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Anxiety

Cognitive state of displeasing worry or concern with the feeling that bad events may arise; an impairment to well being, many supplements are anxiolytics (things that reduce anxiety).

Our evidence-based analysis on anxiety features 42 unique references to scientific papers.

Research analysis led by Kamal Patel.
All content reviewed by the Examine.com Team. Published: Feb 6, 2013
Last Updated:

Frequently Asked Questions about Anxiety

Does chewing gum offer any health benefits?
Chewing gum can provide health benefits ranging from improved oral health to reduced hunger and stress levels, but for some people these are balanced out by possible downsides such as increased headaches.
How eating better can make you happier
Food and supplements that can help fight stress, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and help you sleep better.

Human Effect Matrix

The Human Effect Matrix looks at human studies (it excludes animal and in vitro studies) to tell you what supplements affect anxiety
Grade Level of Evidence
Robust research conducted with repeated double-blind clinical trials
Multiple studies where at least two are double-blind and placebo controlled
Single double-blind study or multiple cohort studies
Uncontrolled or observational studies only
Level of Evidence
? The amount of high quality evidence. The more evidence, the more we can trust the results.
Outcome Magnitude of effect
? The direction and size of the supplement's impact on each outcome. Some supplements can have an increasing effect, others have a decreasing effect, and others have no effect.
Consistency of research results
? Scientific research does not always agree. HIGH or VERY HIGH means that most of the scientific research agrees.
Notes
grade-a Notable Very High See all 8 studies
Appears to be quite reliable and effective in treating non-psychotic anxiety, with less reliability on the topic of generalized anxiety (which lavender shows some promise for). It is possible that long-term usage of kava may have similar side-effects as long term usage of benzodiazepines (note demonstrated, but wholly logical) and most studies on kava are of a few weeks in duration without any problems.
grade-b Notable Very High See all 6 studies
Evidence suggests potent anxiolytic effects in the context of chronic stress and anxiety disorder, with lesser potency in standard forms of anxiety not related to stress. There may be more benefit to social anxiety as well with Ashwagandha relative to other anxiolytics
grade-b Notable Very High See all 4 studies
There appears to be a decrease in anxiety symptoms associated with high dose inositol, and it has been noted to be comparable to fluvoxamine in potency.
grade-b Minor Very High See all 4 studies
Is somewhat more effective than placebo in reducing symptoms of anxiety, specifically state and trait anxiety.
grade-b Minor Moderate See all 4 studies
Possible anxiety reducing effects, although anticipatory anxiety appears to be unaffected.
grade-c Notable Very High See all 5 studies
There appears to be a notable decreased in symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder and with oral ingestion of lavender supplements; aromatherapy seems effective and implicated in reducing state anxiety (acute, situation based, anxiety), but has less robust evidence to support it. One study suggesting oral supplementation was comparable to lorazepam
grade-c Notable Very High See 2 studies
A minor reduction in anxiety (associated with menopause) has been noted in one independent trial while it was much more significant (near 80%) in a study with a potential conflict of interest; requires more research.
grade-c Minor Very High See 2 studies
Appears to prevent rises in anxiety, and does not appear to unilaterally reduce anxiety. May be more of a modulator than anything, but doesn't appear overly potent
grade-c Minor - See study
It is possible for caffeine to be anxiogenic, but requires genetic susceptability to it
grade-c Minor - See study
There appears to be a reduction in anxiety symptoms that build up over time (reaching a quarter reduction after two months) associated with twice daily ingestion of 500mg of the plant extract
grade-c Minor - See study
When taken 2 hours prior to testing, 2.1g D-serine seems effective in reducing anxiety during testing in otherwise healthy humans
grade-c Minor Very High See 2 studies
A decrease in anxiety has been noted in medical students
grade-c Minor - See study
Some possible anti-anxiety effects secondary to reducing symptoms of cancer related fatigue
grade-c Minor - See study
Prolonged supplementation of ginkgo biloba appears to confer anxiolytic effects in persons with generalized anxiety disorder. Anxiety in dementia may also be reduced secondary to treating the symptoms of dementia
grade-c Minor Moderate See 2 studies
An anxiety reducing effect has been noted in postmenopausal women but not otherwise healthy young men
grade-c Minor Very High See 2 studies
A decrease in anxiety has been noted with lemon balm extract, although not to a remarkable degree
grade-c
Minor
- See 2 studies
Reduced anxiety symptoms have been noted in persons with cognitive decline, where anxiety was relieved as a symptoms of cognitive decline. In otherwise healthy persons prone to anxiety attacks, nicotine may be able to cause them.
grade-c Minor - See study
The aroma of saffron has once been noted to cause a mild (approximately 10%) reduction in state anxiety following 20 minutes of exposure in otherwise healthy women.
grade-c Minor - See study
In high cognitive load tests, there appears to be a reduction in state anxiety (anxiety that arises during the testing) associated with Kanna compared to placebo. This reduction in anxiety does not occur during low load tests, and chronic anxiety has not yet been assessed.
grade-c Minor - See study
Can reduce PMS related anxiety but may not have any inherent anxiolytic effects; the potency correlates to the severity of anxiety during a menstrual cycle.
grade-c Minor - See study
Decreases in anxiety noted, this may be secondary to menopausal symptom reduction
grade-c Minor Moderate See 2 studies
Although unreliable, an increase in anxiety may occur following yohimbine ingestion
grade-c - - See study
The trial to measure anxiety related to menopausal symptoms failed to find a benefit associated with black cohosh
grade-c - - See study
No significant influence on state anxiety during stress testing
grade-c - - See study
grade-c - - See study
grade-c - - See study
Valerian does not appear to be effective for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder in the one study assessing its effects.
grade-d Notable Very High See all 5 studies
No long term anxiety trials exist, and very few types of anxiety have been researched thus far.
grade-d Minor - See study
A decrease has been noted, but the studies are not overly robust at this moment in time
grade-d Minor - See study
Anxiety as a symptom of stroke has been reduced with phenylpiracetam. No studies currently exist in otherwise healthy persons with anxiety symptoms

References

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  2. Fu Y, et al. Assessment of chewing sugar-free gums for oral debris reduction: a randomized controlled crossover clinical trial. Am J Dent. (2012)
  3. Itthagarun A, Wei SH. Chewing gum and saliva in oral health. J Clin Dent. (1997)
  4. Wessel SW, et al. Quantification and qualification of bacteria trapped in chewed gum. PLoS One. (2015)
  5. Nayak PA, Nayak UA, Khandelwal V. The effect of xylitol on dental caries and oral flora. Clin Cosmet Investig Dent. (2014)
  6. Smith A. Effects of chewing gum on mood, learning, memory and performance of an intelligence test. Nutr Neurosci. (2009)
  7. Tänzer U, von Fintel A, Eikermann T. Chewing gum and concentration performance. Psychol Rep. (2009)
  8. Tucha L, Simpson W. The role of time on task performance in modifying the effects of gum chewing on attention. Appetite. (2011)
  9. Johnson AJ, et al. Chewing gum moderates multi-task induced shifts in stress, mood, and alertness. A re-examination. Appetite. (2011)
  10. Johnson AJ, et al. The effect of chewing gum on physiological and self-rated measures of alertness and daytime sleepiness. Physiol Behav. (2012)
  11. Allen AP, Smith AP. Effects of chewing gum and time-on-task on alertness and attention. Nutr Neurosci. (2012)
  12. Allen AP, Smith AP. Demand characteristics, pre-test attitudes and time-on-task trends in the effects of chewing gum on attention and reported mood in healthy volunteers. Appetite. (2012)
  13. Johnson AJ, Muneem M, Miles C. Chewing gum benefits sustained attention in the absence of task degradation. Nutr Neurosci. (2013)
  14. Hirano Y, et al. Effects of chewing on cognitive processing speed. Brain Cogn. (2013)
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  25. Smith AP, Chaplin K, Wadsworth E. Chewing gum, occupational stress, work performance and wellbeing. An intervention study. Appetite. (2012)
  26. Smith AP, Woods M. Effects of chewing gum on the stress and work of university students. Appetite. (2012)
  27. Smith A. Effects of chewing gum on stress and health: a replication and investigation of dose-response. Stress Health. (2013)
  28. Konno M, et al. Relationships Between Gum-Chewing and Stress. Adv Exp Med Biol. (2016)
  29. Torney LK, Johnson AJ, Miles C. Chewing gum and impasse-induced self-reported stress. Appetite. (2009)
  30. Ekuni D, et al. Gum chewing modulates heart rate variability under noise stress. Acta Odontol Scand. (2012)
  31. Walker J, et al. Chewing unflavored gum does not reduce cortisol levels during a cognitive task but increases the response of the sympathetic nervous system. Physiol Behav. (2016)
  32. Hasegawa Y, et al. Flavor-Enhanced Modulation of Cerebral Blood Flow during Gum Chewing. PLoS One. (2013)
  33. Morinushi T, et al. Effect on electroencephalogram of chewing flavored gum. Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. (2000)
  34. Hetherington MM, Boyland E. Short-term effects of chewing gum on snack intake and appetite. Appetite. (2007)
  35. Hetherington MM, Regan MF. Effects of chewing gum on short-term appetite regulation in moderately restrained eaters. Appetite. (2011)
  36. Melanson KJ, Kresge DL. Chewing gum decreases energy intake at lunch following a controlled breakfast. Appetite. (2017)
  37. Park E, et al. Short-term effects of chewing gum on satiety and afternoon snack intake in healthy weight and obese women. Physiol Behav. (2016)
  38. Xu J, et al. The effect of gum chewing on blood GLP-1 concentration in fasted, healthy, non-obese men. Endocrine. (2015)
  39. Lippi G, Cervellin G, Mattiuzzi C. Gum-Chewing and Headache: An Underestimated Trigger of Headache Pain in Migraineurs?. CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets. (2015)
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  41. Tabrizi R, et al. Does gum chewing increase the prevalence of temporomandibular disorders in individuals with gum chewing habits?. J Craniofac Surg. (2014)
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