A Review of Natural Supplements for Anxiety

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]By: Dr. Gayle Maguire ND

There are several natural supports for mild to moderate mood disorders, though talk to your medical or naturopathic doctor first as they can interact with pharmaceuticals or other supplements, to sometimes life-threatening extent. The natural supplements with the most research are discussed below.

B Vitamins

B vitamins help in a variety of our physiological processes and I especially like using them for hormone, metabolic and neurotransmitter issues (which constitutes many things in the human body!).  A good B complex dose should "calmly energize" a person - not a caffeine-induced, jittery energy, but the feeling of having a really good sleep.  Speaking of sleep, while B's are often taken in the morning, they should help regulate the sleep cycles in the body too, so they become doubly helpful for anxiety in this regard.

Magnesium

Magnesium is a relaxant to smooth muscles which can improve the feelings of anxiety or for pre-menstrual tension. Note that magnesium can loosen the bowels, so dosing should be monitored accordingly. Ideally, magnesium is taken in a liquid or powder form for best absorption. There are a few types of magnesium, though recently magnesium glycinate has become a popular form that relates itself specifically to calming effects.

L-theanine & GABA

L-theanine is an extract from green tea that can lower cortisol levels and provide quick, though usually temporary, relief from anxiousness.

GABA is another quick fix for anxious moments, and also tends to be short-lasting.  Both L-theanine and GABA can help manage symptoms until the underlying issues are addressed.  Low levels of this inhibitory neurotransmitter have been linked to chronic pain, epilepsy and mood disorders, so some do feel the positive of effects of supplementing. Interactions are common with this product, not only with anxiety medications, but potentially others, such as blood pressure prescriptions and it’s important to note that side effects are not well studied.

Herbal Remedies

Plants with calming properties can be helpful in tea or supplement form, though allergies are common, especially to Chamomile. Other common herbs that may induce relaxation are valerian, mint, hops and passionflower. I tend to find herbal medicines in tea too low a dose to help with significant anxiety, or that the person with anxiety needs to be evaluated for hormones, thyroid function, blood sugar issues, or nutritional deficiencies. Herbal medicines for calming are perhaps a better fit for unwinding after a strenuous day or event, whereas anxiety disorders require an in-depth assessment with individualized treatment.

So often, feelings of anxiety are at least partially contributed to by imbalanced hormones, poor blood sugar control/low blood sugar, or nutritional deficiencies due to dietary gaps or digestive disorders.

Be sure to consult a professional if anxiety is an issue for you to ensure you get the help that you need.

*This blog is not intended to officially establish a physician-patient relationship, to replace the services of a trained physician, naturopathic doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor or otherwise to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  

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Magnesium – The Benefits, The Sources, and More

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]By: Active Sports Therapy

Magnesium is a mineral that works very hard within our bodies at the cellular level and is part of over 300 biochemical reactions that occur each day. It plays a role in nerve and muscle function, supports the immune system and heart, assists with bone health, regulates the metabolism of nutrients, and much more.

Magnesium deficiency in North America is extremely common. Health Canada recommends that for adult men the RDA is 400-420 milligrams per day and for adult women it’s 310-320 milligrams per day. These are general numbers across populations, so you may find upon research that other sources include factors such as height or weight in their recommendations.

Magnesium deficiency can be linked to a wide variety of symptoms such as chronic pain, irritability, muscle twitches and cramps, fatigue, irregular heartbeats, depression, restless leg syndrome, insomnia and poor sleep quality, and much more. If you are dealing with a recent injury, it’s a good idea to talk to your chiropractor about supplementing magnesium during recovery.

If you’re looking for food sources of magnesium, here are some great options:

There are several factors that can impair your ability to pull magnesium from the foods you eat. Here are just a few:

At AST we can provide you with recommendations suited to your needs, as well we have a few types of magnesium supplements available at the clinic.

Ancient Minerals Topical Magnesium – This is magnesium that can be sprayed or rubbed on your body and is easily absorbed by the skin. It is a particularly useful method of supplementation for those who have digestive concerns.

Ancient Minerals Salts – Similar to the topical treatment, this is a relaxing way to get additional magnesium by adding the salt to your bath or foot soaks.

Supplements – Talk to your practitioner about whether a supplement is right for you as we do have supplements available as prescribed in either pill or liquid form.

*This blog is not intended to officially establish a physician-patient relationship, to replace the services of a trained physician, naturopathic doctor, physical therapist or chiropractor or otherwise to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.  [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Suggested 5 Maintenance Products to Take Regularly

[vc_row][vc_column width="1/1"][vc_column_text]By:  Dr. Clare Westmacott, MD, CCFP, MD MFHom (UK), Carole Westmacott RN

The purposes of the following Product groups that we have chosen are to provide the essential nutrients that are needed for proper functioning of the Physiology (organ systems) of your body, as well as to assist the body in dealing with Inflammation that it has, as well as to try to change how the body responds to the causes of Inflammation that we are all exposed to (toxicity from foods, environment, daily mental & emotional stresses that you are reacting to). If you have any Musculo-Skeletal symptoms (pain, stiffness, ‘arthritis’, delayed healing, etc.) you have overt inflammation not just ‘silent inflammation’. During treatment you may need some specific products to assist the body in getting to a place where this maintenance protocol is all you need. Doing the 5 suggestions during your treatment will be of great assistance to your treatment.

It is important that you assess and understand  where your ‘Stressors’ are coming from and try to eliminate or at least minimize your exposure to them. One area that you do have control over is Food. Poor quality food is a very common source of the Stress Reaction in the body. This includes regularly ingesting foods you are sensitive to as well as consuming Non Organic Foods, Processed foods, GMO Foods and high glycemic load foods (eg  Sugar, refined carbohydrates, grains and flour). As a caveat with Organic Foods. Organic Labels on food from a very large country who is a trading Partner with Canada cannot be trusted to comply with Canadian standards. Repeated, independent testing of these foods regularly show very poor compliance with the regulations - Buyer Beware.

When you are taking the following  products regularly – we often suggest that you take them Monday to Friday – having a break on the weekend. Some people suggest taking 1 week a month off, however, in our experience we have found that when you take that length of a break –you often have gotten out of your routine and forget to get back on it regularly (eg: you know what happens to your routine when you have been away and stop everything).

We also suggest that our patients use Pharmaceutical grade products. This means that – what is listed on the label is present in the product at 98% or greater of the label levels and is bio-available (fully absorbed) to you and there is nothing in the product that is not on the label and generally is gluten and dairy free (unless stated). With these requirements the products are usually somewhat more expensive than the regular over the counter products. What we tell our patients, if cost is an issue, it is better to take the product every other day. This in effect lowers the product cost by 50% and is better than taking a product that does not meet Pharmaceutical Grade Requirements on a daily basis. Pharmaceutical Grade products are generally available only to Professionals but some of the Compounding Pharmacies are now stocking them.

THE SUGGESTED PRODUCT GROUPS ARE

1) A Human Sourced, Professional / Pharmaceutical grade Probiotic. For Example Metagenics – UltraFlora Spectrum / HMF Intensive.

2) A Quality Multi-Vitamin with Anti-Oxidants. For example Metagenics PhytoMulti.

3) Vitamin D3 – in high enough quantities to raise the blood level to 140 – 250. In Canada, we generally need 5000 IU per day to achieve those blood levels. Drops work very well.

4) A Calcium / Magnesium / Vit D3 product (ratio of 800 mgm Calcium / 400 mgm Magnesium). This is important even for men. There is some misinformation about taking Calcium. If you stay within these guidelines and keep your inflammation under control – there is not a concern. The body needs Calcium & Magnesium for many, many functions – not just for good bone health

5) An Omega 3 (with both EPA & DHA) IF Symptomatic (eg having pain, etc.)  5000 – 6000 mgm total EPA & DHA) per day. For maintenance (that is no symptoms around 3000 mgm per day).Either Liquid or Capsules work – just be sure to take enough to be in the recommended range.  One of the ways the Omega 3 Product  works  - and it is a good thing, is to make the blood less viscous (thick) so we recommend that before any surgery go off for 10 days.

Always consult your ND or MD/ health care provider before starting anything new to ensure that the supplements and amounts are the right choice for you. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]