Chronic anxiety is a severe disorder that can lead to other chronic health issues. A recent survey by the National Institute of Mental Health found that this is one of the most prolific mental health problems in the USA and around 18% of Americans suffer from different types of anxiety disorders.
Unlike anxiety that arises because of things like the fear of public speaking or hurrying to meet a deadline, anxiety disorders are related to exaggerated and chronic worry and tension. These can include such common disorders as panic disorder, OCD, depression, and social phobia.
Here we have compiled a list of the most effective nootropics for anxiety that should be in your medication if you want to tackle anxiety and its related symptoms in a safe manner without any side effects.
Most Common and Effective Nootropics for Anxiety
1. Bacopa Monnieri
Bacopa monnieri has been traditionally used for years to relieve stress and anxiety. Regular consumption of bacopa syrup may help reduce the symptoms of anxiety, such as tiredness, headaches, nervousness, trouble sleeping, racing heart, stomach discomfort, and difficulty concentrating. A study conducted to see if bacopa monnieri has any potential for enhancing the cognitive performance in the elderly found positive results. You will find this ingredient in numerous nootropics for social anxiety out there.
2. Rhodiola Rosea
Also known as rose root, arctic root, or golden root, this medical plant native to Siberia helps treat anxiety, stress, physical and mental fatigue. Some researchers classified Rhodiola Rosea as an adaptogen, which means it allows you to be less prone to emotional and physical stress. This natural medicine is also known to stimulate neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine activity; and it is believed that a proper balance of these chemicals improves the neurological functioning of the brain. Rhodiola Rosea significantly reduced anxiety, stress, depression, and confusion in the participants with boosting the overall mood.
3. Ginkgo Biloba
Ginkgo Biloba is a popular herbal medicine that has many health benefits and it may also help relieve the symptoms of anxiety. Though there are very few clinical trials that tested the curative effects of this herb on people with anxiety disorders, the Journal of Psychiatric Research published a study that found that those who took ginkgo biloba to fight anxiety experienced better relief that those who were given a placebo.
4. Coenzyme Q10
This is a natural antioxidant that can be found in many foods. It is believed that this acts as a natural antidepressant, as published in a 2013 paper in the journal Pharmacological Biochemical Behavior. The research suggested that anxiety and depression often occur due to oxidative stress and the body’s ability to produce antioxidants could be compromised. Being a natural antioxidant, this compound is synthesized outside our body that results in a notable antidepressant effect.
L-tyrosine is an amino acid that helps increase dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain, leading to increased alertness and energy with improved moods. This ultimately helps remove the signs of anxiety and depression. The best thing about this nootropic for anxiety is that unlike St. John’s Wort and prescribed antidepressants, tyrosine works quite quickly.
This is another amino acid often found in our diet and due to its chemical structure, it can reach the brain immediately after oral consumption. L Theanine has been proven by researchers to be effective in reducing such symptoms of anxiety as increased secretion of immunoglobulin A in saliva and a rapid heartbeat. This anxiolytic can aid in sleep and help stop the brain from anxiously responding to any stressful situation.
This amino acid is naturally produced by the body from another amino acid named tryptophan. This amino acid is known to fight anxiety and depression, and aid in sleep. In terms of anxiety, 5-HTP seems to be protective against panic attacks induced by carbon dioxide. However, when comparing 5-HTP with another tricyclic antidepressant known as Clomipramine commonly used to treat OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), it was noticed that 5-HTP was not so much effective as clomipramine.
This nootropic drug’s chemical structure resembles that of GABA, one of the neurotransmitters in the brain responsible for relaxation. Aniracetam is also known to increase the production of dopamine and extracellular serotonin both of which are necessary for happiness. This shows why it is one of the most common nootropics for anxiety.
9. St. John’s Wort
St. John’s Wort or Hypericum perforatum is an herb that has been used as one of the essential herbs for anxiety for centuries to treat different physical ailments and mental depression, especially anxiety and depression. Although this is commonly used in brain supplements for anxiety, there is not sufficient evidence to prove its effectiveness.
Other Nootropics also Found in Brain Boosters
Adrafinil is a smart or a eugeroic drug that means this type of nootropic is used to stimulate the user’s mental function and awaken their mind. This also has a euphoric effect that makes it an antidepressant as well.
A medication generally used to treat overdose on paracetamol and get rid of thick mucus in people with cystic fibrosis. However, a study conducted on animals found that this compound was beneficial in reversing oxidative and anxiety damage caused by chronic unpredictable stress or CUS.
12. Lion’s Mane Mushroom
Lion’s Mane, also known as Hericium erinaceus is an edible medicinal mushroom that may help prevent dementia, heal nerve damage, and reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety. But if you are allergic to mushroom, you should avoid this at all cost because this is a mushroom species after all.
This is relatively a new antidepressant that is effective in stabling mood disturbances caused by anxiety. Its anxiolytic and antidepressant properties make it suitable to treat a wide range of depressive symptomatology.
14. Turmeric (curcumin)
The main compound of turmeric – curcumin – has positive anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects because it normalizes certain physiological pathways. Not only does it lower stress hormones, but it also elevates neurotransmitters like serotonin in the brain. A clinical study already showed that curcumin’s antidepressant effects helped treat a major depressive disorder.
15. Vitamins for Anxiety
A number of nutrients, particularly the B vitamins can help reduce anxiety levels, making them some of the most common and best nootropics for anxiety. Here is an overview of how they are helpful in this regard:
- Vitamin A: this is an antioxidant lack of which could cause anxiety
- Vitamin B1: this is essential for controlling blood sugar levels, which is tied to anxiety. Sulbutiamine or Arcalion is another synthetic variety of vitamin B1 that has a positive effect on attention and mood swing
- Vitamin B3: vitamin B3 is important for synthesizing serotonin and has been proven to help deal with anxiety with a dosage of 1000 to 3000 mg per day
- Vitamin B5: this supports adrenal balance, reducing anxiety and stress levels as a result
- Vitamin B6: along with magnesium, vitamin B6 can help balance out the symptoms of anxiety that occurs as a result of the premenstrual symptom (PMS)
- Vitamin B9 or folic acid and vitamin B12: they play a crucial role in reducing symptoms of low moods and depression
- Vitamin C: this is a great source of antioxidants that help reduce oxidative damage in the nervous system. Oxidative damage may increase anxiety
- Vitamin D: vitamin D deficiency often causes seasonal affective disorder, depression, and anxiety
- Vitamin E: this is another antioxidant that’s required by the body in times of anxiety
- Magnesium: although the human body does not require much of this mineral, lack of it can lead to anxiety and stress symptoms
- Inositol: this fatty lipid is essential for the production of healthy cell and can help tackle problems related to unwanted intrusive thoughts
Anxiety Reduction Tips
Anxiety disorders range from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) to panic disorder to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to social anxiety disorder. Whatever the type of anxiety disorder you’re experiencing, the following tips can make you feel better and give you some guideline on how to get rid of anxiety.
- Start breathing deeply: sit down, close your eyes, and breathe deeply. Feel the sensation of your breath as it goes in and out of the nostrils. Concentrate on this sensation and forget everything else. Keep breathing until you feel relaxed
- Meditate: meditation is very helpful in reducing stress and anxiety. Start your every day with 10 mins of meditation to embrace silence and solitude.
- Take good care of yourself: get a haircut, a massage, or a mani-pedi when you’re feeling low. Organize your daily tasks and finish them so you don’t feel stressed by the end of the day
- Choose your diet carefully: you definitely know what a healthy diet is, just follow it. Avoid sugar, fat and processed food as much as you can
- Plan a trip: give yourself a break from your stressful lifestyle and spend some time in the midst of nature
- Exercise: aside from clearing your mind, releasing more endorphins, and aiding in sleep, regular exercise can keep you safe from experience anxiety disorders