Anxiety is a mental illness that can prove to be undoubtedly debilitating for many of its sufferers. Of course, tons of pharmaceutical drugs have begun to emerge in the last decade that can assist in the improvement of mental health.
Despite the emergence and rapid development of psychotropic drugs and prescription medications, some people still prefer to go the route of supplementation with vitamins, minerals, or natural herbs to reduce stress; this is often for a good reason.
To put it in perspective, psychotropic drugs can sometimes cause several side effects, including:
- Weight loss
- Weight gain
- Libido issues
- Sleep Disturbances
If an individual would like to try natural supplements to treat their anxiety, there are a number of options available to them – if they know what to look for.
Here, we’ve prepared an extensive archive of incredible non-prescription natural supplements, vitamins, and minerals that can aid in a stubborn anxiety disorder. Remember that it’s wise to discuss with a healthcare provider about whether you should take a natural supplement.
If you’re a little nervous about turning to an SSRI, mood stabilizer, or another type of psychoactive medication (or, if you want to supplement your current treatment methodologies) you might want to give this list a look.
1. Valerian Root
Sometimes used primarily for sleep irregularities, when it comes to reducing anxiety, one of our favorite picks is still Valerian Root. Valerian Root can provide some impressive benefits with a rare risk of any adverse side effects. A reputable brand of Valerian Root can immensely improve anxiety.
Use: The typical way of consuming Valerian Root usually involves taking a powder-filled capsule. The usual dosage for Valerian Root is 500mg, but this measurement may be on the smaller side for those who wish to relieve anxiety rather than use the root to doze off.
GABA, or Gamma-aminobutyric acid, is an amino acid that is quite crucial in the function of the human brain, as well as its role in terminating unnecessary excitement signals from the alerting-chemical glutamate. By inhibiting certain excitatory chemicals, it can block unnecessary anxiety messages. GABA works as a neurotransmitter that affects dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. Sometimes people have GABA deficiencies, which are known to cause anxiety disorders, and even seizures or insomnia in some people.
Use: For anxiety, orally consume 100-200mg of GABA in either powder or powder-capsule form.
A mineral of many uses, Magnesium can have some awesome benefits when it comes to emotional regulation and anxiety reduction. One can consume a lot of Magnesium through their diet. However, certain environmental factors have been known to cause magnesium deficiencies in many individuals.
For example, Magnesium may be removed from the soils where our crops grow. In actuality, this is a great thing, because of the filtering modalities that those who grow our food use is ultimately for the prevention of diseases and sickness.
Even though the pros outweigh the cons in these filtration systems, sometimes people in the western world don’t end up getting the proper amount of Magnesium needed for optimal brain function. In this situation, a magnesium supplement can assist.
Use: For ultimate consumption, be sure to use Vitamin D in conjunction when taking magnesium supplements. Magnesium is sold in capsule form as well as soluble powder form – all of which is beneficial.
NAC, or N-Acetyl Cysteine, regulates glutamate (mentioned above in the GABA section) and is one of the essential amino acids produced in the brain. Upping the NAC in someone’s body through natural supplements can relieve troublesome anxiety symptoms in many people. It has even been shown to reduce cravings and help recover from addictions and improve OCD symptoms (OCD is an anxiety disorder, after all!).
Also, NAC is essential for helping make Glutathione, a potent antioxidant, leading us to the next natural supplement on our list.
Use: Apparently, 1200-2400mg consumed orally is the standard dosage for NAC. Take NAC on an empty stomach for optimal absorption.
L-Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant. It has many potential benefits, including increased skin health, age reversal, liver health, and relief for OCD, depression, and anxiety.
Using L-Glutathione is even strongly speculated to restore brain health in individuals who are or were addicted to drugs and alcohol (yes, you heard correctly). Although this is just a speculation, science tells us that Glutathione’s properties are known to quickly rebalance brain chemicals in the brains of those with prior substance abuse problems after detoxing from their drug of choice at a reputable addiction treatment center.
Use: It is best to take L-Glutathione in powder form, though some powder capsules are also useful. Take in conjunction with N-Acetyl Cysteine.
Serotonin, as mentioned earlier, is (crazily enough) found mostly in our digestive system. Gut health, therefore, is linked generally to mental health. Some people even rightfully refer to the digestive system, or gut, as the “second brain.” Over 80% of our immune system also stems directly from the gut (this makes sense considering Serotonin is crucial for wound healing and is heavily-placed in the stomach and intestines).
Some factors, such as frequent use of antibiotics or unhealthy diets, can cause an influx of “bad bacteria” in the gut, and a lack of “good bacteria.” Replenishing your system with a high-grade probiotic can help in these cases.
Use: Take in pill or liquid form, once daily, if you wish to test out the mental and physical health benefits of probiotics. Taking probiotics containing 5-10 bacterial colonies is usually the recommended dosage.
7. Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 Fatty Acids are essential for maintaining an excellent memory and overall cognitive function. Multiple studies suggest that the Omega-3 Fatty acids, most commonly found in fish oil, can reduce anxiety symptoms in adults (along with many other adverse health symptoms).
Use: Those wishing to take Omega-3 Fatty acids for its mental health benefits typically take doses as high as 2000mg.
L-Theanine is an amino acid found in multiple types of tea and can have extremely positive effects on one’s state of mind. L-Theanine can boost GABA levels in the brain and thus lift moods. Not only this, but L-Theanine can increase the frequency of alpha brain waves. Alpha brain waves, when grown, can make someone extremely relaxed without necessarily putting them to sleep.
Use: You can take L-Theanine as a bottled and encapsulated supplement, or you can try your tongue at sipping some green and black tea for incredible mental benefits.
5-HTP, or 5-hydroxytryptophan, is yet another vital amino acid that our brains need. Deficiencies in 5-HTP are known to contribute to anxiety, while studies have also shown that administering small amounts of 5-HTP sufferers of panic disorders can decrease their likelihood of panic attacks.
Use: Considering 5-HTP works on the neurochemical Serotonin, consult with your doctor whether it is alright to take 5-HTP supplements when you are also on an SSRI or another antidepressant.
10. The B Vitamins
The B vitamins (B6 and B12 in particular) have been long-linked to mental health. The B vitamins include niacin, theanine, and a few others. Having low levels of B vitamins in someone’s system has been shown to contribute to anxiety. To avoid this, one should supplement.
Use: Get your B vitamins through a multivitamin, or a specific B-complex supplement in pill form. Also, eat foods containing high levels of the B vitamins such as Salmon.
Even if someone considers themselves to be a healthy eater with an extremely balanced nutritional intake, they still may have unknown vitamin deficiencies affecting their emotional state. Of course, no one should ever begin taking any vitamin, supplement, or mineral before speaking with their primary care physician (especially if they’re on other medications). However, with the proper knowledge, many people have found natural supplements to be extremely helpful in restoring the appropriate balance in their brains and bodies.