Life after 50 is meant to be enjoyed. It's your time to shine at home, in your career and around the world (if you're the traveling type). Depending on your personal health history and how you've taken care of yourself, you may be at increased risk for health conditions. Men over 50 have increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, low testosterone, cancer and fatigue. In additi...
There have been many scientific studies into how natural supplements may help relieve symptoms of anxiety. Here we will discuss what the top 5 supplements for anxiety are and why.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) has reported that general anxiety disorder affects about 3.1% of the US population. That comes out to 6.8 million adults with women being twice as likely to be affected.
Although we don’t know what exactly causes anxiety, there is evidence to support that biological factors, family background, and life experiences play a key role in the development of this condition. It can begin gradually and get worse as time goes on, until the point where it’s difficult to go outside and get through the day.
The effect that anxiety has on daily life can be quite miserable at times. While most people with this disorder can function normally, have social lives, and have a thriving career life, it can be difficult to feel happy and fulfilled with anxiety.
There are a number of treatment options available to those with anxiety. Some of these include:
- A combination of therapy and prescription medication.
- Cognitive Behavior Therapy or CBT.
- Relaxation techniques such as meditation.
- Dietary changes, i.e. eating more natural, holistic foods.
- Natural supplements.
Supplements for Anxiety
One treatment option that many people have turned to is taking natural supplements for anxiety. These are a great option because they are safe, scientifically proven to be effective, and have none of the harsh side effects that prescription anti-anxiety medications warn you about.
When it comes to the treatment of anxiety, all methods should be seriously considered before casting them aside. This is a chronic problem affecting millions of Americans every year, meaning there are millions of people desperate for an answer.
Taking natural supplements for anxiety in combination with other treatment methods – such as meditation, yoga, therapy, dietary change – is an answer for many of those people. While these may not be considered “cures” for anxiety, they can make many of the symptoms manageable enough for the person to work through and overcome the psychological factors causing it. This method takes patience and dedication, but if the person does the work, over time the symptoms get smaller and smaller until they inevitably fade away.
Below we will discuss the best 5 supplements for anxiety that have been backed by scientific studies. These can be incorporated into any treatment plan so you can overcome this disorder once and for all.
Top 5 Supplements for Anxiety
- Ashwagandha – Ashwagandha has been a popular herb used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to treat a wide variety of health conditions. More recently, it has been proven to help inflammation, insomnia, constipation, rheumatism, hormone imbalances, low energy levels, and anxiety. One peer-reviewed study in 2009 performed a 12 week randomized trial published in PLOS One, where they compared ashwagandha to the common pharmaceutical drugs lorazepam and imipramine. In this study, a group of 75 participants diagnosed with anxiety were divided into two groups. The first group received naturopathic care, nutrition counseling, deep breathing relaxation coaching, a multi-vitamin, and 300 mg of ashwagandha twice daily. The second group received psychotherapy, deep breathing relaxation coaching, and a placebo pill twice daily. The results showed that the first group had measured lower levels of anxiety after the 12 weeks by an astonishing 55%, while the second groups anxiety levels decreased by 30.5%. What’s awesome about this is that no harsh side effects accompanied these results like ones that are usually experienced when taking pharmaceutical drugs, i.e. insomnia, increased appetite, drowsiness, etc. Alongside decreased anxiety, was also increased levels of vitality, concentration, social functioning, and energy. There have been many other studies on ashwagandha that prove that this powerful herb can hold its own when measured up against pharmaceuticals.
- Vitamin D – It is estimated that 1 billion people worldwide have a vitamin D deficiency. Being deficient of vitamin D is linked to a variety of mental and physical health issues. This is likely because every tissue in the body has vitamin D receptors, including the brain, heart, muscles, and immune system. It is also the only vitamin that gets converted into a hormone, where it assists with calcium absorption and activates genes that regulate the immune system and release neurotransmitters that affect brain function and development (serotonin, dopamine, etc.). One 2015 reviewed study showed that people with depression and anxiety had low levels of calcidiol, which is a byproduct of vitamin D breakdown. Dr. James M. Greenblatt conducted his own study in 2011 and found that taking vitamin D supplements alongside therapy speeds up the recovery process and plays a critical role in treatment.
- L-Theanine – L-theanine is an amino acid that is found in tea leaves and some types of mushrooms. One of the most common teas it is found in is green tea, which is traditionally used as a restorative in Chinese medicine. It is known as an anxiolytic, meaning it works to reduce anxiety. Unlike other anxiolytics, it reduces stress without any sedative effects. This makes it so you feel more relaxed and stress-free, while remaining alert and attentive. How it works is by elevating levels of neurotransmitters in the brain that regulate emotions, mood, concentration, alertness, and sleep, as well as appetite, energy, and other cognitive skills. It also protects the brain against stress-related damage by reducing chemical production in the brain that causes stress and anxiety.
- Valerian Root – Valerian root is one of the most popular supplements for anxiety because of its ability to cure insomnia and nervous tension caused by anxiety. It has been used for centuries dating back to ancient Greece and Rome for insomnia, nervousness, headaches, trembling, and stress. Many people suffering with anxiety have trouble sleeping at night, making this a great supplement to add to their treatment plan. It works by slowing increasing levels of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain which produces calming effects on the body. Common anti-anxiety prescriptions like Xanax and Valium work the same way. However, valerian root is non-addictive and has far less serious side effects compared to these medications.
- Lavender – Lavender is widely known to have a sweet, floraly, relaxing aroma. It calms whatever room you can smell it in and thus is commonly used in aromatherapy. It has antibacterial, antifungal, antidepressant, analgesic, carminative, and anxiolytic properties making it a widely diverse tool to help people with just about anything. Lavender has been used for centuries to promote feelings of calm and reduce stress, but more recently has been seriously considered by scientists for being a possible treatment for anxiety. This study published in 2018 concluded that lavender is a desirable alternative to consider when treating patients with anxiety disorder. This is because of the anxiolytic properties that calm patients without causing drowsiness. It also has little-to-no side effects and is non-addictive. The fact that there have been multiple high quality peer reviewed randomized trials conducted that produce similar results points us to seriously considering lavender as a safe and effective supplement for anxiety.