Anxiety has become a significant issue within America. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 19.1% of Americans have anxiety. That is over 40 million American adults suffering from Anxiety disorders, and these statistics continue to increase.
As a society, we are becoming increasingly more anxious and are often unsure how to address it or feel like it is not something we are able to talk about. However, when you feel stressed or anxious, know that you are not alone. It is essential to protect your mental health by addressing the issue, and natural vitamins are a great way to do just that.
This article will address what anxiety is, why it is essential to manage it closely, and what the best vitamins for anxiety are to effectively address your symptoms.
Signs of Anxiety
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) affects different people in very different ways. It can be entirely crippling for some, where they get panic attacks and struggle to function properly in society, and for others, they feel fewer symptoms that are less severe.
To understand if you are suffering from anxiety, the below list of symptoms will assist you:
- Feeling nervous or tense
- Feeling physically tired
- The feeling of impending danger
- Feeling a sense of panic or danger
- Sweating or trembling
- Difficulty focusing and concentrating on anything other than the worry
- Rapid breathing (also known as hyperventilation)
- Dry mouth
- Difficulty falling asleep
If you are one of the many people who suffer from anxiety symptoms, it is essential to understand that you aren’t alone and don’t need to simply endure living with anxiety.
Why It Is Important To Manage Anxiety
Often anxiety helps our bodies identify and appropriately respond to perceived dangers. Your body has a “fight or flight” response mode within your brain and nervous system that enables you to deal with challenging situations that arise in everyday life.
Small amounts of anxiety can be good in some instances because it can protect us from danger and motivate us to solve the issue at hand. An example of this would be feeling on edge when walking down a dark side street. Your body is alert because it is cautious that there may be danger nearby.
Another example would be feeling a level of anxiety in relation to a project that needs to be completed at work. This anxiety may motivate you to ensure the project is completed on time. Or, if the anxiety is severe, it may instead be crippling and cause you to procrastinate and not solve the issue at all.
An excess amount of anxiety on a regular basis can result in greater issues within our lives and, if left unmanaged, can lead to long-term physical and mental health issues. For example, if you are someone that loses sleep because you are awake all night ruminating and feeling anxious about a problem or situation. Over time, you would become chronically fatigued, your mood is affected, your ability to work is compromised, and you are more prone to heart issues such as a higher risk of heart disease.
Effectively managing anxiety symptoms is essential to your mental health, mood regulation, digestive health, and sleep quality. Anxiety doesn’t just affect our own life. It can also negatively affect those around us. When you decide to treat anxiety and improve the symptoms that come along with it, it allows you to live a healthier and happier life.
There are a variety of ways to reduce anxiety symptoms and reduce stress through natural remedies. It is essential to keep in mind that natural vitamins and supplements for anxiety are incredibly beneficial for the body, but if you are coping with extreme levels of chronic anxiety, it is important to seek professional medical advice because vitamins are not a substitute for prescription medications.
The Top 7 Evidence-Based Best Vitamins For Anxiety
1. Magnesium Supplements
Magnesium supplements have been directly linked to aiding with anxiety relief.
Magnesium intake has reduced over the year due to a significant increase in the use of refined flours. A lack of magnesium can result in migraines, high blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart disease.
Magnesium is essential to brain health because it has the capacity to control the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis, which mediates the effects of stress on our metabolism, nervous system, and immune system.
Studies demonstrate that magnesium deficiency can lead to increased feelings of panic and fear.
Magnesium in food
You can increase your intake of magnesium by eating the following foods:
- Whole grains
- Dark leafy greens
- Dark Chocolate
Ideal Magnesium dosage to take
If you do decide to take a magnesium supplement instead or, in addition to increasing your magnesium intake with your food, it is crucial to understand that magnesium is very safe to take for most people. However, if you have heart disease, kidney disease, or diabetes, you should not take magnesium unless you have spoken to a medical professional.
Taking too much magnesium can result in diarrhea. The recommended magnesium dosage is 400-420mg for men and 310-320mg for women. You can take magnesium once a day, either in the morning or the evening.
2. Vitamin C Supplement
When discussing the best vitamins for anxiety, vitamin C is essential. A deficiency in vitamin C supplements has been known to be directly connected to stress-related diseases, especially an increase in anxiety.
Vitamin C is a great mood booster; it has the ability to reduce anxiety, maintain healthy blood vessels, skin, bones, and protect our cells. It also ensures that our immune system is functioning properly and reduces the risk of chronic diseases.
Vitamin C in Food
Vitamin C can be found in the following foods:
- Citrus fruits (oranges, grapefruit)
- Brussel sprouts
- Red and green peppers
- Spinach and other leafy greens
- White potatoes
Ideal Vitamin C dosage to take
Vitamin C is water-soluble within the body. It is also known as L-ascorbic acid. Since we cannot create Vitamin C on our own naturally, you need to ensure that you get enough from the foods or supplements you consume.
The recommended dosage is 75mg for adult women and 90mg for adult men. The amount is increased for pregnant or breastfeeding women; they should be consuming anywhere between 85-120mg.
3. B Vitamins
Research suggests that all essential B vitamins can improve your overall mood and effectively help to reduce anxiety disorders. Studies have found that lower levels of B vitamins, specifically B-12 and B-6, can lead to mental health issues such as depression.
It is also not uncommon for those on a vegetarian or vegan diet to be lacking in B vitamins. This is because quite a few B vitamins, including B-2 and B-12, primarily occur in animal-based food sources. In addition to a getting vitamin B from food, there are also Vitamin B supplements specifically formulated for stress and anxiety.
The eight B vitamins include:
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
- Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
- Vitamin B9 (Folate)
- Vitamin B12 (Cobalamins)
Vitamin B in Food
Vitamin B can be found in the following foods:
- Fish (tuna, salmon, and mackerel)
- Meat (beef, red meat, and chicken)
- Dark green vegetables (kale and spinach)
Ideal Vitamin B12 dosage to take
The recommended daily intake for vitamin B12 is 2.4 mg for adults. However, it is important to note that breastfeeding women, pregnant women, and older adults will require higher doses – ranging from 2.4 mg-2.8 mg.
Vitamin B12 is water-soluble, which means that your body naturally gets rid of any excess that you don’t need, making it incredibly safe to take daily.
4. Ashwagangha Supplement
Ashwagandha is derived from a plant that grows in Africa and Asia. It is best known for reducing anxiety symptoms, helping with insomnia, increasing energy, aging, boosting brain function, lowering cortisol levels, and lowering blood sugar. Ashwagandha may also help with depression and promotes cognitive health.
Ideal Ashwagandha dosage to take
It is safe to take ashwagandha daily in either tablet or powder form. However, it is not recommended to be taken more than the daily recommended dosage.
To reduce stress, anxiety disorders and to receive the complete health benefits. It is recommended to take at least 300 mg two times a day for a minimum of eight weeks. 1,000mg per day is generally considered safe to take.
It is important to note that pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take ashwagandha. Anyone that had an autoimmune disease should consult have a doctor provide medical advice as to whether or not they should take it.
We have a full article on the in’s and out’s and also some Ashwagandha reviews if you’re interested in reading more.
5. Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays an essential role in regulating your mood. You can naturally get vitamin D from spending time in the sun as well as from eating foods that are high in Vitamin D, there are also Vitamin D supplements available, which are great if you aren’t able to spend time in the sun, such as in some winter climates.
Research suggests that vitamin D deficiency includes muscle weakness, depression, bone pain, and fatigue. Low vitamin D levels are also directly linked to higher levels of anxiety and other mood disorders.
Vitamin D in Food
Other than getting additional Vitamin D through spending time in the sun. You can also consume foods that are high in Vitamin D. They include:
- The flesh of fatty fish (salmon, trout, mackerel, tuna)
- Beef liver
- Egg Yolks
Ideal Vitamin D supplement dosage to take
If you live in a place where you receive sunshine for a significant part of the year, you may get enough to fulfill your vitamin D needs. However, if you live in a location that is either far North or South of the equator, you may require additional vitamin D in those winter months, when you aren’t able to get enough natural sunlight.
The recommended average daily intake is 10-20mg. However, as previously mentioned, you may need to take more if you aren’t receiving sufficient exposure to the sun or if your skin tone is darker. For those requiring a higher dosage, you can take any amount between 25-100mg per day.
6. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Research suggests that people with anxiety disorders correlate with lower levels of Omega-3 in their bodies. Omega-3 fatty acids benefit the body by reducing the chance of heart disease, stroke, and heart attack.
Omega-3 fatty acids also assist with lowering blood pressure and reducing the amount of plaque build-up in the arteries.
Omega-3 in Food
You can get Omega-3 from eating fish a minimum of twice a week or by taking a supplement.
- Freshwater trout
When consuming omega-3 from dietary sources, it is crucial to ensure that it is high quality and does not contain mercury or other chemicals. Mercury is a heavy metal that is naturally occurring and can build up in the body, making it highly toxic.
To combat this issue, choose seafood that contains less mercury. All options mentioned in the list above are low in mercury as well as shrimp, salmon, oysters, pollock, and scallops.
Ideal Omega-3 dosage to take
If you do not enjoy eating fish or are unable to because of dietary choices, then you can get your Omega-3 from supplements. Studies suggest that doses of between 200-2,200 mg per day have the ability to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression by at least 20%.
7. Amino Acid L-theanine
L-theanine is an amino acid with calming effects commonly found in mushrooms, black tea, and green tea. It can significantly reduce insomnia, improve mood, and significantly lower the stress hormone cortisol in our bodies when encountering stressful tasks.
L-theanine has also been found to increase focus, improve immunity, improve sleep and assist with managing your blood pressure.
Ideal Amino Acid dosage to take
You can get L-theanine from supplements or tea. The FDA classifies L-theanine as generally recognized as safe to use when taken according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. It is often distributed in capsules of 200 mg. It is not recommended to exceed 400 mg without first seeking consultation from a health professional.
When you are dealing with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, panic attacks, or are simply seeking to reduce anxiety, natural supplements in addition to a healthy diet can significantly reduce your anxiety levels.
Actively managing anxiety is essential to living a healthy and happy life. When you are less stressed, you have the ability to live a life that is balanced, full, and productive. You no longer become bogged down by the stress of life and have the opportunity to step out of your comfort zone.
If you are struggling with anxiety, work on incorporating some of the vitamins and supplements mentioned in this article because they are proven to be effective and work to reduce anxiety levels.
It is important to remember that when it comes to vitamins, you need to take them on a regular basis over a period of time to reap the benefits. If you are still unsure which vitamins would best suit your situation, make sure to speak to a health professional.