Top 7 Nutrients To Manage Anxiety

Everyday Brain Boosters
July 5, 2019

Top 7 Nutrients To Manage Anxiety

Introducing our latest blog with Vivid’s in-house nutritional therapist, Milda.

**Note for readers – we love science. We aim to support all statements about brain health with credible, original scientific papers, not third-hand knowledge or hear-say. You’ll be able to find references to all studies at the end of each blog. If you want any further information please do not hesitate to email us!

Whether you experience anxiety regularly or it has happened only a couple of times, you know it’s no fun to feel anxious. You’re certainly not alone. In fact, 1 in 6 adults in UK experience some form of anxiety every single week (1).

You can’t always control the external environment, but you certainly can build up internal resilience and have the coping mechanisms in place when all gets too much to handle.

Perhaps you’re currently getting comfortable with regular meditation practice, but do you know there’s more that you can do via nutrition? Here are our favourite, most effective nutrients to manage and prevent anxiety.

Magnesium

Called the ‘relaxation mineral’ for a reason, magnesium supports the adrenals when in ‘fight or flight’ mode and has been shown to improve anxiety symptoms in a variety of cases (2). Moreover, magnesium helps increase neurotransmitter GABA, which promotes relaxation and calm (3). Luckily, magnesium is widely available in food: choose nuts and seeds (especially pumpkin seeds), dark leafy veg and our personal favorite, cacao (4).

Omega

Not only is omega-3 responsible for lowering inflammation in the whole body, but it has also been shown to decrease anxiety by up to 20% (5). Get yours from wild oily fish, such as salmon and mackerel or grass-fed beef.

Ashwaghanda

Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb, that is known for its adaptogenic properties. This means that it helps the body adjust to stress response, without a stimulating or drowsy effect, keeping the body in good balance and harmony (6). Ashwagandha has shown great results in studies, particularly related to lowering anxiety (7).

CBD Oil

CBD oil is found in various strains of hemp and marijuana and it works on endocannabinoid system of the body, supporting hormone regulation (8). A relatively new area of research with huge potential for managing anxiety and mood disorders (9, 10). No wonder CBD oil has taken the wellness world by a storm.

L-theanine

Found in green tea and most abundantly found in matcha tea, l-theanine is wonderful for managing short- term symptoms of stress and anxiety (11, 12), as well as boosting long-term relaxation, quality of sleep and overall resilience (13). Favoured by Zen monks for centuries. Obviously for a good reason.

Vitamin B12

Cobalamin or vitamin B12 is necessary for healthy functioning of the nervous system, detoxification and brain health (14). A deficiency can often go undiagnosed and create symptoms of full-blown anxiety. B12 is plentiful in animal proteins, but if you are vegetarian or vegan and experience high levels of anxiety, it’s essential to get your B12 levels tested.

Curcumin

Turmeric is another herb from Ayurvedic tradition that can be especially helpful in the prevention of anxiety (15). Research shows that the active ingredient curcumin can help create sense of happiness by boosting serotonin levels (16) and fight inflammation in the brain that is linked to anxiety (17).

References

  1. https://www.anxietyuk.org.uk/get-help/anxiety-information/frequently-asked-questions/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5452159/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12163983
  4. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-HealthProfessional/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21784145
  6. Anderson A.D (2008) Assessment and Nutraceutical Management of Stress-induced Adrenal Dysfunction. Integrative Medicine 7(5) 
  7. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/acm.2014.0177
  8. https://www.nature.com/articles/nrn4036
  9. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13311-015-0387-1
  10. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2016.00454/full
  11. Unno K, et al. Anti-stress effect of theanine on students during pharmacy practice: Positive correlation among salivary α-amylase activity, trait anxiety and subjective stress. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2013;111:128-35.
  12. Kimura K, Ozeki M, Juneja LR, Ohira H. L-Theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress responses. Biol Psychol. 2007;74(1):39-45.
  13. https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/pdfplus/10.1089/10762800151125092
  14. http://www.jhrr.org/article.asp?issn=2394-2010;year=2014;volume=1;issue=1;spage=5;epage=9;aulast=Mahmood