Could Natural Supplements Help Reduce Your Anxiety?

May 7th 2016

There are several natural options that appear to have an edge over placebos when treating your anxiety symptoms. However, dealing with the causes of anxiety remains the best way to overcome this issue once and for all. Talk to a trained medical professional or counsellor and find help in examining your lifestyle for triggers and causes.

Herbal Help

Chamomile teas have been used for centuries to calm and soothe, and one study in Philadelphia showed similar effects for chamomile supplements over an eight-week trial. Sedative herbs such as hops, passionflower and valerian also demonstrate effectiveness in combating jitters and insomnia; do not use them in conjunction with prescription tranquillizers or sedatives because of the risk of over-medicating.

Scented Soothers

Essential oils such as lavender, clary sage and rose geranium are also effective at calming a busy mind and relieving generalized anxiety. In at least some studies, they have noticeable effects on anxiety symptoms, and they also display other physiological effects such as hormone balancing that may help with anxiety more generally. One German study noted effects from a specially formulated lavender pill that made it comparable to lorazepam in terms of relieving anxiety symptoms.

Food Fix-Ups

Green tea contains L-theanine, an amino acid that is known to help with anxiety. In tea, the dosage is small and you have to drink a lot of tea to get the benefit, but the amino acid is available as a supplement. More generally, a low-processed plant-based diet with plenty of leafy greens provides folates and a wide variety of phytonutrients that help reduce anxiety.

Add eggs to your diet to increase protein and satiety levels, which can improve mood. They also contain choline; a lack of choline is associated with increased anxiety. Low magnesium levels have a similar effect, but modern farming methods tend to mean magnesium levels in food are generally low. Supplementing with magnesium tablets can help to counteract this.

Kava Cautions

Some people and studies have recommended kava root as a treatment for anxiety symptoms. However, concerns about liver damage and toxicity mean that it was removed from sale by many retailers. Further work suggests that these effects occur in conjunction with alcohol and other drug use, but this means that it is not wise to take kava without medical supervision, and you should not drink alcohol while using it.

Conclusion

The diffuse nature of generalized anxiety disorders makes it hard for medical professionals to justify using prescription medication. Many people turn to natural supplements to try to manage anxiety symptoms, but there is a lack of reputable studies about some of the chosen methods that makes their efficacy questionable.

Sources

Health.com "19 natural remedies for anxiety" http://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20669377,00.html
CalmClinic.com "Natural and herbal supplements for anxiety" http://www.calmclinic.com/anxiety/drugs/natural-supplement
DeliciousLiving.com "6 herbs and supplememnts to reduce stress" http://deliciousliving.com/supplements/6-herbs-and-supplements-reduce-stress#slide-0-field_images-272831
MentalHealthDaily.com "9 essential oils for anxiety and stress" http://mentalhealthdaily.com/2014/02/25/aromatherapy-9-best-essential-oils-for-anxiety-and-stress/

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