Panic Attacks and Anxiety Linked to Low Vitamin B and Iron Levels

If you suffer from anxiety or develop occasional panic attacks marked by bouts of hyperventilation, you could merely be experiencing the side effects of an underlying nutrient deficiency that is easily correctable. This definitely appears to have been the case with 21 people who participated in a recent study based out of Japan, which identified a lack of both vitamin B6 and iron among participants who experienced panic or hyperventilation attacks.

The relatively small study evaluated nutrient levels among a group of participants with varying degrees of anxiety and frequencies of panic and hyperventilation attacks, some of which resulted in emergency room visits. A control group was also evaluated, and its participants’ nutrient levels compared to those of the primary group.

Upon evaluation, researchers noted that both vitamin B6 and iron were lacking in the subjects with anxiety and hyperventilation issues, while those in the healthy group had adequate levels of these important nutrients. B vitamins and iron are particularly important for the synthesis of tryptophan into serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates not only mood and mental stability, but also sleep and cardiovascular function.

“These results suggest that low serum concentrations of vitamin B6 and iron are involved in PA (panic attacks) and HVA (hyperventilation),” wrote the authors in their study conclusion. “Further studies are needed to clarify the mechanisms involved in such differences.”

You can read the full study, which was published in the Japanese journal Acta Medica Okayama, here:

Supplementing with whole food-based vitamins may promote better mental health

Though this particular study did not identify a link between general deficiencies of other B vitamins like B2 and B12 and high frequency or intensity of panic attacks, all B vitamins are important for healthy brain and bodily function. A deficiency in any B vitamins, in other words, can lead to mental health problems, which is why it is important to keep your levels in check.

“Chronic stress, poor diet, and certain medical conditions can deplete the body’s stores of vital nutrients,” explains one source about the important of B vitamins. “Many of those who suffer from agoraphobia (fear of crowded spaces or enclosed public places) are deficient in certain B complex vitamins, and this may be the case for other anxiety-related conditions as well. Symptoms of vitamin B deficiency may include anxiety, restlessness, fatigue, irritability, and emotional instability.”

If you are looking to supplement with B vitamins, be sure to purchase only whole food-based varieties like those produced by companies like MegaFood and Garden of Life. Whole food-based supplements of any kind are not only better absorbed by the body than their synthetic counterparts, but they are also healthier than standard, run of the mill vitamins and better capable of providing optimal therapeutic benefit.

“Vitamins are made up of several different components – enzymes, co-enzymes, and co-factors – that must work together to produce their intended biologic effects,” explains Dr. Ben Kim. “The majority of vitamins that are sold in pharmacies, grocery stores, and vitamin shops are synthetic vitamins, which are only isolated portions of the vitamins that occur naturally in food.”


Boost your iron levels with good nutrition and proper supplementation

Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutritional deficiencies in the United States and women are among those at greatest risk. Iron is critical for producing hemoglobin, a protein that helps red blood cells deliver oxygen throughout your body. Without adequate iron, every system of the body suffers. Boost your iron levels with good nutrition and proper supplementation.

It is estimated that 9 percent of women and 2 percent of men have iron deficient anemia.(1) This is thought to be due to the menstruation process where woman bleeds during her ovulatory period. The loss of blood can range from a mild to severe loss and can lead to an anemic state.<br

Testing your iron levels

Checking for iron levels is done through a simple blood test called a serum ferritin test. The test measures the carrier molecule of iron; a protein found inside cells called ferritin, which stores the iron.

If your ferritin levels are low, it means your iron levels are also low. The healthy range of serum ferritin lies between 20 and 80 ng/ml. Below 20, you are iron deficient, and above 80, you have an iron surplus.

Ferritin levels can go really high. Levels can go over 1,000, but anything over 80 is likely going to be a problem. Anything under 20 is extremely concerning and indicative of anemia as well. The ideal range is 40-60 ng/ml. It is also important to make sure your iron levels do not get too high as it increases your risk of heart disease in men.

Best ways to increase iron levels

One could increase iron by consuming more iron in their diet and/or supplementing with a bioavailable iron source. Often times, individuals have leaky gut syndrome that is hampering their ability to effectively absorb iron. This makes iron supplementation more necessary.

Dietary iron has two main forms: heme and non-heme. Heme iron is formed when iron combines with protoporphyrin IX. This form is about 10 to 15 percent of total iron intake in Western populations. Plants contain non-heme iron only while animal foods contain both heme and non-heme iron.

From a dietary perspective, following the nutrition plan that is loaded with clean animal products from grass-fed/pasture-raised sources and lots of leafy green and cruciferous vegetables should provide ample amounts of iron.

If someone’s iron is low despite this sort of nutrition plan, than we suspect extreme leaky gut syndrome and possibly an auto-immune condition in their body. Under these circumstances it is important to supplement with a bioavailable form of iron for a period of time.

Iron supplementation

There are two general types of iron supplements which contain either the ferrous or ferric form of iron. Ferrous iron is the best absorbed form of iron supplements. Most available iron pills contain ferrous iron.

There are three types of ferrous iron supplements commonly found: ferrous sulfate, ferrous fumarate, and ferrous gluconate. All three are good forms of iron. Be careful to avoid cheap forms of iron and iron shavings. Certain co-factors such as vitamin C and betaine HCL help maximize iron absorption in the body.

Vitamin C

This anti-oxidant protects against the oxidation of the ferrous compound in the body, which is necessary for optimal absorption and hemoglobin synthesis.(2) Without anti-oxidant protection, the body oxidizes much of the supplemental iron and produces toxic byproducts that are linked to chronic disease development.

Betaine HCL

Many individuals with iron deficiency anemia have low hydrocholoric acid production in their stomach. This is related to the leaky gut syndrome that is often present and the low stomach acid is one of the major factors behind the iron deficiency. Supplementing with Betaine HCL helps optimize iron absorption.(3)

Sources for this article include:




Learn more: