The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) reports that anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder afflict approximately 18 percent of the population or roughly 40 million adult Americans1.
Based on these numbers, this means that approximately 1 in 5 people will develop some type of anxious condition at some point in their lives, making it the most common mental illness in the U.S. according to the ADAA2.
It is a disabling condition that is characterized by fear, tension, and excessive worries regarding common problems. It is often accompanied by physical symptoms like muscle tension, chest tightness, and heart palpitations.
Conventional medications do not address the root cause of the problem and only treat symptoms. Research shows that the remission rates for people with anxiety remain as low as 38 percent after five years3.
While this is the case for the conventional approach to anxiety, several studies point out that natural remedies can be safe and effective ways to lower anxiety and treat depression. With the help of certain herbs and supplements, you can put together a treatment plan that meets your needs and alleviate anxiety.
What Nutrients And Herbs Should You Take for Anxiety?
Magnesium: Magnesium deficiency is a common deficiency that often goes underdiagnosed. Magnesium can act as a natural remedy to help lower anxiety as it relaxes the muscles and calms the nervous system4. Magnesium is also crucial for the release of the brain chemical GABA. GABA is necessary to promote relaxation and a feeling of stability. Most people that suffer from anxiety do not produce enough GABA in the brain.
Vitamin B12: Vitamin B12 belongs to the water-soluble B complex vitamin and can be helpful fighting against depression and mood disorders. Studies show that Vitamin B12 plays a vital role in cognitive health and performance. It boosts energy, concentration, and helps your nervous system to function properly5. Aging, digestive issues, conditions like pernicious anemia, and following ‘fad’ diets can lead to a B12 deficiency.
Probiotics: Our guts secretes neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine and serotonin. These brain chemicals are essential for reducing feelings of anxiety and depression. A recent study identified that the probiotic strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus can significantly lower anxiety6.
Hemp Oil: Because hemp oil is free of THC, it does not create the same type of psychoactive effect. Because of this, hemp oil can help reduce anxiety without the negative psychological effects commonly associated with THC7. It can also help reduce inflammation, promote healthy sleep, relieve nausea, and more.
Ashwagandha: Ashwagandha is a herb that has been used for thousands of years to treat people with anxiety and stress8. Not only does it relieve stress, but it also protects the brain from degenerative damage.
Curcumin: Curcumin is the active nutrient present in turmeric. Curcumin works by lowering inflammation which is the root of anxiety-related issues. It’s a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory herb that protects almost every organ in the body, including the brain and gut. Several studies report its multiple health benefits and therapeutic effects on human health9,10.
1. ADA Facts & Statistics
2. [Infographic] The United States of Anxiety
3. Treating generalized anxiety disorder with second generation antipsychotics: a systematic review and meta-analysis, 2011 Jun;31(3):326-33. doi: 10.1097/JCP.0b013e31821b2b3f
4. Nutritional and herbal supplements for anxiety and anxiety-related disorders: systematic review, 2010 Oct 7
5. The effect of methylated vitamin B complex on depressive and anxiety symptoms and quality of life in adults with depression, 2013 Jan 21;2013:621453. doi: 10.1155/2013/621453. Print 2013
6. The anxiolytic effect of probiotics: A systematic review and meta-analysis of the clinical and preclinical literature, 2018 Jun 20;13(6):e0199041. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0199041. eCollection 2018
7. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders, 2015 Sep 4
8. An Alternative Treatment for Anxiety: A Systematic Review of Human Trial Results Reported for the Ayurvedic Herb Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), 2014 Dec 1; 20(12): 901–908
9. Curcumin: A Review of Its’ Effects on Human Health, 2017 Oct 22
10. The anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin is mediated by its oxidative metabolites, 2017 Dec 29;292(52):21243-21252. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA117.000123. Epub 2017 Nov 2