The Best Vitamins and Supplements to Treat Anxiety Naturally
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With all that’s going on in the news, it’s hard to keep anxiety levels in check. COVID-19 concerns alone have led to a 34 percent increase for prescriptions for anti-anxiety meds. But if you’re looking to treat anxiety naturally, there are several doctor-recommended vitamins that can help. Here, natural strategies that work!
Tired? Try 5-HTP.
Stress-induced dips in the calming brain chemical serotonin sabotage sleep. Thankfully, an amino acid called 5-HTP ($17.14, Amazon) can raise serotonin levels, increasing time spent in deep, restorative sleep by 53 percent, reports Daniel Amen, M.D., author of Feel Better Fast and Make It Last. He advises starting with a 50-mg. dose 30 minutes before bed, and upping that amount by 50 mg. each night (up to 300 mg.) until you hit the dose that works for you. Note: Check with a doctor before supplementing.
Sad? Boost your B-12.
Vitamin B-12 is so crucial for making happiness hormones that a Journal of Affective Disorders study found that depression and anxiety worsened in patients as their B-12 levels dropped. Luckily, researchers also determined that restoring healthy levels lowered risks of stress and blue moods by 300%. Since the vitamin works best with other B’s, experts advise a B-complex that contains B-12, B-6, niacin and folate. Try: Life Extension BioActive Complete B-Complex (LifeExtension.com/ww).
Hangry? Consider rhodiola.
Extract of the root herb Rhodiola rosea ($23.32, Amazon) has a studybacked ability to ease feelings of anger within 14 days; plus, European research reveals that dieters who took 250 to 500 mg. daily lost 137 percent more weight than folks who didn’t. Rhodiola alters your nervous system’s response to stress, notes integrative medicine specialist Eric Braverman, M.D., making you less likely to feel edgy and stress-eat.
Achy? Rub in magnesium.
Magnesium ($9.45, Amazon) not only stabilizes stress responses in the brain, it’s a muscle relaxant. Taking 400 to 500 mg. daily can correct shortfalls and ease pain in weeks. Or try a cream: In a British study, magnesium absorbed through the skin increased levels up to five times faster. One to try: Ancient Minerals Magnesium Lotion Ultra ($21.95, Amazon).
Anxious all day? Consider ashwagandha.
Taking 500 mg. of the herb ashwagandha ($8.86, Amazon) daily soothes rattled nerves, cutting edginess and anxiety by 70 percent and boosting immunity within a week. Researchers credit the herb’s effectiveness to activate compounds called withanolides, which tamp down the production of stress-revving hormones.
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This story originally appeared in our print magazine.