Arresting Anxiety- Addressing the biochemical drivers
Every week in my one-on-one consultations with my clients complaints of anxiety rear their head. It seems that so many of us are struggling with feeling anxious and overwhelmed, and it can manifest in various ways. From feeling tense and wound up, to difficulty sleeping, stomach pain, nausea, chest tightness, breathing difficulties, avoiding certain situations that make you nervous and more, anxiety can present in a wide range of ways.
When it comes to supporting anxiety in my patients there is no one size fits all approach. More so it is about us working together to identify drivers specific to them and then implementing support and therapies to address these drivers.
For some this may be deficiencies in specific nutrients, some of the most common being vitamin B12 and B6, or the minerals magnesium and zinc. These all have roles to play in the body, nervous system and in neurotransmitter formation.
For other patients gut health may be a founding problem. Research is clear that our gut microbiota are associated with a range of neuropsychiatric disorders including anxiety and depression. It’s understood that around 90% of our serotonin is made in our gut and our microbiome is responsible for producing and delivering GABA as well (both act on the brain to support and regulate mood). In fact some studies are demonstrating certain strains of probiotics to have antidepressant and anxioltyic (reduced anxiety) effects.
Thyroid and adrenal health are also key, as well as regulating inflammation, stress hormones and regulating blood sugar. It might seem simple but blood sugar disturbances are a major exacerbation of the stress response in many of my clients and this alone can trigger or exacerbate feelings of anxiety, increased heart beat, shakiness and nervousness.
It’s also important to not underestimate the role of diet lifestyle and self-care in supporting anxiety too. To me, self care is not just factoring in a pedicure or an outing alone, but is more about taking steps each day to check in with how we are feeling and making yourself and your bodies needs a priority. Sleep, hydration, connection, purpose, movement/exercise and eating to maximise nutrition and blood sugar stability, are all vital parts of the puzzle when it comes to supporting yourself through anxiety.
So on top of working with a qualified practitioner to address hormonal, nutritional, digestive and neurotransmitter imbalance, talking to someone who can help walk you through small steps to take in your lifestyle and in how you support your body daily will be key in getting results. Such a vital part of how I work is in supporting my clients with the implementation of my advice, and helping you foster a connection with your body that comes from listening to what it’s telling you, and learning to interpret the messages from your symptoms. That’s where I can really help- walking you through change step-by-step, as slowly or quickly as best suits you, and teaching you the signs to look for on the way.
If you feel anxiety is affecting your life please come in for a consultation. Together we can assess the drivers specific to you and begin to work to turn it around.
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Sandi Cooper is an experienced Naturopath working in clinical practice for almost two decades. Her clients love her down-to-earth approach and her naturally caring qualities. Although Sandi is experienced in most areas of clinical practice, she has a special interest in children’s health and nutrition, working with parents to get the best outcomes for their children.