New Ways to Improve Anxiety

Jamie From Michigan Writes:

My doctor recently diagnosed me with anxiety. She wants to put me on some of the basic medications but I really don’t know if that is what I want to do. Is there anything that you know of that can help? My life is stressful and I want to be able to cope. Thanks in advance.

Dear Jamie,

I know life can be challenging at times. Responsibility increases, financial challenges, family issues, and our personal health seems to get put on the back burner. When anxiety hits we have to look at a couple of reason why this is. The main reason for anxiety is typically due to lack of the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-amino butyric acid). When GABA gets low in the brain, anxiety can develop. 

So just take some GABA right?

Not exactly. GABA is sold in supplemental form yet it can’t cross the blood-brain barrier. Therefore we have to raise GABA in other ways from a lifestyle-based perspective. Typically benzodiazepines (Xanax) are used to treat anxiety and even most physicians will tell you that they are extremely habit-forming and to only use as needed. Many practitioners today are turning to more natural ways of supporting the body with anxiety. 

Here are some great natural ways to support healthy GABA levels in the body. 

1. Exercise
Research tells us that this can be some of the best medicine at maintaining healthy GABA levels in the brain. The activity doesn’t matter. Running, biking, weightlifting, etc. The consistency and duration is what typically helps the most. Stick to 5 days per week at about 20 minutes minimum.

2. Minimize The GABA Depressing foods.
Certain foods are known to keep GABA levels down. These foods are: almonds, walnuts, brazil nuts, wheat, barley, oats, salmon, spinach, and most beans. 

3. Ashwagandha
Herbalists will call this the adaptogenic herb. It is known to help the body in stressful situations and helps to balance cortisol levels.

4. Rhodiola
Helps relieve cortisol, lowers stress, and reduces fatigue. It also help in the permeability of the blood-brain barrier which can help the body enhance the neurochemicals.

5. Vitamin C and B-Complex
These are well – known to help the body in stressful times. Many integrative specialists at the Cleveland Clinic have used these combined with adaptogenic herbs to support the body under stress and to help anxiety.

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