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Anxiety And Panic Attacks

QUESTION: Anxiety and panic attacks: Is there a relationship between panic and a peron's diet?


Anxiety and panic attacks are an emotional and physical reaction to a threat. That threat can be an actual physical threat. But it may be an emotional or mental threat, real or imagined. Its symptoms range from vague uneasiness to intense fear to overwhelming panic attacks.

Anxiety and panic attacks, are some of the most common psychological disorders, affect women more often than men. Usually anxiety disorders and panic attacks are treated with drugs and talk therapy, but other practitioners use a dietary approach.

To understand why diet helps, we must first understand the body’s reaction to stress. When under stress from any physical or emotional stimulus, many changes take place within the body, upsetting its natural balance. Researchers claim that stress contributes to as much as 80% of all major diseases.

One of the many bodily changes that happens due to stress is an increase in the production of adrenal hormones. That increase causes most of the unpleasant symptoms associated with panic attacks. It also creates nutritional deficiencies. When a person endures long-term stressors, these nutritional deficiencies take a toll on his health.

Dr. Maile Pouls has found nutritional deficiencies and related body chemistry imbalances in thousands of Americans. He says that in patients “with conditions including anxiety, excessive or unrealistic worrying, chronic muscle tightness and spasm and loss of sleep, I find a very high correlation of underlying calcium and magnesium deficiency or imbalance”1

Stress also drains the body of the B-complex vitamins necessary for proper functioning of the nervous system. Vitamin B-5 is known as the anti-stress vitamin. Vitamin B-6 affects both mental and physical health. Vitamin B-12 deficiency can cause depression, digestive disturbances, hallucinations, moodiness, and nervousness. Folic acid helps alleviate depression and anxiety. Long-term stress weakens the body, making it more susceptible to disease and exacerbating anxiety symptoms.

Sources for Help
  • The Pfeiffer Treatment Center has had enormous success in treating adults and children with anxiety disorders through nutritional therapy.

  • Marcelle Pick, OB GYN NP, of the Women to Women Clinic says, “At our practice, we treat anxiety with nutrition and nutritional supplements, some prescription medications, emotional work and bodywork.”

  • The Nutrition for Anxiety Disorders website warns against caffeine in all forms. Caffeine adds an additional stressor, further robbing the body of nutrients. That’s the last thing a person with an anxiety disorder needs. Also, avoid or severely restrict all processed foods because they rob the body of nutrients and vitamins. Read labels to detect and avoid chemicals, preservatives, artificial flavors, saturated fats, alcohol, and MSG.
Food products often contain hidden sources of MSG. The following always contain MSG: Glutamate, Monosodium Glutamate, Monopotasium glutamate, Yeast extract, Hydrolyzed protein, Glutamic acid, Calcium caseinate, Sodium caseinate, Yeast food, Hydrolyzed corn gluten, Gelatin, Textured protein, Yeast nutrient, Autolyzed yeast2.

For physical and emotional health, consume only wholesome and unprocessed food. Diet could be a major factor in the remedy of your anxiety and panic attacks.

Learn More About Panic Attacks

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