Inositol for Anxiousness

calm Aug 08, 2019

by Henry Emmons, MD

[adapted from The Chemistry of Calm]

ps: You've read Part 1 of this series and the introductory article about balancing GABA and glutamate, right? If not, head to those posts first.

pps: some of these natural therapies are not ideal for all types of anxiety. Visit our Calm Section to learn your anxiety subtype and tailor your approach.

 

Inositol Benefits | Inositol and Anxiety

Inositol is often classified as a B-vitamin, though technically it is not a vitamin since the body can produce it. Taken as a supplement, it has long been known to reduce general anxiety, panic and OCD symptoms. Researchers found inositol to be just as effective as a popular antidepressant for panic disorder, and participants tolerated it well even at massive doses up to 18 grams per day.17

Inositol Dosage & Use*

Inositol is often recommended at a dose of about 1-2 g daily, though in studies it has been used at much higher doses. 

Inositol Side...

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Taurine Supplements for Anxiousness

calm Aug 06, 2019

by Henry Emmons, MD

[adapted from The Chemistry of Calm]

p.s., You've read Part 1 of this series and the introductory article about balancing GABA and glutamate, right? If not, head to those articles first.

Taurine and Anxiety | Taurine Benefits

Taurine is an amino acid that increases glycine and GABA to calm the brain (AKA ease anxiety).15 It also protects the brain by reducing the harmful effects of excess glutamate.16 I consider taurine when I see someone with mood instability along with anxiety, but it may also be helpful for anxiety alone. 

You may already be familiar with taurine, as it's often added to energy drinks (e.g., Red Bull). Manufacturers seem to consider it the drinkable solution for periods of extreme exertion, when taurine levels can become depleted. I don’t recommend replenishing it through energy drinks though. There are better ways to use taurine to calm your brain.

Taurine Dosage & Use*

Taurine is...

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Protect Yourself: Rebalance Cortisol

calm Jul 23, 2019

by Henry Emmons, MD

[adapted from The Chemistry of Calm]

p.s., If you haven't read Part 1 of this series, head there first.  

Take the Sting out of Cortisol

Do you long for a stress-free life? Do you wish that your stress hormones would go away and not come back? Actually, you wouldn’t want either of these, any more than you would want a life without pain.

No one wants to be in pain all the time, but to be unable to feel pain at all creates a nightmare of its own. Likewise, if you were unable to mount a stress response, if your body suddenly became unable to produce the stress hormones, your physiology would collapse.

Stress is not the problem. It is unremitting stress and a constantly elevated level of cortisol that create the problems and the consequences can be severe.

The effects of constantly elevated cortisol may include:5

  • Weight gain.
  • Insulin resistance or even type 2 diabetes.
  • Elevated blood pressure and coronary artery disease.
  • Memory problems,...
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5-HTP for Anxiousness

calm Jul 18, 2019

by Henry Emmons, MD

[adapted from The Chemistry of Calm]

ps: Be sure to read Part 1 of this series! 

pps: some of these natural therapies are not ideal for all types of anxiety. Visit our Calm Section to learn your anxiety subtype and tailor your approach.

 

5-HTP Benefits | 5-HTP and Anxiety

5-HTP is the best studied of the “precursor strategies.” That's a strategy where you try to increase production of a neurotransmitter by adding more of the raw materials. 5-HTP is similar to tryptophan (the amino acid that gets converted into serotonin)—5-HTP is the intermediate step in that process. Both are effective ways to boost serotonin levels, but tryptophan is more sedating so I usually reserve that for sleep problems. 5-HTP can also help sleep, but may be used during the daytime as well because it is not usually sedating. Considerable research has shown that 5-HTP can reduce anxiety, both general and panic, as well as improve...

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Soothe Yourself: Boost Serotonin

calm joy Jul 16, 2019

by Henry Emmons, MD

[adapted from The Chemistry of Calm]

p.s., If you haven't read Part 1 of this series, head there first. 

Soothe Yourself: Boost Serotonin

Nearly everyone feels better when their serotonin levels are optimal. It has such a wide array of functions, involved with everything from sleep to appetite to impulse control to sexual desire. It's the brain chemical that helps soothe you when you feel stressed or threatened, and it offers considerable protection to the brain against the damaging effects of cortisol. 

Serotonin’s broad benefits may explain why Prozac and the other SSRI’s took the world by storm in the 1990’s. It took a while for the shortcomings of these medications to become clear—problems such as agitation, numbing of emotions and sexual feelings, weight gain, insomnia, fatigue. The SSRI’s are not the cure-all that they initially appeared to be. The problem remains: millions of people are...

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Reward Yourself: Increase Dopamine

calm joy Jul 09, 2019

by Henry Emmons, MD

[adapted from The Chemistry of Calm]

p.s., If you haven't read Part 1 of this series, head there first.

Dopamine 101 & How to Raise It When Deficient

The effects of dopamine are more complex than those of norepinephrine, at least in regards to anxiety. In some ways, they have a similar function.

Both dopamine and norepinephrine:

  • Tend to be energizing and aid in mental focus and concentration.
  • Can aggravate anxiety when levels are way too high.

However, dopamine has some beneficial effects against anxiety.

Dopamine can:

  • Improve motivation and the experience of pleasure.
  • Enhance microcirculation in parts of the brain.3

Unless dopamine becomes really excessive, your anxiety may improve if you gently boost your dopamine levels.

How do you know if dopamine is deficient?

Low dopamine symptom include:

  • Feel apathetic and fatigued.
  • Difficulty losing weight.
  • Feel unmotivated (as with exercise).
  • Low sex drive.
  • General difficulty getting pleasure...
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L-Theanine Supplements for Anxiousness

calm Jul 04, 2019

by Henry Emmons, MD

[adapted from The Chemistry of Calm]

p.s., You've read Part 1 of this series and the introductory article about balancing GABA and glutamate, right? If not, head to those posts first.

L-theanine Benefits

L-theanine is an amino acid found in high concentrations in green tea. But you'd have to drink a whole lot of it to get a therapeutic dose of theanine. You can get more by taking a green tea extract, but you can also take a supplement containing l-theanine alone, or in combination with other calming agents.

One of the reasons I like l-theanine is because it works on so many neurotransmitters at once: it boosts GABA and dopamine while lowering norepinephrine.10 

L-theanine and Anxiety

Researchers have found that it changes brainwaves as measured on EEG, promoting the relaxed and alert state associated with alpha-brain waves.11 That makes it unusual because it can sharpen mental focus and calm anxiety at the same time. 

L-theanine...

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Disarm Yourself: Reduce Norepinephrine

calm Jul 02, 2019

by Henry Emmons, MD

[adapted from The Chemistry of Calm]

p.s., If you haven't read Part 1 of this series, head there first.

With depression, there's often too little NE, but in anxiety it's frequently elevated and needs to be toned down. 

Disarm Yourself: Reduce Norepinephrine

Norepinephrine (NE) raises your level of alertness and arousal. It puts the amygdala on high alert to set off all the alarms in case danger arises.

That alarm system is good if you’re doing something like hunting or evading capture, but not helpful if you're speaking in front of a group or if you've developed panic anxiety for any reason.

How do you know if NE is excessive?

Norepinephrine is the brain’s version of epinephrine, which also goes by the name “adrenaline.” You've probably had the experience of “running on adrenaline.” It's similar to the feeling of drinking too much caffeine, which also elevates norepinephrine’s effects.

Physical...

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GABA Supplements for Anxiousness

calm Jun 27, 2019

by Henry Emmons, MD

[adapted from The Chemistry of Calm]

p.s., You've read Part 1 of this series and the introductory article about balancing GABA and glutamate, right? If not, head to those posts first.

GABA and Anxiety | GABA Benefits

As noted in Part 1 of this series, GABA is the neurotransmitter most responsible for calming down an overactive brain... and it's available as a nutritional supplement without a prescription! It has been shown in human studies to help create a relaxed alpha-brain wave pattern, even more effectively than l-theanine (though we still like l-theanine for many reasons). It can also boost immune function in individuals subject to stress.18 

GABA Supplements 

The bad news is that when taken orally, most of it gets broken down before it gets to the brain. However, the amount that does make it can help and there are some forms more likely to be absorbed into the brain. Additionally, some of GABA’s...

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Calm Yourself: Balancing Excess Glutamate and GABA Deficiencies with Supplements & Herbs (part 2)

calm Jun 25, 2019

by Henry Emmons, MD

[adapted from The Chemistry of Calm]

Assuming you've read Part 1 of this series, then you're ready to explore the key neurotransmitters involved in the brain’s fear circuit and also the nutritional supports that can support better brain chemistry balance. 

In this Part of the series, we'll explore how to balance GABA deficiencies and excess glutamate.  

Calm Yourself: Balance Glutamate and GABA

Your body is truly elegant in its design, and this is especially apparent with brain function. One common element of this design is a binary system in which one chemical activates a process while its partner turns it off again. That is true of the first two brain chemicals we'll discuss: Glutamate and GABA. These chemicals alone account for over 80 percent of brain activity. Glutamate accelerates brain activity—it is “excitatory.”  Its buddy GABA puts the brakes on brain activity—it is “inhibitory.” ...

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