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Digging into Anxiety

Anxiety is the feeling of worry, fear, or being at unease. It can occur as a reaction to stress however it can also be experienced without any obvious trigger.

Symptoms of anxiety can often include:
A feeling of impending doom
Tingling or numbness
Brain fog
Trouble sleeping
Digestive issues including diarrhea and constipation

Conventional medicine identifies anxiety as an imbalance and neurotransmitters and mostly relies on pharmaceutical drugs to help control the symptoms. At ARA Integrative and Functional medicine, we recognize that anxiety may be the manifestation of a chronic underlying health condition. Your mental health impacts every aspect of your wellness and treating your anxiety is necessary for you to be your healthiest and best self. To learn more about our services and mental health please visit us at

Root causes of anxiety:

Food sensitivities
These are not true food allergies that cause anaphylaxis but rather intolerances causing your body to mount an immune response creating inflammation within your body.  This inflammation can often result symptomatically in the form of anxiety. At ARA Integrative and Functional Medicine, we use the elimination diet along with food sensitivity testing if needed to help identify specific food intolerances that may be contributing to the anxiety you are feeling.


Gut imbalances

The "Happy Hormone" serotonin is produced in the gut. In fact, 90% of this neurotransmitter is made here! Imbalances in the gut microbiome and inflammation within the GI tract can cause depletion of this hormone leading to anxiety. At ARA Integrative and Functional Medicine, we are able to identify the presence of infections such as SIBO, Candida, and parasites as well as leaky gut which all can be contributing to your ongoing anxiety.

Nutrient deficiencies

B vitamins, vitamin D, zinc, and magnesium are all involved in balancing your overall mood. Micronutrient testing using a nutritional evaluation panel is done at ARA Integrative and Functional Medicine in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania which helps identify whether this can be contributing to your ongoing mental health symptoms.

Cortisol imbalances
Chronic stress plays a foundational role in anxiety. Stress, not surprisingly, alters the production of cortisol along with DHEA and pregnenolone within the adrenal gland. This can present as mental and emotional stress, lack of sleep, blood sugar fluctuations, infections, and chronic diseases. At ARA Integrative and Functional Medicine in Glen Mills we are performing salivary cortisol testing to identify imbalances in your cortisol axis and help work with you to rebalance your adrenals to help alleviate anxiety.

Sex hormone imbalances
When estrogen levels are too high relative to other sex hormones otherwise known as estrogen dominance, anxiety and depression can prevail. We used targeting nutrition plans and lifestyle modifications to rebalance the specific hormones. If needed, we are able to look at sex hormone metabolites using urinary testing to further personalize your therapeutic plan. At ARA Integrative and Functional Medicine, we are using Dutch testing to look at dry urine metabolites to help better understand your overall sex hormone balance.

Restorative mind-body practices

These are practices you can start instantaneously while we work up the root cause of your symptoms. These modalities include:
1. Meditation
2. Journaling
3. Exercise
4. Breathwork: 4-7-8 breathing. This deep breathing exercise is done by taking in a deep breath for 4 seconds, holding your breath for 7 seconds, releasing your breath, and exhaling through your mouth for 8 seconds. Attempt to complete 2-4 rounds of this practice in times of anxiety.


Rescue Botanical Support :

Integrative medicine providers can support you through your periods of anxiety with botanicals as we work up the underlying cause. Herbals tend to work best when they are used in combinations due to their synergistic effects. Common supplements we use in varying combinations include GABA, L-theanine, holy basil, and lemon balm to name a few. Working with a provider trained in integrative medicine is helpful in finding what combination would be best for you.

If you are experiencing overwhelming anxiety and looking for a long-term solution that addresses the root cause, please visit us at ARA integrative and functional medicine in Glen Mills, Pennsylvania.

Now serving Hockessin, Delaware, Chadds Ford, Downingtown, and Westchester, Pennsylvania, and Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

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