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When it comes to anxiety-quashing supplements, nootropics might not spring to mind. But they should! Nootropics (particular vitamins and plant extracts etc…) can help you stay focused and clear-headed while in a stressful environment. Some nootropics, like L-Theanine and Phosphatidylserine, are also noted for their relaxing, anti-stress benefits. We’ve picked out of the best nootropics for anxiety, covering their effectiveness and effects. These nootropic supplements are backed by proper scientific research – there’s no mumbo jumbo quackery in our reviews. So, whatever your physical and mental goals are, you can rest assured that we’ve got you covered!
Table of Contents
Why It’s Natural to be Struggling with Anxiety Right Now
Coronavirus is at the forefront of everyone’s mind at the moment. It’s affecting just about every person on earth, interfering with work, putting a strain on relationships and placing your mental health under unwanted stress. Money issues are also affecting many people and businesses; this financial uncertainty can increase your risk of developing anxiety.
We’re social beings – it’s in our nature to interact and socialise with friends, family and work colleagues. When this face-to-face interaction is limited or completely cut off, it can turn our lives upside down. If being stuck inside all day and worrying about the future or your health in the present is making you feel anxious, stressed or depressed, you’re not alone. The good news is that there are a multitude of diet changes, psychological techniques and supplements at your disposal to improve your mood and get you through it. Of course – here comes the caveat – if your anxiety becomes severe, you should seek medical help.
Anxiety and Your Body
Anxiety isn’t just a mood or state of mind, it’s a biological problem. Hormone imbalances, dietary deficiencies and stress are all linked with anxiety. Taking a nootropic supplement could address these problems and help you treat the root cause of your anxiety, improving your health and quality of life.
Anxiety and stress often come hand in hand. They both put a massive strain on your mind and body, even if you think they’re not affecting your health. Anxiety is diagnosed in around 8.2 million people in the UK every year, but it affects many more people – you may be one of them. Constantly feeling anxious increases your risk of heart disease, weakens your immune system and just generally makes your life worse.
Stress can also impact your work (when you’re able to do it), pushing you off task when you need to focus and keeping you up at night. Work-related stress affects around half a million Brits annually, causing 15.4 million lost working days. Fortunately, there is a range of budget-friendly, stress-smashing supplements available to you.
Natural Ways to Reduce Anxiety
There are numerous ways to reduce anxiety. Simple things like exercise, eating healthy, getting enough sleep and mindfulness can all help. Knowing what triggers your anxiety can help you address the root of the problem. Devote a few moments each day to clearing your mind. You don’t have to whip out a yoga mat and sit cross-legged to meditate – find a quiet spot in your home and have some time to yourself each day.
At the same time, caffeine is not your friend if you suffer from anxiety. It can cause nervousness and jitters and should be avoided. The same goes for alcohol, which is a natural sedative. Neither address the root cause of the problem, they just temporarily mask it.
If you struggle to do find the time to do these things, or you’re still struggling with anxiety after changing your lifestyle, you could benefit from an anti-anxiety nootropic.
The Best Nootropics for Anxiety
Nootropics are supplements that can improve cognitive function. They’re not drugs and are usually vitamins or plant extracts that have been proven to boost brain power, help the brain recover or support healthy brain cell function. All the nootropics covered below are natural nootropics; they’re not synthetic or artificial in any way. We haven’t included any synthetic nootropics here, like Piracetam or Noopept, as we don’t think they’re worth the extra cost and higher risk. The nootropics we’ve picked out are a range of plant and herb extracts, vitamins and minerals. They each have different health benefits; some may decrease anxiety directly while others can support you in stressful conditions.
Bacopa Monnieri is one of our favourite nootropic ingredients. It’s an edible water hyssop that has been used as a traditional medicine in Asia for a few thousand years (at least!) Recently, research has been carried out into its effects and the results are generally positive. Bacopa Monnieri has been shown to have antioxidant and nootropic properties, helping to reduce inflammation while enhancing some brain functions. It’s also believed to improve memory retention. 
In traditional medicine, Bacopa Monnieri is used to treat anxiety and some modern scientific research suggests that it is a potential treatment for anxiety and depression. 
Taking 300mg daily is also thought to decrease heart rate and anxiety, at least according to some studies.  More research is needed to confidently confirm this but there’s a wealth of anecdotal evidence for Bacopa Monnieri’s beneficial effects.
No list of nootropic supplements would be complete without Phosphatidylserine (a type of soy lecithin extract). It belongs to a category of fat molecules phospholipids, which our body uses to make new cells and proteins. In recent years, another use for it has been discovered, as a nootropic dietary supplement.
Taking a Phosphatidylserine supplement has been linked with a decrease in cognitive decline  and improved cognition while stressed.  It could help protect your brain during high-stress situations. Although Phosphatidylserine is often taken for its brain-boosting properties, taking it could decrease your anxiety. This is because it lowers the levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, in the blood.  High cortisol levels are often a root cause of anxiety and mood swings – taking Phosphatidylserine could lower these levels back to a more normal, healthy level and help you feel back to normal.
Both the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority class it as a safe supplement to consume. Phosphatidylserine is almost always made using soy lecithin, making it suitable for vegans and vegetarians.
L-Theanine is an amino acid, found in abundance in tea leaves. Everyone knows that a cup tea helps calm your nerves – a morning cuppa is a daily ritual for most Brits. This relaxation is partly down to L-Theanine, which reduces cortisol levels.  Taking L-Theanine regularly could keep you feeling physically and mentally relaxed, but not drowsy or incapable of doing work. It’s also believed to raise the levels of serotonin in the brain, helping you feel happy and content. L-Theanine is structurally like caffeine, but it usually won’t noticeably boost your energy levels or increase anxiety as caffeine would. It should have a noticeable calming effect, so it may be especially useful for people who struggle to sleep at night. L-Theanine could help you drift off easily and naturally when anxiety is affecting your sleep schedule.
Getting a decent night’s sleep works wonders for anxiety. If you’re struggling to achieve it, you may want to take a natural over-the-counter sleep supplement. We recommend Performance Lab Sleep
Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogenic herb that grows wild across Europe and Asia. Adaptogens are a category of supplement that help the body resist physical, chemical or biological stress; many of them show anti-anxiety properties as well and Rhodiola Rosea is no exception. A 2015 study found that taking 400mg of Rhodiola Rosea extract daily for two weeks significantly reduced anxiety, stress, anger and depression in a group of volunteers.  The participants also noted an improvement in their overall mood as well. We’ve also concluded that Rhodiola Rosea is an effective anxiety-busting supplement. It’s not a particularly powerful nootropic but it can be useful for combatting stress, so we’ve included it in our list.
There are eight different B vitamins. They play various roles inside the body, often helping to make cells and hormones. Some of these vitamins are especially useful for combatting anxiety and stress.
Being stressed for long periods can deplete your levels of vitamin B6.  In theory, taking a vitamin B6 supplement will correct this imbalance and help you de-stress your life. New research suggests that combining magnesium with vitamin B6 significantly boosts the stress-busting effects. 
Vitamin B9, also known as folate, is another essential B vitamin our body relies upon to survive. There’s limited research, but it seems that Vitamin B9 can slightly improve depression, especially in women. 
Vitamin B12 could improve your anxiety, at least according to this 2017 study. Researchers discovered that people with low levels of vitamin B12 were more likely to suffer from anxiety.  They concluded that Vitamin B12 is an ‘effective treatment option for anxiety’, although more thorough research is needed to fully back this claim.
Instead of buying each of these vitamins separately, we suggest buying a multivitamin or better still, a nootropic stack (more on that later).
See our Favourite Vitamins and Multivitamins to Buy in the UK in 2020:
L-Tyrosine is another amino acid supplement. It occurs naturally in fish, meat, nuts and other foods but only in very small amounts. Our body uses L-Tyrosine to make various neurotransmitters and hormones, some of which control stress and mood. Some people swear by L-Tyrosine when they’re trying to get to sleep. It’s commonly believed that eating turkey makes you drowsy due to the L-Tyrosine in turkey meat. This is a myth, but L-Tyrosine still has its uses.
Taking an L-Tyrosine supplement may help you cope in acutely stressful situations, although the science behind this is shaky.  It also seems to improve subjective well-being and working memory, so it is technically a nootropic. Taking a dose between 200mg and 500mg daily is generally used to achieve these results, although some people can take up to 2000mg without experiencing adverse effects.
Citicoline, also known as CDP-Choline, is a nootropic that promotes brain health and improves brain function. It’s so powerful that it is occasionally recommended to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s patients to help support correct brain function.  If you’re a generally healthy adult, it can still be of use. Citicoline is usually used to improve attention, enhance learning and aid memory; it hasn’t been directly linked with stress or anxiety, but it could help you stay focused when stress is affecting your life. 
Lion’s Mane Mushroom
Lion’s Mane Mushroom is a natural nootropic with some amazing health benefits. It’s often taken to combat depression and decrease levels of anxiety, especially in menopausal women. Lion’s Mane Mushroom has also been studied for its brain-boosting effects. Research has shown that the supplement can improve cognitive function when taken for long periods of time.  It was frequently eaten by Buddhist monks in Japan when they travelled through the mountains, where Lion’s Mane Mushroom grows wild. It helped keep their minds and bodies healthy and you too can experience these effects (from the comfort of your own home!)
Ready-Made Nootropic Stacks
You could buy all these anti-anxiety nootropics individually, but this will cost you hundreds of pounds. Nobody wants to take more than one or two tablets or capsules daily either. That’s why we suggest purchasing a nootropic stack. A stack is a pre-combined supplement that contains a range of nootropics, packed into just one capsule. It’s quicker, easier and a whole lot cheaper.
Nootropic stacks are especially good at promoting supplement synergy. This is when taking multiple supplements at once amplifies their beneficial effects. For example, taking L-Theanine should help you relax but taking L-Theanine and Bacopa Monnieri together should relax you even more. Supplement synergy isn’t fully researched but you may notice slightly more pronounced effects after taking these nootropics.
We’ve reviewed loads of nootropics, so we know what to look for in a great nootropic stack. It should be packed full of different nootropics, properly dosed and reasonably priced. Our favourite nootropic stack for anxiety is Mind Lab Pro.
Formulated in the UK, made in America and used across the world, Mind Lab Pro is a popular nootropic supplement with lots of good reviews.
Mind Lab Pro contains all the vitamins, plant extracts and other nootropic ingredients we’ve mentioned above. It doesn’t contain any filler ingredients and uses vegan capsules which are made from pullulan (a form of tapioca). Mind Lab Pro can only be bought directly from the manufacturers and discounts are available for bulk buys.
This is an eco-friendly nootropic stack supplement; the box and packing material is biodegradable, and the supplements are grown without pesticides. If, for whatever reason, you decide that Mind Lab Pro isn’t the product for you, return the empty bottle within 60 days for your money back – this is a level of customer service unseen in most supplement companies.