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Research suggests that various supplements, including vitamins, omega-3 fatty acids, and herbal remedies, may help relieve the symptoms of anxiety. We list the best 10, as well the evidence supporting them, here.
Anxiety can take many forms. It can cause worry, unease, fear, or panic.
Treatment options for anxiety disorders include therapy, medication, or a combination of both. Some natural supplements could also help with everyday anxiety. However, not all supplements are safe or effective.
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Passionflower is an example of an anxiety remedy that
The supplements we discuss in detail in the sections below show promise in easing anxiety symptoms. They also have a good record of safety, as backed up by scientific evidence.
Some research suggests that there could be a link between vitamin D deficiency and anxiety disorders. A 2017 study found that taking vitamin D supplements improved both depression and anxiety in women with type 2 diabetes.
However, research into the link between anxiety and vitamin D has produced mixed results, so further studies are necessary to explore the connection.
The body makes vitamin D as a result of the skin’s exposure to sunlight. People can get more vitamin D by spending more time in the sun, eating foods rich in vitamin D — the main source being oily fish, such as salmon and mackerel — or taking vitamin D supplements.
Vitamin D is unlikely to interact with anti-anxiety medications, although it may interfere with other prescription drugs.
Moreover, a 2018 study found that people who ate foods high in B vitamins — in this case, yeast-based spreads, such as Marmite and Vegemite — had better anxiety and stress scores than people who did not. This was more pronounced for spreads fortified with vitamin B12.
Taking B complex supplements can help a person get enough of all the B vitamins.
People can usually get enough B vitamins from eating a variety of nutritious foods.
Some B vitamins, including vitamins B12 and B2, or riboflavin, mostly occur in animal-based foods. For this reason, people following a vegetarian or vegan diet may need to obtain these nutrients in other ways.
Vitamin B supplements are unlikely to interact with anxiety medications. However, they may interfere with other prescription medications.
Magnesium is an important mineral necessary for effective functioning of almost every system in the human body.
Several studies suggest that it plays a role in anxiety.
A 2017 systematic review looked at the results of 18 different studies. The researchers found that magnesium supplements may improve measures of anxiety in people vulnerable to the condition. They note, however, that the quality of evidence is currently poor.
A person can take magnesium supplements or obtain the nutrient by eating the following high magnesium foods:
Taking high doses of magnesium can cause diarrhea. Start with a lower dose, such as 100 milligrams (mg). Avoid exceeding 350 mg per day without a doctor’s approval.
A 2016 double-blind study found that people who consumed a beverage containing 200 mg of L-theanine had lower stress response and cortisol levels after undertaking a challenging task than those who received a placebo.
Start with the lowest effective dosage of L-theanine. Supplements often come in 200-mg capsules. People should not exceed 400 mg without first consulting a doctor.
L-theanine may interact with midazolam. Also, people should not combine L-theanine with sedatives.
A supplement that contains a wide range of vitamins and minerals may benefit people with anxiety.
A 2018 study notes that multivitamin supplements may benefit people who have mood disorders, such as anxiety.
Each brand of multivitamins contains a different composition of ingredients. It is advisable to check with a doctor or pharmacist about which may be best.
Multivitamins typically do not interfere with anxiety medications.
The body cannot make these fats, so people need to get them from their diet.
A 2018 review study suggests that a low intake of omega-3 fats can raise the risk of anxiety and depression and that taking omega-3 supplements could help prevent or treat these conditions.
Omega-3 fatty acids can interfere with certain medications, including blood thinners. People should seek guidance from a doctor before taking omega-3 supplements if they have existing health conditions or take any prescription medication.
People have used the valerian plant as medicine for thousands of years.
However, more studies are needed before researchers know whether it is effective. There are, as yet, no studies that prove it is safe for long-term use.
A 2017 double-blind study compared the effects of valerian and a placebo on 48 women experiencing postmenopause. It notes that those who took the supplements reported lower levels of anxiety and depression.
Valerian can have adverse effects when people take it with sedatives and anxiety medications, such as benzodiazepines.
Chamomile is a daisy-like flower that people have used for thousands of years for its calming effects.
It also states that the research community does not know much about chamomile’s effects yet, because scientists have not studied it to a reliable degree in humans.
A 2016 study reports that people who took chamomile extract for 8 weeks had a reduction in GAD symptoms. Its effects were comparable with those of an anti-anxiety drug. The participants took 1,500 mg of chamomile per day.
A randomized study from 2016 found that people who took 500 mg of chamomile extract three times per day had fewer symptoms of GAD than those who took a placebo.
Chamomile may interact with other drugs. A person should consult a healthcare professional before taking chamomile.
Some people find the scent of lavender relaxing. Some evidence suggests that smelling this plant can help ease anxiety.
People can inhale a lavender essential oil by using an essential oil diffuser. They may also apply lavender essential oil to the skin after diluting it with a carrier oil, such as olive or coconut oil.
Lavender may enhance the effects of some drugs, including antidepressants, sedatives, and anxiety medication.
Lemon balm is an herb that has leaves with a lemon-like aroma. It is related to mint and is a popular calming remedy.
A 2019 double-blind study looked at the cases of people who recently had heart bypass surgery. Those who took capsules containing 1.5 grams of dried lemon balm per day had lower anxiety levels than those who took a placebo.
Lemon balm may interact with sedatives.
Many different supplements can be helpful for people with anxiety.
Before taking any natural supplements, it is advisable to seek guidance from a doctor. People should not stop taking anxiety medications without a doctor’s approval.
People can buy most of the supplements listed above from a drugstore or grocery store. Otherwise, they can choose from a range of brands online:
Supplements are not the only way to manage anxiety using natural remedies. People who have anxiety may also wish to try meditation, yoga, deep breathing techniques, and regular exercise to help manage their symptoms.