Natural Relief

Herbal Supplements to help alleviate anxiety

By Maria Aragao

The American Psychological Association (APA) defines anxiety as “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure.” It affects millions of adults ages 18 and older in the United States every year. Personally, as a college student living in New York City, anxiety feels unavoidable.

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Everyone experiences feelings of anxiety in their lifetime. Often times, people are prescribed controlled substances in order to alleviate those feelings. Some will respond better to medication than others, but I discovered that I am not one of those people. This drove me to explore natural remedies to help reduce my anxiety.

Consulting with your doctor should be your first step. It is essential to understand what is best for your body. After doing some basic research I was able to find natural supplements, dietary alterations and exercise recommendations to help with anxiety.

I found it most helpful however, to personally seek information from nutritional supplement specialists. You can conveniently find specialists at A Matter of Health. There are two locations on 1st Avenue in the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

Choosing the right supplement for your body can depend on a number of personal factors such as your age, what foods you eat and any medical conditions you may have. Studies suggest answering the following questions before purchasing a supplement: What are the benefits? Does this have any risks? How much of this do I take? How long should I take it? Fortunately, A Matter of Health offers the assistance of specialists to aid you in making an informed decision.

A Matter of Health has a very large selection of products and though it can be overwhelming, do not let that discourage you. I simply asked, “I’m looking for a natural supplement to help reduce anxiety. What do you recommend?”

Here is what I found

GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid) or GABA-MAX

GABA is a neurotransmitter. As a supplement, it relieves anxiety, improves mood or sleep and reduces symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It has been shown to enhance GABA levels in the brain. After finding the appropriate dose, it can be mixed in any beverage.

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L-Theanine

L-Theanine is an amino acid found most commonly in tea leaves. It promotes relaxation without drowsiness- easing anxiety while reducing your resting heart rate.  

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Lemon Balm

Lemon balm is a natural anxiety remedy. Known for its calming and soothing properties, it may also help digestive issues and headaches. It is most commonly found in capsule form.

Lavender

Although lavender is widely used in aromatherapy, it is also available in capsule form. It has been shown to improve mood while lessening anxiety.

5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan)

5-HTP is a natural amino acid of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Low serotonin levels are associated with anxiety and depression. This supplement has been shown to increase serotonin levels, therefore reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression.

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Understanding and managing your anxiety is essential for living a healthier lifestyle. Most natural supplements are not monitored by the FDA the same way pharmaceutical medications are, and more serious forms of anxiety generally need medical treatment.

If you need help dealing with mild anxieties or stressors, natural supplements may be for you. The benefits of choosing to relieve anxiety naturally are worthwhile. Don’t let stress get the best of you any longer!

Photos by Maria Aragao