These 12 Vitamins & Minerals Help You with Stress & Anxiety!

anxiety minerals supplements vitamins Nov 02, 2023
Vitamins in gray circles and minerals in yellow writting

Understanding how vitamins and minerals can impact stress and anxiety can change everything!

Did you know that being deficient in certain nutrients can cause or worsen stress or anxiety?

Yes, really! And getting more of the right vitamins & minerals can increase your ability to manage stress & anxiety.

Did you know stress & anxiety themselves can also deplete nutrient levels?

Simply put, the more stressed or anxious you are, the faster your body will burn through its vitamins & minerals. And the lower your nutrient levels, the more anxiety you’ll have.

It can become a never-ending cycle, eventually leading you to a doctor or psychiatrist’s office. But instead of checking your nutrient levels, your doctor or psychiatrist is more likely to prescribe you anti-anxiety medication. Which is great. We’re not anti-medication.

That said, what most people don’t realize – including most doctors or psychiatrists – is that anti-anxiety medications can also further deplete your nutrient levels!

This all might sound like a mess that can never be stopped, but we promise you – it’s not!

You can absolutely start eating more foods or taking targeted nutrition support that gives your body what it needs to be more supported, especially during seasons of higher stress or anxiety!  

Note: Before, we continue, we do want to make one thing clear, nutrition is just one piece of the puzzle, especially when it comes to stress and anxiety. So, this information is by no means saying that this is the magic bullet to stress & anxiety or suggesting that “you’ve been doing it wrong!” We are also not saying that you should not being taking medication when needed! Let’s be very clear, that is not what we are saying at all, but what we are saying is that nutrition is an essential piece to the puzzle that you want supported in the best way possible, because nutrition changes everything for your body! Going beyond medication and talk therapy, here are 12 critical vitamins and minerals that support your body’s reaction to and recovery from stress and anxiety.

1. Magnesium

This mineral is involved in more than 300 chemical reactions in your body, so it makes sense that it’s also the fourth most abundant mineral in your body (1). It is a huge mineral for women’s hormones, and it’s equally important for fighting stress and anxiety. Research shows low magnesium can worsen levels of anxiety and negatively impact your brain health and nervous system function.

Yet, I’ve found most people don’t get nearly enough in their diet. While I do recommend getting your vitamins and nutrients from fresh food sources first, magnesium is a supplement I commonly recommend and frequently have tested, especially if someone has any health complaints or hormone issues. A revved up nervous system is what an average modern human needs to get through an average modern day. It simply takes too much magnesium for your body to try to manage the stress hormones surging through your body.

If you live the meditative life of a monk on a mountainside, then you probably have enough magnesium. Other than that, we need so much magnesium that it is very, very difficult to get enough through diet alone.

And your body really needs it to handle stress and anxiety well.

In research, when magnesium deficiencies are addressed, symptoms of stress and anxiety can often improve.  

You absolutely should try to eat magnesium-rich foods such as chard, pumpkin seeds, almonds, avocado, dark chocolate and bananas (I don’t recommend spinach).

One non-food way to increase your magnesium is to take Epsom salt baths! It’s like two for the price of one. You can naturally reduce stress and anxiety by relaxing with a foot soak or bath, and you’re also adding another source of magnesium that can be absorbed through the skin (which is helpful if you are having gut issues and your absorption is compromised). Here’s everything you need to know about Espom salt baths.

You can also take a high-quality magnesium supplement, which I recommend. Magnesium is one of main supplements that I think almost everyone should be taking. If you've listened to any talks I've given on supplements, read my blogs, or done any sessions with me, you know how passionate I am about quality supplements!


Zinc is another important mineral for anxiety and stress. Research shows people with anxiety often have significantly lower levels of zinc. And zinc deficiency is very common - research estimates more than 2 billion people in the world are deficient in zinc. Yes, BILLION.

Even a minor zinc deficiency can be harmful to brain function, so that’s a big deal.

Zinc-rich foods include oysters, grass-fed beef, pumpkin seeds, cashews, mushrooms, and spinach. However, if you’re struggling with stress and anxiety, I would test, don’t guess, and ask to have your zinc levels tested. You may need to take a high-quality zinc supplement, at least to address the deficiency, while incorporating zinc-rich foods into your diet.


A deficiency in Vitamin B6 can increase anxiety because it is such an important nutrient for your entire nervous system.  B6 helps your body make calming neurotransmitters in your brain, including serotonin and GABA. So it makes sense that anxiety levels would rise without it! Research done on people who have anxiety and panic attacks shows they have significantly lower Vitamin B6 levels.

Food sources of Vitamin B6 include potatoes, bananas and chicken.

This is another vitamin that I suggest testing if you’re struggling with high amounts of anxiety. Supplementation can be an effective tool, with research finding that Vitamin B6 supplements do help reduce anxiety.


Omega-3 fatty acids are essential fats that ensure the normal functioning of your brain and nervous system. When you don’t eat enough omega-3 fatty acids, anxiety can go up. Anxious people have been studied and found to have low levels of omega-3 fatty acids. More importantly, people with the lowest levels of omega-3 fatty acids tend to have the most severe anxiety.

Your body cannot make these essential fats. But most of us do not eat enough of them in our daily diets.

You can eat cold water fish such as salmon, black cod, sablefish, sardines and herring to add omega-3 fatty acids. If you’re deficient, I absolutely recommend supplementing with a practitioners help.

Research supports taking fish oil, showing it can reduce symptoms of anxiety (bonus, it also lowers inflammation in your body!).


I love how much we keep learning about nutrition and the human body. Science didn’t even know choline existed until 1998! And although your body only makes a small amount of it, you still can develop a deficiency because there aren’t a lot of foods in the Western diet that contain it. And research shows that people with low levels of choline are more likely to have anxiety.

In another interesting study, animals that were given choline supplementation during pregnancy had a dramatically reduced chance of their babies developing anxiety disorders. 

Grass-fed beef liver and egg yolks are the two best sources of choline. This is something else you can supplement if you test with low levels or a deficiency.


Selenium is an essential trace mineral that effects your brain and mental health. Research shows individuals with low levels of selenium have a significantly greater chance of anxiety - and when they took supplementation their anxiety went down!

I always recommend Brazil nuts, which are the richest dietary source of selenium (and are really good for your brain health in general!). Wild-caught seafood, pastured eggs and grass-fed meat are also good choices if this fits your lifestyle.


Iron is a trace mineral that transports oxygen to all parts of your body. In fact, iron is found in every living cell in your body. Your body needs iron to synthesize serotonin, which is a chemical your body produces that's needed for your nerve cells and brain to function. Serotonin is sometimes called “the happy chemical,” because it appears to be so critical in regulating mood

Low levels of serotonin in the brain have been associated with panic disorder, increased anxiety and anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), phobias and increased fearfulness.

I always recommend testing iron levels rather than guessing if you should be taking it. Beef liver is a rich source of iron. Most people don’t like it and you can take capsules instead. Other iron sources include meat, dark chocolate, spirulina, sardines, pistachios and raisins. 


Every tissue in your body has Vitamin D receptors, including the brain. While Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin, it actually is used more like a hormone because your skins synthesizes it when it’s exposed to sunlight.

Low levels of Vitamin D can can increase physiological and psychological problems, including anxiety. People with anxiety have been shown to have low Vitamin D levels.

Globally, it is estimated that 50 percent of the general population is at risk of Vitamin D deficiency.

In addition to raising your Vitamin D levels by going outside and getting sunlight, you can take a Vitamin D supplement, but I only recommend doing this if you are working with someone. You want to be able to test your levels and see if your actions are working.


Vitamin A (beta carotene), Vitamin C and Vitamin E are all antioxidant nutrients and being deficient in them can increase your anxiety. 

People with generalized anxiety disorders were found to have significantly lower levels of Vitamin A (beta carotene), Vitamin C and Vitamin E, and when they were put on supplements, they experienced a significant reduction in their anxiety. 

9. Vitamin C: The best sources of Vitamin C are fresh fruits and vegetables. Some all-stars are limes, broccoli, cantaloupe, cauliflower, kale, kiwi, orange juice, papaya, red, green or yellow pepper, sweet potato, strawberries, and tomatoes.

10. Vitamin E: Good sources are almonds, sweet potatoes, avocados, olive oil, sunflower seeds and butternut squash.

11: Vitamin A: Grass-fed beef liver, cod liver oil, pastured egg yolks, grass-fed butter/ghee, carrots, sweet potatoes, kale, and broccoli.


Two key B-vitamins to call out are:

  • Folate, which is a water-soluble B vitamin, sometimes called “vitamin B9.” It’s supplemental form is known as folic acid. Folate and folic acid are different forms of vitamin B9, but their names are often used interchangeably. Unlike folate, not all folate acid (found in supplements and food products) you consume is converted into an active the active form of vitamin B9 — 5-MTHF — in your digestive system. It is important to know this process is inefficient in some people (which is a whole separate article!) Good sources of vitamin B9 are whole foods, such as leafy green vegetables. If you need to take supplements, methyl folate is the alternative I recommend to folic acid.

  • Vitamin B-12 helps your body make brain chemicals that influence mood and other important brain functions. Deficiency in Vitamin B-12 and B9 have been associated with depression.

    Meat and dairy products are the best way to increase your B-12 levels with food in addition to supplementation.

I’m listing them together because not only has research shown that deficiencies in both B-12 and B9 can lead to anxiety and depression, but it has also shown evidence that taking B-12 and B9 together can be a more effective approach to reducing depression and anxiety.



Want to research the effect of nutrients on anxiety on your own? Look for research on the "anxiolytic" effect, which translates to "anti-anxiety" effect. Anxiolytic vitamins are believed to contain anti-anxiety properties when given in higher doses to those that do not already have a deficiency in the vitamin.

You can absolutely start eating more foods or taking targeted nutrition support that gives your body what it needs to be more supported, especially during seasons of higher stress or anxiety. I know this personally with my own journey with anxiety & utilizing the power of food to give my body more of what it needed to feel calm & grounded.

Cheering for you!

Jennifer Klotz, MS, RDN, LDN