For those of us who suffer from panic attacks or anxiety, a new study from Japan offers hope: Anxiety and panic may be linked to vitamin B6 and iron deficiencies.
The study notes that for those of with occasional panic episodes, especially those marked by hyperventilating, the cause may be as simple as a dietary deficiency.
Other studies have looked at this idea of a nutritional deficiency being at the root of panic and anxiety, but this study looked more closely; while other studies have simply noted that B vitamins and iron were important for maintaining calm, the research team in Japan tested specific B vitamins. Vitamins B2 and B12, for instance, were found to be wholly unrelated to anxiety. Instead, it’s specifically a shortage of vitamin B6 and iron that correlates to anxiety issues.
The team also noted that other symptoms of vitamin B deficiencies may include agoraphobia, anxiety, emotional instability, fatigue, and irritability.
Serotonin, the brain’s “happiness chemical” is synthesized in the body from its precursor (“building block”) tryptophan, and it is well known that vitamin B6 and iron each play important roles as cofactors in the synthesis of serotonin in the human body. An additional factor includes obtaining tryptophan, an amino acid, from the diet.
As a result, keys to an anxiety-ridding diet may be foods rich in vitamin B6, iron, and tryptophan.
While you can also obtain vitamin B6, iron and tryptophan as supplements, we recommend trying to get them through your diet first, and then only considering supplements after consulting with a natural health specialist or dietician.