Anyone who has experienced anxiety is familiar with what can be described as an unpleasant feeling, a vague sense of unease and apprehension. While anxiety disorders affect over 40 million adults in the US, virtually everyone has felt anxious at some point in time. Symptoms such as mild stomach discomfort, perspiration, a quickening of the heartbeat, are common reactions to stressful situations. Similar to fear, anxiety triggers the fight or flight stress response and the release of stress hormones, including adrenaline, to see you through a momentary anxiety producing circumstance.
Normal intermittent anxiety is beneficial in certain temporary situations, a job interview, a college exam, public speaking, or what a performer would call opening night jitters. When anxiety becomes chronic or irrational and begins to interfere with normal everyday life, it can lead to physical illness and a psychological disorder diagnosis. Dissimilar to fear, which is a rational response to a real danger, chronic irrational anxiety generally lacks a clear or realistic cause, yet still produces physical responses that can become debilitating and lead to chronic conditions.
Chronic disproportionate anxiety that negatively affects sleep and concentration or results in avoidance of social situations, is classified as a disorder. While treatable, statistics show that a large percentage of adults who have anxiety disorders never receive treatment, such as therapy or medications. People who have undiagnosed or untreated anxiety disorders are more likely to self-medicate with nicotine, alcohol or street drugs that may temporarily relieve anxiety symptoms, but may also greatly affect general health and wellbeing in the long term. Those who are struggling to manage the symptoms of persistent, but not debilitating, anxiety may have anxious thoughts or behaviors that may be improved by dietary and lifestyle changes.
- Eating more protein and healthy fats, not skipping meals, and avoiding sugar and refined carbs can keep blood sugar stable and eliminate blood sugar crashes. Low blood sugar can initiate a stress response and the release of stress hormones that feels eerily like anxiety.
- Gradually decreasing caffeine intake until you can eliminate it entirely can help to improve sleep, stabilize energy and improve the stress response.
- Getting adequate, restful sleep helps to eliminate the anxiety-insomnia-sleep deprivation cycle, leaving one less vulnerable to anxiety. To help wind down in the evening, dim the lights an hour before bedtime, take a warm shower or bath, or do a short meditation and some gentle stretching to help you relax.
- Taking probiotics and eating fermented foods can help to promote healthy gut flora and improve gastrointestinal function. Digestive tract health can affect mood and may play a role in anxiety disorders.
- Take every opportunity to get in some physical activity, as exercise helps to relieve stress and anxiety.
Anyone who struggles with anxiety will tell you that managing anxiety is not an easy task. Good lifestyle habits are certainly beneficial, as proper diet, sufficient exercise, and good quality sleep can noticeably improve the anxiety and stress response. As well, proper supplementation can improve the quality of sleep, provide calming minerals, support mood and neurotransmitter production and aid adrenal function, resulting in anxiety relief, improved focus, increased energy and more optimal stress management.
L-theanine – Found naturally in green tea, this amino acid enhances cognition and focus, while surprisingly promoting relaxation without inducing drowsiness. Utilized to naturally relieve anxiety and stress, L-theanine calms both the body and the mind, bringing about a state of wakeful relaxation. When you need to chill out, L-theanine can help.
Magnesium – Widely known as a calming mineral, magnesium is involved in hundreds of biochemical processes, including energy production, blood glucose regulation and stress management, as well as immune system and adrenal function support. Magnesium deficiency is linked to symptoms of anxiety, depression, mood imbalances, and insomnia, all of which benefit from magnesium repletion.
GABA – Synthesized naturally in the brain and widely distributed throughout the central nervous system, GABA is a major neurotransmitter that has relaxation-inducing and stress-relieving effects. Low levels are GABA are associated with anxiety, depression and insomnia. Clinical studies have shown that GABA supplementation can promote feelings of calmness, increase metal clarity and focus, and support more restful sleep.
Kava – Used traditionally for centuries to enhance relaxation, improve mood and support sleep, kava has been shown to elevate mood, improve stress management, reduce the negative effects of stress, and relieve symptoms associated with generalized anxiety, including persistent worry, restlessness, insomnia, fatigue and muscle tension.
Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality formulas to support overall health and a healthy stress response:
l-Theanine by Pure Encapsulations: One capsule provides 200 mg of l-theanine as Suntheanine®, a unique amino acid that provides helpful relaxation support, and eases occasional nervous tension and irritability with causing drowsiness. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.
Magnesium Glycinate by Pure Encapsulations: Magnesium supports the metabolism and utilization of nutrients and the proper functioning of critical enzymatic and physiological functions. Important for muscle function and mood balance, magnesium in glycinate form is less likely to cause bowel discomfort than other forms of magnesium. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.
GABA 750 mg by Integrative Therapeutics: One capsule provides 750 mg of GABA in support of the neuroendocrine system. This pure vegetarian formula is gluten, soy, dairy and sugar free.
Kava by Herb Pharm: This liquid extract is sourced from sustainably harvested Kava grown in the Vanuatu Islands in the South Pacific according to ancient agricultural traditions. Kava provides nervous system support, promoting peaceful relaxation and stress reduction. This formula is prepared from the whole rhizome and root and is extracted with pharmaceutical grade certified organic grain alcohol. Gluten free, Non-GMO formulation.
Kava Kava by Professional Solutions: Formulated with ecologically harvested Kava Kava from Vanuatu, this potent herbal extract supports calm, relaxation and bodily systems negatively affected by stress. Vegetarian formula. Contains Non-GMO soy.
What is Anxiety? https://www.anxiety.org/what-is-anxiety
Understanding the Anxious Mind. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/04/magazine/04anxiety-t.html
Magnesium and the Brain: The Original Chill Pill. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolutionary-psychiatry/201106/magnesium-and-the-brain-the-original-chill-pill
Murray, Michael, M.D. Easing the Agony of Anxiety & Panic Attacks. Vitamin Retailer, February 2017
Is It Normal Anxiety or an Anxiety Disorder? https://www.verywell.com/is-it-normal-anxiety-or-an-anxiety-disorder-2584401