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Why you need magnesium if you’re constantly stressed or anxious

magnesiumSevere cases of stress and anxiety can be difficult to deal with and may even require medication. Unfortunately, prescription medicines are not only expensive, but they also cause a wide variety of side effects. Magnesium, an important dietary mineral, has been called the “original chill pill” because of its ability to lift mood and improve anxiety. Because of its effects, it is now being considered as a natural aid for stress management.

Magnesium performs many roles in the body. In fact, it takes part in over 600 different metabolic functions. Despite this, it is the second most common nutritional deficiency in the world, occurring even in developed countries.

A deficiency in magnesium has been linked to an increased incidence of depression and anxiety. As proof of this, researchers sometimes induces depression in mice by depriving them of magnesium. The mineral is crucial to preventing and treating depression, thanks to several specific functions:

It increases the levels of GABA

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter, a chemical that the nervous system uses to communicate with its components, as well as other parts of the body. Neurotransmitters are related to specific functions and bodily phenomena. As it happens, GABA is crucial to relaxation.

Magnesium binds with GABA molecules and stimulates GABA receptors in the brain. As an inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA is able to put the brain’s functions on hold, enabling the mind and body to relax and rest.

Low levels of GABA are associated with a variety of symptoms, including confusion, sleeplessness, and stress-related disorders. These include generalized anxiety disorder, panic attacks, and even irritable bowel syndrome.

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It lowers stress hormone levels

Stress leads to the release of cortisol, the stress hormone. Excessive levels of this natural chemical have been linked to depression, anxiety, brain fog, memory loss, and other mental disorders. Research indicates that stress triggers the release of cortisol, which begins a cascade of responses that consume magnesium. After some time, magnesium deficiency can occur because of repeated stress responses.

A lack of magnesium causes cramps or tight muscles, which then triggers the fight-or-flight response. When this happens, more cortisol is released and the cycle continues. Boosting one’s magnesium intake helps the muscles relax, thereby ending the exhausting cycle.

It has anti-inflammatory effects

Chronic inflammation in the brain is one of the causes of anxiety, depression, and memory loss. As an anti-inflammatory nutrient, magnesium inhibits the expression of cytokines that trigger inflammation and destroy brain tissue and disrupt brain function in the process.

It stabilizes blood sugar levels

Glucose is the brain’s main fuel. When there is not enough glucose in the blood, the adrenal glands release epinephrine and cortisol, which trigger a stress response. Low levels of glucose, also known as hypoglycemia, is characterized by symptoms similar to those of a panic attack – nervousness, tremors, perspiration, palpitations, and dizziness. Hypoglycemia may also lead to anxiety. Hypoglycemia-related anxiety may be treated not just with diet, but also with the supplementation of magnesium.

Foods rich in magnesium

Consuming the following foods is among the best way to boost one’s magnesium intake:

  • Dark chocolate – This is one of the most nutritious treats you can find. Apart from being rich in antioxidants, copper, manganese, and dietary fiber, dark chocolate also contains plenty of magnesium – enough to fill 16 percent of the recommended dietary intake (RDI) for the nutrient.
  • Avocados – This delicious and versatile fruit contains good fats, potassium, B-vitamins, and vitamin K. It also provides 15 percent of one’s RDI for magnesium.
  • Nuts – There are many reasons to love nuts. Most of them are excellent sources of heart-friendly fatty acids, as well as dietary fiber that supports probiotic populations in the human gut. Almonds, cashews, and Brazil nuts, in particular, are high in magnesium, with just an ounce (28 g) of cashews providing approximately 20 percent of the RDI for the nutrient.
  • Tofu – This soy product is well-loved by vegetarians because of its high plant protein content, making it a great substitute for meat. It also delivers up to 13 percent of the RDI for magnesium, as well as a bunch of other nutrients.
  • Seeds – These are the very definitions of superfoods – they pack diverse and large quantities of nutrients in very small packages. For instance, an ounce of pumpkin seeds provides about 37 percent of the RDI for magnesium.

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Study shows the potential of a TCM essential oil for alleviating depression and anxiety

Living with a mental health disorder is no easy task. Although they are not as visible as physical conditions, they can be just as bad or at times even worse. Over the years, the number of people who suffer from mental health problems continues to rise. In fact, the World Health Organizationestimates that there are more than 300 million cases of depression, which is one of the most prevalent mental disorders. Conventional drugs are available for the treatment of this condition. However, these are very pricey and are also associated with adverse side effects. Because of these, it is important to find other treatments that are safe, effective, and easily accessible to those who need them. A group of researchers from Hebei Medical University in China found a potential alternative to antidepressants in SuHeXiang, an essential oil extracted from oriental sweetgum (Liquidambar orientalis Mill).

Depression is tightly linked with another mental health disorder called anxiety. Approximately 50 percent of depressed patients also suffer from this disease. These diseases share common treatments, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), because of their co-occurrence. However, these drugs are oftentimes limited by their slow action, poor response rates, and potential drug resistance. Moreover, taking them can also cause side effects like nausea, diarrhea, headaches, sleep disturbances, weight gain, and increased risk of suicidal thoughts so natural products are highly preferred. The key to finding better treatments is to understand how these diseases develop. According to previous studies, depression is caused by overactive hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis and increased inflammation, which can damage blood vessels and promote clotting. From these, it can be determined that alternative treatments should exhibit potent neuroprotective activities.

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SuHeXiang is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat seizures, loss of consciousness, and stroke. Moreover, there are recent studies showing that this essential oil protects against Alzheimer’s and its associated memory loss. It was also observed to regulate functions of the central nervous system by utilizing the gamma-aminobutyric acid pathways. Based on these, the authors of the study hypothesized that SuHeXiang has neuroprotective properties that could work against depression and anxiety.

In this study, which was published in the Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, the researchers determined the antidepressant and anti-anxiety activities of SuHeXiang in mice with stress-induced depression. They administered the essential oil through inhalation, which was done for either 10 or 30 minutes. The researchers used different experiments to observe the mice for anxiety and depression-like behaviors. From there, they observed that inhalation of SuHeXiang significantly reduced anxiety and depression-like behaviors.

The authors of the study also assessed the effects of inhalation on the serum profile of the mice. They saw that those treated with SuHeXiang had lower levels of pro-inflammatory proteins, which is beneficial since brain inflammation is associated with depression and other neurological disorders. In addition, the researchers also observed lower levels of thrombopoietin and angiogenin, which are involved in platelet activity and the formation of blood vessels respectively. Similar to inflammation, these two processes also cause depression.

From this study, the researchers concluded that SuHeXiang has potent antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects, which can be attributed to its ability to reduce inflammation and platelet activity. These results prove that this traditional Chinese Medicine has potential use as an alternative to dangerous antidepressants and anxiolytic medications. (Related: SSRI horrors grow: women who take popular antidepressants risk babies with severe high blood pressure.)

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9 Effective Herbal Remedies For Anxiety


Anxiety is a common psychiatric disorder where a person often fears being in social situations. Treatments like antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs can lead to side effects such as agitation, irritability, aggressiveness, and more anxiety.

As a result, patients may turn to alternative treatment, including herbal remedies for generalized anxiety disorder. Herbal remedies for anxiety often include Roman chamomile, valerian, passionflower, and bacopa, just to name a few.

Anxiety attacks sometimes occur due to intense pressure or constant worry that interferes with everyday life, such as obligations at work or home.

You may have an anxiety disorder when feelings of anxiety last longer than six months. Common anxiety disorders include phobias, panic disorders, and generalized anxiety disorder.

In this article we will take a deeper look at the herbs for anxiety, and learn why you should use them in your treatment. Let’s get started…

Best Herbal Remedies for Anxiety

What herbal remedies are good for anxiety? There are certain herbs with phytochemicals that help treat anxiety symptoms, such as panic attacks, insomnia, tiredness, or chest pains. Herbal remedies for anxiety often come in extract, capsule, tincture, or tea form.

The following are nine of the best herbal remedies for anxiety:

1. Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)

Chamomile can come from Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) or German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) species. It is one of the better herbs for promoting relaxation and fighting stress.

Chamomile’s mild sedative effects help calm the nerves and reduce anxiety since its vapors travel directly to the olfactory receptors of the brain.

In one eight-week study, chamomile had significantly reduced anxiety symptoms in mild to moderate generalized anxiety disorder patients.

The average dose is 350 mg to 500 mg daily.

2. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

Valerian contains sedative compounds that help the herb treat insomnia, stress, and anxiety. Research shows that valerian root increases the amount of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain.

GABA is known to calm anxiety and regulate nerve cells in a similar way as anti-anxiety drugs, diazepam (“Valium”) and alprazolam (“Xanax”). The valerenol and valerenic acid in valerian root extract are known to have anti-anxiety properties.

The average dose is about 500 mg daily.

3. Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)

Passionflower has long been helpful for anxiety. Passionflower increases GABA, and this makes you feel more relaxed and lowers activity of certain brain cells that may cause anxiety.

Research found that passionflower was just as effective as mainstream anti-anxiety drugs midazolam, oxazepam, and sertraline. In a study published in the Iranian Journal of Psychiatry in 2016, passionflower was found to complement sertraline—aka “Zoloft”—in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder.

The average dose is about 500 mg per day.

4. Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

Lemon balm has a mild sedative effect, and it is often used to treat insomnia and anxiety. In one 2004 study, researchers found that lemon balm extracts created more calmness and alertness among participants than a placebo did.

However, the right dose is important since too much lemon balm can increase anxiety. About 500 mg is the average dose of lemon balm supplementation daily.

5. Kava Kava (Piper methysticum)

Kava kava, or kava root, is often used to treat insomnia, and calm stress, restlessness, and anxiety. A study published in the journal PLOS One in 2016 found that kava kava targets GABA receptors that manage anxiety symptoms.

A systematic review of 22 double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized trials determined that kava extract may be an effective treatment for anxiety.

The average dose of kava kava is about 250 mg daily, and it should only be used for up to four weeks at a time.

6. St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

St. John’s wort is a well-known herb for depression, but it is also useful for insomnia, tiredness, and anxiety. A systematic review of St. John’s wort shows that this herb is well suited for depression-related anxiety.

The average dosage of St. John’s wort is about 300 mg daily. However, you should not take it with anti-anxiety drugs; hence it is best to consult your doctor before adding St. John’s wort to your treatment plan.

7. Rhodiola (Rhodiola Rosea)

Rhodiola has been used to reduce stress and calm nerves for hundreds of years. As a popular adaptogenic herb, rhodiola is able to improve brain function, fight depression, and reduce anxiety.

A study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2008 found that rhodiola significantly improved generalized anxiety disorder symptoms.

The average dosage of rhodiola is about 500 mg daily.

8. Bacopa (Bacopa monnieri)

Bacopa is also called brahmi. It is known to treat a wide range of mind-related health problems, including depression and anxiety, and it has fewer side effects than psychotropic drugs.

The positive effects of bacopa on the nervous system have been attributed to the neurotransmitters serotonin, acetylcholine, and GABA.

A 2013 study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research also found that bacopa can decrease levels of the stress hormone cortisol. High amounts of cortisol are known to worsen anxiety symptoms.

You can take an average of 500 mg of bacopa daily.

9. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera)

Ashwagandha is an important herbal remedy in Ayurvedic medicine that is often used to relieve stress and anxiety. A study published in the journal PLOS One in 2009 found that ashwagandha is comparable to common drugs used for depression and anxiety, such as imipramine and lorazepam.

That being said, ashwagandha had minimal adverse effects, whereas the drugs may cause insomnia, drowsiness, increased appetite, and more. A 2014 systematic review also concluded that ashwagandha significantly improved anxiety and stress better than the placebo.

Up to 900 mg daily of ashwagandha is the average dose in supplement form.

Final Thoughts on Herbal Remedies for Anxiety

Anxiety is the body’s natural response during stressful situations. Herbal medicine is often used to combat feelings of anxiety or stress.

In this article we mentioned several helpful herbal remedies for anxiety, including chamomile, valerian, passionflower, lemon balm, kava kava, St. John’s wort, rhodiola, bacopa, and ashwagandha.

Many herbal supplements will contain a combination of these herbs for anxiety. As a result, the herb may work better when combined than alone.

That being said, it is best to always follow the directions on the label closely. Also, consult your doctor before trying a new herbal treatment. They will be able to discuss potential side effects and interactions with medications or other supplements.

Disclaimer: Article does not treat, diagnose or offer any medical advice. For informational purposes only. Results not guaranteed.

This article appeared first at Doctor’s Health Press and appears on Natural Blaze with permission.


Lakhan, S., et al., “Nutritional and herbal supplements for anxiety and anxiety-related disorders: systematic review,” Nutrition Journal, Oct. 2010; 9: 42, doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-9-42. Akhondzadeh, S., et al., “Passionflower in the treatment of generalized anxiety: a pilot double-blind randomized controlled trial with oxazepam,” Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics, Oct. 2001; 26(5): 363-367, PMID: 11679026.
Nojoumi, M., et al., “Effects of Passion Flower Extract, as an Add-On Treatment to Sertraline, on Reaction Time in Patients with Generalized Anxiety Disorder: A Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study,” Iranian Journal of Psychiatry, July 2016; 11(3): 191-197, PMID: 27928252.
Bystritsky, A., et al., “A pilot study of Rhodiola rosea (Rhodax) for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD),” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, March 2008; 14(2): 175-180, doi: 10.1089/acm.2007.7117.
Brogan, K., “What’s the Harm in Taking an Antidepressant?” GreenMedinfo, November 8, 2016;, last accessed September 26, 2018.
Amsterdam, J., et al., “A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of oral Matricaria recutita (chamomile) extract therapy for generalized anxiety disorder,” Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, Aug. 2009; 29(4): 378-382, doi:10.1097/JCP.0b013e318ac935c,.
Benke, D., et al., “GABA A receptors as in vivo substrate for the anxiolytic action of valerenic acid, a major constituent of valerian root extracts,” Neuropharmacology, Jan. 2009; 56(1): 174-181, doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2008.06.013.
Dantas, L., et al., “Effects of passiflora incarnate and midazolam for control of anxiety in patients undergoing dental extraction,” Medicina Oral Patologia Oral y Cirugia Bucal, Jan. 2017; 22(1): e95-e101, doi: 10.4317/medoral.21140.
Kennedy, D., et al., “Attenuation of laboratory-induced stress in human after acute administration of Melissa officinalis (Lemon Balm),” Psychosomatic Medicine, July to Aug. 2004; 66(4): 607-613, doi: 10.1097/01.psy.0000132877.72833.71.
Chow Chua, H., et al., “Kavain, the Major Constituent of the Anxiolytic Kava Extract, Potentiates GABA Receptors: Functional Characteristics and Molecular Mechanism,” PLOS One, June 2016, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0157700.
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Apaydin, E., et al., “A systematic review of St. John’s wort for major depressive disorder,” Systematic Reviews, Sept.2016; 5(1): 148, doi: 10.1186/s13643-016-0325-2.
Cropley, M., et al., “The Effects of Rhodiola rosea L. Extract on Anxiety, Stress, Cognition and Other Mood Symptoms,” Phytotherapy Research, Oct. 2015, 29(12):1934-9 doi: 10.1002/ptr.5486.
Benson, S., et al., “An Acute, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Cross-over Study of 320mg and 640mg Doses of Bacopa monnieri (CDRI 08) on Multitasking Stress Reactivity and Mood,” Phytotherapy Research, June 2013, 28(4):551-9, doi:10.1002/ptr.5029.
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Cooley, K., et al., “Naturopathic Care for Anxiety: A Randomized Controlled Trial: ISRCTN78958974,” PLOS One, Aug. 2009; 4(8):e6628.doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0006628.
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Why you should learn therapeutic rocking to relieve stress, insomnia, or PTSD

If you suffer from stress, anxiety, insomnia, pain, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), therapeutic rocking can help ease your symptoms.

This natural treatment is beneficial not only for the person being rocked but also for the person doing the rocking. Done properly, therapeutic rocking can be practiced daily to help relieve stress and anxiety.

Dr. Leslie Korn, a clinician specializing in integrative mental health, nutrition, and traumatic stress, considered the benefits of therapeutic rocking when she worked with children who had autism. The children – who were brought to her clinic in Mexico – required “a combination of nature adventure therapy and bodywork.”

Dr. Korn noted that to self-soothe, children in pain tend to rock themselves.

She followed up her work with the children in Mexico with a clinical internship on a psychogeriatric ward at the Lemuel Shattuck Hospital, a public health hospital in Boston. Dr. Korn was tasked with helping the hospital staff determine an alternative way of treating older and bed-ridden female patients with paranoid schizophrenia.

She offered to rock the patients instead of giving them a dose of benzodiazepines every afternoon. Dr. Korn then rocked the patients as they lay on their sides to help soothe their agitation and to help the patients relax. She noted that the rocking lulled some of the patients to sleep.

During Dr. Korn’s clinical fellowship at a Harvard teaching hospital, she tried therapeutic rocking on patients deemed suicidal and “borderline” suicidal, although the latter were actually trauma survivors. The nurses at the hospital recognized the benefits of this unique therapy.

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Dr. Korn advised that unless they are also dually certified and licensed in bodywork and psychotherapy like her, mental health clinicians should teach the technique to their clients instead.

The benefits of therapeutic rocking

A universal behavior, rocking helps synchronize the brain. The act also accelerates and improves sleep quality. Rocking at all stages of life “engages the template of touch and the inner infant.” While we don’t grow out of the need for this kind of soothing behavior, we simply don’t receive or give it as adults.

Below are some of the many benefits of therapeutic rocking:

  • It can help children and adults manage their anxiety, panic, and pain.
  • It can help couples, partners, friends, and bodyworkers relieve stress or anxiety. (Bodyworkers refer to healthcare professionals who reintroduce touch when healing individuals and they include chiropractors, massage therapists, and physical therapists.)
  • It can help rape survivors who have trouble falling asleep.
  • It can help veterans calm down in the evening.
  • It can improve sleep quality.
  • It can increase sleep spindles, which are linked to the ability to sleep through environmental noise.

The benefits of therapeutic rocking operate on the same principle that is applied to babies who are rocked. The repetitive motion helps babies to relax and eventually fall asleep. (Related: Body Stress Release – A gentle therapy to relieve tension and pain.)

The basics of therapeutic rocking

Here are the basics of therapeutic rocking:

  1. Have the person receiving the treatment lie on their right side, if they are comfortable doing so. Take note that the right side activates the rest cycle of the right brain hemisphere. The right side will help induce sleep more quickly.
  2. Place a pillow under the person’s neck. The person being rocked can hug a pillow at their stomach if they feel comfortable doing this instead.
  3. The person giving the treatment should sit behind the “receiver.” The “giver” will then take their left palm, and with fingers pointed upward or toward the sky, place it directly over the sacrum. The left palm should cover the sacrum, so the outer edge of the little finger is just above the intergluteal cleft before the buttocks. The hand does not have to make contact with the buttocks. Meanwhile, the thumb will be near around the sacroiliac line.
  4. The giver’s right hand should be placed right on the neck on the cervical vertebrae. The hand will cup naturally cup around the neck. The quality of touch required for this therapy is very light. There’s no pressure needed from the giver.
  5. The giver can now very gently begin rocking the sacrum by pushing with the left palm. Minimal movement is required for the rocking therapy to work. The giver can adjust their movement based on the comfort level of their partner.
  6. The rocking can be done for about 10 minutes. The person doing the rocking can give gentle suggestions for breathing. The giver can also close their eyes and continue rocking the other person for at least 20 minutes until their partner falls asleep or feels relaxed enough.

If you or someone you know feels anxious or stressed, try to follow the basics of therapeutic rocking to help them relax.

Read more articles about therapeutic rocking and how it can ease stress or PTSD at

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Energy drink consumption linked to anxiety, depression, stress in young adults

Research continues to uncover the harmful side effects of energy drink consumption. A study revealed that energy drink consumption is linked to anxiety, depression, and stress in young male adults. The study was carried out by a team of researchers from The University of Western Australia and Telethon Kids Institute in Australia who looked at the longitudinal links between energy drink consumption and symptoms of anxiety, depression, and stress in young adults.

Energy drinks are widely marketed to increase alertness and boost energy. Moreover, they may contain high levels of caffeine, sugar, taurine, ginseng, guarana, B-vitamins, and herbal extracts. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), energy drinks are the second most popular dietary supplement consumed by teens and young adults in America, with multivitamins being the first. Moreover, males aged between 18 and 34 years drink the most energy drinks, and approximately one-third of teens aged between 12 and 17 years consume them regularly.

The study involved more than 1,000 participants who participated in the Western Australia Pregnancy Cohort. The participants completed self-report questionnaires in order to gather information on their energy drink use and mental health problems at the 20-year and 22-year follow-up. The research team used linear regression analyses investigated whether change in energy drink consumption across the two-year period was linked to change in Depression Anxiety Stress Scale-21 (DASS-21) scores. Then, the researchers classified the results by gender and considered for baseline DASS-21 scores, socio-demographics, lifestyle factors, such as physical activity, drug and alcohol use, body mass index (BMI), dietary intake, and parental mental health.

After they adjusted for potential confounding factors, results showed that switching from an non-energy drink user to an energy drink user across the two-year follow-up was linked to an increase in DASS depression, anxiety, and stress scores in men. On the other hand, there were no significant links found for women. The researchers concluded that young adult men who consumed energy drinks had a higher risk of depression, anxiety, and stress. (Related: High-Caffeine Energy Drinks Like Red Bull Linked to Violence, Risk-Taking Among Teens.)

Energy drink ingredients harm the heart

The consumption of a 32-ounce energy drink causes more potentially dangerous changes in blood pressure and heart function compared to drinking 32 ounces of a control drink with the same amount of 320 milligrams (mg) of caffeine, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Consuming 400 mg of caffeine is generally regarded as safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, energy drinks also contain other ingredients aside from caffeine, and little is known about their safety. Therefore, researchers of the study conducted the study on 18 healthy individuals who were then divided into two groups – the first group drank a commercially available energy drink that contained 108 grams (g) of sugar, 320 mg of caffeine, and other compounds, while the other group consumed a control drink with the same amount of caffeine, 40 milliliters (ml) of lime juice, and 140 ml of cherry syrup in carbonated water. After a washout period of six days, the participants switched drinks.

The researchers measured the electrical activity of the participants’ hearts using electrocardiogram (ECG). They also measured their peripheral and central blood pressures at the beginning of the study and at one, two, four, six, and 24 hours after drink consumption.

Results revealed that participants who drank an energy drink had an ECG change known as QTc prolongation and sometimes linked to deadly irregularities in the heartbeat. Moreover, both groups had similar increases in systolic blood pressure, but systolic pressures in the caffeine group had nearly returned to normal after six hours. This indicated that other ingredients in energy drinks may have affected blood pressure changes. Thus, the researchers suggested that people who have high blood pressure, heart issues, or other health conditions might want to limit or avoid drinking energy drinks.

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Worldwide Studies Find B-Vitamins Significantly Reduce Symptoms of Mental Health Disorders

B-VitaminsBy Marco Torres

We cannot escape the reality that in developed nations, people are often overfed but undernourished — with damaging results.

Vitamin B is a dietary powerhouse, boosting energy levels and enhancing performance of nearly every system in the body. B vitamins are required for cognitive function, as well as proper functioning of the methylation cycle, monoamine production, DNA synthesis, and maintenance of phospholipids such as myelin.

Now, a growing body of literature links poor dietary choices not only to brain health and cognitive function, but to an increased risk of chronic psychiatric illness.

A 2017 review of worldwide studies has found that add-on treatment with high-dose B-vitamins (including B6, B8 and B12) can significantly reduce symptoms of schizophrenia — more than standard treatments alone. The research, conducted on the effect of vitamin and mineral supplements on symptoms of schizophrenia, was published in Psychological Medicine, one of the world’s leading psychology journals.

Depression can be one of the first presenting symptoms of B-vitamin deficiency, and the the neuropsychiatric symptoms of B12 deficiency can precede the development of anaemia and other symptoms. And yet, many health care professionals would be shocked to learn that B12 deficiency can actually cause psychosis. Indeed, the connection between mental health and B12 deficiency is staggering — and yet it appears screening is rarely carried out within any division of modern healthcare.

When used as an adjunctive with antipsychotic medications, certain vitamins and minerals may be effective for improving symptomatic outcomes of schizophrenia, by restoring nutritional deficits, reducing oxidative stress, and modulating neurological pathways.

Elaborating on the research published in Psychological Medicine, lead author Joseph Firth, based at the University’s Division of Psychology and Mental Health, said:

“Looking at all of the data from clinical trials of vitamin and mineral supplements for schizophrenia to date, we can see that B vitamins effectively improve outcomes for patients.

“B deficiencies play a causative role in mental illness and exacerbate symptoms psychiatric symptoms which can result in poor nutrition vitamin insufficiency — defined as subclinical deficiency which may hamper recovery.

“This could be an important advance, given that new treatments for this condition are so desperately needed.”

B-Vitamins and Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia affects around 1% of the population and is among the most disabling and costly long-term conditions worldwide.

Currently, treatment is based around the administration of antipsychotic drugs. Although patients typically experience remission of symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions within the first few months of treatment, long-term outcomes are poor; 80% of patients relapse within five years. But this research opens up new pathways of investigation.

Vitamins B2, B6, B9, and B12 directly impact the functioning of the methylation cycle. Deficiencies pertain to brain function, as neurotransmitters, myelin, and active glutathione are dependent on one-carbon metabolism. The researchers reviewed all randomized clinical trials reporting effects of vitamin or mineral supplements on psychiatric symptoms in people with schizophrenia. And, in what is the first meta-analysis carried out on this topic, they identified 18 clinical trials with a combined total of 832 patients receiving antipsychotic treatment for schizophrenia.

B-vitamin interventions which used higher dosages or combined several vitamins were consistently effective for reducing psychiatric symptoms, whereas those which used lower doses were ineffective. Also, the available evidence also suggests that B-vitamin supplements may be most beneficial when implemented early on, as b-vitamins were most likely to reduce symptoms when used in studies of patients with shorter illness durations.

Firth added:

“High-dose B-vitamins may be useful for reducing residual symptoms in people with schizophrenia, although there were significant differences among the findings of the studies we looked at.”

“There is also some indication that these overall effects may be driven by larger benefits among subgroups of patients who have relevant genetic or dietary nutritional deficiencies.”

Co-author Jerome Sarris, Professor of Integrative Mental Health at Western Sydney University, added:

“This builds on existing evidence of other food-derived supplements, such as certain amino-acids, been beneficial for people with schizophrenia.

“These new findings also fit with our latest research examining how multi-nutrient treatments can reduce depression and other disorders.”

The research team say more studies are now needed to discover how nutrients act on the brain to improve mental health, and to measure effects of nutrient-based treatments on other outcomes such as brain functioning and metabolic health.

Recommended articles by Marco Torres:

About the author:

Marco Torres is a research specialist, writer and consumer advocate for healthy lifestyles. He holds degrees in Public Health and Environmental Science and is a professional speaker on topics such as disease prevention, environmental toxins and health policy. This article republished with permission from Prevent Disease.

Originally published:

Anxiety Overtakes Depression as No. 1 Mental Health Problem

By Dr. Joseph Mercola

Anxiety is the New Depression

Anxiety is the new depression, with more than half of all American college students reporting anxiety.[1] Recent research shows anxiety — characterized by constant and overwhelming worry and fear — is now 800 percent more prevalent than all forms of cancer.[2]

A 2016 report by the Center for Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State[3] confirmed the trend, finding anxiety and depression are the most common concerns among college students who seek counseling.[4] Data from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) suggests the prevalence of anxiety disorders in the U.S. may be as high as 40 million, or about 18 percent of the population over the age of 18, making it the most common mental illness in the nation.[5],[6]

Fortunately, there are many treatment options available, and some of the most effective treatments are also among the safest and least expensive and don’t involve drugs.

Anxiety — A Medical Condition Driven by Sociological Conditions?

Commenting on the video featured below, Huffington Post writes:[7]

“A person with high functioning anxiety can look calm on the surface, but underneath that practiced veneer, their thoughts are churning. That’s the message behind a new video from ‘The Mighty,’ in which a young woman describes the experience of living with the condition, which is characterized by persistent negative thoughts, restlessness and even physical symptoms like muscle tension …”

But what is at the heart of all this anxiety? What’s causing all these persistent negative thoughts? Why the chronic restlessness? The New York Times addressed the rising prevalence of anxiety in a recent article, noting:[8]

“While to epidemiologists the disorder is a medical condition, anxiety is starting to seem like a sociological condition, too: a shared cultural experience that feeds on alarmist CNN graphics and metastasizes through social media …

‘If you’re a human being living in 2017 and you’re not anxious,’ [Sarah Fader, who has generalized anxiety disorder] said on the telephone, ‘there’s something wrong with you’ … [I]t seems we have entered a new Age of Anxiety. Monitoring our heart rates. Swiping ceaselessly at our iPhones …

Consider the fidget spinner: endlessly whirring between the fingertips of ‘Generation Alpha,’ annoying teachers, baffling parents … According to data from the National Institute of Mental Health, some 38 percent of girls ages 13 through 17, and 26 percent of boys, have an anxiety disorder …  Meanwhile, the number of web searches involving the term has nearly doubled over the last five years …”

What It’s Like to Have ‘High-Functioning’ Anxiety

This is what it’s like to live with ‘high-functioning’ anxiety. Can you relate?

The United States of Anxiety

Kai Wright, host of the political podcast “The United States of Anxiety,” attributes the current trend to the fact that we’ve been at war for over a decade and a half, have faced two recessions in that same time frame and have had to adjust to a swiftly changing digital landscape, which in turn has changed how we work and interact.[9]

“Everything we consider to be normal has changed. And nobody seems to trust the people in charge to tell them where they fit into the future,” he says.[10] Andrea Petersen, author of “On Edge: A Journey Through Anxiety,” interviewed students at University of Michigan for her book, some of whom revealed the internal pressure cooker was turned on far earlier than you might expect. In his Times article, Alex Williams writes:[11]

“One student, who has ADHD, anxiety and depression, said the pressure began building in middle school when she realized she had to be at the top of her class to get into high school honors classes, which she needed to get into Advanced Placement classes, which she needed to get into college. ‘In sixth grade,’ she said, ‘kids were freaking out.’ This was not the stereotypical experience of Generation X …

‘In addition to the normal chaos of being a human being, there is what almost feels like weaponized uncertainty thrown at us on a daily basis,’ said Kat Kinsman, the ‘Hi, Anxiety’ author. ‘It’s coming so quickly and messily, some of it straight from the president’s own fingers.’

Indeed, Mr. Trump is the first politician in world history whose preferred mode of communication is the 3 a.m. tweet … ‘We live in a country where we can’t even agree on a basic set of facts,’ said Dan Harris, an ABC news correspondent and ‘Nightline’ anchor …”

Beware of Microwave Exposure

We have had nearly an exponential increase in electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure from devices like our cellphones and cordless phones, Wi-Fi routers, baby monitors, smart meters and cellphone towers, which may turn out to be a primary driver for this increase in anxiety and depression. How you say?

Good question. Due to the pioneering work of Dr. Martin Pall, we know that voltage gated calcium channels are over 7 million times more sensitive to microwave radiation than the charged particles inside and outside our cells. This means that the safety standards for this exposure are off by a factor of 7 million.

When the EMF from the above listed devices hit your voltage gated calcium channels, nearly 1 million calcium ions per second are released into the cell, which then causes the cell to release excessive nitric oxide that then combines with superoxide to form peroxynitrate, which then forms the dangerous hydroxyl free radical that causes massive mitochondrial dysfunction.

Guess which tissues have the greatest density of voltage gated calcium channels? Your nerves and tissues, like the pacemaker in your heart and, of course, your brain. When the channels in the brain are activated, it causes a major disruption in neurotransmitter and hormonal balance that can radically increase the risk for not only anxiety and depression but arrhythmias, autism and Alzheimer’s.

I am going to be massively expanding on this in future articles and interviews, but in the meantime, please watch or re-watch my video below to help start you on the process of protecting you from microwaves. You can learn more about the dangers of microwave radiation here.

Do Fidget Spinners Work?

In his article, Williams touches on the popularity of so-called fidget spinners, originally devised as a focusing aid primarily for autistic children and kids with attention deficit or sensory sensitivity disorders. The toy is now being used by all sorts of people of varying ages. But do they really help reduce anxiety? According to psychiatrist Pilar Trelles at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City, the spinners can be quite helpful.

Health Magazine quotes her as saying, “When someone is hypersensitive to the environment they might bite their nails, pull out their cuticles or pinch their skin. Fidget spinners offer a less harmful way to expend that nervous energy.”[12] The fidget spinner falls under a stress management category called rapid stress management technique, recommended for use in conjunction with other forms of therapy.

That said, some schools have banned use of fidget spinners, on account that they distract teachers and other students. Medicine Net has also issued a warning that fidget spinners pose a choking hazard,[13] as the round metal bearings could come dislodged. A 10-year-old girl had to have a bearing surgically removed from her esophagus after she accidentally swallowed it.

Other Common Causes of Anxiety

While genetics, brain chemistry, personality and life events play a role in the development of anxiety disorders, stress is a common trigger. Anxiety is a normal response to stress, but in some people the anxiety becomes overwhelming and difficult to cope with, to the point that it affects their day-to-day living. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) explains how your brain reacts to stress, and how the anxiety response is triggered:[14]

“Several parts of the brain are key actors in the production of fear and anxiety … scientists have discovered that the amygdala and the hippocampus play significant roles in most anxiety disorders.

The amygdala … is believed to be a communications hub between the parts of the brain that process incoming sensory signals and the parts that interpret these signals. It can alert the rest of the brain that a threat is present and trigger a fear or anxiety response.

The emotional memories stored in the central part of the amygdala may play a role in anxiety disorders involving very distinct fears, such as fears of dogs, spiders or flying. The hippocampus is the part of the brain that encodes threatening events into memories.”

A number of other situations and underlying issues can also contribute to the problem. This includes but is not limited to the following, and addressing these issues may be what’s needed to resolve your anxiety disorder. For more information about each, please follow the links provided:

Exposure to microwave radiation from devices like cellphones, Wi-Fi routers, portable phones, smart meters, baby monitors and cellphone towers.

Food additives, food dyes, GMOs and glyphosate. Food dyes of particular concern include Blue #1 and #2 food coloring; Green #3; Orange B; Red #3 and #40; Yellow #5 and #6; and the preservative sodium benzoate.

Breathing Has a Direct Influence on Anxiety

The way you breathe is intricately connected to your mental state. I’ve previously published interviews with Patrick McKeown, a leading expert on the Buteyko Breathing Method, where he explains how breathing affects your mind, body and health. Here, I’ve chosen a video featuring Robert Litman, where he specifically addresses the relationship between breathing and anxiety.

According to Buteyko, the founder of the method, anxiety is triggered by an imbalance between gases in your body, specifically the ratio between carbon dioxide (CO2) and oxygen. In this video, Litman explains how your breathing affects the ratio of these gases, and demonstrates how you can literally breathe your way into a calmer state of mind.

A Buteyko breathing exercise that can help quell anxiety is summarized below. This sequence helps retain and gently accumulate CO2, leading to calmer breathing and reduced anxiety. In other words, the urge to breathe will decline as you go into a more relaxed state.

  • Take a small breath into your nose, a small breath out; hold your nose for five seconds in order to hold your breath, and then release to resume breathing.
  • Breathe normally for 10 seconds.
  • Repeat the sequence several more times: small breath in through your nose, small breath out; hold your breath for five seconds, then let go and breathe normally for 10 seconds.

You can learn more about the Buteyko Method here.

McKeown has also written a book specifically aimed at the treatment of anxiety through optimal breathing, called “Anxiety Free: Stop Worrying and Quieten Your Mind – Featuring the Buteyko Breathing Method and Mindfulness,” which can be found here on[17] In addition to the book, also offers a one-hour online course and an audio version of the book, along with several free chapters[18] and accompanying videos.[19]

Belisa Vranich, a clinical psychologist, has also written an excellent book called “Breathe.” In it, she details a program that can help improve your physical and mental health. You can learn more about her breathing program in this recent interview.

Nature Sounds Calm the Mind and Quell Anxiety

In addition to addressing your breathing, consider spending more time in natural environments. Researchers at Brighton and Sussex Medical School found that nature sounds have a distinct and powerful effect on your brain, lowering fight-or-flight instincts and activating your rest-and-digest autonomic nervous system.[20],[21],[22]

Nature sounds produce brain activity associated with outward-directed focus, whereas artificial sounds create brain activity associated with inward-directed focus. The latter, which can express itself as worry and rumination about things related to your own self, is a trait associated with anxiety and depression. Nature sounds also produce higher rest-digest nervous system activity, which occurs when your body is in a relaxed state.

Previous research has also demonstrated that listening to nature sounds help you recover faster after a stressful event. So, seek out parks, or create a natural sanctuary on your balcony, or indoors using plants and an environmental sound machine. YouTube also has a number of very long videos of natural sounds, such as the one featured above. You could simply turn it on and leave it on while you’re indoors.

EFT — A Potent Non-Drug Treatment Alternative

Another potent treatment alternative that does not involve drugs is the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), one of the most well-established forms of energy psychology. It’s akin to acupuncture, which is based on the concept that a vital energy flows through your body along invisible pathways known as meridians. EFT stimulates specific energy meridian points in your body by tapping them with your fingertips, while simultaneously using custom-made verbal affirmations.

This can be done alone or under the supervision of a qualified therapist. By doing this, you reprogram the way your body responds to emotional stressors, effectively “short-circuiting” the event chain that leads to an anxiety or panic attack. Research confirms EFT can be a powerful intervention for stress and anxiety,[23],[24],[25] in part because it specifically targets your amygdala and hippocampus, which are the parts of your brain that help you decide whether or not something is a threat.[26]

If you recall the NIMH’s explanation above about how your amygdala and hippocampus are involved in anxiety disorders, you can see why tapping is such a powerful tool. In the video above, EFT therapist Julie Schiffman demonstrates how to tap for panic attacks and anxiety relief.

For serious or complex issues, you may need a qualified EFT therapist to guide you through the process. That said, the more you tap, the more skilled you’ll become. You can also try acupuncture,[27]which like EFT bridges the gap between your mind and body.

Other Treatment Options for Anxiety

Considering the risks of psychiatric drugs, I would urge you to view them as a last resort rather than a first-line of treatment. In addition to the breathing exercises, nature sound therapy and EFT already mentioned, other far safer strategies to explore include:

Regular exercise and daily movement.
Mindfulness training and/or a spiritual practice. Research suggests psilocybin, also known as magic mushrooms, may be a game changer in the treatment for severe depression and anxiety, and the spiritual intensity of the experience appears to be a key component of the healing.Magic mushrooms are not legal, so this is not a viable treatment as of yet, but it highlights the importance and relationship between having a spiritual foundation that can provide hope and meaning to your life.
Optimizing your gut microbiome. Gastrointestinal abnormalities have been linked to a variety of psychological problems, including anxiety and depression. It is now well-established that the vagus nerve is the primary route your gut bacteria use to transmit information to your brain,[28]which helps explain why mental health can be so intricately connected to your gut microbiome.[29]For example, fermented foods have been shown to curb social anxiety disorder in young adults.[30],[31] To learn more about this, please see “Poor Diet, Lack of Sunshine and Spiritual Anemia — Three Potent Contributors to Depression and Anxiety.”
Lowering your sugar and processed food intake. Research shows your diet can have a profound effect on your mental health.[32],[33] Pay particular attention to nutritional imbalances known to contribute to mental health problems, such as lack of magnesium, vitamin D, B vitamins and animal-based omega-3
Getting plenty of restorative sleep.
Being mindful of your exposure to EMFs and use of wireless technologies. At bare minimum, avoid keeping any of these gadgets next to you while sleeping
Evaluating your toxic exposures. A common symptom of toxic mold exposure is anxiety, so ask yourself if there’s any kind of pattern; do your symptoms improve when you spend time away from your home or office, for example?
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). They even offer CBT for young children these days.[34] A number of universities offer Tao Connect[35] to their students, but even if you’re not a student, there are free online programs available that you can use. Some examples include MoodGYM,[36]e-couch,[37] Learn to Live[38] and CBT Online.[39]

Anxiety can significantly reduce your quality of life, so it’s well worth it to keep going until you find a proper long-term solution. Last but not least, don’t underestimate the value of social interactions — face-to-face, that is, not via social media. Lack of social interaction has become so widespread, some establishments have taken to turning off their Wi-Fi in an effort to encourage human interaction.

Jimson Bienenstock, president of HotBlack Coffee in Toronto, explained his decision to turn the café into a cellphone-free zone to The New York Times, saying,[40] “It’s about creating a social vibe. We’re a vehicle for human interaction, otherwise it’s just a commodity.” Indeed, like mindfulness and spiritual pursuits, social interaction helps foster meaning and purpose in life, thereby protecting and improving your mental health.

Originally Posted:

Don’t Allow Fear to Stop You

fear“What you fear the most will come to you.” This proverb is found originally in the Bible (Jeremiah 42) and has been rehashed over and over throughout the years by sages, Wisemen, authors, and motivational speakers.

Fear and worry are driving factors in many people’s lives. Both are a misuse of the imagination. Imagination and thoughts are power.

The truth of the matter isn’t that just what you fear the most will come to you… It’s that whatever you focus on – good or bad will have a tendency to manifest in your life. The beauty is that once you understand this you realize that you are in control. You get to decide what you will experience in this life.

Fear is a feeling. It’s a visceral reaction we have to a possibility of an outcome that we do not want. Realizing that that outcome has not happened yet and may not ever need to occur and even better yet, that you hold the key to overcoming the possibility entirely. It has been said that the acronym FEAR stands for is False Evidence Appearing Real. This could not be truer.

How do you get past a fear?

  • Switch Focus – occupying your mind and time with other more positive things can help. Do your best to keep your mind off of outcomes you do not wish to happen.
  • Face your fears – If you have a fear of something tactile – heights, fire, needles, etc. desensitization can also be helpful. Fear is not logical. Fear is often irrational. Repeated exposure gets your mind and body used to the stimulus often causing the fear to lessen over time. Refusing to face fear keeps it alive. The common tactic of burying your head in the sand does not work and only serves to delay.
  • Be easy on yourself – changing old ingrained habits take time and practice. If you find yourself in old patterns of fear based thought, do your best to take some deep breaths and refocus.
  • Focused meditation – practicing meditation can help you to clear old patterns subconsciously.

Monarch Wellness offers sessions and classes that can help you get past the fear and on to living a more full and happy life. Visit to learn more or sign up.

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