Anxiety

Anxiety

Everyone worries from time to time, but if your level of STRESS or fear is greater than warranted by the circumstances, anxiety may be a problem for you.

Symptoms

  • Symptoms of anxiety can range from mild apprehension to fear or panic. The common feature is that the emotional response is disproportionate to the level of threat that is present
  • Some people experience panic attacks, DEPRESSION or other mood problems (e.g. irritability) in conjunction with anxiety
  • Other symptoms can include palpitations (rapid heart beat), difficulty breathing, headaches, muscle tension and INSOMNIA

Causes

  • Stress (including work, relationship or financial difficulties) may contribute to anxiety
  • Deficiency of magnesium, vitamin C or the B-complex group of vitamins may be involved, especially as these nutrients are required in greater quantities during times of prolonged STRESS
  • Several forms of hormonal imbalance can cause or trigger anxiety. These include premenstrual syndrome, MENOPAUSE, and thyroid problems. BLOOD SUGAR PROBLEMS may also contribute
  • Stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine and recreational drugs can lead to or exacerbate anxiety

Nutritional & Herbal Solutions

  • Kava has traditionally been used to relieve anxiety. Clinical studies have shown it to be just as effective for the condition as some prescribed medicines. Kava is specifically indicated when anxiety symptoms are associated with MENOPAUSE or INSOMNIA. Look for kava tablets providing 2400 mg kava standardised to contain 60 mg active kavalactones
  • S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) helps to maintain emotional wellbeing by supporting optimal levels of mood-enhancing neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine, and has been clinically proven to relieve symptoms of DEPRESSION. It is often taken in combination with folic acid and vitamin B12, which are required for the body's own production of SAMe
  • St John's wort has been clinically proven to relieve mild to moderate DEPRESSION, and studies show it is just as safe and effective for the condition as some prescribed medicines.
  • Rhodiola relieves STRESS and helps promote vitality, energy and mental clarity. It is often taken in combination with B group vitamins, which are essential for healthy nervous system function, and provide relief from STRESS, tension and mild anxiety
  • Valerian is an effective but gentle sedative with additional anti-anxiety properties
  • Valerian is sometimes combined with other herbal sedatives such as skullcap and hops, and the minerals potassium phosphate, calcium phosphate and magnesium phosphate to relieve INSOMNIA, anxiety, nervous tension and STRESS
  • Anxiety and STRESS deplete the body's nutrients, which increases your daily requirements. Take a high potency multivitamin that provides the B-complex group of vitamins, vitamin C, magnesium and other nutrients that help combat nervous tension and anxiety
  • Magnesium is involved in many of the body's mechanisms for coping with STRESS, and also helps tense and contracted muscles to relax. We need more of it when we're under pressure, so it's easy to become deficient during STRESSed or anxious times
  • If you regularly experience anxiety, DEPRESSION or other mood problems as a symptom of premenstrual syndrome, take Vitex agnus-castus, a herb that has traditionally been used to balance female hormones
  • Vitex is sometimes combined with other herbs and nutrients that provide PMT support. Important ingredients to look for include magnesium, vitamin C and vitamin B6

Diet & Lifestyle advice

  • If anxiety is causing relationship problems or is interfering with your ability to perform your daily activities or enjoy life, seek counselling or other professional support to help you cope. Meditation, yoga or relaxation classes may also be beneficial
  • Regular exercise and activity are vital for mental health, and can help to improve STRESS levels, DEPRESSION, low moods and anxiety. Even a brisk 30-minute walk has health benefits, but other options include swimming, yoga and going to the gym. Exercising with a friend offers a valuable opportunity to combine socialising with physical activity; talking to someone you trust can help you to let off steam and explore solutions to your problems
  • Avoid the use of stimulants such as coffee, tea, chocolate and other caffeine-containing substances, as well as cigarettes and recreational drugs. In addition to stimulating your adrenal glands to produce more STRESS hormones, these substances further deplete your body's nutrient levels
  • Your requirements for key nutrients increase when you're under pressure, so avoid junk foods and refined sugars and carbohydrates, and don't skip meals. Instead, eat plenty of whole grains, fresh fruit and vegetables, and high quality proteins
  • Oily fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines are an excellent choice because they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are needed for healthy brain function. Inadequate consumption of omega-3s may contribute to mood imbalances

If symptoms persist consult your healthcare professional. Information provided is of a general nature and should not replace that of your healthcare professional.

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