Stress and anxiety may be a normal part of life occasionally, but if you feel anxious more often than not, that’s a problem.
While most people think that stress is caused by financial worries, relationship troubles or work-related stress, there are many underlying medical causes of anxiety.
The most common is blood sugar dysregulation.
Parasites, Candida, allergens, food sensitivities, chemical toxicities, unbalanced hormones, and medications are just a few of the other root causes of anxiety symptoms.
It’s important to dig deep to find the hidden cause of your anxiety and address it.
But in the meantime, let’s talk about some natural supplements for anxiety that can help calm the stress and allow you to focus on finding your underlying imbalances.
Which Type of Anxiety do you Have?
First, you will need to establish which type of anxiety you have.
- Physical Anxiety–physical tension, stiffness and pain, panic attacks, unable to relax, feeling overwhelmed, or craving carbs/alcohol/drugs for relaxation.
- Worrier/Ruminating Anxiety–insomnia, anger issues, depression, negativity, irritability, afternoon/evening cravings, PMS symptoms, or lack of confidence.
- Blood Sugar Anxiety–physical anxiety but more shaky, feel better after eating, irritability, agitated, nervous, upset easily, or low energy.
Don’t be surprised if you have symptoms for more than one type of anxiety. That is very common.
You’ll want to address each type of anxiety, ONE AT A TIME.
Start with Blood Sugar Anxiety if you have those symptoms.
Physical Anxiety Supplements
Physical anxiety is usually a symptom of low GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), a neurotransmitter that is responsible for reducing the activity of the excitatory neurons in the brain.
So what can you do to boost GABA?
You can actually take GABA in supplement form.
GABA works well for some folks, but not at all for others.
You’ll want to read about that in my post “Do GABA supplements really work for Anxiety?” along with dosage and brand recommendations.
PHENIBUT is a metabolite of GABA that can be a very effective tool for reducing anxiety.
Some practitioners (e.g. Trudy Scott, CN) worry that Phenibut can be habit-forming. I have not found that to be the case personally.
As well, it is beneficial to support the process that actually makes GABA to begin with.
Nutritional compounds that support GABA activity suggested by Dr. Datis Kharrazian in “Why Isn’t My Brain Working?” are:
- Valerian Root–a well-known herb that increases the sensitivity of GABA receptors and slows down the breakdown of GABA.
- Lithium Orotate–the mineral, not the drug Lithium Carbonate used for bipoloar disorder. Lithium increases GABA receptor sensitivity.
- Passion Flower Extract–another popular herb that increases GABA receptor site sensitivity.
- L-theanine–an amino acid that has a similar structure to GABA. Found in many teas like chamomile, black and green tea (Note: many teas have caffeine which can increase anxiety symptoms).
- Taurine–an amino acid with a similar structure to GABA.
- P5P–the active form of Vitamin B6 that is a cofactor of GABA synthesis.
- Magnesium–most well-known calming mineral that is a cofactor of GABA synthesis.
- Zinc–another mineral that is a cofactor of GABA synthesis (and many other processes).
- Manganese–another mineral that is a cofactor of GABA synthesis.
That may seem like a lot of pills to take, but there are supplements available that combine all of these into one supplement.
Apex Energetics, for example, makes a supplement called Gabatone Active that combines all of these nutrients.
As well, they manufacture a supplement with Phenibut, Taurine, Valerian Root, and Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) known as Gabacore. Apex Energetics supplements are only available from healthcare practitioners.
Glycine is an amino acid that inhibits norepinephrine. It works well for panic attacks especially if taken sublingually. Do not take with Clozapine.
Be sure to discuss any supplements you plan to take with your doctor and pharmacist for possible interactions with prescription drugs you may be taking.
Remember that amino acids should be taken away from food.
Worrying and ruminating are usually symptoms of low Serotonin, the neurotransmitter that is also associated with depression.
Serotonin is a happy, feel-good type of chemical in the brain.
Depression and Anxiety may seem like they are opposite ends of the spectrum, but they are actually close cousins.
Some people find 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) amino acid supplements to be most helpful to boost Serotonin.
Others find Tryptophan (the amino acid precursor to 5-HTP) to be helpful.
Nutritional compounds that support Serotonin activity as recommended by Dr. Datis Kharrazian are:
- St. Johns Wort– an herb that works great for this type of anxiety
- SAMe (S-adenosyl-L-methionine)–an amino acid derivative that supports the synthesis of Serotonin.
- Inositol (Vitamin B8)–also helps with obsessive thoughts and actions and panic attacks.
- Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)–helps stabilize mood. This form of Niacin avoids the “niacin flush”.
- P5P (Vitamin B6)–cofactor in the conversion of Tryptophan to Serotonin.
- Folate (Vitamin B9)–as opposed to folic acid, which many people cannot convert to the usable form.
- Methyl B-12 (Vitamin B12)–the methylated formula of B12 well-known for its treatment of depression and anxiety.
- Magnesium–a mineral cofactor for Serotonin production.
You’ll find more information about these nutrients on my neurotransmitter page, Serotonin.
Again, Apex Energetics manufactures a supplement with all of these nutrients combined known as Serotone Active.
While most of these nutrients are vitamins and minerals, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider for advice on dosages and possible drug interactions.
Blood Sugar Anxiety
Blood sugar dysregulation is the number one cause of anxiety.
You can feel physical symptoms such as shakiness, lightheadedness and headaches as well as emotional symptoms like irritability and even panic.
Blood sugar and adrenal issues go hand in hand. Adrenal Fatigue, now known as HPA Axis Dysregulation is commonplace in today’s society, sadly.
Most of the people I work with discover that they have blood sugar dysregulation.
Read more at my post about blood sugar issues and anxiety.
Rather than riding on the blood sugar roller coaster, this disorder can actually be turned around in a matter of a few weeks with the proper diet and nutrients.
- Start in your doctor’s office (or you can order these tests yourself now) to assess your levels of HBA1C, Fasting Glucose, IGF-1 and Fasting Insulin.
- Become a Fat Burner, not a Sugar Burner with a simple Two Week Sugar Detox Plan. Discuss any significant diet change with your healthcare practitioner.
- Support your blood sugar with supplements.
Nutritional compounds that support blood sugar regulation recommended by Dr. Kharrazian are:
- Chromium–a mineral that supports healthy insulin receptor sensitivity and is depleted by a diet of sugar and refined carbs.
- Gymnema Sylvestre–an herb that supports efficient insulin use, healthy blood sugar balance and pancreatic cell health.
- Glutamine–an amino acid that supports gut function, reduces cravings and provides fuel for your brain when your energy level dips low.
- Vanadium–a mineral that supports healthy insulin receptor sensitivity.
- Alpha Lipoic Acid–supports the proper activation of glucose transporters, glucose metabolism and is a powerful antioxidant.
- Mixed Tocopherols (Vitamin E)–supports healthy insulin receptor sensitivity, healthy triglycerides and LDL, blood sugar balance and pancreatic function.
- Magnesium–a mineral that supports healthy insulin secretion, glucose transport and healthy insulin receptor sensitivity.
- Biotin (Vitamin B7)–supports a healthy insulin response to glucose load.
- Zinc–low Zinc status is correlated with increased risk for insulin resistance.
- Inositol (Vitamin B8)–supports normal myoinositol levels and aids with panic attacks, depression and OCD.
- Banaba Leaf Extract–a plant that supports healthy glucose levels.
- Maitake mushroom–supports peripheral insulin receptor site sensitivity.
- Bitter melon–a plant known worldwide for blood sugar balance and pancreas support.
- Pectin–a component of plants (such as apples and citrus fruit) that supports healthy glucose and cholesterol levels.
- Niacinamide (Vitamin B3)–supports blood sugar balance and beta-cell health.
- L-Carnitine–an amino acid that supports healthy glucose uptake and storage.
Now, that’s a long list! I’ve highlighted three nutrients that are most widely known for blood sugar support.
Apex Energetics offers Glysen-Synergy as a combination of all of these nutrients. This is a 4 capsule combination of supplements for total blood sugar and adrenal support.
There are many excellent brands of pharmaceutical-grade supplements to reduce anxiety.
Most brands offered at the grocery store, drugstore and big box stores like Costco are not your best bet. Supplements are not regulated in the same manner as pharmaceutical drugs.
Check with your healthcare practitioner or places like Vitamin Shoppe and Whole Foods for brand recommendations.
Why Isn’t My Brain Working, Datis Kharrazian, DC, 2013
Nutritional Essentials for Mental Health, Leslie E. Korn, 2016
The Anti-Anxiety Food Solution, Trudy Scott, CN, 2011
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Joli Tripp and Mind Blowing Wellness are not medical doctors nor licensed medical professionals. No comment or recommendation should be construed as being a medical diagnosis. If you suffer from a medical or pathological condition, you should consult an appropriate healthcare provider.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products mentioned are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.
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