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Anxiousness and Your Child

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Anxiousness is a normal response to stress; however, it can become troublesome, even in children. One in eight children suffer from anxiousness, which can negatively impact outcomes in school performance and social experiences, as well as increase the risk experimenting with uncontrolled substances. Research has revealed effective, non-drug therapies to promote calm and relaxation. These options include 5-HTP, inositol, and theanine.

5-HTP

Anxious people often have low levels of serotonin, an inhibitory neurotransmitter that helps to promote calm, relaxation, and a sense of wellbeing. Serotonin also acts as a neuromodulator, able to stimulate the release of the main inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA and reduce the release of glutamate, the main excitatory neurotransmitter. [4] If the function or level of serotonin in the body is too low, serotonin will not be able to perform its action in controlling excitation or increasing GABA activity. Without serotonin’s inhibitory effects and modulation, excitatory neurotransmission (glutamate, dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine) may be in excess, causing over-excitation that may worsen anxiousness, as well as irritability, poor memory, lack of focus, and sleep difficulties.

As the precursor to serotonin, 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan) is an effective supplement to help support serotonin.* 5-HTP can easily cross the blood-brain barrier and increase the synthesis of serotonin in the CNS.* Research shows that supplementation with 5-HTP reduces anxiousness and increases calm.* [1]

Inositol

Inositol is a simple sugar alcohol that we consume naturally in our diets. In the body, inositol is found in cell membranes and is especially important in the brain and for helping cell communication, or signaling. Inositol may also reverse desensitization of serotonin receptors.* [3, 5, 6, 9] Due to its role in modulating neurotransmitter signaling and pathways, inositol is effective in reducing anxiousness, acute stress, and other mood concerns.* [2, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9]

Theanine

Theanine is an amino acid found in green tea that has been found to have a calming effect.* [1] Theanine quickly travels to the brain and crosses the blood-brain barrier, where it can act as a neurotransmitter.* Theanine can act as an agonist or antagonist on some receptors.* Theanine can increase GABA and dopamine (involved in relaxation and pleasure), in addition to inhibiting glutamate.* Thus, theanine can cause inhibitory neurotransmission as well as modulate excitatory neurotransmission.* [1, 7, 10] It may generate alpha brain waves, which are associated with relaxation, but not drowsiness.* [7]

Practitioners or guardians of anxious children should consider assessing neurotransmitter levels to reveal any underlying imbalances or deficiencies. Based on laboratory results and the presence of anxiousness, the practitioner may find it beneficial to introduce supplementation such as 5-HTP, inositol, and/or theanine to help increase neurotransmitter function and potentially reduce anxiousness. An informed method of testing, implementing safe and effective non-drug therapies, and retesting could help lift the burden of anxiousness to help children be more relaxed, engaged, and carefree in their precious early years of life.

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References

  1. Alramadhan, E., Hanna, M. S., Hanna, M. S., Goldstein, T. G., Avila, S. M., & Weeks, B. S. (2012). Dietary and botanical anxiolytics.Medical Science Monitor,18(4), RA40-RA48.
  2. Camfield, D. A., Sarris, J., & Berk, M. (2011). Nutraceuticals in the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD): a review of mechanistic and clinical evidence.Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry,35(4), 887-895.
  3. Carey, P. D., Warwick, J., Harvey, B. H., Stein, D. J., & Seedat, S. (2004). Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) in obsessive–compulsive disorder before and after treatment with inositol.Metabolic Brain Disease,19(1-2), 125-134.
  4. Ciranna, Á. (2006). Serotonin as a modulator of glutamate-and GABA-mediated neurotransmission: implications in physiological functions and in pathology.Current neuropharmacology,4(2), 101-114.
  5. Cohen, H., Kotler, M., Kaplan, Z., Matar, M. A., Kofman, O., & Belmaker, R. H. (1997). Inositol has behavioral effects with adaptation after chronic administration.Journal of neural transmission,104(2-3), 299-305.
  6. Harvey, B. H., Brink, C. B., Seedat, S., & Stein, D. J. (2002). Defining the neuromolecular action of myo-inositol: application to obsessive–compulsive disorder.Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry,26(1), 21-32.
  7. Juneja, L. R., Chu, D. C., Okubo, T., Nagato, Y., & Yokogoshi, H. (1999). L-theanine—a unique amino acid of green tea and its relaxation effect in humans.Trends in Food Science & Technology,10(6), 199-204.
  8. Kimball, J. (2011, April 3). Second Messengers. Retrieved from http://www.biology-pages.info/S/Second_messengers.html
  9. Levine, J. (1997). Controlled trials of inositol in psychiatry.European neuropsychopharmacology,7(2), 147-155.
  10. Yamada, T., Terashima, T., Okubo, T., Juneja, L. R., & Yokogoshi, H. (2005). Effects of theanine, r-glutamylethylamide, on neurotransmitter release and its relationship with glutamic acid neurotransmission.Nutritional neuroscience,8(4), 219-226.

Clinical Contributor

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*These Statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

Updated 10/16/19

Connie Shoemaker, ND

Connie Shoemaker, ND

“Educating Sanesco’s clients is the culmination of a life’s work.” Beginning when she left the hospital environment to manage a functional laboratory, Genova Diagnostics (formerly Great Smokies Laboratories) in 1987, Dr. Connie Shoemaker has continued to increase her knowledge of herbs and biochemistry as a journey of love. With her bachelor’s in science from Western Carolina University, she had worked in hospital laboratories for the first twelve years of her career. Then, personal health challenges led her to discover a new approach to her health and a determination to share it with others. In 1991, she began teaching and educating innovative practitioners in the U.S. and internationally as a manager of marketing, sales, and customer service.

The addition of her Doctor of Naturopathy degree to her existing knowledge base expanded her knowledge and her respect for a more natural approach to healing through balance. At Sanesco, she initially served to oversee technical development of products and services.

Now, she educates Sanesco’s clients on application of the CSM™ model for their specific patients and how to integrate the CSM™ model with other modalities they offer in their practice. In her personal life, Connie educates private clients on various health topics.

Disclaimer: The information provided is only intended to be general educational information to the public. It does not constitute medical advice. If you have specific questions about any medical matter or if you are suffering from any medical condition, you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.

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