Top 9 Supplements to Decrease Anxiety




Anxiety is one of the most common mood disorders (if not the most common) and definitely one of the top conditions I’ve seen in practice. I always ALWAYS advise lifestyle changes as first line treatment, which include exercise and eating healthy foods, but when that is not enough I will recommend certain supplements before jumping straight to medication.

I don’t love anxiety medication in general because some of them can lead to serious problems, such as addiction (ie. Xanax), and most can cause too much of a calming effect. Anti-anxiety medications also come along with a whole list of side effects (some more pronounced in certain individuals than others) and can end up causing more problems than what the individual started with. So for someone with mild to moderate anxiety, lifestyle changes and supplements are a great way to get your mood back in check.



Below is a list of the most effective and safest supplements I have come across and recommend.


1. Vitamin B12

What: Vitamin B12 helps with the production of major neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine, which work to modulate mood and decrease anxiety. Read more about this here.
Dose: 1,000 mcg daily as methylcobalamin sublingual, lozenge, or spray
How to take: Morning




 

2. Vitamin B6

What: This vitamin assists with the production of the major neurotransmitters that regulate mood, which include serotonin, dopamine, and GABA. Vitamin B6 specifically assists with the production of serotonin’s direct precursor, 5-HTP – the more there is of 5-HTP, the more serotonin that can be made. Read more about Vitamin B6 here.
Dose: 2.5 mg daily as pyridoxal-5-phosphate
How to take: Once or twice daily

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3. L-theanine

What: This amino acid activates GABA in the brain to induce calm without sedation. Read more about this here.
Dose: 100+ mg daily as L-theanine
How to take: With food

 

4. Lemon balm

What:​ This is an herb that may help to decrease stress and induce more feelings of calm. When combined with valerian root it’s anxiolytic and anti-insomnia effects may be pronounced – read more here.
Dose: 600 mg or 60 drops tincture daily as Melissa officinalis
How to take: Once daily




5. L-tyrosine

What: This is an amino acid that helps to boost dopamine and norepinephrine, which are neurotransmitters that help to calm the mind and decrease anxiety. Read more about L-tyrosine here.
Dose: 500 mg 1-4x daily as L-Tyrosine
How to take: With food




6. DHA/EPA Omega-3 Fatty Acids

What: Omega-3 fatty acids decrease inflammation in the brain which may help to lessen anxiousness and perceived stress by the brain. Read more about this here and here.
Dose: 2,000+ mg daily as combined DHA/EPA
How to take: With a meal




7. Passionflower

What: This supplement helps to boost GABA in the brain, which is the neurotransmitter responsible for promoting calm and relaxation. Read more about passionflower here and  here.
Dose: 200 mg nightly as Passiflora incarnata
How to take: 60 minutes before sleep (can make sleepy)



8. Chamomile

What: Chamomile as a supplement has been shown to be an effective treatment of decreasing anxiety. Read more about this here and here.
Dose: 500 mg 1-3x per day as Matricaria recutita or chamomilla
How to take: Bed time (also good for promoting relaxation before sleep)




9. 5-HTP

What: This compound is the direct precursor to serotonin (main neurotransmitter involved with stable mood) and helps to boost serotonin levels in the brain. Read more about 5-HTP here.
Dose: 100 mg 1-3x daily as 5-Hydroxytryptophan
How to take: With a meal

 

Always speak to your health care provider before trying any supplement and be cautious whenever trying a new supplement because you don’t know how you will react.



SK
About the author: Sarah-Kate Rems is an Ivy-league trained Board-Certified Family Nurse Practitioner licensed in California with an expertise in preventative healthcare. She considers nutrition and exercise to be the basis of well-being and is a strong advocate for daily physical activity and maintaining a healthy diet. Sarah-Kate is also a co-founder of The Mindful Tech Lab

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