Navigating natural health products & the plethora of information can be very overwhelming. Here is a beginners guide to supplementing correctly when it comes to anxiety.
1. Quality is key:
Always check that your products have been tested by a 3rd party for potency and purity. If this has been done, it should say so directly on the bottle.
2. Dose Your B-Complex Correctly:
The most commonly used "anxiety supplement" is a B-Complex. While all the individual B's are arguably important for anxiety, the ones to be particularly mindful of when it comes to proper dosing are Folic Acid (B9) and Methylcobalamine (Methylated B12). Double check that your supplement has at least 500mcg of Folic Acid & Methylcobalamine in each capsule.
3. Get Your Omega-3's:
Whether you're taking a fish oil or plant-based oil, it's important to look at the EPA content! EPA is an omega-3 anti-inflammatory fatty acid that can improve overall mental wellbeing and mood. This isn't only true for people suffering from depression and/or anxiety but, it also seems that high levels of omega-3's in "happy" people increases their ability to deal with stress. For this reason, Fish Oils are generally on my "everyone can benefit" list, and I do not often prescribe them in my practice because most people are already on them!
4. Don't Skip Your Probiotic:
Our happy hormone, Serotonin, is produced in the gut. With our North American Diet and the amount of digestive complaints I see, it's hard to deny that when our gut isn't happy, we aren't happy. Not only do probiotics help us properly produce serotonin but there is new research emerging to indicate that certain strains impact certain calming neurotransmitters, like GABA.
5. Check The Form Of Your Magnesium:
So many of my patients use magnesium to help them sleep and relax. The biggest issue I see is supplementing in the wrong form. For Magnesium to have these effects, it needs to be in the form "Magnesium Bisglycinate". If it's listed as "citrate" don't be surprised if you end up with an upset stomach or diarrhea... And no improvement in sleep or anxiety!
I use a brand called NFH for best results! But if you're following this beginners guide, you should be able to make some great to your supplement regime on your own. If you can't find what you're looking for, you can make an account through my online dispensary or contact me directly.
"Food For Thought" ;)
Although I use supplements often, I can't stress enough the importance of REAL food when it comes to anxiety. All of the above benefits can be obtained through a more cost-effective whole-foods diet: 10 servings of veggies daily, fish 3-4x a week, and some fermented food every other day! If you're struggling with diet, consider juicing or look at JUICD.ca - JUICD was created with the intention of treating symptoms through food while being mindful of convenience.
- Dr. Tatlock, ND