Yes i've heard about gamma-aminobutyric acid ( GABA ) and it shows promising results. GABA is an alpha amino acid that act as agonists of GABA receptors (known as GABA analogues or GABAergic drugs) or increase the available amount of GABA have relaxing, anti-anxiety and anti-convulsive effects ( note that those effect are the effects people are looking for when taking benzodiapines drugs like Ativan, Xanax, Bromazepam etc ).
You can also try natural anti-anxiety medication like Seredyn and Serelax. They are made with the supplements i will list under. Basically it's a package deal of all the supplements in one bottle. ( GABA is included in Serelax )
-Passionflower ( included in both Seredyn and Serelax )
-Kava ( included in Serelax )
-Valerian ( included in both Seredyn and Serelax )
-5-HPT ( included in Serelax )
-L-Theanine ( amino acid included in both Seredyn and Serelax )
-Niacinamide ( included in Seredyn )
-Magnesium Taurinate ( included in Seredyn )
You can also buy all the supplements individually and try to figure out by yourself what works best. ( Personally i would start with GABA since it was your starting idea )
Omega-3 have proven to be good as mood lifter and stress reducer.
Physical activity and diet ( try looking for Green+ or SuperFoodRX to get the nutriments most of the people are lacking in their diet and consider multi-vitamins and minerals complex ) is also to be considered in your fight against anxiety. I will list some food suggestion that are proven to reduce stress and anxiety.
-Skimmed milk or try replacing milk with soy milk
Hope this will proves to be helpful for you.
However you decide to confront your anxiety is defintely a personal decision. If you decide to use medications, talk therapy, supplements, etc, it is up to you. Just remember that 'natural' supplements can also cause many problems (they are not regulated) and can interact with other medications you are taking. Why not sit down with your health care provider and discuss what the best route to confronting this problem is?
Natural supplements are regulated, cj, sorry. The FDA chooses not to because it doesn't want to divert its resources from medication, which is where the money is. They can't be banned, but they can be regulated -- the legislation was passed because, at the behest of the pharmaceutical companies several years ago, FDA proposed to ban all natural remedies. But it still has the power to regulate them, it just doesn't. But it doesn't regulate meds, either -- it just reads studies generated from pharmaceutical companies and decides if the proper hoops have been jumped through. It's only after a few years on the market we learn about the dangers of meds, even though virtually every time it turns out the company knew but just didn't tell anyone. I fear the same thing would happen with natural remedies -- they'd all past the cost benefit test FDA uses, and since reported side effects are so few, we have to believe natural remedies would all pass muster. Problem is, since none of them are patentable, there's no money to do the same required testing that pharmaceuticals can afford to do because of the huge potential payoff. So requiring that testing is equivalent to banning their use. It's a pickle, but again, CDC statistics show a huge problem with pharmaceuticals and very few with natural remedies.
As to MA's post, GABA is not believed to be well absorbed when taken internally. Some can get it to the brain, but most can't, and it can also cause anxiety. So what most experts in amino acids will recommend is to take taurine and perhaps tyrosine as well, the amino acids that the body uses to produce GABA, and to take enough B6, as it's an essential cofactor in producing both GABA and serotonin. As for your proposed foods, potatoes are very high on the glycemic index, so not recommended in quantity for anxiety sufferers. Milk isn't recommnded for anyone. Soy is a common allergen, so that should be investigated first. Fruit is very high is sugar as well, so should be eaten only in small quantities. Spinach should only be eaten cooked and even then not very often, as it's oxalic acid content leaches out calcium. Naicinamide does nothing; it isn't a replacement for niacin. And a whole lot of other herbs and supplements would be necessary for a proper combination, targeting not only GABA but also serotonin and the adrenals.
By the way, didn't mean to imply, cj, that people shouldn't take medication if it's needed. I take it. I also use natural remedies. I was only saying that the entire system of regulation is messed up due to too much pharmaceutical industry lobbying. I'd like to know the benefits and dangers of natural remedies better than I do, but it would have to come from tax money, and right now almost all of it goes to the pharmaceutical companies. There is a lot of good research from other countries, particularly Japan, but that isn't considered authoritative by the American medical community, natch.
I agree with Paxiled on everything about natural supplements and pharmaceutical industry ( $283 billion worldwide in profit by the way ). And this is why you don't see too many doctors recommend the use of vitamins and natural supplements. It is also why you don't see many people get a high dose IV vitamin C treatment to replace or mixed with chemotherapy in cancer treatments. But people are waking up and sooner or later a revolution will happen in the medical field.
I agree too with Paxiled on what he said about B6 and this is why whenever i suggest natural remedies i always include multi-vitamins complex to be taken as a suggestion and most of the time i will insist on the B family especially on niacin ( B3 ) and i also propose Green+ or SuperFoodRX which contain all the herbs to make niacinamide efficient. Nice input anyway.
Actually, they do not and have been trying to for some time.
The FDA derives most of its authority from the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act that was passed in 1938 to hold the pharm. industry accountable for its practices. In 1994, the the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act was passed to ensure no misleading statements were made for 'natural supplements' which is the direct responsibilty of the manufacturer and NOT the FDA. It only regulates it, if it has a novel component...which opens up a whole new can of worms.
Many of the 'natural' supplement makers naturally do not want more oversight because they can make any claims as long as the have the blanket statement about its claims not being validated or tested by the FDA. A company is a company regardless of what it does.
I wholeheartedly agree with you that 'natural' supplements can be an integral part of treatment as long as you are staying in contact with your doctor. What path we choose is ours. Some don't like any form of meds, supplements, etc.
Actually, the FDA was created to monitor the food industry, not the drug industry -- that just came along with the package. Upton Sinclair's novel The Jungle about the meat processing industry was the catalyst, along with existing interest in the Progressive wing of the Republican Party, led by Teddy Roosevelt. It has authority to regulate all misleading claims about food products and all adulterated products, and can issue warnings to consumers about any suspected problems, which it has done and still does. Right now FDA is investigating GNC and its continuing acceptance of selling athletic supplements that contain steroids and other drugs not listed on the label. It banned the retail selling of tryptophan for years based on one tainted batch, though it was still available by prescription. It forced pennyroyal off the shelves because of it can be used as an abortafacient, which is dangerous since it can involve uncontrollable bleeding, but also has other uses which it's now not available for. It asked companies to stop selling kava just a couple of years ago because of five cases of liver damage that weren't even tied to the kava. It has issued a warning on all herbs coming from China because of some tainted products that contained a toxic herb instead of what was supposed to be in them. The Department of Agriculture also has authority over herbs, since they're food products, to protect the integrity of the food supply. The FTC has authority to regulate all misleading claims, and many products, including food items mostly sold by large corporate conglomerates in supermarkets, have been forced to stop making these claims. I believe Cheerios or one of those cereals is under investigation right now for claiming it's heart healthy when it isn't. Maybe it's Sugar Frosted Flakes, I can't remember. Companies were forced to change the wording when they advertised their products were not irradiated and were not GMO, not because they violated any health standards, but to protect the irradiation and genetic modification industries. Look, I managed health food stores for 18 years, and I was trained as an attorney; people aren't aware of it, but the regulation of natural supplements is constant and active, but the rub is that FDA and Agriculture and the FTC seldom actually do anything about anything that's profitable. The problem is much worse in the pharmaceutical industry, because it's just way more profitable and has much more lobbying power. The only thing FDA can't do is issue a regulation that amounts to the banning of natural supplements. The fact is, it lacks the resources to do its job properly, and has no incentive to regulate natural supplements since they are competition to its main patrons, the conventional food and pharmaceutical industries. Thus, we are left way more in the dark than we need to be, about both natural supplements and pharmaceutical products. But one area where I completely agree with you is on that term "natural." Many supplements have come out over the last several years that are by no means natural but are labeled as such. They haven't got centuries of use behind them to guide us. Many of them are sold multi-level -- you see people asking about them on here often. That form of business model allows for total secrecy and isn't even accountable to experienced herbalists and retailers, since those channels are avoided. We need a better system of regulating our economy on all levels that focuses on protecting the consumer, not the seller, but I won't hold my breath in a nation that can't even try to reform health insurance without people being called socialists and nazis and organizing death panels and the like.
There is no need to lecture me on the roles of the federal government. Since we are bantering back and forth I left you a PM (Lets just say you will not question my education level, and experience in public health. It involves a little more than managing a health food store; yours brings a unique approach while mine is a little different and shapes my opinion from a different point of view). Furthermore, you are lecturing me in the exact field I work in and actually have a passion for. But, alas, it is for the big imperial federal government, so everything I do must be for the 'evil' pharm. industry.
But we do have conflicting opinions, which is a strength here in this community in my opinion. See you in the forum....
GABA does not pass the blood brain barrier, therefore, it is of little consequence. I read that, after using it for quite some time with no effect.
l-theanine helped me some.