Feeling anxious is one of the worst experiences imaginable and it can impact everything from your friendships to sleep and work. Thankfully, if you're finding your mental health is impacting your day-to-day life, there is an array of supplements out there to soothe your feelings of unease. As part of our Mental Health Digital Issue guest-edited by Scarlett Moffatt, we've got the lowdown on the best supplements for anxiety.
"There are many vitamin and herbal remedies available that are marketed for stress and anxiety," says pharmacist Shabir Daya, co-founder of online pharmacy Victoria Health. "Notable examples include ashwagandha and 5-HTP."
It's important to know that some of the supplements created to soothe anxiety can take a while to work, so they're not necessarily a quick fix, but worth adding to your mental health toolbox for when you need a natural helping hand.
Ingredients to look for in supplements for anxiety
Magnolia Rhodiola for anxiety
"If you are suffering from stress and would like to try something natural, I always recommend magnolia rhodiola," says Shabir. He explains it has helped many people to cope with the symptoms of stress and anxiety. It is an herbal supplement that eases stress, anxiety and low mood by lowering cortisol levels within the body.
"It can help to control stress-related symptoms such as irritability, emotional ups and downs, restlessness, tense muscles, poor sleep and concentration difficulties," he says.
Try: Victoria Magnolia Rhodiola Complex, £28 for 60 capsules
L-Theanine for anxiety
"The benefits of green tea are well documented and many people drink green tea for its relaxation effect," explains Shabir. "This relaxing property can be directly traced to a unique amino acid called ‘L-theanine’, found almost exclusively in tea plants."
Taking it in supplement form is a great option if green tea isn't for you.
Try: Calm by Earth's Secret, £35 for 60 capsules
CBD for anxiety
CBD has become something of a wonder product in recent years, with celebrities including Jennifer Aniston, Kim Kardashian and Olivia Wilde all reportedly fans of the ingredient, which is said to be a godsend when it comes to anxiety.
It's not just a celebrity fad, tough. Dr. Sarah Brewer, Medical Director of Healthspan and author of CBD: The Essential Guide to Health & Wellness, says: "CBD is emerging as an effective alternative to anti-anxiety medication. User surveys show that anxiety is one of the most common reasons for taking CBD."
Try: PureSport CBD, £68 for 30ml
Ashwagandha for anxiety
Loved by Meghan Markle, this ancient Indian herb is part of the adaptogens family, meaning it helps the body adapt to stress. Taking ashwagandha delivers a low daily dose of stress to the body, so when you encounter something stressful, your body is primed to help. Don't start taking this when you're already stressed as it can add to your anxiety. Instead, begin supplementing it at a time you're feeling calm, so the next time you do feel anxious, your body is better prepared.
Try: Together Health Ashwagandha, £9.98 for 30 capsules
5-HTP for anxiety
"Derived from the amino acid l-tryptophan, 5-HTP is converted in our bodies into the brain chemical messenger serotonin, a natural neurotransmitter that influences a variety of bodily functions, including sleep, appetite and mood," explains Dr. Meg Arroll who works with Healthspan
Try: Healthspan 5-HTP, 60 tablets, £13.95
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