Posted on by Margo Gladding
If you are feeling more anxiety than ever, you are not alone. Our current health crisis, and the ripple effects that it has caused, is unprecedented and astounding. So much has changed in such a short period of time, and we are all adapting to a new normal.
The additional stress that many of us are experiencing is causing a heightened sense of worry, uncertainty and feeling of overwhelm. Stress and anxiety also trigger the body’s fight-or-flight response and as a result, you can experience a wide variety of unsettling symptoms, such as:
• Panic attacks
• Heart palpitations
• Muscle tension
• Ruminating thoughts
• Food cravings
• Difficulty concentrating
It is essential to take steps to manage and care for your mental-emotional wellness when anxiety starts to interfere and disrupt your daily life. Chronic anxiety can be debilitating if not eased. Fortunately, there are many tools, resources and relaxation techniques available that can help each of us find our place of calm.
Strategies such as deep breathing, yoga, meditation, mindfulness, exercise, spending time in nature, reaching out for support, practicing self-care, eating healthy foods, and addressing any nutrient deficiencies can help to put the brakes on the body’s stress response, alleviate anxiety, and build resiliency.
My 4 Favorite Supplements for Anxiety
As a nutritionist and herbalist, I have found that taking nutritional supplements in conjunction with practicing stress reduction techniques can provide powerful, fast-acting support for anxiety. The following four supplements are some of my favorite remedies for easing anxiety and tension. They are great additions to foundational supplements, such as a multivitamin, vitamin D, and probiotics.
Magnesium is a super important mineral that is involved in hundreds of biochemical reactions in the body. It plays a key role in nervous system balance, energy production, bone health and inflammation control, as well as blood sugar balance. Unfortunately, most individuals do not get enough magnesium through their diet, making the risk of deficiency very high. To make matters worse, stress also depletes the body of this essential mineral.
Because magnesium is so important for nervous system health, a deficiency can cause high levels of anxiety, irritability, nervousness, depression and insomnia. I therefore recommend a daily magnesium supplement to help calm the body and enhance mood.
There are a lot of different forms of supplemental magnesium available. The one I prefer is magnesium glycinate, which is a form that provides a high level of absorption and bioavailability and is gentle on the stomach. This particular form is considered ideal for those who are trying to correct a magnesium deficiency. I suggest 400 mg daily, but more can be beneficial for many. When taken at bedtime, magnesium can help promote restful sleep.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)
Ashwagandha is an herbal adaptogen with a long history of traditional use in the Indian Ayurvedic system of medicine. Revered as a rejuvenating tonic, ashwagandha is used for combating exhaustion, easing anxiety, supporting sleep, relaxing tense muscles and boosting memory. As a calming adaptogen, it helps to strengthen one’s resistance to stress while enhancing energy.
There have been many research studies showing the wide range of therapeutic benefits of ashwagandha. For example, it has been found to balance thyroid and adrenal function, have neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as blood sugar, immune, and mood supportive benefits.
Ashwagandha contains a wide range of active compounds, but the withanolides are considered the key constituents in its overall ability to promote physical and mental health. It is therefore best to take a product that contains a set amount of this constituent, such as Pathway Ashwagandha Extract. The recommended amount of standardized extract is between 1000 mg – 1500 mg daily.
Theanine is an amino acid found in green tea that calms and relaxes the body and mind, without causing drowsiness. It is particularly helpful for relieving anxiety and stress, enhancing sleep quality, improving attention, supporting memory and cognition, and benefiting cardiovascular health. Studies show theanine increases alpha waves in the brain, which produce an alert, yet relaxed, state. It also helps block excitatory stimuli, while producing the relaxing neurotransmitter GABA, and has been shown to have protective effects on brain cells during acute stress. Another benefit is that theanine can counter the jitteriness of stimulants, such as caffeine. The recommended dosage is 100-400 mg daily.
Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids
Omega-3 essential fatty acids play an important role in nearly every aspect of health. In fact, these fats serve as critical structural components of all cell membranes. While they can be obtained by eating cold water fish, walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds, etc., most people do not get enough through their diet alone. Therefore, taking a high-quality omega-3 supplement, such as Pathway Omega-3 fish oil, provides a consistent and concentrated amount of these healthy fats.
The benefits of omega-3s are numerous and include support for the nervous system, heart, mental, eye, skin, joint and muscle health, as well as reducing inflammation. Supplementation with omega-3s can help to reduce the negative effects of stress hormones and has been shown to help lower anxiety levels. Taking 1,000 mg – 2,000 mg daily is often the recommended dosage for optimal health and mental well-being.
Comprehensive Support for Stress & Anxiety
Taking care of your mental health is extremely important for your overall health and well-being. It can be hard to take time out of your day to spend a few moments on yourself, especially if you are taking care of others. It can also be hard if you are feeling low.
Getting nutritional support from healthy eating as well as supportive supplements can help. These four supplements – magnesium, ashwagandha, l-theanine, and fish oil – are terrific, and there are many other beneficial ones, as well. I highly encourage you to seek the support of a mental health professional if you are not able to get a handle on your anxious thoughts and worries, however. Everyone has emotional challenges and with so many solutions available, no one needs to suffer alone.
If you'd like to learn more about how supplements can help you with anxiety and stress, the team of nutrition experts at Village Green Apothecary is here to answer your health questions and provide you with personalized guidance. Feel free to call us, send us an email, come in and visit, or schedule an appointment to receive one-on-one support.
Photo from here, with thanks.
Paula is a highly qualified and experienced nutrition counselor on the staff at Village Green.
Margo's impressive knowledge base is the result of a unique blend of educational and professional experience.
Dr. Neal Barnard
Dr. Barnard leads programs advocating for preventive medicine, good nutrition, and higher ethical standards in research.
Dr. Joseph Pizzorno
Dr. Joseph Pizzorno, ND is a pioneer of integrative medicine and a leading authority on science-based natural medicine.
Debi is a registered dietitian with a master’s degree in nutrition, a personal trainer, and whole health coach.
Teri is a is a Certified Coach Practitioner with extensive certifications and experience in holistic medicinal practices.
Dr. Rav Ivker
Dr. Rav Ivker is a holistic family physician, health educator, and best-selling author.
Susan writes about the connection between plant-based diets and a reduced risk of chronic diseases.
Dr. Rob Brown
Dr. Brown's blended perspective of healthcare includes a deeply rooted passion for wellness and spiritual exploration.