The Anxiety Experiment: Vitamins for Anxiety

I am a fairly anxious person. I’ve struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember, and it typically flares up in response to situations such as public speaking/job interviews and other scenarios where I find myself as the so-called centre of attention. Ironically my current job involves a lot of public speaking, sometimes in front of crowds of literally hundreds of people. So pretty much I’m an anxious person and also a masochist. Anyways, I digress.

I’ve found a number of ways of functioning at high levels both professionally and personally in spite of my anxiety. I’ve found a great deal of success with various lifestyle changes that I’ll get into in my next post, but I thought I’d share some the supplements I take that have offered my results and comfort.

Full discloser: I’m in no one a doctor or an expert. I’m a maniacal researcher and a human being who’s constantly exploring the causes and relief of anxiety, that’s it. Also, although I’ve struggled with anxiety for ages and experiences symptoms of anxiety quite often, I would characterize the particular anxiety that I experience to be somewhere between mild and moderate. If you’re struggling with any form of anxiety–I’m sorry, I feel you, I wish you success in finding what works for you, be that exercise/cutting booze/supplements/medication/meditation or whatever else.

Okay! On to what I’ve been trying:

1. B-Complex with Sensoril: Sensoril, aka Ashwagandha, comes up quite a bit as a herb used in Ayurveda for its calming properties. I’ve had blood work in the past that showed my B12 levels were a little low, and I’m also coming off years on the pill which can deplete vitamin and mineral levels. So, hey, low B levels! Woohoo! This can contribute to things like anxiety, and in some major cases things like Gall Bladder problems (which I also experience). I noticed a sense of calm within a week or so of taking these–a feeling of more balance. Maybe this is a placebo effect, considering I was freaking the fuck out about my experience with the pill, but I’ll take a placebo effect!

2. L-Theanine: I’ve kind of just discovered Reddit. Like, I knew it existed and everything, but I didn’t really understand how or why people used it. BUT–I’m pretty obsessed with reading various forums on beauty and health stuff now, and I found a whole bunch of this supplement. Lots of people talk about “stacking” this supplement with coffee (this sounds like weird steroid talk to me, but hey), which leads to them experiencing the positive effects of caffeine such as mental alertness and concentration, without the negative effects of jitteriness and anxiety. In any case–yeah, this works for me. I feel calm but focused about half an hour after taking it. My partner experienced the same benefits (he also suffers from anxiety). I haven’t been using this one for long, so I’ll report back.

3. Lysine: Mmmmkay so, I wrote about my love of Lysine in fighting off acne (it’s still working for me! My skin is almost totally clear! Yay!), but I’ve also read that this can be used as for anxiety. Studies have shown that a deficiency in Lysine can disrupt the release of serotonin. We like serotonin, we want dat serotonin, give us that serotonin. In any case, I’m taking this in conjunction with my other vitamins and have been experiencing a general sense of well being. This may be contributing to it! If it’s not, then it’s at least contributing to getting rid of my stubborn adult acne which is cool with me.

So that’s what I’m using right now! I’ve been tucking back this combo for about a month, other than the L-Theanine which is new, so I’ll report back once I’ve been using them for longer. The general benefits I’ve noticed so far have been less compulsive thoughts (those nasty anxiety woe-is-me thoughts), better sleep, and a general sense of optimism that I was missing for a while. Once again, maybe it’s all a placebo, but hey, that totally works for me too.

-G

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