Suffering from anxiety or panic attacks?– a study from Japan shows that anxiety and panic could be linked to vitamin B6 and iron deficiencies.

Conducted at the Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmacological Sciences, the study found that deficiencies in these two nutrients existed in all of the patients who arrived at the hospital emergency department having panic attacks and hyperventilating.

Vitamin B6 helps with the creation of serotonin, GABA and dopamine. It is also involved in carbohydrate metabolism and is required by hemoglobin for its production. Lack of this vitamin is associated with high levels of chronic inflammation in the body, as well as symptoms of depression, dermatitis, high blood pressure and anemia.

Vitamin B6 contributes to the synthesis of heme, the iron-containing component of hemoglobin- therefore it plays a vital role in the health of our blood. When vitamin B6 and iron levels are too low, the blood doesn’t produce enough hemoglobin. Red blood cells are responsible for oxygenating the blood, so if your red blood cell count is low, you’ll feel tired and shortness of breath.

Serotonin is a chemical produced by the brain and gut. It is a hormone in the gut, and a neurotransmitter in the brain. Vitamin B6 has significant impact on serotonin and GABA neurotransmitters in the brain. Most prescription antidepressant medications work the same way that vitamin B6 does –raising levels of serotonin in the brain.

GABA and serotonin are hormones that control mood and are needed to prevent depression, pain, fatigue and anxiety.

Serotonin is synthesized in the body from tryptophan. Low tryptophan intake from fresh fruit and vegetables leads to reduced serotonin production, impacting mood and memory.

Low vitamin B6 and iron create a condition where we are prone to anxiety attacks, depression and panic disorders. With not enough healthy oxygen flow in our blood, and lower serotonin production, our brain cells aren’t firing properly.

Nutrition and Mental Health

The key to eating an anxiety/panic-lowering diet will be foods rich in vitamin B6, iron and tryptophan. Consuming a diet low in processed and packaged foods and swapping them for fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds is going to effect how you feel in your brain and body.

The foods that contain tryptophan, vitamin B6 and iron are listed below. Used together these foods are a powerful support for the brain. Ensure you get one from each list in your diet at least every day.


– Dark leafy greens – spinach, kale, collards, mustard greens and swiss chard
– Lentils and beans – kidney, black, pinto, navy
– Cucumber
– Celery
– Peppers
– Eggplant
– Seeds-pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, hemp, chia
– Nuts-walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachio nuts
– Pineapple
– Bananas
– Dates
– Potato
– Sweet potatoes
– Watercress
– Tomatoes
– Mushrooms
– Cauliflower

Vitamin B6:

– Sweet potatoes
– Potatoes
– Sunflower seeds
– Bananas
– Spinach
– Walnuts
– Pistachios
– Prunes
– Avocado
– Asparagus
– Almonds
– Spirulina
– Hemp seeds
– Green Peas
– Watermelon
– Cashews
– Beans
– Hearts of palm
– Plantain
– Pineapple
– Chickpeas
– Artichokes
– Figs
– Nutritional yeast
– Kale
– Collards
– All squash and pumpkin
– Brussels sprouts
– Green beans
– Quinoa
– Lentils
– Oatmeal


– Morel mushrooms
– Pumpkin seeds
– Hemp seeds
– Chia seeds
– Dill
– Parsley
– Almonds
– Raisins
– Jerusalem artichokes
– Dandelion greens
– Medjool dates
– Chickpeas
– Sea vegetables-kelp, nori, spirulina
– Spinach
– Green peas
– Black-strap molasses
– Quinoa
– Beans and lentils

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