The idea of taking benzodiazepines for anxiety, like Xanax or Valium, scares a lot of people. Not only can they make you tired or dizzy, but in the long term they can be addictive for lots of people. Are natural supplements for anxiety a better alternative?
So, while I believe you should always check with your doctor or psychiatrist as opposed to getting your answers online…😉 I know a lot of people are interested in the idea of natural supplements for anxiety.
But do they work, and are they safe? Today I'm going to walk you through a few of the top natural supplements for anxiety and what I think of them!
This one had a person popularity last year after Taylor Swift said she takes l-theanine for anxiety. What the heck is it? It's actually an amino acid.
And it's not something you necessarily have to go out and buy in a tablet form. Because l-theanine is naturally in tea (black tea and green tea).
And it's a pretty awesome amino acid! Studies show that it increases the amount of "gamma-Aminobutyric acid" (GABA) in your system.
Sorry, let me go ahead and break down that science: basically, GABA is a brain chemical that decreases excitatory reactions in the brain, meaning it relaxes you. So that means, the more l-theanine you take, the more of a naturally relaxing chemical is released.
It almost sounds too good to be true, right?
Well, to a small extent, it is. The problem is that l-theanine interacts badly with some medications, for example stimulant medications like pseudoephedrine (Sudafed), so please do ask your doctor before trying it.
I don't think that necessarily means you have to stop drinking green tea or black tea, but if you're going to ramp up on drinking it…or you’re going to try natural supplements for anxiety, such as l-theanine…please let your doc know first!
Rhodiola is another one of these natural supplements for anxiety! It can block stress hormones in the brain while also increasing endorphin levels, and is associated with being happy and relaxed.
You may notice of the similarities between this and another "herb," but I assure you, rhodiola is a bit on the safer side for everyone! 😉
This plant, which grows in Europe in Asia, is often called an "adaptogen," which means it has benefits while also NOT interrupting your body's natural processes.
But much like l-theanine, rhodiola is still something to be careful with. You can't just pop a bunch of these pills, because side effects include problems sleeping or problems being too tired, or dizziness, nausea, or headaches.
Again, this is another solution to ask your doctor about, although for most people it should be safe to take a single rhodiola supplement each day.
Finally, I'll get to a solution that is pretty much universally considered safe!
Omega-3 fatty acids actually form a protective barrier around your brain, keeping toxins and pathogens that may have ended up in your blood from entering your brain.
Plus, your brain just loves healthy fats in general, and many scientists think that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can keep you from getting Alzheimer's in the future.
But you may still be thinking, "That's great, but how does eating fish help reduce anxiety?"
Well, it's more that one particular omega-3 acid, DHA, is the helpful one. One study showed that people who got enough of this acid were 70% less likely to report having anxiety or depression than those who didn't get enough.
And personally, I can't find a single study saying that there are side effects from consuming too much DHA or other omega-3s, so even though I do think rhodiola and l-theanine are good options too, I really want your takeaway from this blog to be, please eat some more salmon, which is absolutely packed with DHA! (Or anything high in flaxseed works too.)