Everyone experiences feelings of anxiety from time to time, but chronic anxiety may be a sign of an underlying vitamin deficiency. What you eat, or don't eat, also can play a huge role in the development of anxiety. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety symptoms include irritability, panic, insomnia, worry and difficulty breathing. Always inform your doctor if you plan to take a nutritional supplement.
Vitamin B-6, a water-soluble vitamin also known as pyridoxine, is one of the eight vitamins in the B-complex group. It is found in dietary sources such as cereals and whole grains, legumes, milk, cheese, fish, liver and meat. You can also find vitamin B-6 in supplement form and in most multivitamin formulations. However, according to developmental psychologist Sharon Heller, Ph.D., in her book, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Conquering Fear and Anxiety," you should not exceed 100 milligrams of vitamin B-6 if you take a daily supplement. Exceeding this dose can cause neurological problems, while a deficiency of B6 can cause anxiety. The recommended daily dosage of vitamin B-6 for adults under the age of is 1.5 to 1.7 milligrams per day.
Vitamin B-12, otherwise known as cobalamin, is another of the B complex vitamins. Unlike most water-soluble vitamins, your liver can store excess amounts of vitamin B-12 in your liver for years. According to naturopath and sports nutritionist William E. Muirhead in his book, "Stress and Anxiety: Eliminating It From Your Life," low levels of vitamin B-12 can lead to symptoms of anxiety. Dietary sources of vitamin B-12 include meat, eggs, cheese and shellfish, according to the National Institutes of Health's Medline Plus service. Vegetarians are more susceptible to B-12 deficiencies, because B-12 is mostly found in animal products. Adults require 2.4 micrograms of vitamin B-12 every day.
Vitamin C deficiencies can cause symptoms of anxiety. Vitamin C is an important nutrient that has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and helps to boost the functioning of your immune system, according to Medline Plus. Your body cannot store it, so you need to eat plenty of vitamin C-rich foods on a daily basis or take a multivitamin or vitamin C supplement. During times of stress, your body rapidly depletes its supply of vitamin C, which can lead to symptoms of anxiety such as restlessness, irritability, shakiness, fatigue and emotional instability, according to author Heller. Dietary sources of vitamin C include citrus fruits, spinach, green peppers, cantaloupe and broccoli. The recommended daily dosage of vitamin C is 90 milligrams for adult males and 75 milligrams for adult women.
- National Institutes of Health: Vitamin B12
- Sharon Heller, Ph.D.; The Complete Idiot's Guide to Conquering Fear and Anxiety
- National Institute of Mental Health: Anxiety Disorders
- National Institutes of Health: Vitamin C
- "Stress and Anxiety: Eliminate It from Your Life"; William E. Muirhead, NC, ND; 2008
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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.