “placebo effects” was responsible for the lowered anxiety symptoms, and not the CBD.
Yet, a smaller study from 2019 revealed that CBD supplementation did indeed reduce anxiety in 79% of participants in the study.
Like many of the other supplements discussed in this report These two contradicting studies demonstrate the need for more research-based trials in the area of CBD in addition to anxiety.
Other Supplements for Anxiety
There are many other supplements that are marketed towards easing anxiety, including:
Omega 3 fatty acids
This being said, “simply seeing it advertised or on a retail shelf does not mean it’s an ideal option for your individual requirements,” says Richard.
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