A List of Vitamins and Minerals to Take for Social Anxiety
Did you know that the vitamins and minerals that are in your diet and supplements can affect your anxiety levels? This is a really simple thing that you can do to improve your overall mental health: take vitamins for anxiety! Make sure that your meals are nutritionally balanced, and if you are at all concerned that they are not, take a supplement.
Below I talk about each of the different vitamins and minerals that you need to make sure you are getting enough of if you live with social anxiety.
(You’ll notice I’ve only listed vegetarian options. I won’t go into detail here, but suffice it to say that I don’t eat meat myself, so I’m not the best person to advise on including it in your diet!)
You probably think of oranges and orange juice when you think of vitamin C. While it’s true these fruits are good sources, they are not the only places you can get your Vitamin C. Getting enough vitamin C could actually help your anxiety; a small study of 42 high school students showed that taking a Vitamin C supplement every day reduced levels of anxiety.
The daily recommended value (DV) of Vitamin C is 60 mg for adults. If you don’t want to take a supplement, foods high in vitamin C include fruits like oranges, grapefruit, and strawberries and veggies such as broccoli, kale, and red peppers.
I’m a big fan of having a handful of strawberries with my breakfast; they are the ultimate healthy treat. Smoothies are another fun way to get your Vitamin C if you make them with orange juice and strawberries.
What are the B complex vitamins? You’ve probably heard their names before. Thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), biotin (B7), inositol (B8), folic acid (B9), and cobalamin (B12). I mostly remember seeing B1, B2, and B3 on the ingredients lists of cereal boxes when I was a kid, and fortified cereals are still a good source of some of these vitamins.
Good food sources of B complex vitamins include whole grains, potatoes, dairy products, dried beans, eggs, spinach, nuts, eggs, sunflower seeds, avocados, corn, broccoli, bananas, rice, citrus fruits, soy, legumes, and dark green leafy vegetables.
As a vegetarian I get my B12 levels checked when I go to the doctor and they have been fine. However, if you’re vegan, you should supplement your B12. In general, adding a B Complex supplement is a good idea if you live with anxiety.
Vitamin D is what you get from being out in the sun! But, it’s hard to know how much sun exposure is good for you and there is always the risks of UV rays. So, a better alternative is often to get your Vitamin D from food or from a supplement.
There is some evidence of Vitamin D being linked to lowered anxiety, so it’s best to make sure you are getting enough. You can get your Vitamin D from a supplement, fortified food, or eat the following foods: cheese, egg yolks, fortified orange juice, fortified milk, and fortified soy milk.
There is some evidence that magnesium supplements help anxiety. Magnesium is involved in different body function including muscle contraction, so it makes sense that too little could disrupt your level of calm.
You can either take a magnesium supplement or eat the following foods that are high in magnesium: beans, nuts, bananas, soy products, brown rice, whole wheat bread, and green leafy vegetables.
One study with rats showed that after being deprived of zinc, they showed signs of anxiety. You’re not a rat, obviously, but this suggests that you may want to make sure you are getting enough zinc. You can take a supplement or make sure you are eating these foods: nuts, whole grains, and legumes.
There is some evidence that low iron can be related to anxiety symptoms. You can either take an iron supplement or eat the following foods: whole grains, nuts, sunflower seeds, dark leafy vegetables, tofu, and dark chocolate.
Are you getting enough calcium? If not you might be contributing to your anxiety. You can take a supplement or eat the following foods: milk, yogurt, dark leafy greens, cheese, broccoli, green beans, and almonds.
Chromium levels have also been linked to anxiety levels. Here are some foods you can eat to boost your chromium: whole grains, green beans, broccoli, nuts, and egg yolk.
I know it can seem overwhelming at first to make sure that you are getting the right amounts of each of the vitamins and minerals. While I certainly advocate eating healthy foods, it can also be a good idea to simply take a multi-vitamin that covers everything you need. It’s been shown that even people eating what they consider to be a healthy diet do not meet the recommended daily values.