Research has suggested that various supplements— including vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and herbal remedies— can help relieve anxiety symptoms.
We mention the top 10, and the evidence that supports them, here. Anxiety may come in many different forms. It can cause anxiety, pain, fear or panic. Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) affects about 6.8 million adults according to the American Anxiety and Depression Association.
Many anxiety disorders include phobia and panic disorders. The anxiety disorder treatment options include therapy, medication or a combination of both. Many natural supplements may help with everyday anxiety, too. Not all supplements are safe or effective though.
Kava has been a popular choice since researchers discovered it can cause severe liver disease, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).
Passionflower is an example of an anxiety remedy which lacks sufficient evidence of quality to support claims of its effectiveness. Studies which do support the anti-anxiety effects of passionflower have serious flaws.
The following supplements, however, do show promise to relieve the anxiety symptoms. We have also a good safety record, as backed up by scientific evidence.
1. Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays an important role in mood regulation, as well as the health of the nerves and brains.
Research has identified a correlation between the levels of vitamin D and depression, suggesting that taking supplements of vitamin D will help treat the condition.
Some research suggests that having a deficiency in vitamin D could also be related to anxiety disorders. For instance:
- A 2015 review study reports that people with anxiety or depression symptoms have lower levels of calcidiol in their bodies, a byproduct of vitamin D breakdown.
- A 2017 study found that in females with type 2 diabetes, taking vitamin D supplements increased both depression and anxiety.
Research into the relationship between anxiety and vitamin D has provided mixed results, so it requires more research to understand the link.
When the skin is exposed to sunlight the body produces vitamin D. People can get more vitamin D by spending more time in the sun, eating foods that are rich in vitamin D — fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel are the main source— or taking vitamin D supplements.
Few plant foods contain vitamin D, so getting enough vitamin D from your diet alone can be difficult for people who follow vegetarian and vegan diets.
2. Vitamin B complex
B vitamins are a group of eight different nutrients working together to regulate many body functions, including levels of stress.
- A study in 2017 found that people who had lower levels of vitaminB-12 in their blood were more likely to have depression or anxiety.
- A study carried out in 2018 found that people who eat foods rich in B vitamins— in this case, spreads based on yeast such as marmite and vegemite — had better scores of anxiety and stress than people who did not. That was more pronounced for vitaminB-12 fortified spreads.
Taking complex B supplements will help an person get enough of all the B vitamins.
Usually people can get enough of B vitamins from a variety of nutritious foods.
Some B vitamins, including vitamins B-12 and B-2 (riboflavin) occur mostly in foods based on animals.
For this purpose, people following a vegetarian or vegan diet may need to actually get those nutrients.
Magnesium is a significant mineral required for the proper functioning of nearly every organ in the human body.
Some studies suggest it’s playing a part in anxiety.
- A systematic review in 2017 looked at the results of 18 different studies. Researchers found that magnesium supplements can improve anxiety measures in people vulnerable to the condition but also that evidence quality is currently low.
- A brief 2016 review study reported that people with premenstrual syndrome-related anxiety had benefited from taking magnesium supplements.
People may take supplements of magnesium or get the nutrient by eating the following high magnesium foods:
- whole wheat
- almonds and cashews
- dark chocolate
- black beans
Taking high magnesium dosages can lead to diarrhea. Begin with a lower dose, for example 100 mg. Evite reaching 350 mg per day without the permission of a doctor.
L-theanine is a green and black tea amino acid. Some evidence suggests he is a moderate anti-anxiety and sedative agent.
- A double-blind study in 2016 found that, after completing a challenging task, individuals who drank a beverage containing 200 mg of l-theanine had lower stress response and cortisol levels than those who got a placebo.
Start by taking the lowest effective l-theanine dose. Supplements are often capsulated in 200 mg. Individuals shouldn’t touch 400 mg without asking a doctor first.
5. Multivitamin and mineral supplements
A supplement that contains a wide array of vitamins and minerals can benefit anxious people.
- A study conducted in 2019 found that an addition containing the following nutrients significantly reduced anxiety in young adults: B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and zinc.
- A 2018 study reports multivitamin supplements may benefit individuals with mood disorders such as anxiety.
That multivitamin brand contains varying ingredient composition. Check with a doctor or pharmacist which one might be best about.
Many different supplements can be helpful for people who have anxiety.
Before taking any natural supplements, talk with a doctor. People should not stop taking anxiety medications without a doctor’s approval.