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Anxiety may well be the epidemic of our time.

And now, a new human scientific study from Japan has found a significant correlation between panic/anxiety attacks, and vitamin B6 and iron levels in the blood. [1]

This study indicates that if you get occasional panic attacks marked by episodes of hyperventilation, you may be suffering from a simple deficiency syndrome.

Panic attacks and hyperventilation attacks are serious psychiatric events, and the symptoms occur suddenly without warning although often they follow a state of chronic anxiety. Panic attacks are diagnosed by the sufferer experiencing at least four of the following symptoms: palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate, sweating, trembling or shaking, shortness of breath.

Numerous other studies have also reported this finding. In this particular study, Vitamin B-6 and Iron were those associated with anxiety symptoms. However, it is worth noting that B vitamins in general are associated with better mental health,in fact, pantothenic acid or B5 is called the anti stress vitamin. Other symptoms of vitamin B deficiency may include agoraphobia, anxiety, fatigue, irritability, and emotional instability. I think it is unwise to supplement with single B vitamins as they work in concert in a constellation of metabolic functions. Also, supplementing just one can cause deficiencies in the others.

For food sources, pumpkin seeds are a rich source of tryptophan. Other rich tryptophan sources include turkey (responsible for the sleepy feeling after turkey dinner!), grapefruit juice, tuna, eggs, Mozzarella, chia seeds, sesame seeds, pistachios. Foods highest in B vitamins include brown rice, other whole grains and red meat. Iron of course is highest in organ meats, soybeans, red meat , cooked oysters and lentils. Iron should NEVER be supplemented without a test establishing need and treatment supervised by a health professional.

Serotonin, the brain’s “happiness chemical” is synthesized in the brain and gut from its precursor (“building block”) tryptophan, and it is well established 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, of course this is not helpful in cases of intestinal dysbiosis. I have found a huge correlation between gut dysbiosis or bacterial imbalances and various mood disorders including anxiety and panic. In fact, it is usually one of the first symptoms of serious gut imbalances along with sleep disturbances and it one of the first symptoms to improve upon embarking on a treatment program. As a nutritrion specialist and experienced clinician, I will tell you that anxiety and panic can and will manifest due to any and all nutritional deficiencies not just these. Our nutritional panels often reveal surprising deficiencies… If you would prefer to take supplements here are two I recommend trying FREE shipping!: Buffalo Liver by Carlson Labs Tri-B-100 by Douglas Labs - Free Shipping If you are going to benefit from these it will not take very long. Often though, remember anxiety and panic attacks are just symptoms not diseases. As such, it behooves you to get to the root cause to establish exactly why you are so depleted. For anxiety and panic related to emotional trauma I cannot recommend acupuncture highly enough.

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[1] Low Serum Concentrations of Vitamin B6 and Iron Are Related to Panic Attack and Hyperventilation Attack. (2013) Full study (PDF). http://wwwacta/pdf/

Author's Bio: 

Dr Taryn DeCicco ND, LAc, LDN of Apple A Day Clinic in Arlington Heights, IL has been practicing Naturopathy, Nutrition, and Acupuncture, specializing in acne, skin, digestive disorders, and HPV for over 20 years!