Calm Mental Stress With These Nutrients and Herbs

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) reports that anxiety disorders such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, and social anxiety disorder afflict approximately 18 percent of the population or roughly 40 million adult Americans1.

Based on these numbers, this means that approximately 1 in 5 people will develop some type of anxious condition at some point in their lives, making it the most common mental illness in the U.S. according to the ADAA2.

It is a disabling condition that is characterized by fear, tension, and excessive worries regarding common problems. It is often accompanied by physical symptoms like muscle tension, chest tightness, and heart palpitations.

Conventional medications do not address the root cause of the problem and only treat symptoms. Research shows that the remission rates for people with anxiety remain as low as 38 percent after five years3.

While this is the case for the conventional approach to anxiety, several studies point out that natural remedies can be safe and effective way to calm the mind and the nerves. With the help of certain herbs and supplements, you can take the edge off your mental stress. Here are 5 recommendations for natural stress relief:

Magnesium

Magnesium deficiency is a common deficiency that often goes underdiagnosed. Magnesium can act as a natural remedy to help lower anxiety as it relaxes the muscles and calms the nervous system4. Magnesium is also crucial for the release of the brain chemical GABA. GABA is necessary to promote relaxation and a feeling of stability. Most people that suffer from anxiety do not produce enough GABA in the brain.

Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 belongs to the water-soluble B complex vitamin family, which plays a major role in regulating your moods and mental health. Studies show that Vitamin B12 supports cognitive health and performance, boosts energy and concentration, and helps your nervous system to function properly5. Aging, digestive issues, conditions like pernicious anemia, and following 'fad' diets can lead to a B12 deficiency.

Probiotics

Believe it or not, your gut health affects your btrain chemistry. Our guts produce important neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine and serotonin, which are essential for supporting a healthy, balanced mood. But we rely on healthy gut bacteria to help with this process. A recent study found that the probiotic strain Lactobacillus rhamnosus can significantly reduce mental stress and worry6.

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is an herb that has been used for thousands of years to treat stress and burnout8. It helps condition the body, mind, and nervous system to be more resilient to stressors. This not only supports a calm, balanced, upbeat moods, it can also help protect the brain from degenerative damage.

Curcumin

Curcumin is the active nutrient in turmeric root, known for its positive effects on the inflammation response. Inflammation in the brain is thought to be at the root of many mental health issues. Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant that protects almost every organ in the body, including the brain and gut. Several studies report its multiple health benefits and therapeutic effects on human health9,10.

References: 

1. ADA Facts & Statistics

2. [Infographic] The United States of Anxiety

3. Treating generalized anxiety disorder with second generation antipsychotics: a systematic review and meta-analysis, 2011 Jun;31(3):326-33. doi: 10.1097/JCP.0b013e31821b2b3f 

4. Nutritional and herbal supplements for anxiety and anxiety-related disorders: systematic review, 2010 Oct 7 

5. The effect of methylated vitamin B complex on depressive and anxiety symptoms and quality of life in adults with depression, 2013 Jan 21;2013:621453. doi: 10.1155/2013/621453. Print 2013 

6. The anxiolytic effect of probiotics: A systematic review and meta-analysis of the clinical and preclinical literature, 2018 Jun 20;13(6):e0199041. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0199041. eCollection 2018 

7. Cannabidiol as a Potential Treatment for Anxiety Disorders, 2015 Sep 4 

8. An Alternative Treatment for Anxiety: A Systematic Review of Human Trial Results Reported for the Ayurvedic Herb Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), 2014 Dec 1; 20(12): 901–908 

9. Curcumin: A Review of Its’ Effects on Human Health, 2017 Oct 22 10. The anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin is mediated by its oxidative metabolites, 2017 Dec 29;292(52):21243-21252. doi: 

10.1074/jbc.RA117.000123. Epub 2017 Nov 2