3 Supplements for Anxiety – Kava, Ashwagandha & Theanine

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The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that slightly over 18 percent of adults in America suffer from anxiety. [1] In real world numbers, this means that 40 million adults between the ages of 18 and 54 suffer from some form of severe unease or nervousness.

But here’s the thing… This percentage might be low. Some experts suspect that perhaps 30 percent of the adult American population may suffer from some form of anxiety. Why is this number higher? Many folks are either misdiagnosed or don’t seek treatment.

Related: Control Your Cortisol and Estrogen With Tyrant

Based on data accumulated during a study commissioned by the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), disorders related to anxiety cost an annual $42 billion. That’s nearly one-third of our overall mental health care costs.

Over half of these costs come from seemingly unrelated clinic and doctor office visits. Anxiety symptoms often mimic those caused by physical illnesses. Those with anxiety issues are 3 to 5 times more likely to visit a doctor or clinic. [2]

Symptoms of anxiety can include:

  • Tense muscles
  • Issues sleeping
  • Decreased ability to focus or concentrate
  • Anger or irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Change in personality, often including anti-social behavior
  • Increased heart rate
  • Feeling tense or nervous
  • Trembling
  • Sweating
  • Rapid breathing
  • Gastrointestinal (GI) issues

Certain environmental factors can amplify an individual’s anxiety levels. These include:

  • Drugs
  • Alcohol
  • Feeling powerless or helpless
  • Sole reliance on medications for a better quality of life
  • Denial
  • Stress
  • Involvement with negative people
  • Lack of exercise or activity
  • Poor diet
  • Caffeine

3 Supplements for Anxiety That May Actually Help

#1 – Kava for Anxiety

Illustration of kava roots.Kava, or kava-kava, is a plant produced in the western Pacific. It is typically consumed by a number of Pacific-based cultures and countries, including Hawaii, Melanesia, Vanuatu, and Micronesia. Kava is known to produce a calming state without causing an individual to lose any degree of focus or mental clarity.

The active ingredients in kava are known as kavalactones. A systematic review of current evidence performed by the Cochrane Collaboration revelaed that kava was more effective at treating social anxiety than a placebo. [3]

Other apparent benefits of a kava supplement include: [4]

  1. Appears to be a reliable method of treating forms of general anxiety.
  2. Increased sense of well-being.
  3. Reduction in the symptoms of aggression.
  4. Enhanced cognitive function.
  5. Reduction in the symptoms of depression.
  6. Improvement in sleep quality.

Recommended dosage. 300 mgs taken in 100mg dosages throughout the day. This appears to be the most effective and reliable approach to kava supplementation for anxiety-relayed issues. Alternatively, 250mgs of kavalactones may be taken.

#2 – Ashwagandha for Anxiety

ashwagandhaAshwagandha, also known as withania somnifera, is a plant in the nightshade family. As a herb it is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine. As an adaptogen, ashwagandha is used as a supplement because of its ability to prevent anxiety.

Typically consumed as ashwagandha root extract, apparent benefits include: [5]

  1. Strong anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) ability related to fighting chronic stress.
  2. Reduced cortisol levels.
  3. Increase in power output, most notably for untrained and sedentary individuals. (Not directly tied in to anxiety relief, but this property sure does make it easier to exercise and blow off stress.)
  4. A small reduction in blood pressure.
  5. Antidepressive qualities, though not as strong as its anti-anxiety abilities.
  6. Daily usage appears to reduce fatigue.
  7. A slowing of heart rate which can contribute to a more relaxed state.

Recommended dosage. 300 to 500 mgs daily is the most cost-effective dosage of ashwagandha, but this is also considered the minimum recommended intake when used to battle stress and anxiety. Optimal dosage is 6,000 mgs per day taken 2,000 mgs at a time.

#3 – Theanine for Anxiety

theanineTheanine, or l-theanine, is an amino acid found almost exclusively in teas made from Camellia sinensis. Theanine has been shown to induce relaxation without creating a feeling of sedation or reduced focused. Alongside it’s ability to induce a relaxed state, theanine also has been shown to work towards reducing stress.

Research has revealed that theanine can assist with: [6]

  1. A relaxed state 30 to 60 minutes after theanine ingestion.
  2. Reduced anxiety, but not impacting anticipatory anxiety.
  3. An improvement in sleep quality.
  4. Lessening of symptoms related to schizophrenic anxiety.

Recommended dosage. 100 to 200 mg per day. Often taken with caffeine. This is not recommended for those suffering from anxiety or stress.

References

1) “Anxiety Effects On Society Statistics.” Anxietycentre.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 July 2016.
2) “Facts & Statistics | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA.” Home | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 July 2016.
3) Pittler MH, Ernst E (2003). Pittler, Max H, ed. “Kava extract for treating anxiety”. Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (1): CD003383. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD003383. PMID 12535473.
4) “Kava – Scientific Review on Usage, Dosage, Side Effects | Examine.com.” Independent Analysis on Supplements & Nutrition | Examine.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 July 2016.
5) “Ashwagandha – Scientific Review on Usage, Dosage, Side Effects | Examine.com.”Independent Analysis on Supplements & Nutrition | Examine.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 July 2016.
6) “Theanine – Scientific Review on Usage, Dosage, Side Effects | Examine.com.” Independent Analysis on Supplements & Nutrition | Examine.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 5 July 2016.

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Name: Steve Shaw

Bio: I don’t believe in magic training systems or rep ranges. My philosophy is simple: remain consistent, use the best possible exercises, focus upon progression and enter the gym looking to maximize each set. When you maximize each set, you maximize progress. Easy, obvious, insanely effective.