By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
September 26, 2018
- Why dangerously addictive drugs aren’t your best defense against anxiety
- The neurotransmitter that changes the way you interpret fear
- 4 completely natural (and effective!) ways to relieve anxiety
Constant anxiety can be overwhelming. It’s one of those emotions that can grab hold of you, then never seem to let go.
And there are so many things that can cause it!
Money woes, problems at work, health concerns, the death of a loved one and other troubling personal events top the list. But it doesn’t stop there. Headlines are riddled with news of natural disasters, shootings and other events that often lead to mass casualties.
These “life events” can leave you in a constant state of anxiety and fear. You might even think about asking your doctor for an anti-anxiety drug like Xanax.
Before you do that, consider this:
Xanax and similar drugs are some of the biggest players in today’s prescription drug addiction epidemic. In fact, drugs like these are so addictively powerful that many patients experience delirium and psychosis when they try to discontinue use.
And this doesn’t even include the side effects that come with using drugs like Xanax. Among other things, these include memory problems, difficulty sleeping, irritability, inability to concentrate and lack of interest in sex.
So when patients ask me to prescribe something to help relieve their constant feelings of anxiety, panic and fear, it’s unlikely they’ll ever succeed in talking me into pulling out my prescription pad.
Instead, I’ll tell you the same thing I tell them.
The Neurotransmitter that Changes the Way You Interpret Fear and Anxiety
Benzodiazepines like Xanax work by enhancing the effect of a neurotransmitter that helps calm things down in your brain. It’s called gamma amino butyric acid – or GABA for short.
GABA acts as a natural relaxant to reduce excitability and keep things on an even keel. It works by muffling neuronal activity in the brain. In a nutshell, it soothes frazzled nerve cells and changes the way your neurotransmitters interpret fear.
When you become anxious or nervous, your brain releases more of it. But guess what happens if your body can’t produce enough of it?
You’ll find yourself more susceptible to fear, anxiety, panic and a general feeling of uneasiness.
However, it doesn’t take a dangerously addictive drug to increase its efficiency. There are several healthier ways to boost GABA performance. And they are extremely effective.
Defeat Anxiety without Dangerously Addictive Prescription Drugs
Whenever there is an imbalance in your body, I always say that food is your best medicine. And there are plenty of healthful foods that can boost your GABA levels.
Make green tea your beverage of choice. Not only does green tea have a high GABA content. It also has a secret ingredient, L-theanine that actually boosts GABA activity.
It also has a profound effect on the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. These are “feel good” hormones that produce a sense of well-being. And that can go a long way when it comes to soothing your frazzled nerves.
(Don’t like green tea? Try supplementing, instead. Just look for a green tea extract that’s standardized to contain a minimum of 40% catechins and 60% polyphenols.)
Enjoy more fermented foods. Kimchi, miso, kefir, sauerkraut, tempeh and plain Greek yogurt are some great choices. These lactobacillus fermented foods have a positive effect on your gut microbiota, which greatly increase available GABA content available to your brain (via the gut-brain axis).
Don’t forget your fresh, organic fruits and vegetables. The natural flavonoids found in fresh, plant-based foods can help boost GABA activity and relieve anxiety. Look for foods containing ellagic acid (berries), naringin (citrus), ruten (apples, asparagus, figs) and quercetin (greens).
Check out a local yoga class. The breathing and meditation techniques utilized in yoga are well known to help you de-stress and gain mental clarity. And it’s an amazingly effective way to kick your GABA receptors into overdrive. (In fact, it may just be the positive influence on GABA that makes yoga such a powerful weapon against stress and anxiety!)
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