Anxious and curious? Doctors share the best supplements to tame stress naturally

You know the feeling: you start to worry, your body tenses up, you get restless. Whether you suffer from chronic anxiety or stress flare-ups during hectic days or during the holidays, you don’t have to let stress sap your joy. And it also doesn’t mean you have to resort to prescription drugs (which can have unwanted side effects). Here, doctors reveal the best anti-anxiety vitamin to tame stress naturally. Plus, they push more natural supplements to help keep you cool no matter what life throws at you.

What is anxiety?

Over 30% of US adults experience anxiety at some point in their lives. Anxiety is panic, fear or restlessness. Symptoms may include sweating, dry mouth, fast heartbeat or shortness of breath. These are typical physical reactions to a stressful situation. But if you feel like you’re on edge all the timean anxiety disorder may be to blame.

Anxiety disorders are more common in women than men, and anxiety symptoms can worsen with age. In a study of women between the ages of 40 and 60, researchers found that women over 50 were more likely to report moderate to severe anxiety symptoms than their 40-year-old counterparts.

Although medications for anxiety disorders can help some people, they can also come with unpleasant side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, and constipation. The good news: If your anxiety is milder and you’re interested in trying natural remedies first, there are plenty of vitamins and supplements that can help. In fact, experts have found the best vitamin for anxiety, along with six other vitamins, minerals and supplements that tame tension.

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How a vitamin can help with anxiety

If you suspect you have an anxiety disorder, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider about treatment options. But for occasional stress and worry, some of the best natural remedies for anxiety can be found right in the vitamin aisle of the supermarket.

When it comes to anxiety, there are three types of supplements: those that can help correct deficiencies, those that support the body’s physiology, and supplements that help calm and balance the nervous system, says Jacques Jospitre, MD, a board-certified psychiatrist and co-founder. from SohoMD. Time and time again, we have seen patients get the right vitamins to help them feel more balanced and less stressed.

The best vitamin for anxiety: Magnesium

It turns out that the best anti-anxiety vitamin isn’t actually a vitamin, but a mineral. The experts we spoke to agreed: Magnesium is hard to beat for anxiety. Magnesium plays a key role in the body’s stress reactions. It can help manage anxiety by regulating the feel-good hormone serotonin and improving brain function.

Magnesium, a natural tranquilizer, acts as a key that unlocks the body’s ability to manage stress and anxiety, promoting a sense of calm and mental clarity, explains Roseann Capanna-Hodge, LPC, BCN, an integrative mental health specialist. In addition to its calming effects, magnesium plays a crucial role in supporting the functioning of neurotransmitters, which is essential for maintaining a balanced and healthy mental state.

For best results, Dr. Capanna-Hodge recommends a type of magnesium known as magnesium L-threonate. This highly bioavailable form of magnesium can improve cognitive function and help you feel less overwhelmed. One to try: Double Woods Supplements Magtein Magnesium L-Threonate (Buy on Amazon, $29.95).

Magnesium caplets, the best vitamin for anxiety, shaped to form the letters MG on a pink background

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Related: Top Doctors: You’re probably not getting enough magnesium if you’re feeling anxious, achy, tired, and struggling to lose weight

Add supplements that ease anxiety

While magnesium may be the best vitamin for anxiety, there are other supplements that, when combined with a balanced diet, can do wonders to help you feel at home. It is well known that a higher intake of nutrients is usually associated with better mental health, says Dr. Jospitre. Here are the best supplements to tame anxiety naturally.

1. Vitamin D3

Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is important for overall brain health, including mental well-being, says Menka Gupta, MD, a certified functional medicine practitioner and founder of Nutranourish. The vitamin plays a role in the synthesis of serotonin, he adds. And its anti-inflammatory properties can help relieve chronic inflammation that has been linked to anxiety.

There is also a strong link between vitamin D deficiency and health problems such as depression and anxiety. In a study of 290 people who received inpatient or outpatient treatment for mental health problems, researchers reported Frontiers of Psychiatry found that 272 of them more than 93%! had low vitamin D levels. And in research Brain and behavior in people suffering from depression and anxiety, it was found that a vitamin D supplement of 1,600 IU per day significantly improved anxiety symptoms.

Although your body naturally produces vitamin D when sunlight hits your skin, it’s not always possible to get enough sun (about 15 minutes at noon without sunscreen), especially on cloudy days or in winter. That’s where a vitamin D supplement can help. One to try: NatureWise Vitamin D3 (Buy on Amazon, $14.49). (Click to see more about the best vitamin D supplements for women over 50.)

2. Vitamin C

Research suggests that oxidative stress, an imbalance between harmful free radicals and beneficial antioxidants, can trigger mental health disorders such as anxiety. That’s why vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant, is one of the best vitamins for anxiety. Researchers found that people who took 500 mg of vitamin C daily reported lower levels of anxiety than those who took a placebo.

Vitamin C also supports adrenal function, which helps regulate production of the stress hormone cortisol, says Tara Scott, MD, FACOG, FAAFM, NCMP, medical director of Forum Health in Akron. It’s also involved in the production of serotonin, a feel-good neurotransmitter, Dr. Scott adds. One to try: Nature Made Vitamin C (Buy on Amazon, $22.27).

3. Vitamins B6 and B12

These two B vitamins are important in making mood-enhancing brain chemicals. B vitamins, especially B6 and B12, play a role in the synthesis of neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine, major mood regulators, says Dr. Gupta.

Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause distressing neurological symptoms such as anxiety and mood swings. And research Annals of Medicine and Surgery suggests that vitamin B6 can significantly reduce stress, anxiety and depression. Since B vitamins work best together, look for a B vitamin complex that includes B12, B6, niacin, and folate. One to try: Life Extension BioActive Complete B-Complex (Buy on Amazon, $9).

Related: I am a doctor and these are the daily vitamins I recommend for women

4. L-theanine

If you haven’t quite mastered practicing meditation to eliminate anxiety, this amino acid is the next best thing. L-theanine is found naturally in green tea and helps promote alpha wave mode in the brain, a calming state often achieved through meditation, Dr. Jospitre says. A higher level of calm leads to better sleep, and better sleep is associated with less anxiety and even better concentration and attention.

Research shows that 400 mg of L-theanine daily is the ideal amount to get the benefits. One to try: Horbaach L-Theanine (Buy on Amazon, $21.96).

A cup of green tea next to the teapot and a bowl of loose green tea leaves

L-theanine is found naturally in green teamasa44/Getty

5. Probiotics

You probably know probiotics as the good bacteria that help keep your gut balanced and your digestive system working. And it turns out that it can have a positive effect on your mental well-being as well. There is a strong connection between digestion and the brain, called the gut-brain axis, says Dr. Jospitre.

Specifically, he explains that probiotics can help produce gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter that has a calming effect. And an overview of studies BMC Psychiatry suggests that probiotics may ease symptoms of anxiety and depression. One to try: Physician’s Choice 60 Billion Probiotics (Buy on Amazon, $21.97). (Tip: You can also get probiotics from fermented foods like yogurt. Click through to learn how to make probiotic-rich yogurt at home.)

6. Ashwagandha

Also known as Indian ginseng, this evergreen shrub is used in Ayurvedic medicine for its ability to help the body adapt to stress. Ashwagandha stands out as a natural stress reliever, says Dr. Capanna-Hodge. This powerful Adaptogen is known for its ability to calm the nervous system and reduce the body’s production of stress hormones, which relieves anxiety and stress-related symptoms. According to a research review, ashwagandha significantly reduced stress and anxiety levels compared to a placebo. (Click for more supplements that reduce the stress hormone cortisol.)

Ashwagandha can also help fight anxiety and a sleep catch-22: Anxiety can interfere with sleep, but lack of sleep can make anxiety worse. Ashwagandha contains compounds called withanolides, which can help fight insomnia and keep your internal body clock on track. To maximize the anti-anxiety benefits, aim for 500 mg per day. One to try: Best Naturals Ashwagandha (Buy on Amazon, $9.99).

Ashwagandha root next to the leaves of the plant, one of the best vitamins for anxiety

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For more ways to relieve stress naturally, click:

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This content is not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis. Always talk to your doctor before completing any treatment plan.

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