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What Nutrient Deficiencies Cause Anxiety?

Nutrition and mental health are closely connected. What you eat has a huge impact on how you feel, and many vitamins and minerals have a direct impact on your mental health. Our nervous system requires many essential minerals, nutrients, and fatty acids to help us function properly. If there are nutritional deficiencies in your diet, it can make symptoms of anxiety even worse. Mental health problems can be significantly improved with a healthy, nutrient-dense diet.

What vitamin deficiency causes anxiety?

Vitamins are essential for regulating mood, energy, and brain health. There are many nutrient deficiencies linked to the symptoms of anxiety. Some of these key vitamins and minerals include:

B Vitamins

B vitamins are crucial in hormonal balance, neurotransmitter synthesis, and brain function. Deficiencies in B vitamins, particularly B12, B6, and B9, have been linked to symptoms of depression and anxiety. These vitamins are vital in producing chemicals, like serotonin, that affect mood.


Zinc contributes to neurotransmitter function and helps to regulate mood. Low levels of zinc have been associated with increased anxiety. Zinc is required for a healthy nervous system, immune function, high energy, metabolic regulation, stomach acid production, and gut health, as well as for increasing the absorption of other key nutrients.


Magnesium is necessary for most functions in our bodies, and it’s very important in mood regulation. This mineral plays an active role in regulating neurotransmitters and the nervous system. Low magnesium levels alter your body’s ability to cope with the physical and emotional effects of stress and anxiety.

Vitamin D

Every tissue in our body has vitamin D receptors, making it essential for how we feel on a daily basis. It also plays a key role in the production and release of dopamine and serotonin. A vitamin D deficiency has been associated with mood disorders, including anxiety and depression.


Iron is found in every living cell in our bodies, and it’s essential for the production of serotonin. The health of your brain and nervous system depends on sufficient iron levels. An iron deficiency results in anemia, a condition that occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough healthy red blood cells to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues. This causes a range of symptoms, including depression and anxiety, fatigue, low energy, weakness, and irritability.


Selenium is an essential trace mineral. It supports a healthy immune system and thyroid function and prevents cell damage from free radicals. Selenium also plays an active role in reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. Low levels of selenium have been associated with increased anxiety.

Common Symptoms of Anxiety

Anxiety feels different for everyone, and you may experience physical effects, psychological effects, or a combination of both.

Some common symptoms of anxiety include:

  • trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • feeling irritable, tense, or restless
  • experiencing nausea or abdominal pain
  • heart palpitations
  • headache, backache, or other aches and pains
  • sweating, trembling, or shaking
  • trouble sleeping
  • experiencing panic attacks
  • having a sense of impending danger, panic, or doom

What vitamin helps most with anxiety?

The B vitamins are a powerful group of nutrients that work synergistically to convert the food we eat into energy. Also, these vitamins act as cofactors in the synthesis of neurotransmitters and the regulation of the “happy” hormones dopamine and serotonin. Here are some key B vitamins that are helpful in reducing anxiety levels:

  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate or Folic Acid)
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin)

What is the best natural supplement for anxiety?

There are many natural supplements to help with anxiety due to their demonstrated effectiveness in research and anecdotal evidence. Here are some of the most widely used natural remedies that may reduce anxiety symptoms:


Found in green tea, L-theanine has calming effects by increasing levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin.


Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb used in Ayurvedic medicine. It helps the body adapt to stress. It has been shown to reduce cortisol levels and alleviate symptoms of anxiety.

Valerian Root

Valerian root is calming and can be used as a natural sleep aid.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

Derived from the cannabis plant, CBD has gained popularity for its calming effects without the psychoactive properties of THC.

Passionflower & Chamomile

These herbs are traditionally used for their calming effects.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are healthy fats and important for brain health and neurotransmitter function.

What foods calm my anxiety?

Foods rich in nutrients and vitamins can help promote relaxation and reduce anxiety symptoms. Adding these nutrient-rich foods into your diet may contribute to improved mental well-being:

  • Complex carbohydrates – brown rice, quinoa, beans, sweet potatoes, and squash
  • Fatty fish – salmon, mackerel, and sardines
  •  Nuts and seeds – almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds
  •  Leafy greens – spinach, kale, arugula, and chard
  • Berries – blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, and raspberries
  • Yogurt and kefir
  • Dark chocolate – 70% or higher
  • Turmeric
  • Citrus fruits – lemons, grapefruit, oranges, limes

Anxiety Management at Fifth Avenue Psychiatry

We are a team of highly trained Psychologists and Psychiatrists who use evidence-based clinical treatments and therapies for all sorts of conditions, including anxiety disorders.

We offer an array of treatments, such as:

Call us, and we’ll design a treatment program personalized to you or your loved one struggling with anxiety.

Dr. Hannah Mitchell, PhD, MPH

Dr. Hannah Mitchell, PhD, MPH

Dr. Mitchell is a licensed clinical psychologist with expertise in assessment and evaluation and psychotherapy for psychological and physical health concerns in adults and adolescents (e.g., anxiety, ADHD, depression, substance use and addiction, PTSD, relationship problems, sleep, chronic pain, caregiving, chronic illnesses like cancer).

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