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Yours in Health: Curbing Anxiety

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Dr. Andrea Wick recommends a number of natural supplements, like magnesium and tryptophan, that can help curb anxiety. PHOTO BY KETUT SUBIYANTO


Feeling anxious? Well you are not alone! 2020 has been a tough year to say the least.  According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 40 million Americans suffer from reoccurring symptoms of anxiety.  I’m sure this number has increased this year. If you have been struggling with anxiety throughout the past few months, here are some natural supplements that may help. I encourage you to follow up with a naturopathic doctor or chiropractor to find out what may be most beneficial for you.

Magnesium is a wonder mineral, though it is difficult to get enough from food alone. Magnesium glycinate and malate are best for helping with symptoms of anxiety and are known to have qualities that calm the nervous system. Taking magnesium before bedtime can help you get a more restful night’s sleep.

GABA, or Gamma amino-butyric acid, is a neurotransmitter in the brain and also helps to calm the central nervous system.  When there is a deficit of GABA, high blood pressure, anxiety and insomnia develop. Taking magnesium helps the body to manufacture and absorb GABA more effectively.

L-tryptophan and 5-hydroxytryptophan are amino acids that are responsible for producing serotonin in the body. Taking 5-HTP at bedtime helps promote longer sleep at night and less anxiety during the daytime. Eggs, turkey and chickpeas are high in tryptophan.

L-theanine is an amino acid that also helps calm the central nervous system. It is found in green tea and can be an effective treatment for anxiety. L-theanine helps to increase dopamine and serotonin, which are feel-good neurotransmitters. A 2018 study by the Journal of Psychiatric Research found that participants with General Anxiety Disorder improved their sleep quality by taking l-theanine.

Valerian root and passionflower are herbs that help with anxiety, nervous system tension and insomnia. They are thought to increase GABA production.

Practices that you can start daily to help increase serotonin and dopamine in the body include meditation and exercise. According to Harvard Medical School, exercise decreases nervous system tension and increases serotonin and dopamine.  Exercise also activates the frontal regions of the brain. The best thing to do for your body is to move it!

 Meditation is a mindfulness technique that helps to keep obsessive thoughts at bay and helps us to stay present. When anxiety ensues, it is usually a manifestation of fear of the unknown, or constantly thinking about the future. Concentrating on your breathing helps to calm the body and keep your mind from overanalyzing events and thoughts.

Therapy, counseling and speaking with a mental health professional will also provide you with the tools needed to deal with anxiety.

Don’t be afraid to seek out professionals who are trained in identifying the root cause of your anxiety. The mental health hotline offers free and confidential care from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday.  The number is (877)-503-0833. The current circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic are causing more people to find healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with anxiety.

Dr. Andrea Wick is a chiropractor and applied kinesiologist. She graduated from Life University in Marietta, Georgia, and now practices in Big Sky. She has a passion for holistic health care and being active in the outdoors. Her practice, Healing Hands Chiropractic, is located in the Meadow Village Center. Visit to learn more.

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