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Dealing with Anxiety

Stress, Nervous system | April 1, 2020 | Author: Naturopath

Nervous system, work stress

Dealing with Anxiety

Life situations can occur which cause feelings of anxiety and apprehension. This can make it hard to perform normal tasks and little issues can become giant problems. Everyone experiences different symptoms of anxiety. Increased heartbeat, rapid breathing, difficulty concentrating, feeling restless and trouble sleeping are common symptoms of anxiety. By supporting the body through times of stress can prevent further health issues from developing, reduce symptoms and help with focus and problem resolutions.

Vitamins, minerals and herbal medicines can help support the body through times of stress. 

Symptoms of Anxiety

There are many symptoms of anxiety. Common ones include:

  • Feeling panicky (panic attack), tense, wound-up, nervous
  • Excessive fear or obsessive thinking, catastrophizing, over-worrying
  • Hot and cold flushes
  • Palpitations (racing heart)
  • Chest tightness
  • Hyperventilation (rapid breathing)
  • Butterflys in the stomach

Anxiety is a natural response by the body towards stress. It is a feeling of fear or uncertainty about a situation. Symptoms of anxiety can be extreme and may interfere with normal life functions. When left unchecked, anxiety can be implicated with chronic diseases and anxiety disorders. Panic disorders, phobias, social anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic disorder (PTSD) are all types of anxiety disorders.

Support for Anxiety

There are some supplements which can be taken regularly to help reduce feelings of anxiety and increase coping abilities.

Magnesium

Magnesium in known as the great relaxer and can help reduce tension in muscles, lower high blood pressure, reduce pain, improve mood and promote good quality sleep.

Magnesium is an essential mineral used as a cofactor in over 300 biological reactions in the body. This includes regulating neurotransmitters which transmit messages throughout the brain and body.

Many people have low magnesium levels and can benefit from supplementing. Foods with high magnesium include avocado, chocolate, leafy greens, nuts, seeds and whole grains.

Magnesium can help with brain functions which reduce stress and anxiety

Vitamin B complex

Vitamin B’s are needed for the nervous system. They are water-soluble vitamins which mean they do not remain in the body and need to be supplied regularly. Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) particularly is needed for the creation of neurotransmitters and vitamin B12 (cobalamin) is vital for neurological function. A vitamin B complex supplement usually contains 8 B group vitamins which can also help with metabolism, energy and red blood cell production as well as supporting mood, depression and cognitive function. Poor nutrition, excess alcohol and stress may make it necessary to increase vitamin B intake. Consume raw or steamed leafy greens, organ meats such as liver and kidney, beef, chicken, turkey, shell fish, eggs, milk, wholegrains and legumes to increase vitamin B intake or/and supplement with a vitamin B complex. 

Herbs to Help

For herbal medicine to be effective it usually has to be taken for more than one day. Anxiolytics, hypnotics and sedatives work on the central nervous system to relieve anxiety. They have a calming effect on the body and can aid sleep.

Herbs to HelpChamomile (Matricaria recutita) – well known for its relaxing effect on the body, chamomile contains the constituent, apigenin, which is considered an anxiolytic.

Kava (Piper methysticum) Kava offers sedative, calming and anxiolytic actions and is approved by the German commission E for its use in nervous anxiety. It can improve sleep for people suffering from restlessness and tension and reduce stress.

Gotu kola (Centella asiatica) amongst its many other actions, Centella works as an anxiolytic.

Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) offers a sedating action and supports the nervous system. It can be useful in conditions of anxiety, insomnia and tension.

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis). The German commission E approves Melissa for use in nervous sleep disorders. Its valuable in conditions of excitability, restlessness, anxiety and depression.

Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) has a hypnotic and sedating action. It is a beautiful herb useful for nervous stress, insomnia and anxiety.

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is classed as an adaptogen which means it helps the body adapt to stress.
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Herbs to HelpLavender (Lavendula angustifolia) essential oil can directly affect the nervous system and help with restlessness, excitability, irritability, depression and insomnia. It has been found to help improve physiological well-being increasing the sense of happiness. The essential oil can be used topically or in a vaporiser.

Saffron (Crocus sativus). Crocin can regulate HPA axis activity and be effective in reducing anxiety symptoms. It offers many antioxidant activities. 

In summary

Regular intake of vitamin B and magnesium can help support the HPA axis resulting in reduce symptoms of anxiety and increasing coping measures. Herbal medicines will often come in combination and may be used to help reduce anxiety and aid sleep.

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References

https://www.beyondblue.org.au/the-facts/anxiety/signs-and-symptoms?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIhOfX1K226AIVS6aWCh255gGCEAAYASABEgIbRPD_BwE

The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress-A Systematic Review. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28445426

Magnesium deficiency induces anxiety and HPA axis dysregulation: Modulation by therapeutic drug treatment https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0028390811003054?via%3Dihub

The Role of Vitamins and Minerals in Psychiatry https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3046018/

Plant-based medicines for anxiety disorders, part 2: a review of clinical studies with supporting preclinical evidence. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23653088

Safety and clinical effectiveness of Withania Somnifera (Linn.) Dunal root in human ailments. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32201301

Effect of saffron supplementation on symptoms of depression and anxiety: a systematic review and meta-analysis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31135916

Fisher, Carole; 2009, MATERIA MEDICA OF WESTERN HERBS, Vitex Medica, New Zealand.

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-b-foods#section1

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