13 Best Anti-Anxiety Supplements in 2023

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Best Anti-Anxiety Supplements

In today’s fast-paced world, anxiety seems to be an ever-present companion for many. As we explore alternative avenues to manage anxiety symptoms, natural supplements have emerged as a promising option. In this blog post, we will delve into 13 top anti-anxiety supplements in 2023, backed by scientific research, that can potentially help ease anxiety symptoms. From magnesium and ashwagandha to vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids, these natural alternatives can be an excellent addition to your arsenal against anxiety. Let’s dive in and explore these supplements that could help you lead a calmer, more centered life.

Can supplements really help ease anxiety?

You might wonder if supplements can help relieve severe anxiety symptoms. While they can, it’s essential to take a personalized approach to supplementation based on your unique needs and circumstances. Supplements should never be thought of as a standalone solution.

Other lifestyle changes, such as exercise, healthy eating habits, and sleep hygiene, can help alleviate anxiety symptoms. Another promising avenue to help manage anxiety symptoms is nervous system regulation.

By helping your body adapt to stress more effectively, these supplements can be a valuable tool in managing anxiety. Remember that supplements are not a “cure-all” and should not be used alone to treat anxiety.

The importance of a personalized approach

Adopting a personalized approach to supplementation is crucial as each individual possesses unique nutritional needs, deficiencies, and imbalances that could be contributing to their anxiety symptoms. A multitude of factors, including genetic makeup, dietary habits, lifestyle choices, and pre-existing medical conditions, play a significant role in determining the efficacy of supplements used to manage these symptoms.

By tailoring the supplementation plan to correspond with the distinctive needs of each individual, the probability of successfully mitigating anxiety symptoms is significantly increased.

Remember: Anti-Anxiety Supplements are not a “cure all”

While supplements can be beneficial in managing anxiety, they should not be viewed as a standalone or “cure-all” solution. Anxiety is a multifaceted condition, arising from an array of factors including genetics, brain chemistry, personal experiences, and environmental stressors, all of which may not be fully addressed by dietary supplements alone.

Taking a comprehensive approach to anxiety management is vital as it considers the complexity of the condition and attempts to identify and address the underlying causes of nervous system imbalance. By integrating various strategies that target the physical and psychological dimensions of anxiety, individuals can achieve a more holistic and long-lasting improvement in their mental and physical health.

Top research-backed supplements that may help ease anxiety

The following natural supplements are backed by research and can help ease symptoms of anxiety:

Magnesium

Magnesium is an indispensable mineral that plays a pivotal role in various physiological functions, including over 300 enzymatic reactions. Crucial to the proper functioning of the nervous system, it facilitates nerve conduction and the release of neurotransmitters, which are vital for inter-neuronal communication. Beyond the nervous system, magnesium is central to energy production in cells, DNA and protein synthesis, and cell growth and repair. It also significantly contributes to cardiovascular health by regulating heart rhythm, maintaining blood vessels, and controlling blood pressure.

Plus, some studies suggest that magnesium supplements can help alleviate symptoms of PMS, especially when combined with vitamin B6 [1].

Arginine with Lysine

Supplementing a combination of arginine and lysine benefits individuals with state and trait anxiety.

State and trait anxiety can happen to people who are generally healthy, even when faced with small stressful situations like a presentation. State anxiety refers explicitly to feeling unpleasantly stressed in response to a specific stressful event, whereas trait anxiety describes a person’s overall tendency to feel state anxiety when facing stressors.

It is uncertain whether these two amino acids benefit generalized anxiety disorder or other forms of anxiety besides state and trait anxiety.

Kava

Kava is a herb that has emerged as an alternative supplement to treat anxiety. Its effectiveness in reducing non-psychotic stress has been well documented, with some studies showing its potency similar to pharmaceuticals [2].

However, it is essential to note that the benefits of kava for generalized anxiety are less clear, and other supplements like lavender have shown promise in this area.

While kava may also act as a cognitive enhancer, extended usage’s potential long-term side effects are not fully understood. Most studies on kava have only lasted a few weeks without any problems.

Lavender

Lavender is well known as a natural way to boost mental health. This family of plants is known for its anxiety-reducing properties. A proprietary lavender extract has been shown to improve sleep by reducing anxiety [3], and lavender oil has been shown to reduce physical symptoms associated with anxiety [4]. Lavender oil improves depression, stress, systolic blood pressure, and heart rate. The impact on anxiety symptoms is even greater when lavender oil is used in massage or inhalation therapy [5][6].

Vitex Agnus-Castus

Vitex agnus-castus (VAC) is an anti-anxiety supplement that reduces anxiety during the menstrual cycle and alleviates premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms. It can also help reduce irritability and improve sleep during PMS. These effects can indirectly improve mood and help alleviate anxiety.

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is a widely recognized Ayurvedic herb for reducing stress and anxiety [7][8]. It has anxiolytic properties and helps relieve stress by decreasing cortisol levels; it may also provide more benefits for treating social anxiety disorder than other anxiolytics.

Evidence suggests that ashwagandha effectively improves sleep quality and total sleep time in people with and without insomnia [9].

Lemon balm

Lemon Balm is a herb/tea believed to have calming effects and may improve cognition. It has been found to reduce anxiety and induce calmness effectively. However, its cognitive-enhancing properties may not be consistently effective, as it tends to act as a sedative unless a person is under stress.

Lemon balm is thought to impact GABA signaling, which may benefit people with anxiety or depression[10]. It also has shown a notable improvement in PMS symptoms[11].

Inositol

Animal studies have shown that Inositol can reduce anxiety, especially in response to severe stress. According to research, taking inositol supplements is equally effective in reducing anxiety symptoms as taking the SSRI fluvoxamine [12].

It was shown to have a mild positive effect on depression symptoms and can also prevent panic attacks [13].

L-Theanine

L-theanine is a type of amino acid that is found naturally in tea. It is not a sedative but can help reduce stress and anxiety levels, ultimately promoting relaxation [14] [15]. Additionally, L-theanine may assist in enhancing sleep quality by creating a more peaceful state.

Passionflower

Passionflower affects anxiety in general rather than targeting a specific type of anxiety. This also means that human studies have produced inconsistent results, and specific protocols are rarely replicated.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D supplementation is important as it regulates the conversion of tryptophan into serotonin, a hormone, and neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood.

When there is a vitamin D deficiency, it has been associated with conditions like anxiety, sleep disorders, and depression [16].

Vitamin B Complex

Research indicates that consuming vitamins B6 and B12 can reduce anxiety and depression by inhibiting neural activity and decreasing excitation.

A randomized controlled trial discovered that healthy participants who were given vitamin B6 supplements experienced improved visual focus and reduced anxiety [17].

Omega 3 fatty acids

Fish oil appears to improve mood in people with major depression significantly [18]. In addition, a recent study found that consuming fish oil can reduce inflammation and anxiety in healthy young people.

What should I look for when choosing a supplement for anxiety?

When choosing a supplement for anxiety, it’s essential to look for ones that have been studied and proven effective in reducing anxiety symptoms, such as the ones listed above.

Choose supplements from reputable brands that follow good manufacturing practices. Always talk to your healthcare provider to determine the best route for your needs.

Who should avoid taking supplements for anxiety?

Pregnant or breastfeeding women should check with a healthcare professional before taking supplements for anxiety.

It is also recommended that individuals with certain medical conditions talk to their provider before taking any supplements, as they may interact with other medications.

Why alcohol and nicotine should be avoided when treating anxiety

Excessive consumption of both nicotine and alcohol can worsen symptoms of anxiety. It’s fine to drink alcohol in moderation, but relying on it to ease anxiety is not a good idea due to the dangers of consuming too much or too often. With nicotine, regular use leads to tolerance, resulting in a decrease in its anti-anxiety effect. Tolerance also causes withdrawal symptoms, which significantly increase anxiety.

In Conclusion

Good mental health is one of the most underrated yet essential aspects of our lives, and taking the right herbal supplements can make all the difference.

While no supplement will be a magical cure-all to your anxiety, they offer an excellent starting point to build a stronger and more positive lifestyle. With evidence-based medicine providing further concrete evidence for its therapeutic effectiveness, these proven supplements can become some of your best weapons in combating stress and anxiety in 2023. Managing anxiety begins with arming yourself with knowledge about what works for you and trying these potential solutions.

References:

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[2] Malsch U, Kieser M. Efficacy of kava-kava in the treatment of non-psychotic anxiety, following pretreatment with benzodiazepines. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2001 Sep;157(3):277-83. doi: 10.1007/s002130100792. PMID: 11605083.

[3] Seifritz E, Schläfke S, Holsboer-Trachsler E. Beneficial effects of Silexan on sleep are mediated by its anxiolytic effect. J Psychiatr Res. 2019 Aug;115:69-74. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2019.04.013. Epub 2019 Apr 17. PMID: 31121394.

[4] von Känel R, Kasper S, Bondolfi G, Holsboer-Trachsler E, Hättenschwiler J, Hatzinger M, Imboden C, Heitlinger E, Seifritz E. Therapeutic effects of Silexan on somatic symptoms and physical health in patients with anxiety disorders: A meta-analysis. Brain Behav. 2021 Apr;11(4):e01997. doi: 10.1002/brb3.1997. Epub 2021 Feb 27. PMID: 33638614; PMCID: PMC8035468.

[5] Kim M, Nam ES, Lee Y, Kang HJ. Effects of Lavender on Anxiety, Depression, and Physiological Parameters: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Asian Nurs Res (Korean Soc Nurs Sci). 2021 Dec;15(5):279-290. doi: 10.1016/j.anr.2021.11.001. Epub 2021 Nov 12. PMID: 34775136.

[6] Ghavami T, Kazeminia M, Rajati F. The effect of lavender on stress in individuals: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Complement Ther Med. 2022 Sep;68:102832. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2022.102832. Epub 2022 Apr 13. PMID: 35429599.

[7] Pratte MA, Nanavati KB, Young V, Morley CP. An alternative treatment for anxiety: a systematic review of human trial results reported for the Ayurvedic herb ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). J Altern Complement Med. 2014 Dec;20(12):901-8. doi: 10.1089/acm.2014.0177. PMID: 25405876; PMCID: PMC4270108.

[8] Lopresti AL, Smith SJ, Malvi H, Kodgule R. An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Medicine (Baltimore). 2019 Sep;98(37):e17186. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000017186. PMID: 31517876; PMCID: PMC6750292.

[9] Cheah KL, Norhayati MN, Husniati Yaacob L, Abdul Rahman R. Effect of Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract on sleep: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2021 Sep 24;16(9):e0257843. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0257843. PMID: 34559859; PMCID: PMC8462692.

[10] Ghazizadeh J, Sadigh-Eteghad S, Marx W, Fakhari A, Hamedeyazdan S, Torbati M, Taheri-Tarighi S, Araj-Khodaei M, Mirghafourvand M. The effects of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis L.) on depression and anxiety in clinical trials: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Phytother Res. 2021 Dec;35(12):6690-6705. doi: 10.1002/ptr.7252. Epub 2021 Aug 27. PMID: 34449930.

[11] Heydari N, Dehghani M, Emamghoreishi M, Akbarzadeh M. Effect of Melissa officinalis capsule on the mental health of female adolescents with premenstrual syndrome: a clinical trial study. Int J Adolesc Med Health. 2018 Jan 25;31(3):/j/ijamh.2019.31.issue-3/ijamh-2017-0015/ijamh-2017-0015.xml. doi: 10.1515/ijamh-2017-0015. PMID: 29369810.

[12] Kofman O, Einat H, Cohen H, Tenne H, Shoshana C. The anxiolytic effect of chronic inositol depends on the baseline level of anxiety. J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2000;107(2):241-53. doi: 10.1007/s007020050020. PMID: 10847563.

[13] Palatnik A, Frolov K, Fux M, Benjamin J. Double-blind, controlled, crossover trial of inositol versus fluvoxamine for the treatment of panic disorder. J Clin Psychopharmacol. 2001 Jun;21(3):335-9. doi: 10.1097/00004714-200106000-00014. PMID: 11386498.

[14] Hidese S, Ogawa S, Ota M, Ishida I, Yasukawa Z, Ozeki M, Kunugi H. Effects of L-Theanine Administration on Stress-Related Symptoms and Cognitive Functions in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Nutrients. 2019 Oct 3;11(10):2362. doi: 10.3390/nu11102362. PMID: 31623400; PMCID: PMC6836118.

[15] Sarris J, Byrne GJ, Cribb L, Oliver G, Murphy J, Macdonald P, Nazareth S, Karamacoska D, Galea S, Short A, Ee C, Birling Y, Menon R, Ng CH. L-theanine in the adjunctive treatment of generalized anxiety disorder: A double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial. J Psychiatr Res. 2019 Mar;110:31-37. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychires.2018.12.014. Epub 2018 Dec 8. PMID: 30580081.

[16] Fallah M, Askari G, Asemi Z. Is Vitamin D Status Associated with Depression, Anxiety and Sleep Quality in Pregnancy: A Systematic Review. Adv Biomed Res. 2020 Jul 27;9:32. doi: 10.4103/abr.abr_188_19. PMID: 33072644; PMCID: PMC7532825.

[17] Field DT, Cracknell RO, Eastwood JR, Scarfe P, Williams CM, Zheng Y, Tavassoli T. High-dose Vitamin B6 supplementation reduces anxiety and strengthens visual surround suppression. Hum Psychopharmacol. 2022 Nov;37(6):e2852. doi: 10.1002/hup.2852. Epub 2022 Jul 19. PMID: 35851507; PMCID: PMC9787829.

[18] Liao Y, Xie B, Zhang H, He Q, Guo L, Subramanieapillai M, Fan B, Lu C, McIntyre RS. Efficacy of omega-3 PUFAs in depression: A meta-analysis. Transl Psychiatry. 2019 Aug 5;9(1):190. doi: 10.1038/s41398-019-0515-5. Erratum in: Transl Psychiatry. 2021 Sep 7;11(1):465. PMID: 31383846; PMCID: PMC6683166.

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Dr. Linnea Passaler

Dr. Linnea Passaler

Dr. Linnea Passaler has dedicated 20+ years to serving patients, first to a small number of individuals as a successful surgeon and then to thousands of people worldwide as the CEO of a digital health startup. After overcoming her own struggles with a dysregulated nervous system, she created Heal Your Nervous System (HYNS) to empower others in their healing journey. Her combination of neuroscience and somatic work helps those struggling with overwhelm, trauma, burnout, and anxiety to heal their dysregulated nervous systems and thrive.