Anxiety is a disorder that affects more than 20 million Americans. It’s characterized by irrational feelings of fear, worry, and dread. It can also manifest physically as a racing heart, racing mind, and shortness of breath. Even without an anxiety disorder, many people struggle to manage stress in their personal and professional lives. 

People who suffer from stress and anxiety can find relief in a variety of ways, including lifestyle changes such as diet and exercise, supplements that are shown to help alleviate the symptoms, and even pharmaceutical intervention. A combination of these methods may be the most effective way to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and stress. Finding the combination that works to ease your symptoms can take time; be patient with yourself if you’re struggling to find that balance.

Below are some natural supplements  and vitamins for stress and anxiety that research suggests can help treat symptoms. Talk to your health care practitioner about which ones will work best for you.

Racing mind: L-Theanine

This unique amino acid is found in green tea. It supports mental calmness by increasing dopamine and GABA in the brain. It also assists the alpha brainwaves associated with relaxation, without any drowsiness. Adding a L-Theanine supplement to your routine may help reduce anxiety.

Tense Muscles: Magnesium

Magnesium is a key player in mental relaxation. It also relaxes small muscles. Magnesium serves double duty in both helping rebuild the body and providing a sense of wellbeing. Take a look at our top magnesium supplements for supporting a sense of ease and calm.

Excessive worry: L-tryptophan/5-HTP

L-tryptophan is converted to 5-HTP in the body, then to serotonin and to the hormone melatonin. Serotonin deficiency has been linked to poor sleep, loss of appetite, and depression and anxiety. Those with increased stress and anxiety may find themselves waking in the night. Supplementing with L-tryptophan or 5-HTP could help improve sleep.

Constant stress: Vitamin B Complex

B vitamins are among the most important vitamins for anxiety and stress. They are critical to many functions in the body, including calming the nervous system. When someone is stressed, they burn through B5 and B6 more quickly.  Adding a supplement to your routine in times of stress can help alleviate these symptoms and support your mental health.

Irritability: GABA

GABA works to calm over-excitement in the nervous system that can lead to irritability, restlessness, and sleeplessness. GABA increases the production of calming alpha waves and decreases stress-related beta waves in the brain. Among other health benefits, GABA may help reduce stress and anxiety.

General anxiety: Fish oil

A woman stretching

People who suffer from anxiety and stress often have a deficiency in omega-3 fatty acids. DHA, a fatty acid found in fish oil, nourishes the brain and nervous system. 

Trouble relaxing: Kava

Woman doing yoga

Kava is an herbal supplement. It has been shown to significantly reduce anxiety symptoms such as nervousness, heart palpitations, chest pains, headache, dizziness and gastric irritation. Do not use kava if you have liver problems or regularly consume alcohol, as it may lead to adverse side effects. 

Acute anxiety: Rescue Remedy

“Rescue Remedy, a combination of five flower essences, is designed for immediate relief from stress or some kind of trauma,” says Lindsay F., former homeopath at our Santa Fe store. The formula includes essences of rock rose, clematis, impatiens, cherry plum and star of Bethlehem. and is designed to restore a sense of balance to the body.

Chronic stress: Adaptogenic herbs

Our adrenal glands produce stress hormones (such as cortisol), and can quickly become imbalanced with chronic stress. That’s where adaptogens come in. Research indicates that they help improve adrenal gland function and boost your body’s natural stress response. Our practitioners often recommend rhodiola, eleuthero, astragalus and ashwagandha—in single extracts or combinations.

Still not sure which option is right for your needs? Explore all the supplements and vitamins for stress and anxiety that Pharmaca offers online.