TOP ANXIETY SUPPLEMENTS
Since putting out the Anti-Anxiety Diet, I have had more people inquiring on how to get started with symptom management of anxiety, resilience to stress, and ultimately rebalancing the HPA-axis. The hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis (HPA-axis) when in overdrive from chronic stress demand or constant state of worry can keep the body in “reactive” sympathetic nervous system response with the body’s function focusing on survival mode. This fight or flight reactivity in the body often throws off the balance of the parasympathetic system which regulates the “regulatory” function of the body often known as rest and digest mode. However, the parasympathetic state has many functions beyond sleep and digestion, it is in this mode that the body has optimal metabolic function for healthy weight loss or maintenance and reproductive function including sexual hormone balance for fertility, regulation of menstrual cycle, and libido.
The formulas below will support your body’s ability to cope with stressors in the modern day to day demands as well as reduce reactivity to stress response to aid in your feeling of a more grounded mental state with less agitation and ultimately anxiety. I am breaking things down into foundational tools as well as those that can be used at times of demand. A foundational tool will aid in resetting the HPA-axis balance so if dealing with thyroid imbalance, adrenal fatigue, hormone imbalance, or other concerns within the regulatory mode, these should be strongly considered as daily support. Whereas the demand-based formulas are things you may consider pulsing into your day per demand such as public speaking, taking your toddler on an errand when they skipped their nap, meeting up with an ex or some other form of interpersonal stress, or even stressors like flying or going into a performance review. Running on adrenaline as most people are, can lead to chronic illness and metabolic imbalance driving stubborn body fat and chronic fatigue as well as a feeling of generally buzzing or even feeling like you want to tear out of your skin at times…as you are working to incorporate the 6 Foundational Rs of my Anti-Anxiety Diet including an anti-inflammatory ketogenic approach, these supplements will help with a more direct impact so you can start to shift your body’s response into regulatory mode and feel like superwoman (or superman) without becoming the incredible hulk!
FOUNDATIONAL FORMULAS FOR ANXIETY:
Calm and Clear: this is a capsule supplement that can be taken at base range of 3-6/day with or without food.
It is comprised of nutritional compounds including B-vitamins to support neurotransmitter balance and convert glucose into energy as fuel while enhancing oxygenation to the brain which aids in cognitive function and reduces fatigue. When under chronic stress or anxiety, B-vitamin status is often depleted, and these compounds are essential as a nutritional foundation for support. This formula also includes amino acids taurine and L-theanine to support a mellow mood. Taurine is highly concentrated in the brain as it plays a role in regulating mood-stabilizing minerals and reducing excess adrenaline release while proactively rebounding the system when under chronic demand. L-theanine enhances alpha brain wave activity seen also in times of concentration, focus, creativity, meditation, and sleep aiding in a calm alertness without freak-out overdrive mode. These amino acids also favorably influence GABA a neuroinhibitory aka mellow out responder in brain telling the body all is well. The formula also has a comprehensive blend of both nervines, herbs that relax the mind and body, and adaptogens, herbs that support resilience during stress demand counteracting fatigue. Finally, it has phosphatidylserine to support the modulation of cortisol hormone release, when in excess cortisol can drive belly fat and insomnia or agitation. This is a foundational formula that I personally have been taking for the past 3 years and NEVER go a day without. I have been told by clients that it has been a “marriage saver” and is a tool in feeling “more like myself again”! I named it Calm and Clear as its focus is to provide a calm clear mindset and balanced mellow mood.
Relax and Regulate: this is a powdered supplement that can be taken 1-3 scoops daily without food, typically at bed.
It is comprised of magnesium bis-glycinate the most bioavailable form of magnesium with beneficial influence on neuromuscular systems supporting both a mental and physiological release. Magnesium has over 300 enzyme functions in the body and regulates muscle tension, blood pressure, blood sugar metabolism, cortisol balance and serotonin regulation. This formula adds citric acid from molasses (all my formulas are corn-free and non-GMO) to regulate the pH and bioavailability along with myo-inositol a B-vitamin derived nutrient that enhances intracellular signaling. Inositol, also known as vitamin B8, plays an integral role in cell membrane health and favorably impacts the “feel good” chemical messengers dopamine and serotonin. In my book, The Anti-Anxiety Diet, I note that people with depression and anxiety often have lower levels of both magnesium and inositol which makes this a foundational formula vs. use on demand. In the ketogenic community, this formula is even further necessary as magnesium is in higher demand when participating in a low carb diet! Also beyond the influence of inositol on neurotransmitters, it has beneficial influence on hormone dominance and imbalance especially beneficial with estrogen dominance, PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), and insulin resistance. I personally notice a reduction in tension in the jaw and completely resolved my TMJ when I started regularly using this. It is also a beneficial tool for digestion as unlike most magnesium forms which use osmotic (water pulling) reactions in the colon as a stool softener which can create unfavorable dependency, magnesium bis-glycinate aids in the involuntary pumping of the GI tract regulating the neuromuscular action that yields and healthy normal bowel movement without softening stool and causing diarrhea.
GABA Calm: this is a chewable tablet that can be taken 1-2 at times of stress, anxiety, or irritability/short fuse once or twice daily with an impact within 10-15 min of chewing.
GABA is the most powerful inhibitory compound in our brain whereas the glycine in my Relax and Regulate is the most influential on spine and muscular system. Many will argue that GABA has no influence supplementally as it is well understood that neurotransmitters can not cross the blood-brain barrier, however, pharmaGABA the fermented form in my formula, is able to interact with the enteric nervous system or the brain of the gut which then communicates with the central nervous system providing a whole body and mind dose of mellow. GABA can reduce physiological impact of stress such as tremors, shakiness, dry mouth, or really the white knuckle effect of stress response as well as the mental influences of racing thoughts, irritability, short fuse, and impulse control. This can be a great tool when going into a new social setting with social anxiety or stepping up to stage or performance, and even as a tool when dealing with rush hour traffic, an annoying co-worker, or taking your toddler to the grocery store to take of the edge and support a mellow mood. The cool thing about GABA is it is not sedative or cognitively influential so you won’t get tired or dumbed down by it, in fact some of my attorney and surgeon patients use this prior to high demand cases. Sounds awesome right? Well it totally is, however, it is essential to rebalance the HPA-axis to pair the use of GABA as a tool at times of demand with the foundational formulas above to support rebalancing the stress and anxiety processes of the body.
CBD oil (cannabidiol): this non-psychoactive cannabidiol compound found in cannabis may be used foundationally or as a demand-based tool. Unlike THC the other active compound in cannabis, which often gives marijuana a bad rap (this is debatable as there are many benefits of THC as well, but more on that in another article). CBD does not get you “high” or influence the mind-body in a psychedelic way. CBD promotes GABA expression in the brain which supports an inhibitory impact on stress response reducing reactivity to the stimulus. The human body is wired to respond to cannabinoids as there is an entire system, the endocannabinoid system, that has both neurological and brain influence mediated by CB1 receptors and immunological anti-inflammatory mechanisms mediated by CB2 receptors. We are just at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding the influence of this endocannabinoid system and its interaction with the immune system, central nervous system, and enteric nervous system, but there are promising outcomes in reduction in pain, nausea, insomnia, inflammation, memory, and overall sense of wellbeing. Beyond exposure to cannabis from use of an isolated CBD oil or combination plant-based product, the human body is so conditioned to use of these compounds it actually produces cannabinoids internally in forms of anandamide, the bliss cannabinoid produced in response to red meat consumption, and there are likely others that have yet to be assessed. Also, The European Journal of Pharmacology, confirmed CB receptors are present within 14 weeks of gestation in growing babies with breastmilk also having presence of various cannabinoids including CBD likely to enhance immunological function, reduce inflammation, and encourage ample food consumption as well as functional digestion.
CBD oil can be used as a foundational tool in the evening to aid with sleep or even in the morning to cut the epinephrine excitatory influence of your coffee. Check out my Lavender CBD cold brew here! A dosage of 20-50mg per intake is likely enough to have influence. CBD oil is also something that can be dosed up to 3x/day or so in times of high stress demand. When selecting formulas it is important to ensure just like the supplements within the Naturally Nourished line, that there is 3rd party testing for potency and purity, some of the brands that I recommend are:
I hope this post provides some clarity and direction with supplement support to get started with reduction of anxiety, resilience to stress, and the ability to cope with the many demands you face daily while still feeling grounded and balanced. Remember supplements are just that, a supplement to your lifestyle! When you are coming from a place of need you will want to consider supplements an important tool to replete deficiency and manage symptoms while you work to adjust lifestyle with practice of breath, stress reduction, ample sleep, and proper nourishment. Don’t think of them negatively like a crutch instead I like to think of them as my superwoman juice to take the world by storm while feeling amazing; happy, clear, calm, and collected the whole way through…vs. dragged by my body and feeling empty or foggy in my mind!
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