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5 Supplements for Toronto Functional Medicine Patients Coping with Anxiety


What happens when you hear about anxiety? For many Toronto functional medicine patients, that specific ‘A-word’ can trigger worrisome thoughts!

Anxiety is a reaction to stress or something that is new or hazardous, and it can happen from new experiences or everyday tasks. Unfortunately, excessive anxiety can hinder daily lives, causing interference in problem solving and decision-making. Excessive anxiety can also trigger changes to your body’s condition by altering mood and digestion, even facilitating the appearance of cardiovascular disease.

Here, we highlight facts about anxiety and the supplements that may deliver some relief.

Understanding Anxiety: Functional Medicine Approach

  • There are different types of anxiety, which include:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Excessive long-term anxiety; feels uncontrollable, sometimes with physical symptoms; tends to get in the way everyday.

Type of Anxiety
What It Is
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Recurrent behaviours that the person feels they need to complete to prevent feeling worried. The anxiety rises if certain behaviours are not completed.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Type of anxiety connected to past trauma (i.e. violence, accidents) that triggers anxious thoughts and symptoms.

Social Anxiety Disorder

Persistent feelings of self-consciousness connected to social circumstances; difficult to make and maintain friendships.

  • Toronto integrative and functional medicine doctors will urge patients to address their anxiety concerns as soon as possible. This may help prevent issues down the road: “Loneliness, low education, and adverse parenting, as well as chronic somatic illnesses, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma, and obesity may increase the risk for a lifetime diagnosis of anxiety,” says an article from BMC Psychiatry.
  • The functional medicine model considers each patient as a unique entity. The symptoms of anxiety vary, though they commonly include:
    • Stomachaches, diarrhea
    • Irritability
    • Sleep issues, insomnia
    • Shortness of breath
    • Heart palpitations

Supplements to Consider for Anxiety

We should keep anxiety top-of-mind to prevent chronic issues. With that, our integrative medicine practitioners discuss below some supplements, which may contribute to relieving anxiety. (Take note: the following supplements are not always available in Toronto health stores; we advise consulting with a functional medicine doctor first to rule out medication interactions and avoidable side effects.)

  1. Saffron: This flower contains compounds that help with balancing mood, sleep, depression and anxiety. Studies have demonstrated “that saffron and its active constituents possess antidepressant properties similar to those of current antidepressant medications…. but with fewer reported side effects,” says the Journal of Affective Disorders.
  2. Kanna: also called sceletium tortuosum, this South African plant may help with cognition, while lessening irritability. According to one study, kanna revealed “potent anti-inflammatory capacity in the context of chronic disease,” confirms the journal Molecules.
  3. L-theanine: by hindering the cortisol in the central nervous system, this amino acid may help reduce nervousness. In particular, it helps balance dopamine, GABA, and serotonin in the brain, without drowsiness.
  4. 5-HTP: “Both animal studies and human clinical trials show that 5-HTP has anti-anxiety effects,” confirms Psychology Today. This particular amino acid may also improve sleep quality and reduce fibromyalgia-related symptoms, including tension.
  5. Tryptophan: Low serotonin levels are linked to anxiety; however, tryptophan – the amino acid famously found in turkey – may help anxiety because it’s already a precursor to serotonin. Studies have shown that people who eat tryptophan-rich foods tend to experience less anxiety and depression.

More about Tryptophan: 3 Must-Know Facts About Tryptophan: A Quick Guide for Toronto Functional Medicine Patients

Lighten Your Anxiety at the Toronto Functional Medicine Centre

Unquestionably, anxiety can trigger emotional and physical effects. If left untreated, anxiety can impact chronic conditions. Thankfully, there are treatments to consider and the TFMC is here to help.

At our center for functional medicine, our approaches in treatment consist of integrative medicine with an emphasis on naturopathy. We also adhere to evidence-based functional medicine practices, with treatments such as: medically-supervised IV therapy, acupuncture for pain relief, herbal medicine, hormone optimization programs, allopathic/western medicine and functional medicine testing.

Anxiety should not get in the way of living a fulfilled life, so let’s help treat your anxiety today. Send us a message to arrange a meeting with our Toronto functional medicine practitioner.

Disclaimer: The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses without consulting a doctor. Consult with a health care practitioner before relying on any information in this article or on this website.


5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) for Anxiety”, Psychology Today, Reviewed by Gary Drevitch, posted October 18, 2018, viewed on November 29, 2021.

Katzman, M.A., Bleau, P., Blier, P. et al. Canadian clinical practice guidelines for the management of anxiety, posttraumatic stress and obsessive-compulsive disorders. BMC Psychiatry 14, S1 (2014).

Lindseth G, Helland B, Caspers J. The effects of dietary tryptophan on affective disorders. Arch Psychiatr Nurs. 2015;29(2):102-107. doi:10.1016/j.apnu.2014.11.008

Manganyi MC, Bezuidenhout CC, Regnier T, Ateba CN. A Chewable Cure “Kanna”: Biological and Pharmaceutical Properties of Sceletium tortuosum. Molecules. 2021;26(9):2557. Published 2021 Apr 28. doi:10.3390/molecules26092557

Mojtaba Shafiee, Soheil Arekhi, Alireza Omranzadeh, Amirhossein Sahebkar, Saffron in the treatment of depression, anxiety and other mental disorders: Current evidence and potential mechanisms of action, Journal of Affective Disorders, Volume 227, 2018, Pages 330-337, ISSN 0165-0327,

Steimer T. The biology of fear- and anxiety-related behaviors. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2002;4(3):231-249. doi:10.31887/DCNS.2002.4.3/tsteimer


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