A little bit of nervousness before an important event such as exams, moving house, or getting married is normal. When you experience nervousness over small things, like going to a store or making a phone call, this is when you might need to consider if you have anxiety.

Anxiety is a state that arises when the worry or concern you feel because of an issue becomes too intense. You can feel like you no longer have control over it. That worry has become a bigger problem than what the issue itself is. 

When anxiety reaches this point, it’s often accompanied by changes in appetite and sleep problems.

People can experience physical symptoms such as

  • increased heart rate
  • heart palpitations
  • hyperventilating
  • sweating
  • shaking
  • trembling
  • restlessness

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is the key to the biological pathway involved in both the occurrence and modulation of anxiety.

GABA is involved in inhibiting the transmission of messages in your brain, something that is heightened in individuals with anxiety. Stimulating GABA helps to inhibit the neurotransmitters that are exacerbating your anxiety while also stimulating the production of neurotransmitters that help alleviate it, including noradrenaline, serotonin, and dopamine.

This makes GABA production an important part of addressing anxiety.

Your intestinal microflora is involved in turning the glutamate you consume in your diet into GABA.

This can be a complication in anxiety as poor appetite leads to changes in diet and thus, changes to the microflora; changes that can alter the balance of your gut microflora and reduce the amount of GABA being produced. The gut-brain axis plays an important role in mental health: a lot of your neurotransmitters are produced in the intestines.  


  • Magnesium glycinate is the best form of magnesium to take to help reduce anxiety. It aids in the production of neurotransmitters in two ways. Firstly, the action of magnesium itself and also through the action of the help in neurotransmitter production has been shown to help reduce anxiety. Glycinate becomes glycine in the body, an amino acid responsible for helping to transmit signals to the brain. 
  • Probiotics can help get your microbiome back in balance and support the production of your neurotransmitters, including GABA.  Studies show that 2 of the best strains for anxiety are Lactobacillus helveticus (L. helveticus) and Bifidobacterium longum (B. longum) 
  • L-theanine is naturally found in green tea leaves; it is an amino acid that may help ease stress and anxiety. It may also aid in getting a good night’s sleep.  


Lemon balm is a lovely anxiolytic that has been shown to improve mood and reduce anxiety. It helps increase the amount of GABA in the brain via the inhibition of the enzyme GABA transaminase; this enzyme is responsible for breaking down GABA.

Passionflower is a beautiful sleep herb that helps you fall asleep but also helps to retrain your brain and get you back in normal sleep patterns.

Kava is a great help in improving mood by helping with GABA levels. It has been well-studied and has proven to be a great herb for treating anxiety.

Other ways such as

Acorn and Oak clinicians can assist with finding the root cause of your anxiety. Click here to learn more about our practitioners.

Katherine Knott

Katherine is a certified naturopath and the founding director of Acorn and Oak.   She began studying Naturopathy when she was 18 years old and has practiced in both Melbourne and rural Victoria.  She has also studied 2 1/2 years of nursing and midwifery, but decided that she was happier to work with women as […]

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Nicki Stewart

Nicki has always been drawn to Holistic Health and she follows in her mother’s footsteps who is a Reflexologist and Natural Therapist. Nicki was inspired to study Herbal Medicine after attending one of Dr. Sandi Rogers’ (Naturopath, Director of National College of Traditional Medicine and former President of Australian Traditional Medicine Society) seminars on ‘Fruits […]

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Alyce Beaton

Alyce is qualified naturopath in Ballarat who loves supporting people on their health journey. Alyce believes optimising and restoring health first and foremost begins with food as medicine and creating healthy lifestyle habits. She is passionate about providing a safe, non judgement environment and endeavours to support her clients with strategies they can implement into […]

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