What vitamins help anxiety? | fit and well

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Taking supplements can not only improve your physical health, but also have a positive impact on your mental health – but which vitamins help with anxiety? Today we explore the links between vitamins and anxiety to find out if which vitamins can really make a difference to anxiety symptoms and which ones are recommended for people with anxiety.

You might not have thought of this before because vitamins aren’t always the first thing you might think of when it comes to managing anxiety. Still, some evidence suggests that taking certain vitamins — like the best fish oil supplements — can potentially improve mild symptoms. And considering that anxiety levels are higher than ever, that’s definitely good news.

According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) (opens in a new tab), anxiety disorders affect approximately 19.1% of adults and 31.9% of adolescents. And, since anxiety medications can sometimes have dramatic side effects, vitamins can be helpful in relieving anxiety symptoms, especially for mild cases. We asked the experts which might be worth trying and which are just a marketing gimmick.

Can supplements actually help anxiety?

It is important to note that there is no known “cure” for anxiety. Vitamins are unlikely to completely resolve an anxiety disorder. However, according to some studies, they may help you feel a little better if you have mild symptoms of anxiety.

“There is limited but emerging research that diet can impact anxiety,” says Dr. Joan Salge Blake (opens in a new tab), registered dietitian nutritionist and professor of nutrition at Boston University. “In a recent study (opens in a new tab) from animal and human research, there appears to be a potential association between less anxiety and eating a healthy diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, more fruits and vegetables, a multivitamin and mineral supplement as well as zinc, magnesium, selenium and probiotics. Keep in mind that these results above were based on a majority of animal versus human studies.”

She adds, “Some human studies have suggested that consuming chamomile, saffron, and curcumin also resulted in decreased symptoms of anxiety.”

Dr. Joan Salge Blake is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Associate Clinical Professor at Boston University. She has received Young Registered Dietitian, Outstanding Dietetic Educator, and Outstanding Dietitian awards from the Massachusetts Dietetic Association. Blake is an author and podcast host.

In short, until now we don’t know for sure if taking vitamins can have any real impact on anxiety symptoms in humans. However, based on early studies, it certainly looks promising. Blake recommends aiming for a balanced diet and getting the recommended amounts of each nutrient and vitamin in that diet. A Mediterranean diet, for example, may be effective for your symptoms. Of course, she adds, taking the vitamins and supplements listed above usually won’t hurt — it may even help you feel a little better.

However, it can be difficult to determine if a vitamin deficiency is responsible for your anxiety symptoms, so it’s usually best to speak with a doctor or dietitian to better understand your diet and its limitations.

Of course, if you’re feeling increasingly anxious, depressed or stressed, it’s essential to talk to your doctor and get the support you need, which could include therapy and/or medication. It is important to remember that vitamins can never be a magic cure. for anxiety.

What vitamins help anxiety?

Although avoiding nutritional deficiencies can help relieve anxiety, some specific vitamins and supplements may be more helpful than others.

Studies show that these vitamins are potentially essential for reducing anxiety. A study published in Perspectives in psychiatric care (opens in a new tab) found that lower dairy calcium intake led to increased anxiety.

Another study, published in the journal Nutrients (opens in a new tab) in 2017 found that taking a magnesium supplement may help reduce pre-existing mild to moderate anxiety. Meanwhile, in 2022, research published in Human psychopharmacology: clinical and experimental (opens in a new tab) found that vitamins B6 and B12 had a similar effect.

You may want to focus on eating lots of foods with vitamin B12 or, for those following a vegetarian or vegan diet, invest in the best vitamin B12 supplements.

Blake notes that selenium, commonly found in seafood, organ meats and Brazil nuts, has been shown to have a potential positive impact on symptoms of anxiety, but cautions that studies so far have not were not conclusive.

Brazil nut

(Image credit: 4kodiak)

A study 2020 (opens in a new tab) showed that taking a selenium supplement could help relieve symptoms of postpartum depression.

Another one study 2020 (opens in a new tab) explored the relationship between iodine, selenium and anxiety in patients with euthyroid nodular goiter. The study found that anxiety levels tended to be higher in patients with lower selenium levels, suggesting that selenium deficiency could lead to anxiety.

Several studies have shown that fish oil can also be effective in managing mild anxiety. According to a exam (opens in a new tab) in 19 clinical trials in 2018, for example, people who took omega-3s were found to have less anxiety than those who didn’t.

We’ve tried and tested the best fish oil supplements at Fit&Well to support heart and brain health.

To improve the gut-brain connection, you can try taking a probiotic supplement or eating probiotic-rich foods. Probiotics are live microorganisms that support a healthy bacterial balance in the gut, which improves digestion and absorption of key nutrients in the body.

Poor gut health can prevent your body from effectively absorbing essential nutrients, impacting overall health, fatigue, afternoon tumbles, poor immunity, weight loss, increased anxiety and more.

woman taking fish oil capsule supplement

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It turns out that vitamins and minerals can indeed help relieve mild anxiety symptoms. However, it is important to remember that vitamins should never be used as a treatment for serious anxiety disorders, especially without the advice of a doctor.

If you find that you have mental health issues, we always recommend that you speak to someone you trust as well as a dietitian or doctor who can help you create a personalized diet and lifestyle for you. help to stay healthy.

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