Banish Childhood Fears with Natural Supplements for Anxiety

Natural Supplements for Anxiety Child-related anxiety is characterized by a lack of focus, poor concentration, tension, irritability, mood swings, feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, excessive fear, panic and worry, restlessness and intolerance. Children with this condition may also experience chest pain/tightness, fatigue, excessive perspiration, migraines/headaches, stomach cramps, insomnia, indigestion, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting, dry, sore throat, etc. The exact cause of anxiety varies (depending on the child), but genetics, food allergies, health conditions, nutritional deficiencies or stressful or traumatic life events appear to play a significant role in its development and progression.

 It is normal to experience anxiety from time-to-time, but when it becomes recurrent or it interferes with the child’s life, then it is time to consult with a licensed mental health professional (child counselor, child psychologist, child therapist or child clinical social worker). Although treatment for anxiety in children generally consists of psychotherapy, medication and lifestyle changes (a healthy diet and regular exercise), mental health professionals have started to prescribe children natural supplements for anxiety. If you are wondering what natural supplements are beneficial for anxiety in children – you have come to the right place. This article will provide you will all of the information you need to know to use supplements in the treatment of child-related anxiety.

Listed below are natural supplements for anxiety in children:

  • B Vitamins 

Some of the most effective natural supplements for anxiety in children are: pyridoxine (vitamin B6), thiamine (vitamin B1) and niacinamide (vitamin B3). These B vitamins are known for their ability to reduce or eliminate anxiety. B vitamins have the ability to improve children’s nervous system function and regulate their lactic acid levels (a chemical compound that occurs once the children’s blood glucose (blood sugar) is broken down). Lactic acid levels increase when the muscles and tissues do not receive an adequate supply of oxygen. High levels of lactic acid can trigger or worsen anxiety in children.

  • Vitamin C 

Children with anxiety can benefit from vitamin C supplements. Vitamin C can regulate the chemicals in a child’s brain. It can also support adrenal gland function, improve moods, strengthen immune system function and accelerate the healing process. Most importantly, vitamin C can reduce anxiety symptoms by producing a relaxing effect in the body.

  • Vitamin E 

Vitamin E can help stop an anxiety attack in children. This vitamin helps transport oxygen to a child’s brain. It is especially beneficial for children in the middle of an anxiety attack because it helps to increase their oxygen intake. Many times during an anxiety attack, children experience breathing difficulties and a lack of oxygen to the brain. Vitamin E helps to replenish those oxygen levels, which calms the child and reduces or eliminates the anxiety.

  • Essential Minerals 

Contrary to popular belief, essential minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium, selenium and zinc) can be used as natural supplements for anxiety in children. Calcium and magnesium can reduce child-related anxiety symptoms by producing a calming sensation in the body. In addition, magnesium can prevent and relieve anxiety attack symptoms like muscle tension, muscle spasms and apprehension. Zinc is beneficial for anxiety because it has the ability to soothe frazzled nerves. Potassium supports healthy adrenal gland function, which is needed to regulate stress levels in the body. Selenium is also an important natural supplement for anxiety because it produces a tranquilizing effect in the body that relieves anxiety symptoms in children.

  • Fish Oil 

Although this may sound strange, fish oil (i.e. omega-3 fatty acids) can be quite helpful when treating children with anxiety. In fact, research indicates that fish oil is just as effective as prescription anti-anxiety medications when treating child-related anxiety symptoms. Fish oils can also be used to reduce inflammation in the brain. According to Dr. Barry Sears (2012), low levels of omega-3 fatty acids can cause an increase in neuro-inflammation, which prevents the transportation of messages between nerves. This nervous system disruption can increase the likelihood of an anxiety attack.

  • Passion Flower 

One of the most effective natural herbal supplements for anxiety in children is passion flower. This plant originates in the Midwest and southern regions of North America. It has been used for centuries to calm frazzled nerves and reduce stress, tension and feelings of worry and fear. Some children with mild to moderate anxiety reported a reduction in panic attacks, anxiety attacks and excessive worrying after supplementing with passion flower.

  • GABA 

One of the best natural supplements for anxiety in children is GABA. GABA is a neurotransmitter (brain chemical) that regulates moods, emotion and excitement. It also helps to improve nervous system function and reduce anxiety symptoms. Children who experience recurrent anxiety attacks tend to have low levels of GABA; therefore taking this neurotransmitter in supplement form can help replenish those levels and banish anxiety.

  • Kava Kava 

A child suffering from anxiety can benefit from the herbal supplement kava kava. This herb originates in the South Pacific, but it can be purchased in North America and around the world. It is known for its calming properties and its ability to foster happiness, health and well-being in those that ingest it. Current research studies suggest that this herbal supplement is just as effective as some prescribed anti-anxiety medications when treating children with anxiety.  

  • Valerian 

Many herbalists recommend treating children with the herbal supplement valerian. This herb works best when combined with GABA. Valerian has a tranquilizing effect in the body, which can help ease or prevent anxiety symptoms in children. This supplement also helps with insomnia, regulates moods and improves brain function in children.

  • 5-HTP 

5-HTP is one of the most effective natural supplements for anxiety in children. This supplement is converted into serotonin in the brain. This is important for children suffering from anxiety because serotonin regulates moods and controls emotions and impulses. Children who experience frequent anxiety attacks tend to have low levels of serotonin in their brain, therefore supplementing with 5-HTTP can help restore those levels in the brain.

***It is imperative that you contact a licensed mental health professional before giving a child with anxiety natural supplements. Most dietary supplements are not regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) so it is important to exercise caution when using them to treat health conditions like anxiety. A trained medical professional can guide you on the correct dosage and what medications are best for the child so that side-effects are minimal or non-existent. Misuse and abuse of supplements can lead to life-threatening complications.

References:

Edmund J. Bourne, E. J. (2004). Natural relief for anxiety: Complementary strategies for easing    fear, panic & worry.  New York, NY: New Harbinger Publications.

Sears, B. (2012). Anxiety and omega-3 fatty acids. Psychology Today. Retrieved from             http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-the-zone/201201/anxiety-and-omega-3-fatty-    acids

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (2014). Children’s health. Retrieved from                 http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm047364.htm

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). (2014). Dietary supplements. Retrieved from             http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm153239.htm

WebMD. (2014) GABA. Retrieved from

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-464-           GABA%20%28GAMMA-            AMINOBUTYRIC%20ACID%29.aspx?activeIngredientId=464&activeIngredientName            =GABA%20%28GAMMA-AMINOBUTYRIC%20ACID%29

 

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