Is Anxiety Ruling Your Life?
Are you walking hand in hand with anxiety every day? Nervousness, fear, uncontrollable shaking, feelings of dread, panic attacks... these are all often the products of chemical imbalances in our brain chemistry, our hormonal levels and our life choices. If we can at least address the nutritional issues, we can often reduce our symptoms by 50% or more, making it much easier to handle our daily stresses and give us the strength and determination to make better choices. Anxiety comes in many forms: fear, nervousness, panic attacks and even physical symptoms such as hysteria, crying, heart palpitations and uncontrollable urination. Most of the time, body chemistry is at the heart of the matter, literally. Many panic issues will increase heart rate, even making some people feel faint. So let’s look at what’s really going on here.
The first thing to realize is that the adrenal glands are often behind this. The adrenal glands are the body controllers of how we respond under stress. They determine how anxious we will feel and how afraid something can make us. Chronic adrenal stress can be the result of vitamin B deficiency, over-exercise, lack of essential fatty acids and even not breathing deeply enough.
Chronic B vitamin deficiency can not only deplete the adrenals, but can cause depression and the tendency to cry without reason. This can even progress into the constant feeling that something dreadful is about to happen. This can produce a continual form of anxiety and later depression. By simply taking some water-soluble and fat-soluble B vitamins, you may find your mood stabilizing and for the first time in your life, you may feel more in control of things.
Another strong factor is the presence of too much lactic acid in the blood and tissues. Lactic acid can be produced as a by-product of exercise and muscular exertion. It is more common in people that work out too often, without allowing themselves enough down-time between sessions. It is also common in people who do very strenuous physical work day in and day out. Lactic acid is a byproduct of energy production, and when you spend a good deal of time not breathing well, then less oxygen is present to really fire up your energy production, and so the cycle becomes a bit weaker, producing lactic acid. When too much builds up in the blood and tissue, it can create an anxious feeling, even as much as panic, particularly after exertion.
Another aspect of anxiety is the presence of continual surges of adrenalin from the adrenal glands. This is usually a learned response typical in victims of trauma, abuse or chronic fear. Even people with sleep apnea can create a pattern of adrenalin surges as the body goes through periods of not breathing correctly.
Breathing is essential. Few people realize that when we talk about deep breathing, we really are talking about oxygen. They forget that the only way oxygen reaches the cells is by nice deep breathing where the muscles contract enough to force the oxygen across cell barriers. Also, if we inhibit our breathing by smoking, or exposure to airborne pollutants, even chronic allergy mucous, then we are getting even less oxygen. The result is a signal in the brain’s unconscious that we are suffocating... and lo and behold, anxiety sets in as a result. In fact, this may be one aspect of panic attacks yet to be explored.
In the liver, low levels of inositol can bring on anxiety because it lowers levels of available glucose reserves. The body will interpret low levels of available glucose as starvation, and can induce anxiety to force the release of stored glycogen. Increasing inositol in a supplement can help to normalize the release of these essential stores.
The liver also has a strong effect on our levels of essential fatty acids. Many people do not realize that fat and essential fats may not be the same thing. They look down at their stomach and assume that the fat they see means they should reduce the fat in their food. But there are essential fats that are the building blocks for adrenal hormones, provide control for inflammation, build myelin for nerves and protect joints. By reducing fat to low levels, you may be starving your adrenal glands and preventing them from controlling anxiety.
So what can you do... Yoga for breathing, massage to remove lactic acid from muscles, hot baths to soak out lactic acid accumulation will all help tremendously. Increasing your B vitamins and essential fatty acids like tuna oil, black currant seed oil and even flaxseed oil can really turn things around. My favorite herbal options are Skullcap, Valerian, Rehmannia, Ashwaganda and Passion Flower which can relax the nerves and support the adrenals. Burdock is great for reducing lactic acid accumulation in tissue and stimulating the lymphatic system. And don’t forget inositol to keep your sugar balance in line and energy metabolism in check.
So don’t feel you have to let anxiety rule your life. Instead, turn things around naturally and notice the difference.