nutrition

Anxiety

By Dr Peter Eng

GP, FACNEM, Nutritional Medicine

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Anxiety is a normal emotional response. It relates to feeling worried, or fearful. If felt in small doses at appropriate times (such as before starting school) and if it goes away without interfering with your child’s functioning, it is not usually a concern. The problem is sometimes children feel excessive anxiety, or anxiety that occurs too often. It can also interfere with their normal functioning (such as their ability to play with friends or learn at school). Anxiety tends to run in families. Other factors can increase anxiety, such as going through a traumatic experience. Use of cognitive behavioural therapy in a universal prevention program has been found to significantly reduce social anxiety prevalence.

nutrition factors

It is important to use the proper dose of any nutrient, especially in children. Be sure to consult with a skilled naturopath or integrative physician so that you do not over-supplement and be sure to list any supplements (along with medications) in the child’s medical records. A child with Anxiety may have deficiencies (or benefit from taking supplements) in the following:

  • Vitamin C

    A deficiency in Vitamin C may contribute to anxiety.

  • Omega-3 fatty acids

    Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) supplementation may help with positive mood and attention. Do not use Fish Oil if you are allergic to fish or soybeans. Supplementation with essential fatty acids may reduce anxiety symptoms in certain individuals who have essential fatty acid deficiency. Essential fatty acids, or EFAs, are types of fat that are essential in the diet because they can't be produced by the body. An example of good sources of omega-3s could include Sardines and Salmon, walnuts (oil) and flaxseeds (oil). Try a child supplement of Omega-3’s for Kids by Metagenics – they have a peppermint flavoured one! They recommend Children 1-4 years: Take 2.5ml, Children 5-12 years take 5ml

  • Vitamin B12

    Vitamin B12 reduces anxiety in those with deficiency so see a doctor to get blood checked.

  • Vitamin B3

    Vitamin B3 calms the nervous system, so it may curb restlessness and irritability.

  • Vitamin B6

    Symptoms of vitamin B6 deficiency include irritability, anxiety short attention spans and short-term memory loss. Children with anxiety are deficient in B6.

  • Thiamine (B1)

    Children deficient in thiamine are significantly more anxious. The usual Pediatric Dose for Vitamin/Mineral Supplementation is: Infants: none. children: 0.5 to 1 mg orally once a day.

  • B Vitamins

    B Vitamins are effective for children – especially those who have low blood serotonin levels. Be sure to consult with a skilled naturopath or integrative physician so that you do not over-supplement.

Tips

  • Rule out food sensitivity
  • Several reports have noted improvements in allergies and asthma following elimination of food and/or food additives.
  • Do an IgG 93 Food Sensitivity Profile. You need to see a doctor who is from NIIM or a member of ACNEM. https://www.acnem.org
  • Skin tests and blood allergen specific IgE (RAST) tests are reliable and scientifically validated allergy tests. Together with a medical history and examination these tests can help your doctor define the cause of your allergies and are rebated by Medicare in Australia
  • http://www.annclinlabsci.org/content/37/1/96.full
Reviewed by Dr Peter Eng 11 June 2015 references
  • current version

    Dr Peter Eng
  • PEER REVIEWER

    Dr Peter Eng
  • document id

    1879870
  • next review

    26.08.2016

This document has been developed and peer reviewed by a KIDS HEALTH Advisory Board Representative and is based on expert opinion and the available published literature at the time of review. Information contained in this document is not intended to replace medical advice and any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner.

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Anxiety

nutrition

Anxiety is a normal emotional response. It relates to feeling worried, or fearful. If felt in small doses at appropriate times (such as before starting school) and if it goes away without interfering with your child’s functioning, it is not usually a concern. The problem is sometimes children feel excessive anxiety, or anxiety that occurs too often. It can also interfere with their normal functioning (such as their ability to play with friends or learn at school). Anxiety tends to run in families. Other factors can increase anxiety, such as going through a traumatic experience. Use of cognitive behavioural therapy in a universal prevention program has been found to significantly reduce social anxiety prevalence.

Reviewed by Evelyn Lewin 11 June 2015
references
  • current version

    Dr Peter Eng
  • PEER REVIEWER

    Dr Peter Eng
  • document id

    1879870
  • next review

    26.08.2016

This document has been developed and peer reviewed by a KIDS HEALTH Advisory Board Representative and is based on expert opinion and the available published literature at the time of review. Information contained in this document is not intended to replace medical advice and any questions regarding a medical diagnosis or treatment should be directed to a medical practitioner.

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