Anxiety

 

FIGHT: Aggression, Irritability, Rage, Violence

FLIGHT: Avoidance, Mental confusion, Withdrawal, Fatigue

FRIGHT: Anxiety, Apprehension, Depression, Panic

Anxiety Attacks, also known as Panic Attacks affect men and women.  Attacks range from mild to severe, mental (emotional) and physical effects.

Symptoms for Mental includes:

  • agitation
  • agoraphobia
  • apprehension
  • constant worry
  • endless crying
  • depression
  • feel stressed and/or overwhelmed
  • irrational fears
  • irritable
  • irrational behaviour
  • lack of self confidence/esteem
  • procrastination
  • low tolerance to stress
  • nervousness
  • panicky feelings/panic attacks
  • difficulty relaxing
  • upset emotional balance
  • tension
  • social phobia

Symptoms for Physical includes:

  • aggression
  • butterflies in stomach
  • breathing difficulties
  • cold and/or clammy hands or skin
  • cravings for sweet things
  • dizziness
  • exhaustion/fatigue
  • headaches
  • hot flushes/sweating
  • itching skin
  • jittery
  • lump in throat
  • misty vision in eyes
  • muscle weakness
  • nausea
  • rapid heart beat or palpitations
  • shaking or trembling
  • shortness of breath
  • uptight
  • stomach in knots
  • tight chest
  • tremors 

External mental or physical stressor or endogenously by a drop in blood glucose can cause Anxiety attacks.  Stress causes our body to respond in the same way - mental or physical, real or perceived, good or bad.

Cortisol, nor-adrenaline and adrenaline are stress hormones and when these levels rise it causes restlessness, jitters, nervousness and other forms of agitation.  Blood is then directed away from periphery blood vessels and head towards the heart and major muscles causing blood pressure and heart rates to rise.  This now leaves the immune system, digestion, hormones, neurotransmitters etc suppressed, it remains in this state until the dangers have past.

The rush of adrenaline causes glycogen (glucose) to pour into the blood to give energy.  As the glucose drains out, it is replaced by water which causes bloating and weight gain.  When too much adrenaline is released it can bring on:

  • panic attacks
  • migraines
  • epilepsy

If the glucose is not used up in either the fight or flight response, the body creates a surge of insulin to prevent hyperglycaemia by converting the excess glucose into fat which then gets deposited in the fatty tissues causing weight gain.  Cholesterol and triglycerides also increase and if too much insulin is released, bloody glucose drops sharply causing adverse symptoms.  Food must be eaten at this stage to prevent glucose from dropping too low, if not, the adrenals once again pump out adrenaline to bring stored glucose into the blood, and so a vicious cycle begins.

Adrenaline makes the heart race, it also causes the following anxiety attack symptoms:

FIGHT ....... FLIGHT ...... and ...... FRIGHT

 

When GABA levels, one of the most important of all neurotransmitters, and serotonin the major 'happy' neurotransmitters drop, together with a drop in progesterone levels, panicky feelings, agitation, nervousness and panic attacks take place.  It is vital to replace these missing nutrients to prevent further agitation.

As always, food and diet play an important role.  Too many carbohydrates in the form of sugar, sweet drinks, processed foods, ALL grains, and sweet starch fruit and vegetables, can cause blood glucose to increase too fast. Excess insulin is then released, which drops the blood glucose too fast ...... and so the cycle begins again.

Natural Treatment of Anxiety Attack Symptoms

Progesterone is known as a neurosteroid, it enhances GABA's calming affect and suppresses the excitatory glutamate response.  It is synthesized in the central nervous system and affects nerve functioning, and therefore mood and behaviour.  Once progesterone is used the anti anxiety affect is achieved within 3 to 10 minutes.  The anti anxiety response is the same as that found after benzodiazephine (benzo) drugs, but does not have any addictive side effects as drugs.

Conventional Treatment of Anxiety Attack Symptoms

Benzodiaephine (Benzo)drugs are usually prescribed for treating anxiety, severe anxiety and psychosis, usually Diazepam (Valium) is given. Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI) anti-depressants are also prescribed. Benzo's work by enhancing the anxiolytic activity of GABA, which increases the inhibitory process in the brain. Because of it's addictive nature they should only be used at a very low dose and for a short period of time  i.e.  no longer than 2 weeks.  Addiction usually occurs when used for a long period of time even if taking a low dose.

Diazepam and other Benzo's are used to relieve:

  • anxiety
  • muscle spasms
  • seizures
  • controls agitation causes by alcohol withdrawal

Benzodiazephines can cause:

  • aggression
  • anger
  • mania and hypo-mania
  • anxiety
  • schizophrenia 
  • suicidal thoughts and violence

Combined with alcohol can be extremely dangerous.

Buspirone is also given to treat anxiety disorders or short term treatment of anxiety.  It works on the serotonin receptors, but not the GABA receptors, and does not cause addiction or sedation as the benzo drugs do.

Natural Anti Depressants and Anti anxiety Nutrients 

Below is a list of natural anti depressants/anti anxiety nutrients which are used successfully in the treatment of anxiety:

Progesterone - a natural monoamine oxidase inhibitor which works by increasing levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain.  It activates the GABA receptor sites making GABA more effective.  It is recommended that women use between 100mg/3ml to 200mg/6ml per day and men should use between 10-100mg per day.  If symptoms are severe, more is needed.  Please see How to use Progesterone Cream.  It is important that you read the page on Estrogen Dominance before using progesterone for the first time.

Glycine - is a calming amino acid and helps with seizures, relaxes the muscles, improves glycogen storage which increases energy. A precursor to glutathione, after Vitamin D, the most important cellular anti oxidant.  Take 500mg per day as well as 25mg vitamin B6.  It is perfectly safe to go up to 6000mg per day.

Taurine - is anther calming amino acid and is especially good for the heart.  The heart contains more taurine than all the other aminos combined. Taurine helps to calm panic attacks, anxiety and chronic fatigue and the heart rate. Take 500mg per day increasing until a suitable level is found. take 25mg vitamin B6 which is a co-factor.  It is safe to go up to 6000mg per day.

Inositol - classed as on the the B vitamins, it helps with depression as it raises serotonin levels.  It stabilises blood glucose levels by increase the action of insulin and decreasing insulin resistance.  It's calming affect helps with depression, panic attacks, mood swings, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), dipolar disorder and anxiety.  Stress can cause hair loss and inositol helps with this, it is also known as the anti-alopecia vitamin. Take 2000-4000mg per day.  Levels of 12,000-18,000mg per day have been given for those suffering OCD and depression.

Vitamin B3 (niacin or nicotinic acid, nicotinamide or niacinamide) - is an anti depressant vitamin, it helps with depression, schizophrenia, fatigue, low blood sugar, muscular weakness and helps to oxygenate the brain.  It is made form the amino acid tryptophan. Nicotinamide has some benzodiazephine like properties.  Take 100mg per day.  Levels of 1500mg per day of niacinamide have been given for anxiety and up to 30g per day of niacin have been give for schizophrenia.  PLEASE NOTE:  Niacin 'can' cause hot flushing of the skin.

Vitamin D3 - this is vital as it is connected to every single cell in our bodies including anxiety and depression.  A deficiency also destabilises blood glucose and can lead to insulin resistance.  It is so important that you check your Vitamin D3 level.  Blood levels should be between 70-100ng/mL or 175-250nmol/L and NOT 30ng/mL or 75nmol/L as most labs and doctors advise as adequate.  See the Vitamin D Council for more information.  Minimum daily dose should be 5000iu's per day, although recent research suggests 10,000iu's per day - see here.  Children under 12 should take 2000iu's per day.

Zinc - is the second most abundant trace mineral in our bodies making it important for blood glucose control (insulin). Found in many enzymes, including superoxide dismutase, a powerful anti oxidant and liver protector.  A healthy immune system requires zinc and is needed for protein synthesis and collagen formation.  Deficiencies can cause acne, bulimia and anorexia, lack of smell and taste, poor appetite, dementia, lethargy, retarded growth and sexual development, depression, impotence and infertility, repeated colds and flu and cholesterol levels are also affected. Teenagers require sufficient for normal reproductive growth.  As well as vitamin B6, it is most important in the conversion of homocysteine into glutathione.  If an imbalance between zinc and copper takes place, it can cause ADHA, bipolar disorders, depression and schizophrenia.  Puberty in girls is a challenge as rising estrogen levels cause copper to rise, depressing zinc levels.  If estrogen levels increase at any point due to Contraceptive, HRT or after giving birth, a hysterectomy, menopause, or environmental exposures to copper, depression irritability and psychosis can take place.  PMS is often causes by excessive copper levels and depressed zinc levels due to the incorrect ratios between progesterone and estrogen.  Take 15mg per day or up to 100mg per day if deficient.

GABA - the most calming neurotransmitter can be taken if depression comes with anxiety and panic attacks as it helps eliminate these feelings. Take 250mg per day to begin with, increasing until a suitable level is found.  It is safe to take up to 1000mg per day and again vitamin B6 is needed.  CAUTION:  GABA is difficult to administer as it is easy to exceed what is actually needed, when this happens, symptoms return, please increase very slowly.

Tryptophan - amino acid precursor to serotonin, which is low in anxiety, OCD, depression, insomnia, a slow gut leading to constipation, IBS, aches and pains including fibromyalgia, hot flushes and more.  It aids with appetite control and helps to stabilise blood glucose, a drop in blood glucose often causes depression and anxiety.  This drop can also cause a Hot Flush and studies have found that tyrptophan helps with this.  It also helps with insomnia. Tryptophan requires an insulin spike to help make it's way to the brain, so take it with about 1/4 glass of juice or some honey. It is best to take it at night and not with any protein.  It also requires vitamin B6 and folic acid to help convert it into serotonin.  Take 25mg B6 and 300mch folic acid with it.  It is safe to go up to 6000mg per day before consulting a doctor.  CAUTION:  If you are on any antidepressants, please consult your doctor first.

Tyrosine - a non-essential amino acid, but is one of the most important and is an excellent antidepressant.  It is the precursor to dopamine, which is usually low in depression.  It is also the precursor to the stress hormones adrenaline and nor-adrenaline, the 2 thyroid hormones T3 and T4, as well and melanin, the pigment found in hair and skin. Tyrosine is important for any stressful situation, cold, fatigue, emotional trauma, prolonged work, sleep deprivation.  It improves memory, cognition and physical performance.  When stressed levels drop.  Start by taking 250mg per day in the morning.  Co-factors needed are vitamins B3, B6 and folic acid.  Take 25mg B3, B6 and 300mcg folic acid. Increase to a dose that suits you. It is safe to go up to 6000mg per day.  CAUTION:  It is very easy to exceed what is required, symptoms will return so increase the dose slowly if needed.

References

Vitamin D deficiency and psychotic features in mentally ill adolescents - a cross-sectional study

Vitamin D in Diet and Depression

Vitamin D intake from foods and supplements and depressive symptoms in a diverse population of older women

Low serum levels of 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25-OHD) or Vitamin D3 amoung psychiatric out-patients in Sweden - relatins with season and age ethnic origin and psychiatric diagnosis

Taurine is a Poten Activator of Extrasynapic GABAA Receptors in the Thalamus

Taurine induces anti-anxiety by activating strychnine sensitive glycine receptor in vivo

Gender differences in Panic Disorder

Receptors of the age of anxiety - Pharmacology of the Benzodiazepine Drugs

Anxiolytic effect of progesterone is associated with increases in cortical allopregnanolone and GABAA receptor function