Vitamins and Minerals That Help Reduce Social Anxiety

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What is the relationship between vitamins and anxiety? Vitamins and minerals play a key role in maintaining good physical and mental health. While you may think mostly about the physical health benefits of vitamins and minerals, deficiencies in these important parts of your diet could actually worsen your social anxiety.

Below is a list of vitamins and minerals with some relationship to anxiety, and the foods that you should consume to ensure you are not deficient.

Vitamin C 

Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, is found in many fruits and vegetables such as oranges, red peppers, kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, strawberries, and grapefruit. One large orange provides you with 100 percent of the daily value (DV) of vitamin C of 60 mg for adults and children aged 4 and older. Many people also take vitamin C as a supplement in pill form that can be swallowed or chewed.

One small randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 42 high school students found that oral supplementation of vitamin C reduced anxiety levels.

Meal and snack ideas that are high in vitamin C will include fruit salads and smoothies, as well as soups, wraps, salads, and sandwiches made with the vegetables listed above.

B Complex

The family of B complex vitamins includes all eight of the B vitamins: B1 (thiamine), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 (pyridoxine), B7 (biotin), B8 (inositol), B9 (folic acid), and B12 (cobalamin).

While each of these vitamins has different effects on the body, as a whole, there is evidence that supplementing with a vitamin B complex multivitamin may reduce feelings of anxiety.

A double-blind study with 80 healthy males aged 18 to 42 compared use of a daily multivitamin-mineral formula with a placebo control for 28 days. The multivitamin contained B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. Compared to the group taking the placebo, those taking the multivitamin showed significantly lower self-reported anxiety and perceived stress.

One small case-report study of subjects with anxiety also showed that use of niacinamide (a form of vitamin B3) resulted in considerable relief from anxiety.

Recipe ideas that contain B vitamins include whole-grain snack bars, beet hummus, chickpea salads, green salad with pecans, lentil stew, and smoked salmon.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is found in small amounts in foods such as salmon, tuna, beef liver, cheese, and egg yolks. Many breakfast cereals are also fortified with vitamin D, as well as some orange juice, dairy products, and soy milk.

The human body can also generate vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight. However, it is difficult to know how much sun exposure you need, and the damaging risks of the sun make food sources generally a better alternative.

Although data has been mixed, one study on vitamin D and anxiety and affective disorders found that levels of calcidiol (a product of vitamin D produced in the body) were lower for age-matched patients with anxiety disorders. Therefore, it is possible that a deficiency of vitamin D could be associated with social anxiety.

Recipes to try that are high in vitamin D include a ricotta and yogurt parfait, frittatas, breakfast casseroles, and spiced hot chocolate.


Magnesium is found in foods such as beans, nuts, bananas, soy products, brown rice, whole-wheat bread, and green leafy vegetables. It is involved in a variety of functions in the body including muscle contraction.

Studies have shown that magnesium deficiency is related to anxiety and that anxiety may be lessened if magnesium supplements are taken along with antidepressants. If you have social anxiety disorder, it certainly can't hurt to make sure you are eating foods rich in magnesium.

Recipes rich in magnesium include bean soup and brown rice and beans.


Zinc is found in foods such as beef, pork, lamb, poultry (dark meat), nuts, whole grains, and legumes.

In one study, 38 people with anxiety showed significantly low levels of zinc, but when these individuals were given zinc supplements, their anxiety symptoms improved. You may wish to add zinc-rich foods to your diet. Recipes high in zinc include many meat-based meals as well as coconut curry.


Research has shown that a deficiency in iron may be linked to anxiety. However, specific research relating iron to social anxiety has yet to be conducted.

High iron foods include beef, liver, whole grains, nuts, sunflower seeds, dark leafy greens, tofu, and dark chocolate.


Like iron, calcium levels have been implicated in anxiety, but no specific research has been conducted on the link to social anxiety.

High calcium foods include milk, yogurt, dark leafy greens, cheese, broccoli, green beans, and almonds.

Recipes high in iron include taco salad, tofu, and broccoli stir-fry, grilled fish tacos, and Mediterranean wraps.


Chromium is found in foods such as processed meats, whole grains, green beans, broccoli, nuts, and egg yolk. As with iron and calcium, low chromium levels have been linked to anxiety. However, social anxiety has not been specifically studied.

Recipes high in chromium include orange bran muffins, tortellini, and broccoli salad, and some sangrias.

A Word From Verywell

Not sure you are meeting the recommended DV for vitamins and minerals? Track your food intake on a site such as or work with a health professional like a registered dietitian to get a snapshot of your intake. While your first choice of vitamin source should be food, using a supplement may be helpful if you have dietary limitations or adhere to a vegetarian or vegan diet.

5 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  2. Bičíková M, Dušková M, Vítků J, et al. Vitamin d in anxiety and affective disordersPhysiol Res. Published online October 29, 2015:S101-S103. doi:10.33549/physiolres.933082

  3. Młyniec K, Davies CL, De agüero sánchez IG, Pytka K, Budziszewska B, Nowak G. Essential elements in depression and anxiety. Part I. Pharmacol Rep. 2014;66(4):534-44. doi:10.1016/j.pharep.2014.03.001

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Additional Reading

By Arlin Cuncic, MA
Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety." She has a Master's degree in psychology.