Unfortunately, some of the most common mental health problems today are anxiety and panic attacks. But, according to newest research, these mental health issues are not entirely mental in nature.
Namely, it was discovered that our diet and some other aspects of our physical health influence our mental well-being. This may not come as a surprise if we take into account that our entire body is connected.
This being said, recent study points out that there may be a link between low levels of vitamin B and iron in the body and panic attacks. Continue reading the article to learn more about this pivotal discovery…
Anxiety Disorders & Panic Attacks
From time to time, we all experience anxiety and it is considered a normal emotion that we experience before a test, public speaking or before bringing an important decision.
Anxiety disorders on the other hand are characterized by chronic anxiety and they happen as a result of numerous contributing factors, like personality, genetics, life experiences, and brain chemistry.
A panic disorder, though less common than anxiety disorders, is a type of anxiety disorder which happens all of a sudden and often, without any visible threat- only a perceived one.
The individual feels as if he/she is losing control. Its most common symptoms are sweating, fast heartbeat, hot and cold chills, chest and stomach ache, poor breathing, and weakness and dizziness.
Low Levels of Vitamin B and Iron Can Cause Anxiety?
The study was done by the Okayama University in Japan and it found an interesting connection between anxiety and insufficient amounts of vitamin B6 and iron in the body. The study took place at the Atago Hospital which has around 7,800 critically-ill patients on a yearly basis.
During the study, 44 patients who fit the inclusion criteria experienced a panic attack. 21 of these people agreed to participate in the study. These patients were women in pre-menopause. 10 of them were patients with panic attacks and 11 with hyperventilation attacks. There was not a significant age difference between the groups.
The levels of vitamin B6 and iron were significantly low than that of the control group consisted of healthy individuals.
The Importance of Vitamin B6 & Iron in Serotonin Synthesis
For a long period of time, this hormone has played its role in anxiety disorders. According to the research team, serotonin is synthesized from tryptophan.
During the synthesis of serotonin in the brain, vitamin B6 plays the role of a co-enzyme for tryptophan while iron is a co-factor for aromatic L-amino acid decarboxylase that participates in the production of serotonin.
Hence, a drop in the vitamin B6 and iron levels may impede the synthesis of serotonine. Consequently, low levels of serotonin are common among people with anxiety disorders. Of course, low serotonin may also be caused by diet and lifestyle changes.