Those who suffer from panic attacks or anxiety know just how real and debilitating these conditions can be. Characterized by an accelerated heart rate, trembling, shaking, sweating, shortness of breath, dizziness, chest pain, nausea and more – an attack can leave you feeling helpless and out of control.
Researchers have been exploring the root causes, attempting to gain a better knowledge of what is responsible for these episodes and a recent study conducted in Japan may have provided us with some new information.
The study focused on the potential association between vitamin B and iron deficiencies and the presence of panic attacks and hyperventilation. The study examined the serum levels of vitamins B2, B6 and B12 as well as iron level in 41 participants – 21 of which were undergoing a panic attack (PA) or hyperventilation attack (HVA) as well as 20 volunteers that were not experiencing these episodes. The results found that while there was no significant difference in the levels of vitamins B2 or B12, those in the PA/HVA has lower levels of both vitamin B6 and iron.
This may be an important step in not only understanding panic attacks and anxiety but also in working towards developing a cure.
The reason that experts believe these deficiencies impact anxiety levels surrounds the creation and function of serotonin in the brain. Also known as the ‘happiness chemical,’ studies have found that it plays an important role in the management of both depression and anxiety disorders. Both vitamin B6 and iron play an important role in its synthesis within the body, meaning that a deficiency will ultimately result in a lowered serotonin level.
While both vitamin B6 and iron can be obtained through taking supplements it is highly recommended that you review your dietary choices and explore the possibility of increasing your intake through food sources. If you are considering supplements it should be done under the supervision of a natural health specialist or dietician.