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Tuesday, April 27, 2021

Best Vitamins, Supplements and Lifestyle Remedies for Anxiety

If you’re feeling stressed out, a vitamin boost or other natural therapy recommended by a health professional may be all you need to bring some relief.

Anxiety disorders are America’s most common mental illness. They affect more than 40 million adults every year, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Additionally, anxiety is on the rise. It’s not surprising, considering that so many people lost work, shuttered a business, and/or were forced into greater isolation due to the pandemic. 

Vitamin Toxicity 

As we’ve mentioned, it’s essential to involve a health professional before adding vitamins and supplements to your dietary regimen. In fact, if a physician asks what medications you are taking, it’s important to provide vitamins and supplements just as you would mention prescribed medications. Vitamins and supplements can interact with your medications, potentially causing dangerous side effects. Adding vitamins is not always a good thing!

For instance, vitamin K should never be combined with a blood thinner such as warfarin. Vitamin E may also cause bleeding with warfarin therapy, and may reduce the effectiveness of chemotherapy. Vitamin B6 can reduce the effectiveness of certain drugs. Vitamin A should not be taken with retinoids, commonly prescribed for acne and psoriasis. High levels of niacin can interfere with statins. Folic acid can block drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, and perhaps methotrexate in cancer therapy. 

Minerals can also interfere with other medications. Calcium, magnesium, aluminum, iron and potassium have potentially serious effects. The bottom line is: include your health professional in decisions before adding vitamins and/or supplements. A health professional can ensure that any changes will have positive potential and avoid unexpected side effects.

Lifestyle Remedies

If you’re struggling with anxiety, the first thing to consider are lifestyle changes that have been proven to bring relief. Lifestyle changes include eliminating some substances while adding or boosting other substances and habits.

Here are some things to avoid:

  • Alcohol is a sedative. It may make you feel better in the short run, but it is detrimental to mental health long-term and can be addictive.
  • The earlier you begin smoking, the higher your chance of developing an anxiety disorder. The chemicals in cigarette smoke can change pathways in the brain linked to anxiety.
  • Caffeine may cause or worsen anxiety and can even trigger panic attacks.
Adding or increasing these things can help reduce anxiety:
  • Increase hours of sleep by darkening your room and keeping it cool. Avoid using a computer or smartphone in bed. Try writing down your worries before attempting to sleep.
  • Meditation calms chaotic thoughts. Just 30 minutes a day can alleviate anxiety and act as an antidepressant, according to research from Johns Hopkins University.
  • Conscious deep breathing can reduce anxiety. Use deep, slow, even breaths.
  • Essential oils can relieve anxiety and help you relax, according to studies. Try bergamot, lavender, clay sage, grapefruit and ylang ylang to promote sleep and reduce heart rate and blood pressure.
  • Chamomile tea can promote sleep and reduce symptoms of anxiety.
  • Constructive journaling can improve mood and reduce worry. Putting your worries on paper and expressing gratitude are two methods that have been found to increase happiness.

Vitamins and Supplements

It’s important to consult a trusted health professional before adding vitamins or supplements to your diet, according to experts like neuropsychologist Sanam Hafeez. They may interfere with other medications or supplements and make the situation worse instead of better. However, many have been shown to be effective at boosting moods.

Three main biological factors contribute to anxiety: serotonin deficiency, low vitamin B6 and low iron. When combined with talk therapy and lifestyle changes, the addition of vitamins and supplements recommended by your health professional can improve your mood and bring you back to equilibrium. Following are some common natural mood boosters. Omega-3 fatty acids are the building blocks of the brain and nervous system; they are essential for cognitive function. They can be found in many fish, including salmon, herring, sardines, anchovies, lake trout, mackerel and tuna. 

B vitamins are essential for stress management and mood, and are found in a wide range of foods, including carrots and green leafy vegetables. 

Magnesium produces energy and helps form neurological pathways in the brain. It can be found in greens, nuts, seeds, dry beans and whole grains.

L-theanine is an amino acid that improves focus and promotes relaxation. It is found in black tea, green tea and certain mushrooms. 

Gamma-aminobutyric acid is essential for the production of serotonin, a powerful transmitter of positive feelings. Some vitamins boost levels of GABA, or it can be consumed as a supplement.

Valerian root is commonly known as a sleep aid, but it is also effective in reducing anxiety. It’s available in capsules or as a liquid or tea.

Licorice root regulates stress hormones in the adrenal glands. But eating it in candy form won’t help; that usually contains only licorice flavor. Try purified deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) as a capsule, powder or tea.

Ashwagnadha has been used for hundreds of years to improve energy and reduce anxiety. It is derived from a plant that is available in capsule form.

Rhodiola, or golden root, is an adaptogen that promotes overall health and has a long history of use. Find it in capsules, extracts and teas.

Passionflower can promote positive mood, improve sleep and reduce nervousness, according to many studies. It is available as an extract or tablet, or can be added into teas and tinctures.

Probiotics can support not only digestion, but also brain and emotional health. Natural sources are yogurt, pickles, kombucha, sauerkraut and other fermented foods.


This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical decisions before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors