Best Vitamins & Minerals to Overcome Anxiety And Panic Disorders

Best Vitamins & Minerals to Overcome Anxiety And Panic Disorders

When you think of food allergies, you imagine someone breaking out in hives from peanuts, or getting diarrhea from cheese. Yet, food allergies can also have a toxic effect on your mood and well-being; they can make you dizzy, irritable, confused, tired, depressed, anxious and even panicked.

If you suspect food allergies, you can have your physician conduct a formal allergy test, or you can consult a qualified nutritionist. You can also use your body as a laboratory and systematically monitor your own reaction to foods.

Watch It!

Though it’s not possible to overdose on B vitamins, because they are water soluble, B6 is an exception. If you are taking B6 on a long-term basis, do not exceed 100 mg/day because it can cause neurological problems.

Best Vitamins & Minerals that Fight Anxiety:

multivitamins

Obviously, you should avoid any foods to which you are allergic, and especially if you suspect they relate to panic attacks. However, here are some vitamins and minerals you can take to fight anxiety and panic attacks.

Nutritional Anxiety Busters:

When stressed, anxious or depressed, your adrenal glands work overtime and your body has an enormously increased need for particular vitamins and minerals.

Especially important to refurbish the nervous system are the B vitamins and vitamin C, which are rapidly depleted under stress and should be replenished daily. Vitamin Bl, B2, B6, and 1112 deficiencies in particular can lead to anxiety, irritability, restlessness, fatigue and emotional instability.

You also need sufficient amounts of the minerals calcium and magnesium. Calcium acts as a tranquilizer, which is why having a glass of milk before bedtime helps you sleep. You should take it in combination with magnesium, since these two minerals work synergistically.

Chromium, critical in lowering insulin requirements, is another important mineral. Lower insulin levels aid healthy function of many body systems, including the serotonin system, which I’ll discuss shortly.

The following are suggested daily dosages of these supplements:

Vitamins:

  • B-complex: 50-100 mg of all 11 B vitamins once or twice a day. During high stress, take extra B5 (pantothenic acid), up to 1,000 mg in a time-release form.
  • Vitamin C: 1,000 mg in a time-release form, twice to four times a day—preferably combined with bioflavonoids.

Minerals:

  • Calcium and magnesium: 1,000 mg of calcium (chelates preferred over calcium carbonate), with magnesium.
  • Chromium: 200 mg a day

Taking a multivitamin daily, particularly one for “stress,” will probably include most, if not all, of these vitamins and minerals, as well as vitamin F, selenium, zinc, copper, manganese and iron—also essential for the proper functioning of the nervous system. If not, you can supplement as needed.

Secret Weapons

Don’t forget herbal mood boosters. St. John’s Wort appears to raise serotonin and relieve mild to moderate depression. And the herb kava is a safe natural tranquilizer.

Natural Serotonin Boosters:

Levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin in our brain affect our mood. Low serotonin levels appear to cause depression, particularly in vulnerable individuals.

But how does serotonin level affect anxiety? It’s a bit complex, writes Dr. Michael Norden in his book Beyond Prozac. Extreme stress, which creates anxiety, depletes serotonin levels; restoring those levels, as when taking Prozac, relieves anxiety.

Apparently, though, high as well as low levels of serotonin can generate anxiety. It’s unclear whether elevated serotonin during anxiety causes the anxious feeling or if it may be a helpful response to the stress.

To stabilize our state of being, the goal is to maintain healthy levels of serotonin in our brain. Food does this, which is why many call it literally a drug. We need vitamin C to make serotonin, along with sufficient quantities of vitamin E and the minerals magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese and iron.

And we need the amino acid tryptophan—the building block of serotonin and which is contained in pineapple, bananas, turkey, chicken, tuna, eggs, yogurt and milk. Many people find it useful to treat depression and anxiety with L-tryptophan supplements. L-tryptophan, however, is not available in this country.

Another form, 5-Hydroxy-Tryptophan (5-HTP), is sold over the counter in health food stores. Gamma amino butyric acid (GABA), an amino acid available in many health food stores, has a mildly tranquilizing effect.

The amino acids DL-phenylalanine and tyrosine treat the depression often accompanying anxiety disorders. Though less potent than prescription antidepressants, they have fewer side effects.

Fun Fact

A 1974 Japanese study of 107 patients found 74 to improve with 5-HTP. A 1991 Swiss study compared 5-HTP with the antidepressant Luvox (fluvoxamine) and found them equally effective. However, both treatments produced side effects: 5-HTP most commonly caused nausea and other gastrointestinal distress.