5 Nootropics and Dietary Supplements to Soothe Anxiety

5 Nootropics and Dietary Supplements to Soothe Anxiety

Anxiety is a common issue that everyone deals with to some degree at some point in their life. Some people have it worse than others, and often times it can be unbearable. Many people turn to pharmaceutical drugs such as Xanax and other benzodiazepines to alleviate their anxiety, however many people are understandably off-put by the side effects and abuse potential.

[ photo: pexels.com by ylanite koppens ]

There are many alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs for treating anxiety safely and effectively. Nootropics and dietary supplements products are a broad range of compounds that lack the typical pharmacology of prescription drugs. Many of these substances simply provide the body with the necessary ingredients to ensure optimal levels of key neurotransmitters such as GABA and serotonin.

While nootropics and dietary supplements may not have quite as much punch as something like Valium or Ambien, they are considerably safer and can be used over the long-term with little to no risk of dependence or tolerance. Furthermore, many of these

For this post I will be covering what I consider the 5 best nootropics and dietary supplements for treating anxiety safely and effectively. This list will consist of substances which are nonaddictive, free of serious side effects, and naturally occurring.

1. Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral that functions as an essential dietary nutrient in the body. Magnesium has a calming effect on the mind and is highly beneficial to heart health and other physiological functions. Many people are familiar with the effects of magnesium in the form of epsom salts (magnesium sulfate).

Magnesium is gaining more attention more attention lately for its anxiety reducing properties. At the level of the brain, it acts as a neuromodulator. It prevents overstimulation from glutamate, leading to calming effects on cognition and mood, as well as protection against cell damage. Magnesium has been shown to benefit anxiety, stress, depression, and improve sleep.

Magnesium can be quite difficult to acquire from food sources. Epsom salts are an excellent way of absorbing it, but supplementation is also effective. Many people in the western world have a deficiency in magnesium, therefore it is highly beneficial when supplemented. 

2. Taurine

Taurine is an essential amino acid that many people associate with energy drinks. However, the amount contained in energy drinks is too negligible to do anything. As such, the true effects of taurine are felt by very few people, unless it is directly supplemented.

Taurine is similar to magnesium in many ways, as it also has numerous heart health and brain health properties. I consider taurine to be one of the most underrated and misunderstood supplements out there and many people are unaware of its anxiety reducing potential.

Taurine can quickly cross the blood-brain barrier and raise levels of the neurotransmitters GABA and glycine. Both GABA and glycine induce relaxation and improve mood without causing sedation or grogginess.

Taurine is especially useful for vegans and vegetarians as it is typically only found in meat and animal products. However, it can benefit anyone and remains effective when used daily.
3. Theanine

Theanine is an amino acid and nootropic that occurs naturally in certain teas. Like magnesium, theanine also acts as a neuromodulator and prevents cellular damage from glutamate. This neuromodulating effect on glutamate provides noticeable improvements in anxiety and general mental health and is a very useful nootropic to take daily.

Theanine is commonly paired with caffeine as its able to eliminate the jitters and anxiety while still improving overall performance. When taken alone, the effects of theanine are fairly subtle, however it is one of the safest and most non-toxic substances in the world, and is virtually free of side effects. It also be taken chronically without tolerance or dependence.
4. Kava

Kava is an herb native to many Pacific Ocean island cultures, especially in Hawaii. It is typically prepared as a brew and sipped in a social context and can be considered a safe replacement to alcohol, as it’s much less powerful and nonaddictive. 

Kava works by increasing levels of GABA and dopamine in the brain, which leads to reduced anxiety, stress, and improved mood. It’s generally used for socializing, reducing stress, and promoting restful sleep. And it is really very easy to buy kava onlineKava bars are common in many cities, however it is easily acquired from online sources as well. 

Kava best to use it sparingly, however, as its not 100% free of side effects if it is abused. Kava is a fairly strong herb and chronic, heavy usage is not generally not advised. However, the World Health Organization has determined that is it quite safe when used normally, and the side effects associated with heavy use (loss of appetite and GI problems) disappear when discontinued.
5. Lavender

Lavender is a species of flowering plant that can notably reduce anxiety and improve sleep. It causes peaceful and subtle relaxation without sedation or grogginess.

Lavender can be supplemented or used in aromatherapy. There have been studies showing that both oral supplementation and aromatherapy are effective, however lavender oil used aromatherapy does have more research behind it.

Like the other substances on this list, lavander works by increasing levels of GABA in the brain, leading to a calming effect on the body and mind. Like the others, this increase in GABA is subtle and does not aggressively increase neurotransmitter levels beyond their normal threshold.

Author Bio section

My name is Jacob and I’m very passionate about nootropics, supplements, and brain health. I have been researching psychopharmacology on pubmed and other scholarly journals for many years and I want to clear up any confusion surrounding the use of these substances. My primary goal is to provide practical and fact-based information that is not based on anecdote or hearsay.

If you’d like to learn more about nootropics, please visit my evidence-based nootropics site.

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