Feeling anxious? A class of brain-healthy nutrients called nootropics may help to relieve anxiety symptoms in many ways. And carefully combining nootropics into "stacks" can expand the benefits, for more comprehensive support for all types of anxiety disorders.
In this article, we'll start by discussing what anxiety is, what nootropics are, and how they relate to each other. We'll then go into the individual nootropic ingredients that have shown promise for easing anxiety in clinical research. Finally, we will conclude with several supplements on the market today that include the best nootropics for anxiety.
The best part? All of our supplement recommendations can be seamlessly combined to form the ultimate anti-anxiety stack. Ready to chillax? Let's get to it!
Quick Summary: Top Nootropic Supplements that Ease Anxiety
Top Anti-Anxiety Nootropic Stack: Mind Lab Pro®
Mind Lab Pro® (MLP®, the Universal Nootropic) supplies 11 natural nootropics, including many of the best nootropics for anxiety, specifically.
It includes natural support for social anxiety, performance anxiety, reducing stress, balancing mood and more. But that's just one part of what this formula can do.
MLP® is designed to improve cognitive functioning in assorted ways. By optimizing the entire brain, it is uniquely able to improve cognitive function in many ways, helping with:
- Focus, attention & concentration
- Memory, recall and learning
- Mental energy (without caffeine)
- Motivation, intensity and drive
- Creative, clear and relaxed thinking
In other words, Mind Lab Pro is designed to help you perform better at everything. Work, studying, athletics, gaming, creating, socializing or any other activity where you want to excel.
Whether you're feeling anxious or not, this formula can optimize your brain's health and performance.
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Additional top nootropic supplement picks to consider for anxiety
Mind Lab Pro® is the top nootropic for anxiety. But there are several other high quality formulations that can help with anxiety too. They include:
Performance Lab® Mind: Top pick for anxiety related to stress, feeling overwhelmed, mental burnout, etc. Great for working professionals, entrepreneurs, business owners, students.
Performance Lab® Prebiotic: Boosts the gut-brain connection, nourishing probiotics in the digestive tract (the microbiome) which can have a big impact on mood and mental wellness.
Performance Lab® Omega-3: Omega-3s benefit mood; this supplement supplies them in a vegan algae-sourced form that is cleaner and more eco-friendly than fish oil -- but equally effective.
Performance Lab® Sleep: Natural sleep formula with soothing brain chemical and muscle relaxation support to ease anxiety and enable a deep, restful night's sleep.
We go into more detail on each of these nootropic supplements further down the page.
What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is a general feeling of unease, worry, or fear that can range from being mild to severe. It is a main symptom of panic attacks, PTSD, social anxiety, phobias and other mental health challenges.
Anxiety can be triggered by certain events or situations, such as exams, job interviews, financial stress, or medical reasons.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is a health problem where this excessive worry is near-constant, often without a specific trigger. It's also worth noting that anxiety is often accompanied by depression, too. More chronic or severe cases of anxiety (as well as severe depression and major depressive disorder) must be addressed by a health professional.
Mild occasional anxiety, however, may be manageable via self-help and lifestyle changes.
Brain-boosting nootropics for anxiety may be part of an overall lifestyle regimen designed to ease your anxiety symptoms, improve your stress response and support your mental health.
What are Nootropics?
Nootropics are also known as smart drugs, brain boosters, brain supplements and cognitive enhancers. Nootropic supplements may improve cognitive performance in many ways: Processing, alertness, mental energy, memory, recall, attention, focus and more. The best nootropics are also safe and healthy for the brain.
A nootropic can be a single nutrient. "Nootropic" can also refer to a supplement that combines several brain-boosters into one formula. A "Nootropic Stack" can refer to one product with several ingredients, or several products that are combined into an overarching supplement regimen.
In this article, we are covering the best nootropics for anxiety by detailing both individual nootropic ingredients and multi-nootropic stacks.
How Nootropics May Help Anxiety
So, what roles do nootropics for anxiety perform? Many nootropics can help promote a more relaxed, calm, yet alert mindset.
Some of the main mechanisms of action these nutrients may offer to assist those with anxiety disorder include:
- Anti-stress effects: Stress and anxiety go hand-in-hand. Some nootropics help strengthen the body's natural resistance to stress, including regulating stress hormones like cortisol.
- Brain chemical balance: Some nootropics directly influence the neurotransmitter systems (brain chemicals), especially the catecholamine brain chemicals that regulate anxiety.
- Brain wave support: One nootropic for anxiety, L-Theanine, helps "tune" the brain to frequencies associated with calm relaxation. More on that in a minute.
- General mood support: Nootropics can help with depression symptoms, instead promoting a bright and balanced mood that is more resilient when it comes to staving off anxiety symptoms.
Next, let's dig into some of the individual nootropic ingredients that help to deliver these benefits and may be combined into effective anti-anxiety stacks.
The Best Anti-Anxiety Nootropic Ingredients
There are dozens of nootropic compounds that play a role in regulating mood.
Following are some of the best to look for in nootropic supplements due to their research-backed benefits for mood (including anxiety), safety, and extensive history of use.
The top nootropic compounds for anxiety include:
A natural amino acid found in tea leaves, particularly in green and black tea, L-Theanine may be the single best nootropic for anxiety relief.
L-theanine is thought to support a broad spectrum of effects that are all tied to relaxation and mood enhancement. It can support a state of calm, relaxed tranquillity while simultaneously reducing anxiety and sharpening attention, alertness, and concentration.
In short, L-Theanine promotes relaxation. It works by crossing the blood brain barrier, where it helps:
- Increase the production of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine and serotonin, which can have a soothing and mood-enhancing effect
- Raise activity of Alpha brain waves. The alpha frequency (8-14 Hz) settles the central nervous system and is associated with feelings of calm alertness, or wakeful relaxation.
L-Theanine may support cognitive function in many additional ways, including helping with attention, multitasking, cognitive performance under stress and overall brain health.
It is also a well-known nootropic to minimize the jitters and nervousness associated with caffeine use.
In a human clinical trial, researchers reported that L-Theanine intake appeared to have a calming effect on stressed study subjects.
The researchers noted L-Theanine appeared to soothe an over-activated sympathetic nervous system, as measured by slower heart rate and lower levels of stress markers in saliva, as well as settling "excitable" neurons in the brain.(1)
Bacopa monnieri, known as Brahmi in traditional Ayurvedic health practices, is a natural nootropic herb renowned for its cognitive-enhancing properties. It is believed to promote mental clarity, memory, and overall brain function.
Bacopa is also considered an adaptogen herb that strengthens mind-body resistance to stress and helps maintain physiological balance.
As a stress-busting adaptogen, Bacopa also offers a lot of promise for relieving anxiety -- further helping students, as well as athletes, driven professionals, or anyone seeking to maintain sharp performance through feelings of apprehension.
Researchers have noted:
- A single dose of Bacopa extract improved cognitive performance, enhanced mood, and blunted release of the stress hormone cortisol(2)
- In a smaller study, Bacopa showed a trend for decreased levels of anxiety(3)
- In a 2023 review, Bacopa demonstrated anxiety-reducing effects and was named a "calming cognitive enhancer."(4)
With this research and long history of use in mind, you can see how Bacopa may have positive long-term benefits for anxiety (and overall brain health) without side effects or risks.
Choline (as Citicoline)
Choline is a vital nutrient that plays a fundamental role in brain function and cognitive health. It serves as a precursor to acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that regulates anxiety and is crucial for memory, learning, and muscle control.
Getting enough choline intake supports the formation and maintenance of healthy neural membranes, which enhances signal transmission between brain cells.
Choline has been studied for its potential to ease anxiety. In one large study, researchers reported that that higher blood levels of choline were associated with lower levels of anxiety.(5)
Tip: Citicoline is the best form of choline to take. When ingested, citicoline breaks down to release choline and another nootropic called uridine. It's like a 2-in-1 mini stack for anxiety and much more.
Phosphatidylserine (PS) is a phospholipid nootropic used in brain cell genesis, repair and maintenance. It also plays roles in neural energy metabolism, neurotransmitters, nerve growth factor (NGF) and other brain pathways.
PS is the leading nootropic for memory and delivers many other brain benefits too, helping with competitive cognitive performance, language and more. But what about anxiety?
PS may help reduce symptoms of anxiety by counteracting the effects of stress on the body.
It has been shown to potentially slow the production of cortisol. Cortisol is the stress hormone that can be produced in excess in response to chronic stress, which can wreak havoc on the body when uncontrolled. Cortisol is also linked to anxiety symptoms.
In one study, researchers reported that taking PS daily for 30 days was associated with feeling less stressed and having a better mood.(6)
Given its far-reaching benefits for brain health and cognitive function, PS is a great nootropic choice for any anti-anxiety stack.
Lion's Mane Mushroom
Lion's Mane Mushroom has emerged as a prominent brain supplement in recent times. Researchers propose that Lion's Mane Mushroom's support of NGF may yield several brain-related benefits, including potential support for people with anxiety concerns.
In one study, 30 women took either a placebo or lion's mane mushroom-infused cookie for four weeks and were then tested for various mental wellness parameters.
After the data was analyzed, researchers reported that lion's mane mushroom has the potential to reduce depression and anxiety.
Researchers further noted that the anxiolytic benefits appeared to be from a different unknown mechanism of action from the mushroom's well-known NGF-enhancing effects.(7)
Lion's mane is now a highly sought-after nootropic compound in top-shelf brain supplements -- for its potential in anxiety relief, depression symptoms and more.
Rhodiola Rosea is a nootropic herb that has long been prized in traditional Russian herbalism for its gold-colored root.
Like Bacopa, Rhodiola is considered an herbal adaptogen: It improves the body's stress response, helping to promote more balanced physiological reactions to various mental and physical stressors.
In traditional use, Rhodiola is taken as a legal performance enhancer -- helping to promote clean natural energy, reduce stress, boost physical performance and improve cognitive function.
As for its potential in helping to relieve anxiety, Rhodiola has demonstrated benefits in clinical research. It has been shown to:
- Help promote a bright mood in study subjects experiencing mild-to-moderate depression.(8) Depression is often associated with anxiety, including social anxiety.
- In a pilot study, researchers found that subjects with General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) who took Rhodiola rosea experienced significant improvements in their anxiety symptoms.(9)
Rhodiola rosea is a powerful nootropic that's perfect for helping to fight the many negative effects of stress. It seems well suited for all types of anxiety, especially performance anxiety.
Probiotics and Prebiotics
The microbiome, comprised of beneficial bacteria in the gut, is closely tied to brain function (especially mood) and is sometimes regarded as the "second brain."
Taking probiotics can help the microbiome, but the consumption of prebiotics may offer even greater advantages.
Prebiotic fiber nourishes your microbiome, helping probiotics to grow and thrive. A thriving microbiome, in turn, exerts a multi-faceted impact on health, helping digestion, immune function, energy and more -- including playing a pivotal role in the synthesis of brain chemicals.
Remarkably, the gut contributes to the production of approximately 95% of the body's serotonin, often dubbed the "feel-good" brain chemical.(10)
In a published review, researchers reported that probiotics could help relieve depressive symptoms in subjects with anxiety disorders and may be used as an adjunct therapy for mood problems.(11)
Did you know? The Bifidobacterium strain of probiotics optimizes several brain chemicals, including dopamine, GABA, and norepinephrine, potentially imparting mood-regulating and anti-stress benefits.
Omega-3s and Fish Oil for Anxiety
Omega-3 fatty acids are renowned for their role in promoting well-being across various bodily systems, benefiting the central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and immune system. They also enhance cognitive functions and brain health -- including some aspects of mood.
Researchers have reported that a number of clinical trials suggest that Omega-3 fatty acids may help to reduce anxiety during stressful situations.
In one large meta-analysis review, researchers found that Omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA were associated with an improvement in anxiety symptoms, with greater benefits recorded in those with diagnosed anxiety problems.(12)
Tip: Fish oil is a common source of Omega-3s, but today's more advanced supplements are tending to supply Omega-3s from clean, vegan sources, such as marine algae.
Magnesium for Anxiety- Best Mineral for Relaxation
Magnesium is an essential mineral with a broad range of physiological functions, and emerging research suggests that it may play a valuable role in managing anxiety.
Magnesium plays a role in regulating neurotransmitters that are related to stress, anxiety and relaxation, including serotonin and GABA. It also helps to relax muscles and improve sleep quality, which can further assist with anxiety.
In one study, researchers found that magnesium supplementation was an effective therapy for helping people with mild-to-moderate depression to improve their mood.(13)
In a separate systematic review, researchers suggested that magnesium may aid anxiety reduction, but noted that more research is needed.(14)
L-Tryptophan is an essential amino acid that plays a crucial role in the synthesis of serotonin, a neurotransmitter closely associated with feelings of relaxation, contentment, and a sense of well-being.
When there is a low supply of L-Tryptophan in the body, it can lead to reduced serotonin production, potentially contributing to an increased susceptibility to anxiety and mood disorders.
Researchers have reported that intake of L-Tryptophan may be closely related to reducing depressed and anxious mood states.(15)
With this research in mind, it seems that by increasing serotonin production, L-Tryptophan as a nootropic supplement may help alleviate stress and lower anxiety symptoms, such as worry, restlessness, and tension.
The Best Anti-Anxiety Nootropic Stack
The above list discusses some of the most effective single-ingredient nootropics on the market today. Next, let's cover some of the best supplements on the market today that deliver these nootropic ingredients to you.
Mind Lab Pro® is the Overall Best Nootropic for Anxiety
The creators of this product have expertly combined 11 well-researched nootropics, including several of the best anti-anxiety nootropics. Each ingredient offers a spectrum of cognitive and brain health benefits:
- Citicoline, 250 mg
- Phosphatidylserine (PS), 100 mg
- Bacopa monnieri, 150 mg (full-spectrum extract, 24% bacosides with 9 bioactives)
- Organic Lion's Mane Mushroom, 500 mg (fruit and mycelium)
- Maritime Pine Bark Extract, 75 mg: (Standardized to 95% proanthocyanidins)
- N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, 175 mg
- L-Theanine, 100 mg
- Rhodiola rosea, 50 mg (Standardized to 3% rosavins and 1% salidrosides)
- NutriGenesis® B-Vitamins: Vitamin B6 (2.5 mg), Vitamin B9 (100 mcg), Vitamin B12 (7.5 mcg)
As a result of its far-reaching design, MLP functions as a whole-brain optimizer, capable of boosting any aspect of cognition, mental wellness, and overall brain health as needed.
For mood health, MLP may ease social anxiety, elevate mood, help with reducing stress and generally reduce anxiety symptoms overall.
Because it is a whole-brain optimizer, MLP® can help in many other ways too. In fact, it flexes to deliver the cognitive support you need, when you need it. In the context of mood, for example:
- Anxiety can sap your mental energy. MLP® helps clear mental fatigue and brain fog.
- If anxiety and acute stress interfere with your daily drive, MLP® helps promote motivation naturally.
- Social anxiety and performance anxiety may be holding you back. MLP® supplies adaptogen herbs and amino acids that help you to perform under pressure.
Beyond helping to reduce anxiety and offering stress relief, MLP® helps with focus, attention, concentration, memory, mental clarity and pretty much any other aspect of cognition you can think of.
MLP® is also one of the very few nootropics for anxiety that is actually backed by human research:
- Study 1: Subjects taking MLP showed significant improvements (compared to placebo) in information processing tasks.(16)
- Study 2: Subjects taking MLP had significant improvements across multiple memory functions, including auditory, visual, visual working, immediate and delayed recall memory.(17)
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Additional Top Nootropic Supplements for Anxiety
Mind Lab Pro® supplies most of the best nootropics discussed in this article. The rest can be found in products at Performance Lab®, a supplement line by the creators of Mind Lab Pro®.
Performance Lab® Mind
Mind is a nootropic stack in the Performance Lab® line, primarily made for high-performance thinking, brain health and mental recovery. It also happens to include a couple of leading nootropics to reduce anxiety. Mind supplies four ingredients, so it requires fewer capsules per day:
- Citicoline, 250 mg
- Phosphatidylserine (from sunflower), 100 mg
- L-Tyrosine, 250 mg
- Maritime Pine Bark Extract (95% proanthocyanidins), 75 mg
Performance Lab® Mind benefits anxiety with its Citicoline and PS. Its L-Tyrosine is also one of the best nootropics for stress relief, which can also assist with some aspects of anxiety.
Mind's Maritime Pine Bark Extract, meanwhile, is studied for its potential to help with attention -- which is another cognitive function that can decline during anxiety.
Performance Lab® Prebiotic
Performance Lab® Prebiotic is a top supplement to take for gut health great for heart and digestive health, as well as for healthy immune function.
It also works as a nootropic by boosting the microbiome "second brain" for mood support. Each serving supplies:
- Inulin-FOS (as Orafti® Synergy1) (FructoOligoSaccharides from Chicory Root), 2 g
Chicory root in Performance Lab® Prebiotic feeds Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium probiotic strains in the gut.
These particular probiotic strains have the strongest nootropic effects: They support healthy levels of "feel good" brain chemical serotonin and are suggested to help with anxiety and depression.
Performance Lab® Omega-3
This nootropic supplement supplies clean, high-quality vegan Omega-3 fatty acids from Algal Oil, including DHA, the most important Omega-3 fatty acid to take as a brain supplement.
Performance Lab® Omega-3 is today's most sophisticated "healthy fat" supplement. Each serving of three NutriGels® supplies 1800 mg of vegan algal oil from life's™OMEGA, which includes:
The Omega-3s DHA and EPA are considered brain-healthy nootropics, with DHA suggested to ease depression and support a brighter, more balanced mental state.
Mood is just one benefit of these remarkably versatile nutrients. As nootropics, Omega-3s help with overall brain health -- but they are also great for immune support, heart health, joint comfort and more.
Performance Lab® Sleep
Can you imagine a supplement that helps you out when anxiety is interfering with your sleep? Performance Lab® Sleep is it.
This supplement is driven by cherry extract, which supplies natural melatonin for inducing sleep. It also includes some top nootropics for anxiety: two forms of magnesium, L-Tryptophan, and Sea Buckthorn, which is a natural source of serotonin. Sleep supplies:
- Magnesium (as Magnesium Bisglycinate and NutriGenesis® Magnesium), 100 mg
- CherryPURE® (Whole Montmorency Tart Cherry) (50:1 concentrated ratio), 500 mg
- L-Tryptophan, 250 mg
- Organic Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides), 100 mg
The resulting formula supports sleep in many ways, including relaxing muscles, calming the nervous system, and helping to reduce anxiety.
And, because it promotes sleep with low-dose natural melatonin, Performance Lab® Sleep avoids the groggy hangover that you might get with synthetic megadose melatonin supplements.
Whether you're struggling performance anxiety, social anxiety, or some other form of worry, there are many research-backed nootropics that may help -- especially the high-quality formulations discussed in this article.
But a great nootropic should only be part of your overall anti-anxiety lifestyle changes. Exercising more, avoiding smoking and too much alcohol, limiting caffeine intake, and practicing general self-help can also help relieve stress and reduce feelings worry, so you can live your best life.
- Kimura K, Ozeki M, Juneja LR, Ohira H. L-Theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress responses. Biol Psychol. 2007 Jan;74(1):39-45. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsycho.2006.06.006. Epub 2006 Aug 22. PMID: 16930802.
- Benson S, et al. An acute, double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over study of 320 mg and 640 mg doses of Bacopa monnieri (CDRI 08) on multitasking stress reactivity and mood. Phytother Res. 2014 Apr;28(4):551-9. [PubMed]
- Sathyanarayanan V, Thomas T, Einöther SJ, Dobriyal R, Joshi MK, Krishnamachari S. Brahmi for the better? New findings challenging cognition and anti-anxiety effects of Brahmi(Bacopa monniera) in healthy adults Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2013 May;227(2):299-306. (PubMed)
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- Darbinyan V, Kteyan A, Panossian A, et al. Rhodiola rosea in stress induced fatigue - a double blind cross-over study of a standardized extract SHR-5 with a repeated low-dose regimen on the mental performance of healthy physicians during night duty. Phytomedicine 2000;7:365-371.
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