nootropics for ptsd
Written by Erik Levi, FNTP — Updated on November 10, 2021

OVERVIEW:

  • PTSD is a complex condition that requires professional help in most cases

  • There are some nootropics that may be able to treat some of its symptoms

  • Some nootropics might lower the stress reactions associated with PTSD

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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is an affliction that roughly 6-7% of Americans will suffer in their lifetime.

PTSD could be due to any number of circumstances, such as accidents, assault, natural disasters, armed conflict, or other sufficiently traumatic events.

As you may know, military veterans are especially susceptible to this disorder.1How Common Is PTSD In Adults, VA.Gov

PTSD symptoms can include psychosis, depression, anxiety, intrusive memories, and severe emotional distress. It can be a critical condition that disrupts people’s lives.

Read More: Why You Should Never Buy Nootropics From Amazon

What Are The Best Nootropics for PTSD - Quick Answers

Blood Sugar BreakthroughStabilizes and promotes healthy blood sugar levelsLearn More
Mind Lab Pro#1 Nootropic For Beginners
Learn More
Qualia MindMost Nootropics Per Serving
Learn More
Magnesium#1 Magnesium Product
Learn More
Chaga MushroomOne of the most powerful antioxidants on EarthLearn More
Reishi
A staple in Eastern medicineLearn More
L-theanineThe all-natural "chill pill"Learn More
AshwagandhaTraditional herb with potent relaxing effectsLearn More
Rhodiola RoseaAncient herbal performance enhancerLearn More
NACVersatile and effective all-round cognitive supplementLearn More

Best Nootropics for PTSD

Luckily, some nootropic supplements may help treat the symptoms of PTSD. They are not a substitute for actual medication or therapy but can be taken holistically alongside them as an aid.

1. Blood Sugar Breakthrough

Blood Sugar Breakthrough

Stabilizes and promotes healthy blood sugar levels

    Research suggests that PTSD is linked directly to blood sugar dysregulation.

    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is correlated with the risk of development of Diabetes Mellitus Type 2 as a comorbidity.2Jeffrey F. Scherrer, PhD, Joanne Salas, MPH1, Sonya B. Norman, PhD, Association Between Clinically Meaningful Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Improvement and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes, JAMA Psychiatry. 2019

    Research suggests that the depressive state associated with PTSD is a large contributor to poor glycemic control leading to the development of type 2 diabetes later in life.3Paula M Trief, Paige Ouimette, Michael Wade, Paul Shanahan, Ruth S Weinstock, Post-traumatic stress disorder and diabetes: co-morbidity and outcomes in a male veterans sample, J Behav Med. 20064Karoline Lukaschek , Jens Baumert, Johannes Kruse, Rebecca Thwing Emeny, Maria Elena Lacruz, Cornelia Huth, Barbara Thorand, Rolf Holle, Wolfgang Rathmann, Christa Meisinger, Karl-Heinz Ladwig, KORA Investigators, Relationship between posttraumatic stress disorder and type 2 diabetes in a population-based cross-sectional study with 2970 participants, J Psychosom Res. 2013

     Poor glycemic control can also result in poor mental status and mood disorders.

    Blood Sugar Breakthrough's formula includes ingredients that can help regulate blood glucose which is imperative in managing PTSD and it's associated symptoms.


    2. Mind Lab Pro

    Mind Lab Pro Best Nootropic for PTSD

    #1 Nootropic For Beginners

      • Mind Lab Pro delivers the nutrition your brain needs to combat PTSD.
      • The nootropics included in this formula work together to boost neurotransmitters that are needed for mental stability.
      • Ingredients like CDP-choline, Pine Bark Extract, Rhodiola Rosea, and L-theanine also provide anti-stress and anti-inflammatory properties which help PTSD.
      • The supplements themselves are 3rd party tested and free of excess fillers and toxic ingredients. 
      • I love this stack for nootropic newbies and experienced nootropic users alike.

      3. Qualia Mind

      Qualia Mind For PTSD

      Most Nootropics Per Serving

        • Qualia Mind's formula, which includes 28 high-potency ingredients, is the most advanced nootropic formula on the market.
        • For anyone with PTSD, the nootropic compounds, neuro-vitamins, amino acids, choline donors, and herbal adaptogens found in this stack can be a powerful aid.
        • These compounds' synergistic effects can boost and properly metabolize dopamine while calming the mind.
        • There's also the added benefit of reducing stress hormone response, which lies at the heart of trauma. 
        • This stack is great for anyone who needs a significant boost in brainpower and mood enhancement. 

        4. Magnesium Breakthrough

        Magnesium for Studying

        #1 Magnesium Product

          Research suggests that magnesium has potential to prevent cognitive decline by minimizing the loss of synapses in the brain and also modulating stress responses.5G. Andrew Mickley, Nita Hoxha,a Joseph L. Luchsinger, Morgan M. Rogers,a and Nathanael R. Wiles, Chronic dietary magnesium-L-threonate speeds extinction and reduces spontaneous recovery of a conditioned taste aversion, Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2013

          Magnesium therapy has also been proven to enhance your brain’s aptitude to mitigate conditioned fear and anxiety responses, especially to traumatic memories.6Ewa Poleszak , Bernadeta Szewczyk, Ewa Kedzierska, Piotr Wlaź, Andrzej Pilc, Gabriel Nowak, Antidepressant- and anxiolytic-like activity of magnesium in mice, Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2004

          Hence, magnesium supplementation is recommended for a variety of anxiety disorders, including PTSD, various phobias, social anxiety and other panic disorders.7Nashat Abumaria , Bin Yin, Ling Zhang, Xiang-Yao Li, Tao Chen, Giannina Descalzi, Liangfang Zhao, Matae Ahn, Lin Luo, Chen Ran, Min Zhuo, Guosong Liu, Effects of elevation of brain magnesium on fear conditioning, fear extinction, and synaptic plasticity in the infralimbic prefrontal cortex and lateral amygdala, Neurosci. 2011

          According to the scientific literature, dietary magnesium also has the potential to be used as an adjunct therapy for the effective management of PTSD.8Gisèle Pickering, André Mazur,2 Marion Trousselard, Przemyslaw Bienkowski, Natalia Yaltsewa, Mohamed Amessou, Lionel Noah, and Etienne Pouteau, Magnesium Status and Stress: The Vicious Circle Concept Revisited, Nutrients. 2020 Magnesium Breakthrough is made up of numerous forms of absorbable magnesium. One of the main ingredients of Magnesium Breakthrough is magnesium L-threonate. Magnesium L-threonate is known to help people recover from stress related to traumatic events (PTSD).9Wei Li, Jia Yu, Yong Liu, Xiaojie Huang, Nashat Abumaria, Ying Zhu, Xian Huang, Wenxiang Xiong, Chi Ren, Xian-Guo Liu, Dehua Chui, Guosong Liu Elevation of brain magnesium prevents synaptic loss and reverses cognitive deficits in Alzheimer's disease mouse model, Mol Brain. 201410Nashat Abumaria , Bin Yin, Ling Zhang, Xiang-Yao Li, Tao Chen, Giannina Descalzi, Liangfang Zhao, Matae Ahn, Lin Luo, Chen Ran, Min Zhuo, Guosong Liu, Effects of elevation of brain magnesium on fear conditioning, fear extinction, and synaptic plasticity in the infralimbic prefrontal cortex and lateral amygdala, J Neurosci. 2011


          5. Chaga

          One of the most powerful antioxidants on Earth

            Chaga mushroom (aka Inonotus obliquus) is found to support both mental physical health and wellness.

            It's been shown to prevent the production of detrimental cytokines, and reduce chronic inflammation that's been tied to depression and PTSD.11Yoo Kyoung Park , Hyang Burm Lee, Eun-Jae Jeon, Hack Sung Jung, Myung-Hee Kang, Chaga mushroom extract inhibits oxidative DNA damage in human lymphocytes as assessed by comet assay, Biofactors. 2004

            Along with its cognitive enhancing properties, chaga can also alleviate PTSD symptoms by calming the central nervous system.12Antoine Géry , Christelle Dubreule , Véronique André , Jean-Philippe Rioult , Valérie Bouchart , Natacha Heutte , Philippe Eldin de Pécoulas , Tetyana Krivomaz , David Garon, Chaga ( Inonotus obliquus), a Future Potential Medicinal Fungus in Oncology? A Chemical Study and a Comparison of the Cytotoxicity Against Human Lung Adenocarcinoma Cells (A549) and Human Bronchial Epithelial Cells (BEAS-2B), Integr Cancer Ther. 2018

            This medicinal mushroom is also considered an adaptogenic herb, meaning that it helps to improve your body's capability to resist the destructive effects of long-term stress such as that found in PTSD.13Vijayasree Vayalanellore Giridharan , Rajarajan Amirthalingam Thandavarayan, Tetsuya Konishi, Amelioration of scopolamine induced cognitive dysfunction and oxidative stress by Inonotus obliquus - a medicinal mushroom, Food Funct. 2011

            Freshcap Mushrooms provide the highest percentage of beta glucans and fruiting body nutrients, making this mushroom product my preferred choice for Chaga.


            6. Reishi

            A staple in Eastern medicine

              Reishi mushroom helps overcome PTSD at the nervous system level by reducing nerve cell inflammation and edema; thus preventing neuronal and glial cells degeneration.14Chirlene Pinheiro Nascimento, Diandra Araújo Luz, Carla Cristiane Soares da Silva, Cláudia Marques Rosa Malcher, Luanna Melo Pereira Fernandes, Herta Stutz Dalla Santa, Antônio Rafael Quadros Gomes, Marta Chagas Monteiro, Carolina Heitmann Mares Azevedo Ribeiro, Enéas Andrade Fontes-Júnior, Cristiane Socorro Ferraz Maia, Ganoderma lucidum Ameliorates Neurobehavioral Changes and Oxidative Stress Induced by Ethanol Binge Drinking, Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity. 2020

              It can also help to manage PTSD related symptoms such as sleeplessness, fatigue and overthinking. It contains complex sugars and polysaccharides such as beta-glucans, which have been found to promote immune health and overall wellness.15Özevren Hüseyin, İrtegün Sevgi, Deveci Engin, Aşır Fırat,Pektanç Gülsüm, and Deveci Şenay, Ganoderma Lucidum Protects Rat Brain Tissue Against Trauma-Induced Oxidative Stress, Korean J Neurotrauma. 2017

              This mushroom also contains triterpenes and sterols (hormone precursor) that may help people who have been through any traumatic event by promoting better sleep, supporting a healthy stress response, maintaining heart rhythm, keeping calm and stabilizing obsessive thoughts.16Author(s), Name of study, Mania Associated With Herbal Medicines, Other Than Cannabis: A Systematic Review and Quality Assessment of Case Reports

              .

              Freshcap Mushrooms provide the highest percentage of beta glucans and fruiting body nutrients, making this mushroom product my preferred choice for Reishi.


              7. L-theanine

              L-Theanine for PTSD

              The all-natural "chill pill"

                L-theanine is a compound in green tea leaves. It is famous for promoting a sense of calm and relaxation. It can also ease symptoms of anxiety, which may be useful for people with PTSD.

                While there are no human studies on PTSD and l-theanine, there is some evidence from animal trials that it may be useful.

                Researchers induced PTSD in rats, then studied parts of their brain. The rats who took l-theanine showed significantly fewer signs of PTSD than their counterparts.17Ceremuga, Martinson. Effects of L-Theanine on Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Induced Changes in Rat Brain Gene Expression, The Scientific World Journal 2014

                L-theanine has yet to be tested clinically on people, but there are also anecdotal reports that it can ease some of the symptoms of PTSD in individuals.


                8. Ashwagandha

                Ashwagandha for PTSD

                Traditional herb with potent relaxing effects

                  Ashwagandha is an ancient herbal remedy with a ton of nootropic potential. This adaptogen can improve mood and cognition in many different ways, and could also help treat PTSD.

                  One trial looked at overstressed adults and ashwagandha. They concluded that “high-concentration full-spectrum Ashwagandha root extract safely and effectively improves an individual's resistance towards stress and thereby improves self-assessed quality of life.”18Chandrasekar, Kapoor. 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

                  Ashwagandha keeps cortisol levels in balance. Cortisol is a primary stress hormone that often spikes in times of anxiety.

                  This function is part of the “fight-or-flight” response that can go haywire when people have PTSD.

                  So, ashwagandha could help smooth out the increases in anxiety associated with this disorder.


                  9. Rhodiola Rosea

                  Rhodiola Rosea for PTSD

                  Ancient herbal performance enhancer

                    Like ashwagandha, Rhodiola rosea is an adaptogenic herb that can fight stress and stabilize mood. According to animal studies, it may also help treat PTSD.19Gou-ping Ma, et al. L. Improves Learning and Memory Function: Preclinical Evidence and Possible Mechanisms, Pharmacol. 2018

                    Rhodiola may achieve its antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects by helping balance the neurotransmitters in your brain.

                    It can prevent the breakdown of dopamine and serotonin in the brain, and also improve the sensitivity of these receptors.

                    This process could improve overall mental stability.20Naseem Akhtar Qureshi, Abdullah Mohammed Al-Bedah. Mood disorders and complementary and alternative medicine: a literature review, Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2013 21van Diermen D, et al. Monoamine oxidase inhibition by Rhodiola rosea L. roots, J Ethnopharmacol. 2009

                    Rhodiola rosea works on many of the systems, such as dopamine, serotonin, and cortisol, that are often out of balance in people with PTSD.22Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – A Primer on Neuropsychiatry and Treatment, PsychSceneHub. 2019


                    10. NAC

                    NAC for PTSD

                    Versatile and effective all-round cognitive supplement

                      NAC (N-Acetyl L-Cysteine) is a powerful antioxidant that can be used to treat PTSD.

                      It works by clearing and repairing the oxidative damage caused by stress. The symptoms of PTSD can be challenging and cause significant harm to neurons, which NAC can counteract.

                      It can also keep levels of glutamate, which is known to cause anxiety if it gets too high.

                      One trial looked at veterans with PTSD and substance abuse disorders. They saw that the group that took NAC for eight weeks saw significant improvement over the placebo group.

                      It reduced post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms by 46 percent, substance use cravings by 81 percent, and depression by 48 percent in the patients, according to the authors of the study.

                      Keep in mind that both groups were also doing cognitive-behavioral therapy as well; NAC was only supplemental. Still, this is an encouraging result.23Sudie E. Back, et al. A Double-Blind Randomized Controlled Pilot Trial of N-Acetylcysteine in Veterans with PTSD and Substance Use Disorders, Clin Psychiatry. 2016


                      11. Phenibut

                      Phenibut for PTSD

                      Extremely powerful anti-anxiety drug developed by the Soviet space agency

                        This nootropic is a potent anxiety-busting supplement that could be useful for the acute symptoms of PTSD.

                        The Soviet space program developed phenibut as an anti-anxiety medication for cosmonauts that would not impair their motor function during spacewalks.

                        It remains a popular prescription for Russians suffering a variety of conditions, including PTSD.24Lapin I. Phenibut (beta-phenyl-GABA): a tranquilizer and nootropic drug, CNS Drug Rev. 2001

                        Phenibut quickly crosses the blood-brain barrier and starts working on the GABA system.

                        This process causes a potent calming effect, similar to pharmaceuticals such as Xanax or Valium, but without the dangerous side-effects.

                        Many people say it can be more effective than these drugs.

                        However, keep in mind that phenibut is not without its downsides. It is very potent and should not be taken more than once or twice a week.

                        Otherwise, you may develop tolerance or addiction. Phenibut dependence can be extremely unpleasant, and the withdrawals can be nightmarish, so please use very cautiously.

                        Especially considering that people who have PTSD are more likely to develop substance use disorders anyways.


                        About the author:

                        Erik Levi, FNTP

                        Erik Levi is a co-founder of HolisticNootropics.com and a certified holistic nutritional therapy practitioner.

                        As an NTP Erik takes a nutrition first approach to health. He has worked with many different people to help them use nutrition to optimize their quality of life.

                        Erik believes that mental health is a physiological process and cognitive enhancement is not something that can be achieved by just taking some pills with good Amazon reviews.

                        Instead, true cognitive enhancement comes with the right balance of nutrients, movement, and gratitude. Erik continues to stay up to date with the most current nootropic and holistic health research and promises to deliver the best solutions possible.

                        You can check out his personal health blog/podcast/YouTube Channel all under the name Holistic A-Hole.

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