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A Holistic Nutritionist’s Top Supplements for High-Anxiety Times

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health disorders, affecting millions of people worldwide. And as scary as it can be to admit you have anxiety, it’s not something to be ashamed about. Chances are, the people you choose to confide in experience anxiety in some regard, too. Especially knowing that you’re bound to be flooded with disheartening, anxiety-inducing headlines if you turn on the news or open up just about any media app on your phone, I need you to remember that you’re not alone.

I love and advocate for holistic health because it goes beyond the physical body. Achieving long-lasting optimal health is nearly impossible if our mind and soul don’t align with our body. So, we have to address the root causes of anxiety as we would any other physical condition to bring harmony to every aspect of our health. Anxiety can manifest in more observable, traditional ways, such as sweating and insomnia. However, some signs and symptoms are less apparent, like increased inflammation as well as gut and hormone imbalances. The impact that anxiety can have on our overall health can be detrimental if we let it persist, so I’ve put together a list of the holistic supplements I’ve been utilizing to bring me peace during high-anxiety times like these.

Magnesium

Magnesium is a supplement I can’t stop raving about (and if you’ve been following me for some time, you know this is an oldie but a goodie!). Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the body and an important electrolyte for proper muscle, nerve, and enzyme function. However, the magic doesn’t stop there. Research has shown a relationship between magnesium and anxiety since magnesium can affect the activity of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPAA), which is an important element of our natural stress response system. Magnesium, particularly in the form of magnesium glycinate, can reduce the activity of the HPAA, decreasing the release of stress and anxiety hormones.

I love using BIOptimizers Magnesium Breakthrough supplement. Each veggie capsule contains a complex of magnesium forms to support anxiety reduction and other areas of our health.

Reishi

Medicinal mushrooms, such as Reishi, have been celebrated in traditional medicine practices for centuries as they have various health benefits, including anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antidepressant properties. Reishi is working its way into more common holistic spaces since its positive health effects are continually being observed. While further research is needed, several studies have revealed the antidepressant-like potential of Reishi mushrooms, which can lead to anxiety-reducing effects. These findings make Reishi a fascinating herbal remedy for mental health disorders worth exploring.

Host Defense Reishi Capsules is the supplement I trust to support my body’s response to anxiety, especially in stressful times.

Tulsi Tea

The tulsi plant (AKA holy basil) is yet another adaptogen with longstanding praises in Ayurvedic medicine. Tulsi has been shown to address stress in just about every regard: physical, chemical, metabolic, and psychological. Specifically homing in on the psychological aspect, tulsi possesses natural anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties that may have similar effects to pharmaceutical prescriptions. Research surrounding tulsi supports its therapeutic potential to reduce anxiety when used at sufficient doses long term.

I always promote Organic India’s Tulsi Original Tea for its natural processing and manufacturing practices of this powerful herb to ensure a clean product. 

Probiotics

In case you haven’t heard, our gut is connected to every realm of our health; the good bacteria in our gut impact us more than we even realize. One area that our gut health reigns over is the brain. Researchers have established the gut-brain axis, a two-way path for communication and interaction between the gut and the brain. Recently, clinical studies have opened up the possibility of targeting gut health for the treatment of neurological disorders, including anxiety. So, probiotics are key to whipping our gut health into shape.

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that support our gut and overall health. However, probiotics are strain- and disease-specific, meaning different bacteria are more beneficial than others depending on our body and needs. For anxiety, I like probiotic supplements that contain Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus plantarum. L. rhamnosus affects your GABA receptors and vagus nerve, providing a sense of calmness to the body, and L. plantarum addresses common anxiety symptoms by boosting dopamine and decreasing inflammation.

So, the Genuine Health Women’s Mood probiotic is my top anti-anxiety probiotic pick. It’s transparent in its composition, showing how much of each strain is in the product, which I appreciate.

L-theanine

L-theanine is an amino acid found in tea leaves and recognized for its neuroprotective and cognitive-enhancing properties. Since L-theanine is structurally similar to another amino acid called glutamate, it connects to the brain’s excitatory pathways. This connection helps ease anxiety and reduce the impact of stress. So, by influencing glutamate neurotransmission, L-theanine can alleviate anxiety disorders and counter the effects of both short-term and long-term stress to promote an overall healthy mind.

Throne’s L-theanine is my tried and true. In doses of 200mg, each capsule helps me manage any moments of anxiety while promoting high-quality sleep and better cognitive function, helping me feel amazing.

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is a medicinal herb used to treat many mood disorders, including depression and anxiety. While lemon balm contains several bioactive compounds, its most notable, rosmarinic acid, can cross the blood-brain barrier to impart neurological effects on brain cells. Research has revealed significant decreases in acute anxiety when supplementing with lemon balm.

I have a few favorites: Gaia Herbs Organic Lemon Balm drops, Traditional Medicinals Lemon Balm Tea, and Nature’s Answer Bio Strath Liquid, all excellent choices to help manage anxiety.

GABA

GABA, often referred to as “the brain’s calming neurotransmitter,” stands as a key supplement to integrate into any anti-anxiety regimen. My personal experience with Gamma-AminoButyric Acid spans several years, during which it has proven to be remarkably beneficial. It was profoundly impactful when I was struggling with insomnia a few years ago. When taking GABA regularly, many of my clients report benefits such as heightened relaxation in the body, enhanced sleep quality, and diminished anxiety.

I typically recommend BrainMD’s GABA Calming Support supplement since it contains no artificial dyes, animal products, soy, gluten, or sugar.

***

Anxiety affects all of us at some point in our lives in one way or another. While we may not be able to eliminate it, especially in stressful times like these, what matters is that we address the problem head-on rather than letting it persist and consume us. Thankfully, we have an abundance of holistic, anti-anxiety herbs and supplements in our arsenal to help support us. Still, in addition to these incredible supplements, we must incorporate several stress-reduction strategies each day for the most benefit – think: breathwork, regular movement, and proper nutrition. A surefire way to ensure you’re nourishing your body during high-anxiety times is to maintain optimal gut health. I offer a 3-day Gut Cleanse for those local to Southern California to help reset your gut microbiome. You can learn more and order the cleanse here.

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