Feeling anxious? Anxiety is a common problem that most people face at some point in today’s fast-paced society. But sometimes the effects of anxiety are so pronounced they require treatment. Unfortunately, most prescription medications used for calming nerves and easing anxiety have side effects – some of which are serious. Are there natural supplements for anxiety that really work?
Natural Supplements for Reducing the Effects of Anxiety: What Works?
In a recent study published in the Nutrition Journal, researchers analyzed twenty-four different studies using natural supplements for anxiety. From this analysis, they concluded that there are natural, drug-free ways to reduce anxiety – but not all supplements currently marketed for calming nerves are really effective.
Dealing with the Effects of Anxiety Naturally: What Works?
When they looked at natural supplements for anxiety, they found that passion flower, kava, l-lysine, and l-arginine are at least somewhat effective for calming nerves and reducing anxiety. It’s not surprising that passion flower would have beneficial effects on anxiety since it contains alkaloids similar in structure to MAO inhibiting medications that are used to treat mood disorders.
Kava has mild sedative properties and is used as natural way to treat social anxiety. Although many experts believe it’s safe for short-term use; there have been reports of liver toxicity that were severe enough to require liver transplantation. For this reason, the verdict is still out on its long-term safety.
Some studies show that l-lysine and l-arginine, two essential amino acids, used in combination, help to reduce the effects of anxiety and lower cortisol levels, a hormone appropriate dubbed the “stress hormone”.
Calming Nerves Naturally: What Doesn’t Work
In this study, researchers found that St. John’s Wort, and magnesium supplements didn’t reduce anxiety. St. John’s Wort is used as an alternative way to treat mild depression, but its benefits doesn’t extend to treating anxiety. Although some people with anxiety disorders and phobias are magnesium deficient, supplementing with magnesium if you already have normal levels doesn’t seem to reduce anxiety.
Natural Supplements for Anxiety: The Bottom Line?
Some natural supplements for anxiety may be beneficial for calming nerves and coping with stress. On the other hand, no one knows the long-term effects of using these supplements – or the optimal dosage. In addition, even natural supplements can interact with other medications. For this reason, always talk to your doctor before using any type of natural supplement for anxiety treatment.
Eurekalert.org. “Research identifies the herbal supplements that are effective in treating anxiety”
Web Md. “Kava for Anxiety: Is Short-Term Use Safe?”
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