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Best Supplements for Anxiety: Identifying the Top Mood Enhancing Ingredients

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Anxiety is no laughing matter. What begins as minor stress can quickly become a debilitating and crushing anxiety disorder, which affects 40 million adults in the U.S.

In a previous post, we included natural methods for getting rid of anxiety, which included supplementation. However, it’s always important to exercise due diligence when consuming anything in pill or capsule form. With that in mind, we identify the parameters for the best supplements for anxiety.

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The Top Ingredients in Natural Anxiety Supplements

The best supplements for depression are contain all-natural ingredients in clinically-proven dosages. All the ingredients we list below have been scientifically proven to reduce cortisol, increase serotonin, or promote other pathways to hormonal balance.

1. Choline

According to a Hordaland Health study1, choline plays a pivotal role in alleviating mental illness and may reduce common symptoms associated with anxiety. Doctors also recommend women take choline during pregnancy to aid in the fetus’ brain cortex development.

The brain aside, choline is also vital for forging strong cell membranes and their ability to signal one another.

To be precise, choline is not the compound that keeps anxiety a bay. Rather, it’s the compound acetylcholine. Choline is a precursor for acetylcholine, which studies2 show has a strong association with alleviating anxiety states.

2. Valerian Root

The valerian root is a North American and European plant that has been used for centuries as a natural remedy for insomnia and calming the nervous system. The root works by stimulating gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) in the brain. This is what calms the nerves. In this sense, the valerian root has a very similar effect as drugs like Valium and Xanax, which also increases GABA levels.

Studies3 support the use of the valerian root for treating depression-like behavior. The research confirms that a supplement for anxiety can only benefit from containing valerian root as an active ingredient.

3. L-Carnitine

The amygdala is a small region in the brain that regulates emotional responses. Research shows that prolonged stress causes physical structural changes in the amygdala. The rewiring eventually leads to anxiety and major depressive disorders.

How does L-carnitine fit into all of this? Studies4 show that the compound may prevent the behavioral and neurological effects of anxiety. Studies show that rats treated with L-carnitine remained more sociable. A brain scan also revealed that their amygdala showed more branching.

While L-carnitine is found in meats, fish and poultry, the best supplements for anxiety will also contain this vital ammonium compound.

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Products like Kino Gains offer clinically-proven dosages of choline and L-carnitine.

4. Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Not all fats are created equal. Some fats like trans-fats are unhealthy and a major health wrecker. Omega-3 fatty acids, on the other hand, are perhaps the most beneficial and natural fat available. The health benefits aren’t limited to cardiac health and blood lipid improvement. More studies are revealing a link between Omega-3s and stress reduction.

According to a study from the Ohio State University Center for Clinical and Translational Science, college students given an omega-3 supplement reported 20 percent less anxiety compared to a placebo group.

Omega-3s are a supplement you should be consuming more of anyways for its multitude of benefits. It’s no surprise then that this beneficial fat is found in natural supplements for anxiety.

5. Melatonin

Most people are familiar with melatonin, though they often think of the compound solely as a natural sleep aid. However, research shows it does far more than treat insomnia and sleep apnea. New studies suggest that it may also treat depression symptoms and neuropsychiatric disorders.

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety and poor sleep feed off of each other. In other words, anxiety leads to sleep loss. Not being able to sleep, in turn, exacerbates the existing anxiety.

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Why the Best Supplements for Anxiety Should Be All-Natural

We have made it clear in previous posts that we are staunchly against supplements containing synthetic compounds. This is all the more important when it comes to an anxiety supplements. There are a lot of anxiety and anti-depression medications. While we don’t deny their effectiveness, their prolonged use comes at a steep price.

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One common medication is the sedative Benzodiazepines, which calms the mind and relaxes the muscles. This drug is sold by the name Xanax, Valium, Ativan and Librium — just to list a few. The drug is only designed for short-term use due to the risk of side effects, which include memory loss, drowsiness, sleep disturbance and disorientation. There are also withdrawal symptoms, which may result in irritability, tremors and even seizures.

While natural compounds aren’t totally side-effect free, any after effects are minor and dissipate within days. Natural anxiety supplements also never carry the risk of dependency. You can discontinue use anytime without your body going into deep withdrawal.

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We never recommend natural supplements for anxiety as a standalone remedy. You should also exercise more, make better food choices and just take the time to smell the roses. While life circumstances are occasionally going to stress you, it’s always up to you how you choose to react. A natural supplement like Cortigon isn’t an anxiety insta-cure, but it will certainly give you a boost in the betterment of your well-being.

Sources and Citations

1.
Bjelland I, Tell G, Vollset S, Konstantinova S, Ueland P. Choline in anxiety and depression: the Hordaland Health Study. Am J Clin Nutr. 2009;90(4):1056-1060. [PubMed]
2.
van der. Acetylcholine in Anxiety States. Br Med J. 1952;2(4793):1100. [PMC]
3.
Neamati A, Chaman F, Hosseini M, Boskabady M. The effects of Valeriana officinalis L. hydro-alcoholic extract on depression like behavior in ovalbumin sensitized rats. J Pharm Bioallied Sci. 2014;6(2):97-103. [PMC]
4.
Levine J, Kaplan Z, Pettegrew J, et al. Effect of intraperitoneal acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) on anxiety-like behaviours in rats. Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2005;8(1):65-74. [PubMed]
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Ryan Tronier

As managing editor for UMZU, Ryan Tronier leads a talented team of writers, producers and fitness experts to create content that connects with passionate audiences.
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