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Ashwagandha is perhaps best known for its ability to reduce stress. Researchers have reported that it blocks the stress pathways by regulating chemical signaling in the nervous system. Research has shown that Ashwagandha can play an important role in treatments for neurological disorders associated with GABAergic signaling dysfunction such as general anxiety disorders. (1), (22), (23)

Chamomile is widely regarded as a mild tranquilizer due to a flavonoid, apigenin, that binds to benzodiazepine receptors in the brain. Chamomile has been reported in the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Chamomile showed significant inhibition of GAD activity in clinical

Ginger Root has been shown to relieve nausea and vomiting. According to a review of twelve studies, ginger can significantly reduce symptoms of nausea. This can have a great effect on dogs with stomach upset in stressful situations like travel and car rides. (4), (24), (25)

Kava’s ability to create physical and mental calmness has been attributed to all six of the main lactones found in Kava. Kavalactones have been shown to bind to the receptors in the part of the brain responsible for relaxation, and research has shown Kava has the ability to reduce feelings of anxiety and promote a sense of calm. Studies show that Kavain and the other kavalactones interact with the limbic system, the part of our brains most associated with emotions, emotional behavior, and motivation. The amygdala is the part of the limbic system that regulates feelings of fear and anxiety. Kavalactones have been shown to bind to receptors in that part of the brain, also making

Lemon Balm, even a single dose, increases calmness and alertness in situations of mental stress, according to research. Multiple other studies have shown that lemon balm reduces anxiety and improves memory and alertness during periods of mental stress. Research attention has turned to the bioactive properties of Lemon Balm, including its effects on the central nervous system and its neurocognitive effects, cholinergic nicotinic and muscarinic receptor binding in the brain. Additional studies showed Lemon Balm has a sedative/anxiolytic effect similar to medications like Valium and Xanax but without the unwanted side effects of prescription benzodiazepines. The mood/anxiolytic effects of lemon balm are thought to be attributable to known interactions with GABA-A receptors. (6), (22)

Melatonin, whose neuroprotective effects have been tested in many different animal models, including models of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and chemical toxicities. The outcome of these studies provides evidence that melatonin proves very important in reducing the loss of neurons and glia under pathophysiological conditions. The results of clinical trials performed within the last half-decade support this conclusion. Some of the major actions of melatonin are mediated at the mitochondrial level, such as the action of free radical avoidance. Melatonin is often used to produce relaxation and help with insomnia. Overall, Melatonin has been used in dogs to decrease anxiety and stress, and it has also been used to decrease pre and post-operative anxiety and stress. (7), (26)

Omega 3 is necessary for many substances to pass the blood-brain barrier. Omega-3 fatty acid supplements help to ease anxiety symptoms in people diagnosed with a range of physical and mental health problems, according to a review published in the Sept. 14, 2018, JAMA Network Open. The report pooled findings from nineteen different studies and included 1,200 people. Most of the studies compared Omega-3 supplements to a placebo. Researchers found that people who took Omega 3 had a reduction in anxiety symptoms. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are usually derived from fish oil, have a number of biological effects on the body. Brain membranes contain a high proportion of these fats, and human studies suggest that a lack of Omega-3s in the brain may induce various behavioral and psychiatric disorders. (8), (27)

Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata) was used traditionally in the Americas, and later in Europe, as a calming herb for anxiety, insomnia, seizures, and hysteria. It is still used today to treat anxiety and insomnia. Scientists believe passionflower works by increasing levels of a chemical called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA lowers the activity of some brain cells, making you feel more relaxed.

Studies of people with generalized anxiety disorder show that passionflower is as effective as the drug oxazepam (Serax) for treating symptoms. Passionflower, however, produced less impairment on job performance than oxazepam. Other studies show that those who were given passionflower before surgery had less anxiety than those given a placebo. (9), (22)

Valerian Root is often referred to as “nature’s Valium.” In fact, this herb has been used since ancient times to promote tranquility and improve sleep. Valerian Root has received attention for its interaction with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a chemical messenger that helps regulate nerve impulses in your brain and nervous system. Researchers have shown that low GABA levels related to acute and chronic stress are linked to anxiety. Valerian root contains a number of compounds that may promote sleep and reduce anxiety. These include valerenic acid, isovaleric acid, and a variety of antioxidants. Valerenic acid has been found to inhibit the breakdown of GABA in the brain, resulting in feelings of calmness and tranquility. This is the same way anti-anxiety medications like Valium and Xanax work. (10), (22)

Studies of people with generalized anxiety disorder show that passionflower is as effective as the drug oxazepam (Serax) for treating symptoms. Passionflower, however, produced less impairment on job performance than oxazepam. Other studies show that those who were given passionflower before surgery had less anxiety than those given a placebo. (9), (22)


Canine Anxiety and The Brain


A brief introduction:

[Low Serotonin] (whose precursor is the amino acid, L-tryptophan) can cause anxiety. Low GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), whose main precursor is the amino acid L-glutamine GABA (an inhibitory neurotransmitter) is our natural ‘valium.’ Low GABA causes anxiety. GABA can be supplemented directly. Low Dopamine (whose precursors are the amino acids L-tyrosine and L-phenylalanine) can cause anxiety. Elevated Norepinephrine and Epinephrine are associated with anxiety and panic disorders. Two other amino acids lower anxiety — taurine and l-theanine. 

We have some good ideas about the biochemistry of anxiety, and a number of different kinds of anxiety have been identified, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, phobic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and separation anxiety disorder. 




5-HTP reduces the severity of anxiety.

L-Tryptophan and 5-HTP are widely used alternative treatments of generalized anxiety. Both amino acids are essential for the manufacture of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a central role in the regulation of mood and anxiety. Research evidence supports the use of 5-HTP for anxiety. 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) is a chemical by-product of the protein building block L-tryptophan. It is also produced commercially from the seeds of an African plant known as Griffonia simplicifolia. 5-HTP works in the brain and central nervous system by increasing the production of the chemical serotonin. Serotonin can affect sleep, appetite, temperature, sexual behavior, and pain sensation. Since 5-HTP increases the synthesis of serotonin, it is used for several conditions where serotonin is believed to play an important role such as anxiety, phobias, obsessive-compulsive behavior, depression, aggression, and impulse control problems. (11), (28)

We have some good ideas about the biochemistry of anxiety, and a number of different kinds of anxiety have been identified, including generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, phobic disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and separation anxiety disorder. 


Referred to as the “COOL” neurotransmitter, GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid) acts as a significant mood modulator by regulating the neurotransmitters noradrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin. GABA helps shift a tense, worried state to relaxation, and a sad mood to a happy one. Reduced levels of GABA in the brain and nervous system are linked to anxiety, tension, and insomnia. In fact, prescription tranquilizers like Valium and Xanax work by increasing the system’s response to GABA. In the mental health community, GABA is widely acknowledged for its ability to help regulate brain and nerve cell functioning, producing a calming and focusing effect. (12), (13)


Glutamate and GABA are the major excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters in the human brain, respectively. Evidence has shown that the central glutamate system plays a major role in the pathogenesis of mood and anxiety disorders. Research shows that dysfunction of glutamate neurotransmission may be an early and primary pathology of stress-related disorders. Similarly, alterations in GABAergic neurotransmission have been implicated in depression and anxiety disorders, and positive GABA modulators have also been reported to have anxiolytic effects. L-Glutamine administration significantly increases ECF GABA concentrations and Glutamate by 30%. Glutamatergic abnormality is related to depression as well as anxiety disorders. (14), (15)


Dietary supplementation with the essential amino acid Llysine has been shown to reduce chronic anxiety in humans with low dietary intake of Llysine. It has been confirmed that amino acid treatment significantly reduced both trait anxiety and state anxiety induced by stress. L-lysine also reduces basal levels of stress hormones. L-lysine has been shown to act as a partial serotonin receptor 4 (5-HT4) antagonist, decreasing the brain-gut response to stress as well as decreasing blood cortisol levels. Based on the results from animal studies, two placebo-controlled studies were conducted to analyze the effects of L-lysine and anxiety. The first of these clinical trials were conducted in healthy male volunteers who suffered from high-trait anxiety based on a STAI questionnaire. Results from this study showed that L-lysine supplements improved participants’ ability to handle induced stress through an increase in cortisol, while placebo had no reported improvement of anxiety symptoms. The second RCT recruited 108 healthy Japanese individuals. After one week of treatment with an oral L-lysine, basal levels of salivary cortisol decreased in male subjects (n = 54). Supplementation also resulted in significant reductions in state anxiety (a temporary condition characterized by apprehension, tension, and fear about a specific situation or activity) and trait anxiety (a pre-set level of anxiety or a tendency to be anxious) in both males and females. (16), (17), (18)


This amino acid has sometimes been called “Zen in a bottle” for its unique ability to promote a sense of alert calmness. Theanine increases levels of the calming neurotransmitter, GABA (Gamma Amino Butyric Acid) to induce the relaxed yet focused “alpha” state normally attained through meditation. As the active substance in green tea, one of the oldest calming mood-stabilizers known to man, theanine has been used for centuries to increase focus, concentration, learning, and memory, while providing a sense of “alert relaxation” and shutting off “worry” impulses. (21), (22)


Vitamin B1, B6, B12, Folic Acid, D3, and Magnesium

Vitamins and minerals serve as the co-factors for amino acid chemistry. B vitamins are our stress vitamins and are necessary for a healthy functioning nervous system. In terms of neurotransmitters involved in anxiety, we need vitamins B1, B6, B12, and Folic Acid.

B-Vitamins play a critical role in maintaining energy levels and work in close combination to influence a wide variety of vital body processes. Stress, exhaustion, and anxiety can drain the body of B vitamins as they are used up to manufacture stress hormones and neurotransmitters. In addition to delivering oxygen to the brain and protecting it from harmful oxidants, B-vitamins also help to convert glucose into energy for brain cells and keep neurotransmitters in circulation. B-vitamins also supports healthy nerve function and aid in calming over-reactive neurons from firing during times of emotional stress. (22)

Vitamin D. Research suggests that having a vitamin D deficiency could be linked with anxiety disorders. For example, a 2015 review study reports that people with symptoms of anxiety or depression had lower levels of calcidiol, a byproduct of vitamin D breakdown, in their bodies. A 2017 study found that taking vitamin D supplements improved both depression and anxiety. (20), (22)

Magnesium has a direct effect on serotonin balance and helps keep us calm and relaxed. Studies have found that feelings of fear and panic can be significantly reduced with greater magnesium intake. It is already known that magnesium plays an important role in the brain, most notably creating strong neurological pathways that ensure good communications between the brain and the body. Perhaps even more interesting, especially in terms of the potential magnesium-anxiety link, is the understanding that magnesium also controls the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis, which is the hub of the body’s stress response system. Could one of the symptoms of magnesium deficiency be anxiety? Research suggests that taking magnesium for anxiety can work well. Studies have found that feelings of fear and panic can be significantly reduced with greater magnesium intake, and the good news is that the results aren’t limited to generalized anxiety disorder. In fact, the magnesium-anxiety association also appears to be strong in terms of a PTSD Post-traumatic stress link as well. (19), (22)

For additional information email [email protected] or call toll free 1-800-CALM-114


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