Which Vitamins, Herbs, and Supplements Help Your Anxiety?
Supplements are specific nutritional elements that are added to your daily diet. Supplements include vitamins, minerals, herbs, amino acids, and other dietary enhancements, and together, they help increase our health and wellbeing. They can improve specific conditions, including anxiety. Taking vitamins, herbs, and supplements can prevent anxiety as well as reduce your anxiety symptoms.
How Supplements, Vitamins and Herbs for Anxiety Work
During times of anxiety, the human body rapidly depletes stores of important nutrients. Deficiencies in such things as B-vitamins can cause anxiety, fatigue, restlessness, and irritability. Further, we become more easily excitable and jittery. Lack of nutrients can cause symptoms that mimic anxiety and anxiety attacks. Also, we are zapped of the energy we need to function well and reduce anxiety (List of Foods That Help and Hurt Anxiety).
Anti-anxiety supplements work to replace lost vitamins and minerals. Doing so can increase calm and feelings of relaxation, soothe the nervous system, and aid in the making of neurotransmitters, key brain chemicals that play an important role in anxiety and other mental health conditions. When we have proper nutrients, we are better equipped to handle stress. Vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other supplements help restore balance within our body’s system, including the brain, and they center our thoughts and emotions.
Below is a list of vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other supplements that research has linked to anxiety improvement. These anti-anxiety supplements can help you strengthen yourself from within and equip your body to stave off anxiety.
One caveat before diving into the list: it’s important to talk to your doctor before starting any supplement program. Supplements aren’t for everyone. Certain groups such as pregnant women, children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune systems shouldn’t take supplements unless instructed by a doctor. Supplements can also cause dangerous symptoms or interactions in anyone, not just people in high-risk categories. Given that the goal is to be healthy and reduce anxiety, it’s wise to have the guidance of a healthcare professional (see Are Herbs and Supplements for Anxiety Safe?).
Vitamin C and the B vitamins play an important role in decreasing anxiety and reducing stress. They calm the nervous system, adrenal glands, and brain chemistry. The following vitamins are B vitamins:
- thiamin (B1),
- riboflavin (B2),
- niacin or niacinamide (B3),
- pantothenic acid (B4),
- pyridoxine (B6),
- folic acid or folate
- cyanocobalamin (B12)
- para-aminobenzoic acid (PABA)
Minerals for Anxiety
Some minerals work together, so it’s best to take them in combinations as delineated here.
- Calcium and magnesium tranquilize and relieve tension.
- Potassium, phosphorus, and zinc help the nervous system and can keep anxiety at bay (deficiencies in phosphorus, for example, can contribute to anxiety).
- Iron supplements prevent deficiencies that can increase panic attacks.
Like vitamins and minerals, herbs work in multiple ways to reduce anxiety (Do Herbal Remedies for Anxiety Really Work?). They can be tranquilizing and calming, they can revitalize the nervous system, improve concentration, and induce sleep. Some herbs known to help anxiety are
- skull cap,
- lemon balm,
- ginko biloba,
- St. John’s Wort,
- kava-kava (or simply kava),
- rose petals,
- dried red clover.
Other Anti-Anxiety Supplements
Many essential nutrients exist to reduce anxiety and calm your body systems. In addition to vitamins, minerals, and herbs, these supplements also help anxiety:
- amino acids,
- glycogenic amino acids,
- gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA),
- melatonin (a hormone supplement).
Supplementing your diet with essential nutrients is an effective way to treat and prevent anxiety. Vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other supplements for anxiety provide your body with the substances it needs to be well and anxiety-free.
Last Updated: 17 May 2017
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD