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Can Calcium & Vitamin D Help Anxiety?

By Laura Wallace Henderson

Anxiety is a common feeling that most people experience from time to time. Anxiety disorders refer to debilitating conditions that can be chronic and may affect your overall quality of life. Nutrition plays a role in both physical and emotional health. Certain vitamins, such as vitamin D, may help minimize feelings of anxiety, although research regarding this is limited.

Anxiety

Feelings of depression nearly always accompany anxiety disorders. Both anxiety and depression can cause problems concentrating, trouble sleeping and feelings of agitation. Anxiety disorder can increase your risk of substance abuse, including alcoholism and cigarette addiction. This type of disorder can also increase your chances of developing heart disease and can increase your risk of obesity, gastrointestinal disorders and respiratory problems. A balanced diet is important to your overall mental health.

Vitamin D

According to Northwestern Health Sciences University, a vitamin D deficiency may contribute to seasonal affective disorder, commonly called SAD. Anxiety is a symptom of this disorder that commonly occurs during the long winter months. Sunlight is a natural source of vitamin D, and minimal levels of sunlight exposure may lead to a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D supplements can help treat this type of vitamin deficiency, but there is no evidence that taking vitamin D will alleviate anxiety in individuals who don’t have a vitamin deficiency.

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Calcium

Calcium is an essential mineral your body requires to maintain strong bones and teeth. Calcium can help prevent osteoporosis. Inadequate amounts of calcium may increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, obesity and stroke, although more research is necessary to confirm these findings. One study also shows that calcium may play a role in minimizing the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, including feelings of moodiness, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. Your body needs vitamin D to process and absorb calcium.

Precautions

Anxiety can have various causes and may require medical care. Your doctor can help you determine whether you have a nutritional deficiency that contributes to your symptoms. A calcium intake above 2,500 mg per day may cause side effects such as stomach upset and constipation. The optimal amount of vitamin D for supplementation purposes can vary, depending on your age, skin tone and exposure to sunlight. Avoid taking this supplement without your doctor’s recommendation. Too much vitamin D can cause hypercalcemia and bone loss, especially in people with kidney disease, tuberculosis or hyperparathyroidism.

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