There are about 40 million adults in the U.S. who suffer from anxiety every year. Not surprisingly, a lot of researchers are curious to know more about this condition. And yet, there is still no clarity on what causes anxiety attacks.
Anxious people hyperventilate, get nervous and restless, experience increased heart rates, sweat, tremble, and find it hard to focus and concentrate.
Unfortunately, all we have are theories about why this happens. That is sad, considering how crippling anxiety episodes can be.
At the moment, the condition has been linked to genetics, brain chemistry, medical issues, diseases, and so forth, but there is no known definitive cause.
The search for answers is still ongoing
But now, a Japanese study may have brought us closer to knowing the reason behind the high rate of anxiety attacks in the world. Apparently, this condition may be linked to mental health issues and nutritional deficiencies.
In particular, low levels of vitamin B6 and iron can trigger chemical changes in the brain that might bring about panic attacks and other forms of anxiety.
In the study, 21 subjects were involved, and they had different levels of anxiety, panic attacks, and hyperventilation.
Some of them had minor attacks that could be easily managed at home, but others ended up in emergency rooms.
The researchers tested the nutritional deficiencies the subjects had to identify patterns. There was also a control group with 20 participants.
In the study, the scientists were keen to see what role nutritional deficiencies might have in anxiety attacks and episodes. They hoped to research various forms of deficiencies to identify any patterns.
When the data was analyzed, it was discovered that the people who were dealing with anxiety had lower levels of vitamin B6 and iron compared to those who did not have this condition.
But why should this even matter?
It's simple — in the past, there has been an argument for the fact that chemical imbalances might have a role to play in anxiety attacks.
Therefore, the connection between lack of enough vitamin B6 and iron in the body supports the notion that chemical imbalances in the brain, particularly regarding serotonin levels, are a major reason people suffer from anxiety attacks. Serotonin is well known as the 'feel-good hormone.'
The presence of this hormone causes the reward centers of the brain to get triggered. Additionally, serotonin is made using an amino acid known as tryptophan. But also, iron and vitamin B6 are critical to its manufacture. That is why the lack of these nutrients in the body can result in a reduced level of serotonin. Ultimately, this causes an increased likelihood to suffer from anxiety attacks.
As a matter of fact, many antidepressant drugs in the world today are based on this same concept. They are designed to improve serotonin levels in the body, which enhances mental health and reduces the likelihood or the severity of anxiety attacks or episodes.