Anxiety disorders affect nearly one in five people in the United States. And with approximately one third of people with anxiety also reporting symptoms of depression, it is imperative that people who suffer from these conditions seek treatment for these disorders. While anti-depressant medications and psychotherapy continue to be popular treatment options, an increasing number of people are seeking alternative or complimentary modes of treatment. Vitamins such as vitamin D, vitamin B1, vitamin C and vitamin B9 are often used alone or in conjunction with prescription medications to treat anxiety and depression.
People who take vitamin D supplements are less likely to experience depression and anxiety. Vitamin D plays a key role in mediating depression by releasing neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. Adults taking vitamin D also tend to have lower blood pressure and exhibited reduced levels of cortisol, a stress hormone associated with anxiety. Perhaps most significant, studies indicate that people with severe depression experience a reduction in their depressive symptoms when they begin taking vitamin D supplements.
Vitamin B1, also known as thiamine, is known for its positive impact on mental clarity. It also helps to reduce lethargy and depressed mood by converting glucose into energy. Its role in controlling blood sugar has made vitamin B1 an effective vitamin in reducing anxiety. Additionally, this vitamin can help prevent pronounced mood shifts. Consumption of vitamin B1 can also help thwart the production of lactate, which is significant because anxiety attacks have been linked to increased levels of lactic acid.
The impact of vitamin C on mood and anxiety levels cannot be understated. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that supports the body’s adrenal glands, thereby helping people combat stress and decrease anxiety levels. Vitamin C also helps with the body’s regulation of mood by converting dopamine into norepinephrine. Without sufficient vitamin C, a person is more likely to experience a depressed mood and lethargy. And like vitamin D, vitamin C has been linked to lower blood pressure and the reduced production of cortisol. Vitamin C’s impact is particularly significant in elderly patients and people with diabetes mellitus who are more prone to depression than other individuals.
Vitamin B9, also known as folic acid, plays an important role in mediating mood and anxiety disorders. It also has a positive impact on the body’s response to antidepressant medication. Studies have shown that depressed patients have lower levels of folate than people who do not suffer from depression. Additionally, patients with lower levels of folate are less likely to respond well to antidepressants. Vitamin B9 is not as prevalent in Western diets as it is in Eastern diets, so it is especially important for Americans to prevent a deficiency of vitamin B9 by taking a supplement.