Our society has glamorized “stress” and “busy,” making us think it’s normal.
A certain degree of “stress” and “anxiety” is indeed normal.
Anxiety is a normal response to a range of different situations. It allows us to be alert to threats and motivate us to react. However, it can impact your mental wellbeing when you feel anxious every day and can’t remember the last time you felt relaxed.
The following article breaks down anxiety and the best nootropics that help anxiety.
What Are The Best Nootropics for Anxiety – Quick Answers
What Is Anxiety?
Anxiety can affect you both mentally and physically and can present itself with a variety of symptoms. Common symptoms include:
- Feeling nervous, agitated, and angry
- Feeling powerless
- Having a sense of unexplained impending danger, panic, or doom
- Having an increased heart rate (tachycardia)
- Breathing rapidly (hyperventilation)
- Feeling weak or tired
- Struggling to pay attention and focus
- Sleep disturbances
HPA Axis and Stress Response
Physiologically, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis mediates the stress response.1Mary Ann C. Stephens, Ph.D.,Gary Wand, M.D. Stress and the HPA Axis Role of Glucocorticoids in Alcohol Dependence Alcohol Res. 2012
Anxiety is characterized by a dysregulation of the HPA axis2Gustavo E. Tafet1 and Charles B. Nemeroff Pharmacological Treatment of Anxiety Disorders: The Role of the HPA Axis Front. Psychiatry. 2020.
Anxiety disorders are often found as a comorbidity with depression3Zhiguo WU and Yiru FANG, Comorbidity of depressive and anxiety disorders: challenges in diagnosis and assessment Shanghai Arch Psychiatry. 2014.
Both anxiety and depression are strictly connected to gut health.
Dopamine and serotonin are both neurotransmitters and are both considered “happy neuro chemicals.” They are related to mood and happiness.
Dopamine and serotonin also play crucial roles in sleep, digestion, pain response, and other bodily functions.
Types of Anxiety
There are several different types of anxiety. Let’s look at the five most common ones.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Panic Disorder
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Social Anxiety Disorder
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
A long-term condition that causes feelings of anxiety and exaggerated worry. These worries regard a wide range of issues and situations rather than one specific event6Rowa, Karen Antony, Martin M., Generalized anxiety disorder. American Psychological Association. 2008.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
An anxiety disorder where unexpected and intense fear is accompanied by severe physical manifestations such as chest pain, sweat, and palpitations8Peter P Roy-Byrne , Michelle G Craske, Murray B Stein, Panic disorder Lancet. 2006.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
An anxiety disorder that develops after exposure to a traumatic event9Heather A Kirkpatrick, Grant M Heller, Post-traumatic stress disorder: theory and treatment update Int J Psychiatry Med. 2014.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Common Anxiety Prescriptions Medications
Treatment for anxiety usually consists of psychotherapy and medications. The most common prescription medications for anxiety include:
They work by enhancing the neurotransmitter GABA activity, a chemical in the brain that helps the feeling of calmness.
They also help with sleep disturbances.
Some common benzo’s include:
Antidepressants are also used to treat anxiety, particularly Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs).
They work by increasing the levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin.
This chemical affects mood, sleep, memory, sexual desire, and appetite12M Berk, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in mixed anxiety-depression Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2000.
In comparison to benzodiazepines, they have less risk of developing dependence.
Therefore, they are a good option for chronic anxiety.
However, they take up to 4-5 weeks to begin relieving the symptoms, so they cannot be taken at need13M Berk, Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors in mixed anxiety-depression Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2000.
Some common SSRI’s include:
Things That Make Anxiety Worse
- Unhealthy diet – a large number of studies have demonstrated that an unbalanced and unhealthy diet can significantly worsen anxiety14Sophie Dutheil , Kristie T Ota , Eric S Wohleb , Kurt Rasmussen , Ronald S Duman , High-Fat Diet Induced Anxiety and Anhedonia: Impact on Brain Homeostasis and Inflammation Neuropsychopharmacology. 2016. Specifically, you should avoid high consumption of processed food containing preservatives, dyes, additives, high sugar, saturated fats, and insufficient Omega 3 intake15Carla J Santos , Adaliene V M Ferreira , Ana L Oliveira , Marina C Oliveira, Julia S Gomes , Daniele C Aguiar , Carbohydrate-enriched diet predispose to anxiety and depression-like behavior after stress in mice Nutr Neurosci. 201816Elnaz Daneshzad , Seyed-Ali Keshavarz , Mostafa Qorbani , Bagher Larijani , Leila Azadbakht , Association between a low-carbohydrate diet and sleep status, depression, anxiety, and stress score J Sci Food Agric. 2020.
- Caffeine – Caffeine is a stimulant and should be avoided by those suffering from anxiety. High doses of caffeine are known to induce anxiety symptoms, especially in people who have panic disorder and social anxiety disorder17Casey E O’Neill , Ryan J Newsom , Jacob Stafford , Talia Scott , Solana Archuleta , Sophia C Levis , Robert L Spencer , Serge Campeau , Ryan K Bachtell , Adolescent caffeine consumption increases adulthood anxiety-related behavior and modifies neuroendocrine signaling Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2016.
- Alcohol and drugs – if you suffer from anxiety, you should avoid overconsumption of alcohol and consumption of drugs. They can both change the serotonin levels in the brain, which can worsen anxiety18Justin J Anker , Matt G Kushner, Co-Occurring Alcohol Use Disorder and Anxiety: Bridging Psychiatric, Psychological, and Neurobiological Perspectives Alcohol Res. 201919Florence Vorspan , Wajdi Mehtelli, Gaël Dupuy, Vanessa Bloch, Jean-Pierre Lépine, Anxiety and substance use disorders: co-occurrence and clinical issues Curr Psychiatry Rep. 2015. Alcohol-induced anxiety can last for several hours or even an entire day.
Holistic Ways to Improve Anxiety
When anxiety becomes a daily struggle, even before turning to medications, there are many things you can do on your own to feel better. For example, you can try one of these holistic, drug-free remedies, from mind-body techniques to calming teas.
Improve your diet
Start with avoiding toxic foods that trigger anxiety. Eat more protein and good quality fats (e.g., red meat, organ meats, choline-rich foods, Omega 3 Rich Foods)
Exercise is a powerful anxiety fighter for many reasons.
It leads to changes in the brain that promote feelings of calm and wellbeing20Brendon Stubbs , Davy Vancampfort , Simon Rosenbaum , Joseph Firth , Theodore Cosco , Nicola Veronese , Giovanni A Salum , Felipe B Schuch , An examination of the anxiolytic effects of exercise for people with anxiety and stress-related disorders: A meta-analysis Psychiatry Res. 2017.
Good examples of exercise for anxiety include yoga and strength training.
Both release endorphins, chemicals in your brain that energize your mood and make you feel good (20).
Exercise also doubles as a distraction, allowing you to find some peaceful time to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed anxiety21Aaron Kandola , Brendon Stubbs, Exercise and Anxiety Adv Exp Med Biol. 2020.
Examples of breathing exercises include meditation, alternate nostril breathing, and EFT tapping.
Several clinical studies have shown how mindfulness meditation, for example, is a promising therapeutic strategy for anxiety and can significantly improve stress reactivity22Sy Atezaz Saeed, Karlene Cunningham, Richard M Bloch, Depression and Anxiety Disorders: Benefits of Exercise, Yoga, and Meditation Am Fam Physician. 2019.
Chamomille is one of the most commonly used calming tea. For example, more than 150 participants in a clinical study reported that long-term use of chamomille reduced generalized anxiety disorder23Jun J.MaoaSharon X.XiebJohn R.KeefecIreneSoellerdQing S.LidJay D.Amsterdam, Long-term chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla L.) treatment for generalized anxiety disorder: A randomized clinical trial Phytomedicine. 2016.
Tulsi, also called Holy Basil, is an Indian medical plant shown to decrease anxiety symptoms in several clinical and preclinical studies24D Bhattacharyya , T K Sur, U Jana, P K Debnath, Controlled programmed trial of Ocimum sanctum leaf on generalized anxiety disorders Nepal Med Coll J. 200825Manavi Chatterjee , Pinki Verma, Rakesh Maurya, Gautam Palit, Evaluation of ethanol leaf extract of Ocimum sanctum in experimental models of anxiety and depression Pharm Biol. 2011.
Hibiscus is another calming tea with significant anxiolytic effects26Cláudia Vanzella, Paula Bianchetti, Sabrina Sbaraini, Samanta Inês Vanzin, Maria Inês Soares Melecchi, Elina Bastos Caramão, and Ionara Rodrigues Siqueira, Antidepressant-like effects of methanol extract of Hibiscus tiliaceus flowers in mice BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012.
Mind Your Gut Health
Now we know that the connection between gut health and mental health is loud and clear. Looking after the microbes living in your gut can be a great way to keep anxiety symptoms at bay. You can do so using probiotics and/or digestive enzymes.
Probiotics – for example, Lactobacillus helveticus and Bifidobacterium longum have both been found to be good probiotics for anxiety and overall brain health27Michaël Messaoudi,Nicolas Violle,Jean-François Bisson,Didier Desor,Hervé Javelot &Catherine Rougeot, Beneficial psychological effects of a probiotic formulation (Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175) in healthy human volunteers Gut Microbes. 201128Michaël Messaoudi, Robert Lalonde,Nicolas Violle, Hervé Javelot,Didier Desor,Amine Nejdi,Jean-François Bisson,Catherine Rougeot,Matthieu Pichelin,Murielle Cazaubiel,Jean-Marc CazaubielAssessment of psychotropic-like properties of a probiotic formulation (Lactobacillus helveticus R0052 and Bifidobacterium longum R0175) in rats and human subjects Cambridge University Press. 2010
. You can try MegaSporeBiotic from Microbiome Labs as a complete probiotics supplement.
Digestive Enzymes – life is better when digestion works at its best. For example, a digestive enzyme supplementation, lactase if you are lactose intolerant, improves anxiety29J Yang , M Fox, Y Cong, H Chu, X Zheng, Y Long, M Fried, N Dai, Lactose intolerance in irritable bowel syndrome patients with diarrhoea: the roles of anxiety, activation of the innate mucosal immune system and visceral sensitivity Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2014.
Apollo Wearable – a novel science-backed up wearable device that encourages parasympathetic activity to help you relax and not feel overwhelmed by stress.
Red Light/Infrared Light Therapy – a simple, all-natural modality that harness photobiomodulation to increase energy level and fight anxiety and depression30Michael R Hamblin, Shining light on the head: Photobiomodulation for brain disorders BBA Clin. 2016.
The Best Nootropics for Anxiety
Blood Sugar Breakthrough
- Helps stabilize blood sugar levels
- Supports cognitive function and helps improve focus/attention span
- Natural ingredients help stabilize the body’s glucose metabolism
- Easy to take capsules help you focus without the hunger or jitters associated with Adderall
If you’re looking for a natural way to regulate your blood sugar and improve your ADHD symptoms, Blood Sugar Breakthrough may be worth trying!
Blood Sugar Breakthrough is a potent Adderall replacement as it helps stabilize your body and brain’s glucose metabolism.
Researchers have found a correlation between ADHD and blood sugar which makes sense since the ADHD brain craves dopamine stimulation that can be obtained through simple carbs and high-sugar foods. You’ve most likely experienced moments of hunger where you found it impossible to focus.1Mark F McCarty, James J DiNicolantonio , Neuroprotective potential of high-dose biotin, Med Hypotheses. 2017
Unstable blood glucose levels enhance this craving and deprive your brain of the dopamine it needs. Blood Sugar Breakthrough optimizes your body’s glycemic response to food which helps stabilize your blood sugar and focus.2NIH, Chromium, NIH. 20213Kate Petersen Shay, Régis F. Moreau,1 Eric J. Smith, Anthony R. Smith, and Tory M. Hagen, Alpha-lipoic acid as a dietary supplement: Molecular mechanisms and therapeutic potential, Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009
This formula also has some natural, cognition-stimulating ingredients, such as biotin, chromium, and alpha-lipoic acid, which can boost overall cognition.
- Contains natural ingredients that have been clinically proven to help lower blood sugar levels
- Has been shown to help people lose weight
- comes with a money-back guarantee, so you can feel confident that you’re not wasting your money if it doesn’t work for you
- Can be a bit pricey
Mind Lab Pro
- Boost mental performance
- Support a calm mindset and relaxation
- Increase memory, focus, creativity, and energy levels
- Reduce anxiety and improve sleep
If you’ve spent any time clicking around this site, you may notice a common theme.. Mind Lab Pro is typically my #1 recommended nootropic supplement for enhancing cognitive function, and for a good reason!
Its efficacy is backed by robust scientific research and endless positive testimonials from thousands of users, making it one of the most effective products on the market today for those looking to upgrade their brain function.
It’s a comprehensive nootropic supplement that meets the brain’s complex needs with 11 nootropics working in 6 brain pathways to optimize a wide array of cognitive functions.
Who Should Take Mind Lab Pro?
What makes Mind Lab Pro my #1 recommended nootropic product is its ability to benefit such a wide array of adults seeking extra support.
Look at other nootropic products and smart drugs and you find a blitzkrieg of chemicals designed to stimulate your central nervous system.
While some people prefer a buzz-like approach to nootropics, this does little to promote better brain health.
If you’re new to nootropics, Mind Lab Pro is an optimal product to start with.
I call it a “gateway” nootropic because it will let you feel the differences in mental performance that nootropics can deliver without feeling overstimulated.
- Proven to boost overall cognitive performance including memory, focus, mood, creativity, motivation, and overall well-being.
- Potent blend of all-natural nootropics, herbs, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals.
- Good for Experienced Biohackers and those new to nootropics.
- Caffeine Free
- No artificial fillers or toxic preservatives
- Affordable Price
- Ingredients are lower dosed.
- Fewer ingredients than other leading nootropic stacks
One systematic review from 2017 found a significant link between high levels of anxiety and low levels of magnesium 4Neil Bernard Boyle, The Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Subjective Anxiety and Stress—A Systematic Review, Nutrients 2017.
Magnesium regulates neurotransmitters in the brain. It primarily affects the hypothalamus, an area of the brain responsible for stress response 5Neil Bernard Boyle , Clare L Lawton, Louise Dye, The effects of magnesium supplementation on subjective anxiety, Magnes Res. 2016 6Anna E Kirkland , Gabrielle L Sarlo , Kathleen F Holton, The Role of Magnesium in Neurological Disorders, Nutrients. 2018.
Magnesium supplementation can, therefore, help ease anxiety symptoms and improve stress management 7Neil Bernard Boyle , Clare L Lawton, Louise Dye, The effects of magnesium supplementation on subjective anxiety, Magnes Res. 2016 8Anna E Kirkland , Gabrielle L Sarlo , Kathleen F Holton, The Role of Magnesium in Neurological Disorders, Nutrients. 2018
The benefits of Cordyceps have been linked with enhanced oxygen capacity and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) energy production in cells, which means that this therapeutic mushroom will help your body utilize oxygen more efficiently and enhance blood flow when stressed or anxious.9Syed Amir Ashraf, Abd Elmoneim. Elkhalifa, Arif Jamal Siddiqui, Mitesh Patel, Amir Mahgoub Awadelkareem, Mejdi Snoussi, Mohammad Saquib Ashraf, Mohd Adnan, and Sibte Hadi, Cordycepin for Health and Wellbeing: A Potent Bioactive Metabolite of an Entomopathogenic Medicinal Fungus Cordyceps with Its Nutraceutical and Therapeutic Potential, Molecules. 2020
Hence, it is recommended to increase intake of this fungus on a regular basis to overcome anxiety, stress and support your mental health and wellness.
Cordycepin has also been shown to have antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects in animal-based research models.10Hardeep S. Tuli, Sardul S. Sandhu, and A. K. Sharma, Pharmacological and therapeutic potential of Cordyceps with special reference to Cordycepin, 3 Biotech. 2014
Multiple literature suggests that cordyceps acts like an adaptogen, which means it will help you to increase your body’s resistance to anxiety, fatigue, stress, and trauma.11Jingjing Song, Yingwu Wang, Meiyu Teng, Guangsheng Cai, Hongkai Xu, Hanxiao Guo, Yang Liu, Di Wang, * and Lesheng Teng , Studies on the Antifatigue Activities of Cordyceps militaris Fruit Body Extract in Mouse Model, Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015
Freshcap Mushrooms provide the highest percentage of beta glucans and fruiting body nutrients, making this mushroom product my preferred choice for Cordyceps.
- Available in capsules and powder form
- Can protect against health problems like asthma, depression, diabetes, fatigue, high cholesterol, and upper respiratory tract infections.
- Has been shown to improve athletic performance and reduce fatigue.
- Quality cordyceps can be quite expensive and hard to find
Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
Lion’s Mane mushroom catalyzes the process to build brain plasticity and neurogenesis, which helps your nervous system stay resilient during stress or anxiety.12Puei-Lene Lai , Murali Naidu, Vikineswary Sabaratnam, Kah-Hui Wong, Rosie Pamela David, Umah Rani Kuppusamy, Noorlidah Abdullah, Sri Nurestri A Malek, Neurotrophic properties of the Lion’s mane medicinal mushroom, Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) from Malaysia, Int J Med Mushrooms. 2013
Adding this mushroom to your stack also helps you rid your brain of amyloid plaque and develop myelin sheaths, which ultimately strengthen your synapses, improving nerve plasticity and boosting the bridge between your central nervous system and other organ systems.13Bing-Ji Ma ,Jin-Wen Shen,Hai-You Yu,Yuan Ruan,Ting-Ting Wu &Xu Zhao, Hericenones and erinacines: stimulators of nerve growth factor (NGF) biosynthesis in Hericium erinaceus, An International Journal on Fungal Biology. 2010
Improved nervous system function will eventually allow you to control the habitual thought process, mitigate negative thinking patterns, and boost positive sensory perception which are all necessary in overcoming anxiety.14Mayumi Nagano , Kuniyoshi Shimizu, Ryuichiro Kondo, Chickako Hayashi, Daigo Sato, Katsuyuki Kitagawa, Koichiro Ohnuki, Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake, Biomed Res. 2010
Freshcap Mushrooms provide the highest percentage of beta glucans and fruiting body nutrients, making this mushroom product my preferred choice for Lion’s Mane.
- Clinically proven to increase Nerve Growth Factor synthesis
- Can cross the blood-brain barrier
- Boosts energy levels and sharpens focus
- Suitable for Vegans/Vegetarians
- Available in powder and pill form
- Can be mixed in with meals and beverages
- Can contain small amounts of toxins if not purchased from reputable sources
Testo Lab Pro
- Improve your mood and mental clarity
- Boost testosterone levels
- Support healthy bones, muscles and weight
- Increase sex drive
TestoLab Pro is a top choice for naturally boosting testosterone and overall masculine energy.
This stack from the makers of Mind Lab Pro boosts sexual vitality and desire while enhancing strength, muscle pump, motivation, and mental clarity.
TestoLab’s formula includes compounds that boost your brain’s natural testosterone messaging system like the bio-active form of Ashwagandha (KSM-66), D-Aspartic Acid, and Mucuna Pruriens Extract.
The included Luteolin is a natural testosterone preservation system that keeps your manufactured T from being hijacked and converted into estrogen.
The added Zinc, Magnesium, and Vitamin D help keep your hormone production pathways optimized for proper nutrient synthesis while at the same time reducing stress hormones.
In men, anxiety can be a sign of low testosterone 15Erik J Giltay , Dorien Enter, Frans G Zitman, Brenda W J H Penninx, Johannes van Pelt, Phillip Spinhoven, Karin Roelofs, Salivary testosterone: associations with depression, anxiety disorders, and antidepressant use in a large cohort study, J Psychosom Res. 2012.
Testo Lab Pro is a supplement that contains several minerals, vitamins, herbs extract that enhance the production and the levels of circulating testosterone. This can improve mental clarity, cognitive functions and fixes mood issues such as anxiety.
- Natural ingredients to raise testosterone
- Can increase sex drive, semen volume, erectile function, and sperm count
- Helps fat loss, belly fat reduction, man-boob reduction, and more
- Cognition, confidence, and mindset
- Only available on the official website
L-Theanine is an amino acid that can be found in tea leaves. L-Theanine has been shown to provide a variety of cognitive benefits, including reducing anxiety.
The mechanisms by which L-Theanine provides these benefits is thought to work by modulating levels of the neurotransmitter GABA. GABA is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in anxiety and stress response.
L-Theanine supplements have been shown to be effective in reducing anxiety in a variety of populations, including healthy adults, people with anxiety disorders, and even children.
If you’re looking for a natural way to reduce anxiety, L-Theanine supplements may be worth considering.
- Commonly found in many energy drinks and supplements
- Can improve mental focus and physical performance
- Helps to protect the brain from age-related damage and oxidative stress
Taurine is an amino acid that is found in the body found in the body and increases the calming neurotransmitter GABA in the brain.16Abdeslem El Idrissi , Latifa Boukarrou, Wally Heany, George Malliaros, Chaichan Sangdee, Lorenz Neuwirth, Effects of taurine on anxiety-like and locomotor behavior of mice, Adv Exp Med Biol. 200917Gao-Feng Wu, Shuang Ren,# Ri-Yi Tang,Chang Xu, Jia-Qi Zhou, Shu-Mei Lin, Ying Feng, Qun-Hui Yang, Jian-Min Hu and Jian-Cheng Yang, Antidepressant effect of taurine in chronic unpredictable mild stress-induced depressive rats, Sci Rep. 2017
It is also found in some foods, such as meat and fish.
Taurine has many functions in the body, including: helping to keep the heart healthy, aiding in the development of the nervous system, and helping to prevent anxiety.
There are many benefits of taking taurine supplements for anxiety. Taurine has been shown to help reduce anxiety and improve mood. It can also help to improve cognitive function and reduce stress levels.
Taurine works great in someone with mood instability accompanied by anxiety, but it is also helpful for anxiety alone.
Taurine is a safe, effective, and affordable anxiety treatment that can help you get your life back on track.
- Proven to boost energy, endurance, and focus
- Promotes healthy metabolism
- Helps protect the eyes against retinal degeneration
- Safe and effective nootropic supplement with a wide range of potential benefits
- Large doses may cause gastrointestinal distress
- Cause some side effects such as headaches, insomnia, and anxiety.
Acetyl L-Carnitine (ALCAR)
- Improve cognitive function
- Protect the brain from damage
- Boost energy levels
- Enhance athletic performance
If you’re looking for an alternative treatment for anxiety, you may want to consider L-Carnitine supplements.
L-Carnitine is an amino acid that is produced in the liver and kidney.
L-Carnitine supplements are often marketed as a weight loss aid, but there is little scientific evidence to support this claim.
However, there is some evidence to suggest that L-Carnitine supplements may have cognitive benefits:
Recently, L-Carnitine had promising results in a clinical trial evaluating it as a treatment for depression 18Carla Nasca, Benedetta Bigio, Francis S. Lee, Sarah P. Young, Marin M. Kautz, Ashly Albright, James Beasley, David S. Millington, Aleksander A. Mathé, James H. Kocsis, James W. Murrough, Bruce S. McEwen, and Natalie Rasgon, Acetyl-l-carnitine deficiency in patients with major depressive disorder, PNAS August 21, 2018.
Other preclinical studies showed its potential for anxiety as well19Joseph Levine, Zeev Kaplan, Jay W. Pettegrew, Richard J. McClure, Samuel Gershon, Igor Buriakovsky, Hagit Cohen, Effect of intraperitoneal acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) on anxiety-like behaviours in rats, International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology. 2005 20Lais Pancotto, Ricieri Mocelin, Matheus Marcon, Ana P. Herrmann, and Angelo Piato, Anxiolytic and anti-stress effects of acute administration of acetyl-L-carnitine in zebrafish, PeerJ. 2018
The mechanism of action for the cognitive benefits of L-Carnitine lies in its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and increase levels of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in memory and learning.
Reishi Mushrooms are a staple of Eastern medicine.
Also known as Ganoderma lucidum, they grow in various humid locations in Asia.
Reishi mushrooms are thought to work in a few different ways to ease anxiety.
First, Reishi is thought to help reduce inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation has been linked to anxiety and depression. By reducing inflammation, Reishi may help to reduce anxiety symptoms.
Reishi is also thought to boost levels of GABA in the brain. GABA is a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate anxiety. Low levels of GABA have been linked to anxiety and panic disorders. By boosting GABA levels, Reishi may help to reduce anxiety symptoms.
Reishi is also thought to have antioxidant and adaptogenic properties. Adaptogens are substances that help the body adapt to stress, while antioxidants help to protect the body from the damaging effects of free radicals.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage cells and lead to inflammation. By reducing free radical damage and helping the body adapt to stress, Reishi may help to reduce anxiety symptoms.
- May help improve sleep quality and reduce stress levels
- Can be consumed in many different forms, such as capsules, powders, teas, and tinctures
- Used in Asia for centuries as a medicinal mushroom
- Common side effects include gastrointestinal upset and nausea
- Not recommended for people with autoimmune disease or taking immunosuppressive medication
- Improved cognitive function
- Increased energy levels
- Enhanced stress resistance
- Modulates neurotransmitter activity
The main active ingredient in ashwagandha is withanolide. Withanolide is a steroidal lactone that has been shown to have numerous medicinal properties. Ashwagandha also contains other compounds such as alkaloids, tannins, and saponins. These compounds all work together to provide the herb’s many health benefits, including reducing inflammation, improving brain function, and even helping to fight cancer.21K Chandrasekhar , Jyoti Kapoor, Sridhar Anishetty,A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults, Indian J Psychol Med. 2012
However, anxiety is one of the most common reasons people take Ashwagandha supplements. This is likely due to the fact that ashwagandha can help to regulate cortisol levels. Cortisol is a stress hormone that can have negative effects on the body if it becomes imbalanced.
Another way that ashwagandha supplements may work is by improving cognitive function. This is likely due to the fact that the herb can help to improve blood circulation and increase oxygen levels in the brain. Additionally, ashwagandha has been shown to promote nerve growth and protect neurons from damage.
If you do decide to take ashwagandha supplements, it’s important to choose a high-quality product. This is because the quality of ashwagandha supplements can vary greatly. Look for a product that is made from organic, wild-harvested ashwagandha and that contains no fillers or additives.
When it comes to dosage, it’s best to start with a lower dose and increase gradually as needed. Ashwagandha supplements are typically taken in capsule form, but they can also be taken in powder form. The powder can be added to water or juice and consumed once or twice daily.
- Has been shown to help improve memory and cognitive function
- Helps reduce anxiety and stress levels, as well as improve sleep quality
- Strong anti-inflammatory agent, making it helpful for conditions like arthritis and asthma
- Can help reduce blood sugar levels
- Studies show taking ashwagandha can reduce cholesterol levels, helping to reduce high cholesterol levels
- Can be taken daily
- Should be avoided by pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding
- Can interfere with diabetes medicines
- Should be avoided by those with thyroid disorders
- May cause some stomach upset such as diarrhea and vomiting
- Improves brain connectivity and helps with focus
- Highly sustainable- no need for tolerance build up
- Helps to avoid the sudden crashes you see with other drugs
- Minimal side effects, can be taken every day
It is also an anxiolytic, meaning it can help to reduce anxiety.23Kazuo Nakamura, Aniracetam: its novel therapeutic potential in cerebral dysfunctional disorders based on recent pharmacological discoveries, CNS Drug Rev. 2002.
Aniracetam works by modulating the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is also involved in the regulation of anxiety. By modulating acetylcholine levels, Aniracetam can help to improve memory and learning, as well as reduce anxiety.
Aniracetam is a safe and well-tolerated cognitive enhancer. It has few side effects and is non-addictive. Aniracetam is available over-the-counter in most countries.
However, Aniracetam is not FDA-approved, and more research in humans is needed to assess its full potential for anxiety treatment.
- Improve negative thought patterns for greater emotional balance
- Decrease social anxiety without side effects
- Increase verbal fluency and clarity of thoughts
- Promote better sleep
N-acetylcysteine (NAC) is a compound that has a wide range of potential health benefits. It is an amino acid (a building block of protein) that helps to make glutathione, one of the body’s most important antioxidants. NAC has been shown to have positive effects on mental health, cognitive function , and anxiety.24Olivia Dean, BSc, PhD, Frank Giorlando, MBBS, BMedSc, and Michael Berk, MBBCh, MMed(Psych), PhD, N-acetylcysteine in psychiatry: current therapeutic evidence and potential mechanisms of action, J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2011
NAC supplements have a range of potential benefits for anxiety, including: reducing anxiety symptoms, improving communication in relationships, and reducing stress levels.
NAC may also help to reduce the severity of anxiety disorders such as panic disorder and social anxiety disorder (OCD, GAD, and others).25Olivia Dean, BSc, PhD, Frank Giorlando, MBBS, BMedSc, and Michael Berk, MBBCh, MMed(Psych), PhD, N-acetylcysteine in psychiatry: current therapeutic evidence and potential mechanisms of action, J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2011.
The exact mechanism of action of NAC is not fully understood, but it is thought to work by increasing levels of glutathione and inhibiting the release of the neurotransmitter glutamate.
Do any of the nootropics we listed work well for you? Have you had success with a different supplement or medication? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear about your experiences and whether our recommendations worked for you.