Best Supplements for Stress and Anxiety (SQ-137)
Stress and anxiety can have a knock-on effect on your health. Constant stress and worrying often leads to health problems that impact your quality of life in a major way. Starting with fatigue and poor energy levels, the symptoms can quickly move to migraines, pains and aches, poor immunity, digestion issues and depression. Long-term stress may also aggravate existing health conditions such as arthritis, asthma, auto-immune disorders and heart disease.
It is important that you keep your stress levels in check. And good sleep, good nutrition and regular exercise are always a prerequisite when you are looking for ways to do that. Life tools like mindful mediation, yoga, relaxation techniques and building a strong support system for yourself also go a long way in helping you reduce your stress.
Some herbs, vitamins and minerals supplements also help. We have already covered herbs that are good for easing stress and anxiety on a daily basis.
Vitamins and minerals that help with stress and anxiety
It is not surprising at all that certain vitamins and minerals might help you control stress and reduce symptoms of anxiety.
On one hand, you need nutrients to maintain your energy levels and to keep your body and mind in good shape, and diseases and stress at bay. Stress, on the other hand, depletes nutrients such as magnesium, zinc, B vitamins and vitamin C. These all play a crucial role in fighting stress, reducing anxiety, and maintaining your mental and emotional well-being.
A 2019 study found that a multi-vitamin mineral supplement – containing B vitamins, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and zinc – reduces anxiety symptoms in young adults. 
Another study reported that improving nutrition plays an important role in mental health. It concluded that broad spectrum supplements, with a focus on improving vitamin D levels, may be helpful in improving mood and treating symptoms of anxiety. 
Let’s look at some of the best vitamins and minerals that can help with stress and anxiety management.
Vitamin C for stress? A resounding yes.
The role of vitamin C in boosting immunity and in collagen formation is very well-known. It also works as a powerful anti-oxidant and reduces oxidative damage and inflammation in the body. But vitamin C can be extremely helpful in beating stress too.
Vitamin C supports your adrenal health in a lot of ways, and it is not a co-incidence that your adrenal gland is one of the organs that stores the highest levels of vitamin C.
It helps your adrenal glands to function smoothly, removes excess cortisol (stress hormone), and helps in the synthesis of neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine. These hormones are closely associated with mood, the sleep-wake up cycle and anxiety, and also play an important role in how you deal with stress.
In addition, vitamin C fights oxidative stress that can also trigger anxiety, stress, fatigue and mood problems. Studies show that vitamin C can reduce anxiety and improve mood  .
Vitamin B Complex
Vitamin B complex is a group of eight B vitamins that play a crucial role in supporting your mental health. While most of the B vitamins are involved in energy production, each of these work in their unique, individual ways to keep your brain and nervous system healthy. Deficiency in any of these vitamins may produce a range of neurological and psychiatric symptoms, that can be easily avoided and even corrected with timely supplementation. 
- Vitamin B1 is involved in the production of a range of neurotransmitters and other bioactive compounds important for proper brain function.
- Vitamin B2 helps in the synthesis and conversion of vitamins B3, B6 and B9. It also plays an important role in iron absorption and regulation of thyroid hormones. B2 deficiency can disrupt these processes, adversely affecting mood and brain health.
- Vitamins B5 and B6 are involved in the synthesis of various neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine and GABA, which are linked with mood, anxiety, behaviour, sleep and memory. Vitamin B5 also helps in the production of stress hormones.
- Vitamins B9 (folate) and B12 are also extremely important when it comes to maintaining the health of your nervous system. These two vitamins work synergistically and as such vitamin B12 deficiency can cause a shortage of B9, and also lead to megaloblastic anemia, where the bone marrow produces unusually large and immature red blood cells. Megaloblastic anemia is also known as B12 deficiency or folate deficiency anemia.
Like most other B vitamins, vitamins B12 and B9 also help in the production of hormones and multiple neurotransmitters such as dopamine, serotonin, melatonin and norepinephrine that are crucial for preserving mental health and in raising our happiness quotient. In addition, both vitamins help in the production of myelin sheath and in removing homocysteine, an amino acid linked with poor cognitive health, brain shrinkage and cardiovascular disease.
Long-term B12 deficiency specifically causes neurological symptoms such as gait problems, memory loss, depression, anxiety, cognitive decline, brain fog and loss of concertation. Studies also show that B12 deficiency increases the risk of depression and suggest B12 supplements may prevent and reduce the effects of depression. 
You can get healthy amounts of B vitamins if your diet largely consists of fresh fruits and vegetables, seeds, nuts, eggs, whole grains, fish, chicken and sea food. Vitamin B12 is only found in animal-based foods, so supplementation may be necessary for vegetarians.
Studies show that vitamin B supplements may help in reducing stress and anxiety,   and may also benefit healthy people as well as people who are at risk.  Vitamin B12 supplementation, when used with anti-depressants are found helpful in reducing symptoms of depression.  
Vitamin D helps in maintaining strong bones and healthy muscles. The sunshine vitamin has also earned a formidable reputation for its role in improving immunity and warding off infections.
Studies show that vitamin D supplements may be extremely effective in preventing and treating respiratory tract infections, asthma, and even allergies. It is because vitamin D stimulates the production of anti-bacterial proteins in the body. These natural proteins help fight a range of infections. Vitamin D also has a balancing effect on your overall immunity, thereby reducing the risk of developing auto-immune disorders.
Vitamin D is also emerging as a star nutrient when it comes to your brain health. You have vitamin D receptors in every cell of your body, including in the part of the brain that regulate mood and sleep.
In addition, vitamin D deficiency typically causes widespread body pain, fatigue, and extreme pain in joints and muscles. These symptoms can directly and indirectly affect mood and healthy sleep patterns – increasing stress and often worsening symptoms of anxiety.
Vitamin D also supports thyroid health as it reduces inflammation, and improves thyroid gland function. Vitamin D deficiency can increase your risk of developing autoimmune thyroid disorder, which can have a severe impact on your mood. Thyroid problems can cause anxiety, mood swings, nervousness, fatigue and depression.
Maintaining healthy vitamin D levels improves mood, regulates sleep and boosts brain functions. Research suggest that vitamin D deficiency can increase the risk of depression and SAD (seasonal affective disorder)   . And improving vitamin D levels may play a big role in treating as well as reducing the risk for depression and seasonal anxiety which is triggered in winter months.
A 2020 study explored the link between vitamin D and anxiety and found that vitamin D supplements help reduce anxiety symptoms in people with vitamin D deficiency. 
Studies have also found that vitamin D supplementation can improve mood, reduce anxiety and lower inflammation in diabetic females with anxiety . It may also reduce depression and anxiety in diabetic women with symptoms of depression. 
Limited sun exposure, obesity, liver disorder, darker skin tone, higher latitudes and age can put you at a higher risk of developing vitamin D deficiency.
Taking a high quality liposomal vitamin D3 supplement can help correct deficiency, offering amazing health benefits in terms of – boosting immunity, maintaining bone health, and reducing the risk of health conditions such as anxiety, depression, mood swings, osteoporosis, thyroid problems, asthma flare-ups, cold, and respiratory tract infections. If you are suffering from joint pain, weakness, fatigue and muscle cramps, adding vitamin D supplements may help immensely.
Magnesium can be easily named as one of the best minerals for stress and anxiety. It calms the nervous system, relaxes tired and overworked muscles, and reduces stress. It also promotes healthy sleep. Magnesium deficiency is known to cause feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.
The relationship between magnesium and stress is very interesting. Magnesium regulates stress hormones and helps you respond to stress better. Remarkably, long-term stress also depletes magnesium (as well as other vitamins, minerals and antioxidants) from the body. So, while you need more magnesium when you are dealing with overwhelming stress, stress is also making your body short on magnesium.
Healthy levels of magnesium balance out the effects of excessive calcium and glutamate, which can overexcite your nervous system, making you jittery, anxious and nervous. Magnesium works as a gatekeeper for calcium and helps calcium to move out of the cell after it has done its job.
You need calcium for strong bones, healthy nerve transmission, healthy muscle contraction (including that of the heart) and release of neurotransmitters. However too much calcium can accumulate within cells in the absence of magnesium. Why is too much calcium bad? Excess calcium can cause abnormal muscle contraction – leading to tensed muscles, muscle cramps, arrhythmia and even angina.
Magnesium also helps in the production of happy hormones such as serotonin and GABA. While serotonin is responsible for regulating mood, sleep and how your body responds to stress, GABA has a braking effect on nerves and calms the nervous system. Low levels of serotonin and GABA in the body can cause depression, anxiety, panic attacks and inability to sleep well.
Research suggests that magnesium supplements can reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety and depression. [17-20] It has also been used to prevent and manage many neurological disorders such as migraine, and chronic pain. 
Magnesium has an incredibly long list of benefits to its credit. And this comes as no surprise as it works as a co-factor in a wide range of important bio-chemical reactions constantly taking place in the body. It helps in energy production and is involved in the synthesis of proteins, DNA, and glutathione (the body’s master anti-oxidant).
Magnesium also helps your body to absorb and utilize vitamin D effectively. Magnesium deficiency can lead to vitamin D deficiency and absorption issues, worsening conditions such as fatigue, joint pain, muscle weakness and stress.
Magnesium is also important for your heart health as it lowers inflammation, prevents calcium build-up in arteries and reduces stress.
Zinc is an essential trace mineral that is required for healthy immunity, cell growth, wound healing and production of digestive enzymes. It keeps your eye, prostate and gastrointestinal tract healthy. It also keeps your thyroid gland in good health. Shellfish, meat, seeds, nuts and lentils are good source of zinc in your diet.
Is zinc good for stress and anxiety too? As it turns out, zinc plays an important role in maintaining brain functions and keeping your nervous system healthy. It is involved in the production of neurotransmitters such as GABA (that relaxes body), and serotonin (feel good hormone that regulates mood and sleep). In addition, stress depletes zinc from the body.
Zinc deficiency can cause poor immunity, frequent bouts of cold, acid reflux, hair loss and poor wound healing. Tiny white spots on your fingernails could be a sign that you have low zinc levels. Zinc deficiency is also known to induce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Research shows zinc supplements can be useful in treating mood disorders that may strike in the form of anxiety, depression, and panic attacks. It is also known to improve the efficiency of anti-depressant drugs while reducing their side effects. [22-24]
A healthy, wholesome diet is important for maintaining healthy nutritional status, and is very much needed for your mental and emotional well-being. Vitamins and minerals supplements are an additional help, considering how stress tends to deplete vitamins and minerals from the body.
Always consult your doctor before you start taking any supplements, especially if you are already suffering from depression and anxiety disorders. Taking vitamins and minerals for stress is just one of the approaches in a larger scheme of things. In some cases, one might need professional support and advice to manage stress levels and ease symptoms of anxiety and depression.
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