Nutritionist Sarah Flower recommends seven supplements that may help support you while you are suffering from anxiety
Anxiety can also be accompanied by panic, fear, poor concentration, loss of appetite, sweats, aches and pains, and can even be the root cause of migraines and IBS.
Ultimately, anxiety can have a huge negative impact on our overall health, often causing a lower immune system and contributing to health conditions including heart disease, digestive problems and inflammatory conditions, so it is important you overcome it when you can.
To help beat anxiety, nutritionist Sarah Flower recommends seven supplements that may help support you while you are suffering from anxiety, ideally taken alongside a healthy diet and food sleep patterns.
You may be reluctant to try CBD oil as it is derived from the cannabidiol plant but rest assured it does not have the same effects as cannabis, it is safe to consume and not illegal, says Sarah.
She explains: “Benefits of CBD oil include pain relief, alleviating arthritis, fibromyalgia, IBS, depression, ADHD and high blood pressure right through to aiding anxiety, depression and insomnia. Simply squeeze a few drops, directly into your mouth, allowing it to rest there for a few minutes to allow greater absorption.
“The joy of this is that you can use it as and when you feel the need and it works within a short time. I would also always recommend buying from a reputable company, such as Power Health, the market leaders in nutritional supplements. Their CBD oil contains 20 servings of CBD, which should be consumed in 50mg doses squeezed under the tongue.”
Magnesium is required for neuron activation and the synthesis of neurotransmitters (for example, serotonin). Sarah advised: “Those who suffer from anxiety, depression and migraines are usually shown to be deficient in magnesium. Magnesium is known as the anti-stress mineral due to its amazing effects on the nervous system. We are becoming increasingly deficient in this nutrient due to our highly processed Western diets as well as the over farmed soils.
“Magnesium levels can also be depleted if consuming too much alcohol or caffeine, if taking antibiotics or medications such as the contraceptive pill. Try to incorporate magnesium-rich foods into your diet, such as kelp, wheat bran, almonds, brewers yeast, buckwheat, brazil nuts, cashews and molasses. You will also find lower levels in green leafy vegetables, peanuts, millet, rye, tofu, walnuts, pecan nuts, coconut, brown rice, figs, dried fruit, avocado and hard cheese. You may also find some benefit from taking an Epsom salt bath to help ease muscles and absorb magnesium through the skin, also useful to ease insomnia.”
There are a range of B Vitamins which are often recommended to be taken together in times of stress and anxiety, low energy or depression.
Sarah said: “These include; folic acid, which has been shown to help with dopamine and serotonin production, B6, which helps convert tryptophan to serotonin. Alongside B3 and magnesium, Biotin is needed for essential fatty acid metabolism, B1 is needed for utilisation of glucose by the nervous system, and B5 is vital for adrenal support and the conversion of serotonin to melatonin. You can increase your B-vitamins naturally by eating more meat, nuts, wholegrains, yeast extract, eggs, wheat germ, brown rice and fortified cereals but I would recommend a multiple B vitamin formula as this is the easiest way to get what you need.”
Ginseng is hailed as an all-healing herb and has long been recognised for helping with cognitive function, memory, energy levels, and mood – perfect for supplementing our busy lives, according to Sarah.
She said: “Panax Korean ginseng is an adaptogen, helping to support us when we lack energy as well as in times of stress and any form of anxiety. It can also help clear the head, restoring and enhancing memory and improving mood; all of which can be affected during times of stress. I would advise you opt for a high-quality ginseng for maximum results. Other great adaptogens’ worth investigating include Ashwagandha and Rhodiola. Some professional supplement companies offer formulas that can contain adaptogens alongside vitamin and minerals to help in times of stress and anxiety.”
Omega 3 fish oils play a huge role in brain health, and are known to both relieve stress and anxiety and to regulate inflammation.
Sarah explained: “This is because fish oils can help to reduce the production of adrenal hormones, which is a known contributor to anxiety. These include the catecholamine hormones epinephrine (or adrenaline) and norepinephrine, which increase heartbeat rate and direct energy and resources away from activities such as digestion and reproduction, and towards your heart and the muscles in your limbs. The adrenals also release cortisol as part of your stress response, which is involved in blood sugar regulation, blood pressure regulation, immune responses and inflammation processes. Therefore, over stimulation of the adrenals can lead to chronic stress and subsequent anxiety. For this reason, I recommend fish oils if you’re suffering from anxiety because they help to normalise your adrenals.”
5HTP is synthesised from the amino acid tryptophan and is often used to treat people suffering anxiety, stress, sleep, energy levels and even migraines, PMT and fibromyalgia.
Sarah said: “This supplement is great for people who suffer from mental disorders, as it increases serotonin, which ultimately improves mood, sleep patterns, appetite and even pain, producing more of a ‘feel good’ factor. Just like the herbal adaptogens, this is better taken alongside dietary and lifestyle changes.”
L-theanine is an amino acid mainly found in tea (black and green) and helps to create a feeling of relaxation and calmness, as well as aiding sleep, brain health, lower blood pressure and has also been shown to help fight infection.
Sarah advised: “You can buy L-theanine in supplement form, often found in a formula alongside other ingredients to aid sleep, relaxation and hormonal balance. I would also strongly advise you incorporate drinks like Green Tea into your diet, as these contain ECGC and L-theanine, which both help with anxiety and stress because they decrease cortisol levels, therefore, helping to balance the adrenals.”
NB: Please discuss with your GP or health practitioner before taking any herbal remedy or supplement or discuss with your pharmacist if you are on any medication as some products can react with medication.
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