Believe it or not, around 40 million adults in the US experience anxiety on a yearly basis. Unfortunately, despite the dedication of scientists and research to have a better understanding of this condition, the major reason for this condition remains unclear.
Anxiety is characterized by restlessness and nervousness, as well as increased heart rate, sweating, trembling, hyperventilation, excessive worry, trouble concentrating, etc. All of these symptoms may negatively affect different areas of a person’s life.
Some of the possible causes for anxiety are brain chemistry, genetics, environmental factors, and medical factors or an illness. But, nothing has been definitely proven and scientists continue researching in hopes of finding an answer.
One such research, that is, a Japanese study, may have found something important when it comes to the connection between anxiety and vitamin deficiencies. Continue reading the article to learn more details about this study…
Vitamin Deficiencies Cause Anxiety?
According to the Japanese study, low levels of iron and vitamin B6 may cause the brain changes leading to panic attacks, hyperventilation, and other anxiety forms.
For the purposes of the study, the team analyzed the nutritional levels of 21 participants with different levels of panic attacks, hyperventilation, and anxiety. Their hope was to identify a pattern by testing nutritional deficiencies and other abnormalities.
They also did tests in the control group and then compared the results from the two different groups.
What Did the Study Show?
The researchers concluded that the people who experienced anxiety also had lower levels of vitamin B6 and iron than the individuals in the healthy group. This may support theories claiming that anxiety may be triggered by a chemical imbalance in the brain where serotonin plays a major role.
Why is serotonin so important? – Because it is known as the happiness hormone which activates the pleasure and reward systems in our brain. It is synthesized from tryptophan, an amino acid, and iron and vitamin B6 participate in this process.
When there is lack of these nutrients, the serotonin levels automatically decrease. Interestingly, many antidepressant medications today are based on the process of elevating the serotonin levels and better the mental health.
Unfortunately, some of the most common mental health problems today are anxiety and panic attacks. But, according to newest research, these mental health issues are not entirely mental in nature.
Namely, it was discovered that our diet and some other aspects of our physical health influence our mental well-being. This may not come as a surprise if we take into account that our entire body is connected.
This being said, recent study points out that there may be a link between low levels of vitamin B and iron in the body and panic attacks. Continue reading the article to learn more about this pivotal discovery…
Anxiety Disorders & Panic Attacks
From time to time, we all experience anxiety and it is considered a normal emotion that we experience before a test, public speaking or before bringing an important decision.
Anxiety disorders on the other hand are characterized by chronic anxiety and they happen as a result of numerous contributing factors, like personality, genetics, life experiences, and brain chemistry.
A panic disorder, though less common than anxiety disorders, is a type of anxiety disorder which happens all of a sudden and often, without any visible threat- only a perceived one.
The individual feels as if he/she is losing control. Its most common symptoms are sweating, fast heartbeat, hot and cold chills, chest and stomach ache, poor breathing, and weakness and dizziness.
Low Levels of Vitamin B and Iron Can Cause Anxiety?
The study was done by the Okayama University in Japan and it found an interesting connection between anxiety and insufficient amounts of vitamin B6 and iron in the body. The study took place at the Atago Hospital which has around 7,800 critically-ill patients on a yearly basis.
During the study, 44 patients who fit the inclusion criteria experienced a panic attack. 21 of these people agreed to participate in the study. These patients were women in pre-menopause. 10 of them were patients with panic attacks and 11 with hyperventilation attacks. There was not a significant age difference between the groups.
The levels of vitamin B6 and iron were significantly low than that of the control group consisted of healthy individuals.
The Importance of Vitamin B6 & Iron in Serotonin Synthesis
For a long period of time, this hormone has played its role in anxiety disorders. According to the research team, serotonin is synthesized from tryptophan.
During the synthesis of serotonin in the brain, vitamin B6 plays the role of a co-enzyme for tryptophan while iron is a co-factor for aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase that participates in the production of serotonin.
Hence, a drop in the vitamin B6 and iron levels may impede the synthesis of serotonine. Consequently, low levels of serotonin are common among people with anxiety disorders. Of course, low serotonin may also be caused by diet and lifestyle changes.
Stress and anxiety are unfortunately very common these days, and numerous people seek the most powerful way to relax and reduce the tension they feel on a daily basis.
Apparently, EFT tapping is one of the most efficient ways to soothe the anxious mind and get rid of the intrusive and persistent thoughts.
This method was developed in 1980 by psychologist Roger Callahan and his patient, Mary, who had a severe phobia of water. Her fear of water controlled every single aspect of her life, and she was anxious when it rained, and could not even look at water.
The two worked on treating her phobia for a year without any effects, but as Dr. Callahan had been studying Chinese medicines and learning about meridian points, he got the idea to try tapping. He instructed his patient to tap on her cheekbone, which is the location of the stomach meridian, as her phobia caused her stomach pain.
When Mary tried, her stomach pain miraculous disappeared. Therefore, Dr. Callahan further investigated the effects of the technique and coined the name Thought Field Therapy.
Yet, Gary Craig, the founder of EFT, trained under Dr. Callahan, but found certain issues linked to it. He found that at times, tapping resulted in a problem being incorrectly diagnosed, and patients could tap the meridians in any order to find relief. The updated version he created was called EFT.
Emotional freedoms technique (EFT) is an alternative treatment in the energy psychology field, which successfully treats physical pain, mental health issues, and emotional problems. It is actually acupressure for the brain, as it eliminates negative energy and any emotional blocks from the energetic field.
Even though it is based on ancient medicine, this is a relatively new therapy. It centers around the idea of “chi,” or energy moving throughout the body, accessible by meridian points. Tapping actually removes any blockages on these “energy highways”.
This technique is believed to send signals to the brain parts that control stress and restore the balance to the energetic field.
Namely, any disruption of the body’s energy causes negative emotions, and diseases and physical pain are linked to them. Health issues have their feedback – physical symptoms lead to emotional distress, while unresolved emotional problems manifest themselves through physical symptoms.
Therefore, the body needs to be treated as a whole, and you cannot treat the symptoms without addressing their underlying cause, and vice-versa. The body is composed of energy, so all physical and emotional symptoms can be treated by restoring the balance in the energy, and tapping is actually based on this.
You will have to focus on the issue you intend to treat, stress, anxiety, fear, a bad memory, a problem, and so on, and start taping the meridian points found on your body, that are related to the areas linked to the problem you would like to get rid of.
You are fully concentrated to resolve the negative emotion and by tapping, you actually release the negative energy and restore the balance.
The ancient Chinese discovered 100 meridian points, whose stimulation heals all kinds of ailments and diseases. However, acupuncture practitioners memorize all hundreds of points along the body, and they take years and huge knowledge to finally master it.
Yet, everyone can learn tapping, and it is completely painless, and simple. Moreover, you can use its benefits whenever and wherever you like. It is less time consuming, free, and will give you the power to heal your health problems on your own, and you will definitely like that you regain control over your health.
Yet, remember to treat one issue at a time. Follow these steps:
After tapping the under-the-spleen meridian point, end with the governing vessel meridian point. It would also be beneficial to have a reminder phrase that will remind you of the issue you like to treat. When you are done, rate the final intensity of the pain, and compare your results.
A 2013 study has found that this therapy is helpful in the treatment of PTSD, as it managed to reduce psychological stress levels in participants in only a month. A 2016 study also showed that it drastically reduces anxiety.
EFT has shown promise as a treatment of insomnia, physical pain, and depression as well, but the research is still in its infancy. You can consult your doctor about the most powerful therapy for your problem, whether to try EFT, meditation, yoga or some other method.
Dr. Weil claims that the 4-7-8- breathing technique is the single best anti-anxiety method he has ever tried.
It is a simple method that is said to effectively stop inner turbulence in its tracks, as it creates inner peace almost immediately, and soothes the body’s inflammatory reaction to stress hormones.
Modern lifestyles have put our body in a constant state of fight-or-flight, which leads to increased blood pressure, shallow breathing, increased stress hormones, and panic and anxiety attacks.
However, this popular technique developed by India’s yogis quickly relaxes the mind and treats all these symptoms. Here is how to perform it:
Dr. Andrew Weil claims that this method provides instant effects, but its real power comes with regular, daily use, at least twice daily, for 8 weeks. After some time, you will breathe more deeply without giving it any extra thought, and you will be fascinated by the positive effects.
The overall concept of the 4-7-8 breathing technique can be compared to practices such as the following:
Stress and anxiety are unfortunately common in the modern era. Yet, prescription medications often cause numerous adverse effects, so it is best to initially treat these issues in a natural way.
Magnesium is an incredibly important mineral, that plays a role in numerous biochemical reactions in the body. It is also known as the ‘original chill pill’, and has been found to effectively relieve stress and anxiety.
Scientists believe that there is a correlation between the lower magnesium rates and increased anxiety levels since the end of the Second World War.
In 1968, scientists Wacker and Parisi reported that magnesium deficiency can be the cause of depression, irritability, psychosis, behavioral disturbances, headaches, muscle cramps, seizures, ataxia, psychosis, and found that all of them were reversible with magnesium repletion.
The low levels of magnesium in the body reduce the levels of GABA, (gamma-aminobutyric acid), which is the brain’s main calming neurotransmitter. Therefore, the brain remains alert and constantly worried, leading to high-stress levels.
The symptoms of chronic stress and anxiety can be relieved with the use of magnesium supplements, as well as a topical application of magnesium.
Yet, the simplest way to optimize magnesium levels in the body is to consume magnesium-rich foods.
The following list contains the top 10 magnesium-rich foods based on magnesium content (values of mg in food from the USDA):
-- Meat and fish, like salmon, mackerel, tuna ( 3 ounces of halibut or salmon will help you get 7% of your RDI, and the same amount of chicken breasts and ground lean beef contain 6% and 5% respectively)
-- Nuts and seeds, like peanuts, cashews, and almonds ( they provide 20% of the RDI of magnesium in just 1 ounce of nuts, as well as high amounts of healthy fatty acids)
-- Vegetables, especially green leafy vegetables, but also cabbage, peas, asparagus, green beans, broccoli, artichokes, spinach(half a cup of it provides a massive 20% of your RDI)
-- Fruits, like raspberries, bananas (A medium banana contains up to 8% of your RDI for magnesium)
-- Rice and other whole grains, like oats and brown rice (half a cup of cooked brown rice contains 11% of your RDI of magnesium)
-- Legumes like chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans
-- Raw cacao
-- Dark Chocolate
-- Baked beans
-- Chlorella powder
By incorporating these foods into your diet, you will drastically lower stress levels and relieve anxiety symptoms. Moreover, you will also strengthen health in numerous other ways!