Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health conditions worldwide. In fact, they affect around 40 million people in the US only, every year. Many people often leave anxiety untreated and end up having even more problems. Anxiety affects all aspects of your life and it can make it difficult to relax, maintain close friendships and relationships, concentrate at work, or participate in fulfilling hobbies.
To say that 2020 has been stressful and chaotic would be an understatement. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, lockdowns, and money problems have been especially difficult for people that suffer from anxiety. Many of them have experienced serious difficulties in spite of talking to their therapist or trying to handle the stress in their own ways.
However, while there isn’t a direct cure, there are some ways to manage symptoms and find more peace in your day-to-day life. Medical experts recommend including supplements and vitamins to reduce your symptoms, as well as regular exercise, good nutrition, and adequate sleep.
Taking supplements and natural energy boosters for anxiety can address the three most significant biological factors that contribute to general anxiety and panic attacks:
- Serotonin deficiency
- Low iron levels
- Low vitamin B6 levels
When combined with other methods and strategies like therapy, meditation, building a strong support system, journaling, and medications (if necessary), supplements can provide relief from the symptoms, improve your mood, and boost your energy levels.
Let’s find out about some of the best natural ways to deal with anxiety and feel your best.
Guayusa (Ilex Guayusa) is a type of holly tree native to the Amazon rainforest. Its leaves have been harvested since ancient times due to their many health benefits, including anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Nowadays, beverages like guayusa tea are becoming increasingly popular but, still, many people wonder what exact benefits this plant has.
Guayusa trees can grow up to 30 meters tall and produce bright green leaves that are picked, dried, and brewed to make herbal tea. Today it is also used as a powder and extract that can be added to products like energy drinks. The significant concentration of caffeine is the main reason for the popularity of Guayusa Tea in the UK and many other countries. But it is also a rich source of antioxidants and considered to have a better effect on people suffering from anxiety than coffee.
Coffee and other caffeine drinks can often enhance the symptoms of anxiety, such as shaking, fast breathing, sweating, fast heartbeat, and trouble sleeping, which makes guayusa a better and safer choice.
Guayusa is packed with theobromine, which is also found in chocolate and cocoa powder. It is an alkaloid structurally similar to caffeine. This combination is proven to boost mood, concentration, and alertness. Studies have shown that it may even improve brain function.
Guayusa is often recommended for athletes and aids the immune system, digestion, and stress levels. It is a great detox and helps weight loss and diabetes control. Health professionals often recommend it as a natural energy booster for people suffering from anxiety disorders, mainly because people drinking guayusa have six times lower adrenaline response compared to people drinking coffee or energy drinks.
Rhodiola is a herb that grows in the cold regions of Asia and Russia. This natural, non-toxic herb is a well-known adaptogen that stimulates your body’s stress response in order to increase stress resistance. The active ingredients-rosavin and salidroside can improve brain function, exercise performance, and reduce anxiety.
A recent study, in which 100 people that suffered from chronic fatigue symptoms were supplementing with 400 mg of Rhodiola extract daily, has shown that the symptoms can improve after just one week. They all reported that they sleep better and have higher energy levels, as well as better focus and concentration.
In another study, 120 people with stress-related burnout symptoms were taking 400 mg of Rhodiola extract for 12 weeks and reported that their anxiety, irritability, and exhaustion are almost completely gone.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is a famous herb native to India. It has been used in Ayurveda which is one of the oldest medicinal systems in the world and it’s thought to enhance your body’s resilience to physical and mental stress.
In a study on the stress-relieving effects of ashwagandha, scientists gave 240 mg of the extract or a placebo to 60 random individuals with anxiety and stress symptoms. Compared to the placebo, supplementing with ashwagandha gave great results in the reduction of anxiety, depression, and stress. This incredible plant is also linked to a 23% reduction in levels of cortisol (stress hormone).
It has been used for centuries to combat the effect of aging and improve energy and it helps regulate the body’s natural processes. Today, most people use it to improve their mood, overall wellness, and health.
It is most commonly consumed in a capsule form, though you can gain the same benefits by eating the seeds, fruit, or shoots.
B Complex vitamins
B complex vitamins usually contain all eight B vitamins and they play an important role in your metabolism (they transform the food into usable energy). Not to mention that they are also crucial for heart and brain health.
Some of the foods that are good sources of B vitamins are:
- Leafy greens
- Dairy products
It’s interesting that higher doses of B vitamins greatly improve symptoms of stress by lowering blood levels of homocysteine. This amino acid, when at high levels, is associated with stress and the risk of several severe conditions (dementia, heart disease, colorectal cancer). By taking B vitamin supplements you will boost your mood and energy levels.
In one study, in 60 people suffering from anxiety and stress, those taking vitamin B complex experienced fewer symptoms, including anger and fatigue compared to those in the placebo group. In another research, people have reported that taking B vitamin improved their mood and energy while reducing anxiety.
Vitamin B complex is completely safe when taken within the recommended dosage ranges. It has a great effect on your nervous system, so it is often recommended for many neurological issues, like nerve inflammation or even stroke. But we must not forget that it is frequently prescribed in cases of severe anxiety, trauma, stress, and burn-out.
We all feel tired and need to boost up our energy from time to time. But if you suffer from anxiety you know that simply drinking coffee or energy drinks may do more harm and cause some unpleasant symptoms. Luckily, there are natural, herbal supplements you can use without any fear. Choose the one that suits your needs and you will feel much better in no-time.
Helen Bradfield did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.
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