Do you suffer with anxiety? Unfortunately, many people do–to varying degrees–from a bit of angst sometimes to full blown panic.
I have suffered through my own anxiety issues which were sometimes just a low throttle that I could function through and mostly ignore but at other times were closer to a nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from. For many years of my life, that low level anxiety was there for me all of the time and I was used to it. It really blew up for me after the birth of my first child with some nasty postpartum depression and anxiety. At that time I went the anti-depressant route and it was helpful for a time. For many years I have been drug free and without my old friend, anxiety!
Let’s talk about five common–and easy to fix–causes of anxiety.
Dehydration can cause your whole body to be unbalanced which causes things like mood swings, anger and fatigue. When you get dehydrated, your body starts shutting down non-essential functions, so make sure that you are drinking enough water on a daily basis. If you don’t like water, find a way to like it–it’s that important! And no matter what anyone says, other beverages are not the same as water. Find a way to flavor it to your liking but don’t use the artificially sweetened flavor enhancers that are full of chemicals. There are some decent natural ones on the market now.
Vitamin D supports the production of dopamine and serotonin–two mood regulating neurotransmitters. If possible, try to get at least 15 minutes of sun per day–without sunscreen and with as much skin showing as possible. You can supplement with vitamin D3 as well–drops work best. Having your levels checked is a routine lab test–ask your doctor. Be aware that your levels need to be much higher than what the normal test ranges are. You should be at the high end of the normal range or above. Vitamin D definitely helped me overcome my mood issues.
Magnesium is a mineral that approximately 85% of Americans are deficient in but it is needed in more than 300 reactions in the body–including neurotransmitter and hormone functions–happening constantly. Both neurotransmitter and hormone imbalances can have profound effects on mood. Magnesium is considered to be calming and relaxing. Adequate supplementation is probably necessary for most people but can be a bit tricky because of its tendency to make stools soft. You can make magnesium water with a 2 liter bottle of seltzer and 3 tablespoons of unflavored milk of magnesia. I also use magnesium oil daily and it works great on sore muscles.
B vitamins are highly recommended for mood issues because a deficiency can cause depression, anxiety, forgetfulness and a host of other mood related issues. The best dietary source is meat. Many people need to supplement and finding high enough doses and proper vitamin forms in a B complex supplement is difficult. Many people have trouble converting b vitamins to the usable forms so supplementing with the right one is important. I don’t convert B12 and B6 well so I’ve supplemented with methylcobalamin (B12) and P5P (B6). I also have had issues with folic acid (B9) so I’ve used 5-MTHF which is the active form. High dose riboflavin (B2)–400 mg–can stop migraines for many sufferers. I try to use sublinguals if possible to help with absorption, but if you can’t find them, you can suck on a tablet until is dissolves.
Iron plays a role in serotonin production and low levels can lead to depression, anxiety and other mood problems. Iron deficiency is primarily found in women. Red meat is one of the best dietary sources for iron but be sure you choose grass fed meats. There is also a link between gluten issues and low iron levels. My levels were low until I went gluten free and they returned to normal.
Other potential factors for anxiety issues include caffeine consumption, ability to deal with stress, lack of sleep, exercise and mindset. There are other potential causes but I think we’ve hit most of the big ones here. Hopefully these suggestions will help you alleviate your anxiety!