The 5 key nutrients to help reduce anxiety

Feeling nervous? Add these 5 nutrients to help ease your Anxiety, naturally...

How have you been coping with all the changes lately? We have all had to adapt to a new normal, a new way of living and as lockdown eases there will be new regulations, new threats and new challenges for us all which we will have to find a way to cope with. Just as we get used to one change another one comes along. No wonder we are all feeling emotionally exhausted.

Stress depletes us - both physically and mentally. Chemical changes flood through us as our bodies adapt to each new circumstance. This affects our sleep, our energy levels, our immunity and our ability to cope. Many of us would rather not take medication so I thought I would put together the top science-backed nutrients to help you to reduce your anxiety and help your body and mind to feel calm and relaxed naturally:

Magnesium

Magnesium is one of the most pivotal nutrients for your body: it helps to support your muscles and joints, creates new enzymes and can actually play a role in preventing stress by increasing your levels of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), a neurotransmitter that helps to reduce feelings of fear and anxiety. A natural treatment for anxiety.

It’s ironic then, that this stress-busting nutrient is often depleted by stress. Magnesium is one of the minerals that your body tries to utilise during your stress response because it is important for your muscles and joints; however, if it isn’t utilised then often it is excreted from the body. This then creates more problems as one of the primary symptoms of having low levels of magnesium is low mood.

Research shows that magnesium plays an important role in regulating neurotransmitters, which send messages throughout the brain and body. This is how magnesium plays a role in neurological health helping with brain functions that reduce stress and anxiety.

It is believed to affect a part of the brain called the hypothalamus, which helps regulate the pituitary and adrenal glands. These glands are responsible for your response to stress.

If you have an anxiety disorder, you might want to consider using magnesium to help reduce your symptoms.

Fortunately, sources of magnesium are easy to find in your diet – like bananas, figs and raspberries, green leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale or wholegrain foods, nuts, seeds and even dark chocolate.

Many of us have gaps in our diets - we all have our favourite foods and are creatures of habit after all - which can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Supplements have a proven effect to help replace nutrient levels and a 2017 review of natural treatments for anxiety (looking at mild anxiety, anxiety during premenstrual syndrome, postpartum anxiety, and generalised anxiety) found that magnesium could be a good treatment for reducing anxiety.

Theanine

Theanine is an amino acid found most commonly in tea leaves. It has a number of mental health benefits. A hot cup of tea can help anyone feel more at ease, but research suggests Theanine may be the most beneficial for those dealing with high levels of anxiety.

It’s known to produce a calming effect promoting relaxation by increasing the production of GABA, serotonin and dopamine in the brain. Unlike prescription anti-anxiety medication, it does not cause sedation and drowsiness.

Researchers have found that theanine supplements significantly reduce stress and anxiety, lower heart rate, and increase mental relaxation.

Many studies have also shown that Theanine increases alpha brain waves and deactivates the sympathetic “fight or flight” nervous system decreasing anxiety and improving symptoms.

A calming effect is usually noted within 30 to 40 minutes after taking L-theanine. Anyone for a cup of tea?

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 plays an important role in mood regulation.

This is partly because this vitamin is necessary for creating neurotransmitters that regulate emotions, including serotonin, dopamine and gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).

For meat-eaters, poultry, pork, eggs and fish are good sources, while for vegetarians and vegans, vegetables, bread, soya beans and some fortified cereals are good options.

Vitamin B6 may also play a role in decreasing high blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine, which have been linked to depression and other psychiatric issues.

Vitamin B6 has been used to treat symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, or PMS, including anxiety, depression and irritability.

Researchers suspect that B6 helps with emotional symptoms related to PMS due to its role in creating neurotransmitters that regulate mood and in three-month study of over 60 premenopausal women found that taking 50 mg of vitamin B6 daily improved PMS symptoms of anxiety, mood swings, depression, irritability and tiredness by 69%.

So replenishing your depleted nutrients with high levels of B6 in a quality supplement is just the thing for coping with the perfect storm of mood swings in lockdown (the coronacoaster)!

Vitamin D3


Vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, is well known to help with bone density but did you know that it is also linked with mood and brain health? Many studies have found a link between depression and anxiety and low levels of Vitamin D3 but with the use of sunscreen and spending so much of lives inside the great majority of us are deficient. That’s why Vitamin D is added to some of our foods.

It’s been found that Vitamin D3 is more effective than vitamin D2 at raising levels in our bodies - one study in 32 older women found that a single dose of vitamin D3 was nearly twice as effective as vitamin D2 so it’s definitely worth checking which type is in your supplement.

And did you know that Vitamins can be sourced from all sorts of different places? Most Vitamin D3 is from Sheep’s wool (Lanolin) but ours is from Lichen (plant based) and definitely vegan!

Public Health England is recommending people consider taking daily vitamin D supplements throughout the spring and summer as the coronavirus lockdown continues and research now suggests that Vitamin D deficiency is linked to higher risks with Covid 19 so it’s a really important time to boost your D3 levels. There is 400% in the 360ME range to help you take care of yourself.

Probiotics

The gut-brain axis - the effects that our microbiome has on our brain - is a new and developing field of science with some exciting discoveries for mental health. Impressive new research shows that there is a connection between our brain and our digestive tract, and that the bacteria in our gut can have a profound influence on our behaviour, thoughts and mood by regulating the amount of neurotransmitters in the brain (such as serotonin, dopamine and GABA). Researchers at the University of Oxford have found that taking probiotics has an effect on anxiety and depression by influencing the neuroendocrine stress response and by altering the way people process emotional information.

Some probiotics have been found to be particularly good for mental health and help with anxiety so to make things easier for you there is a unique psychobiotic blend of Bifido Breve, Longum and Infantis, Lactobacillus (Acidophulus and Bulgaricus) and Saccharomyces Boulardii in the entire 360ME  collection.

It’s amazing how nutrients can impact your thoughts, feelings and emotions. These 5 ingredients are just a few which have enormous benefits for anxiety. There is so much information out there - this is just one of the positive actions you can make to take care of your mental wellbeing.

Read more about founder, Evelyn Montgomery's career and qualifications in our M+E founder story here.

Calm ME is the psychologist devised M+E formula with clinically backed magnesium + B vitamins + D3 + probiotics for people feeling anxious, stressed or burned out.
Calm Me, £15.95, 60 capsules

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