Everywhere we look we seem to find new cases of people struggling with anxiety and depression. Although anxiety and depression are not new, they are far more prevalent today than in past generations.
But just WHAT is causing anxiety and depression?
It could be a number of different reasons, but one of the most prominent causes is stress.
The stress of our careers. The pressures of family life. The struggle to provide the very best life for the ones we love. All of these issues culminate into a mound of stress weighing us down both mentally and physically.
People today are more stressed than ever before.
As a society we work more hours than past generations and deal with stressors not previously seen.
With so many issues to worry about in daily life, it’s no wonder today people experience anxiety more so than ever before. In fact, more than one-third of the population will struggle with anxiety or depression in their lifetimes.
Of course, there are more treatments available today in the form of prescriptions and medications, but the side effects can sometimes outweigh the potential benefits.
Insomnia, confusion, restlessness, seizure, panic attacks, depression, increased anxiety, the list goes on…
The side effects can appear to be endless at times. Wouldn’t it be great if there was an alternative treatment available to help treat your anxiety?
The good news is there are several nootropics available - both natural and synthetic - that may help decrease anxiety. Some nootropics can even be taken in tandem or stacked to further enhance the benefits.
Let’s take a look at the various nootropic options available and see which one is right for you.
Top 8 Best Nootropics For Anxiety
Natural Nootropics for Anxiety
If you want to stick to natural nootropics, there are several options available at your disposal. Let’s take a look at some of the most common ones.
You may not have ever heard of L-theanine but chances are you have consumed it at some point in your life. As an amino acid nootropic found in green and black teas, it is relaxing but not in a sedative manner. In other words, it allows you to stay alert yet calm at the same time.
L-theanine has been shown to help process stress and improve the quality of sleep. As both factors improve, you are less likely to experience symptoms of anxiety.
The reason L-theanine is effective is due to the fact it can travel through the blood-brain barrier. Once past the blood-brain barrier it helps regulate neurotransmission and blocks glutamate receptors.
L-theanine can also help control the production of serotonin and dopamine within the brain. These naturally produced chemicals are mainly responsible for mood and feelings.
When the brain is able to effectively manage stress, other cognitive functions improve as a byproduct. Improved memory, enhanced cognition, and better attention span can all be attributed to improved brain function.
What separates L-theanine from other substances is the fact that it allows you to be both relaxed and alert at the same time. During periods of high anxiety, this will calm the nerves and allow to concentrate on the task at hand.
2. Bacopa Monnieri
Although the main function of bacopa monnieri is to enhance learning, memory, and cognition it also can produce anti-anxiety benefits as well.
In studies performed on patients taking bacopa monnieri, participants experienced lower heart rates and reduced anxiety levels. As our bodies become better capable of adapting to outside stressors, the body physiologically is better equipped to respond to them.
In other words, it calms your mental state and physical state at the same time.
Another benefit of bacopa monnieri is cortisol reduction. Cortisol is one of the most infamous stress hormones. Over time, cortisol can negatively impact major bodily functions leading to negative side effects such as high blood pressure, headaches, diarrhea, or even heart attack.
By taking bacopa monnieri regularly, you may be able to avoid some of these negative side effects associated with increased cortisol levels.
Bacopa monnieri also acts as a modulator of serotonin levels. Dopamine and serotonin can decrease as we age, but bacopa monnieri can provide neurologically protective properties.
By protecting the brain from neurological damage, we may be able to lower the rate of depression and anxiety.
3. B Vitamins
Some of the best natural nootropics capable of maintaining a healthy body and mind functionality are B vitamins.
Studies have found essential B vitamins may be able to reduce stress and anxiety in menopausal women.
Vitamin B3 has been found to play a crucial role in the development of serotonin and may help ease anxiety when taken daily.
Vitamin B5 is able to control adrenal function which in turn helps reduce stress levels and thereby lower anxiety as a result.
For people experiencing depression, supplementation of Vitamin B12 along with Folic acid has been shown to be an effective form of treatment.
As you can see the various types of B vitamins can help improve mental function and lower the incidence of anxiety and depression.
Known for its stress-lowering effects, ashwagandha can help improve anxiety in a number of different ways.
Studies have shown ashwagandha appears to lower levels of cortisol, a hormone known for triggering stress responses from your adrenal glands. Compared to placebo groups in the study, those taking ashwagandha had 28 percent lower levels of cortisol.
People taking ashwagandha tend to feel less stressed and are improved in other areas including depression, social dysfunction, physical symptoms, and insomnia.
The next time you feel stress creeping up, try taking a dose of ashwagandha to put your mind at ease.
Synthetic Nootropics for Anxiety
Although there are several natural nootropics available to help treat cases of anxiety, there are also synthetic nootropics that may work just as well.
The category of racetams are the most widely used nootropics on the market. Although each type of racetam provides valuable benefits to its users, only aniracetam has potent anti-anxiety effects.
Although it was mainly constructed as a memory enhancer, its benefits have been shown to go beyond simple cognitive enhancement.
In studies performed on animals, aniracetam was found to have anti-anxiety effects in social situations and decreased levels of fear. The potential usefulness of aniracetam suggests it may produce the same types of anti-anxiety benefits in humans as well.
Known as a popular nootropic for cognitive enhancement and brain-boosting capabilities, noopept can also produce mood enhancement benefits as well.
As a fast acting substance that can bypass the blood-brain barrier easily, it can be a useful tool for people suffering from depression. Studies have also shown noopept to be effective for treating anxiety and irritability.
When taken for social anxiety, noopept has been shown to provide a calming impact on both the body and nerves.
Now this is a substance you probably weren’t expecting to find on this list.
All your life you’ve been told nicotine is an addictive substance found in cigarettes that is chock full of negative health side effects.
While nicotine from cigarettes can be harmful due to toxins such as tar and carbon monoxide, there are other alternatives for receiving microdoses of nicotine.
In small amounts, nicotine can help provide the mental energy and increased reaction time needed to get through intense social anxiety situations.
If you’re looking for a safer alternative as opposed to lighting up a cigarette, there are sprays available providing small effective dosages.
Being active all day at work can be tiring, stressful, and causes uneasy feelings of anxiety. L-tyrosine is a nootropic that allows your brain to function without getting burned out in stressful situations.
As you become more stressed, neurotransmitter stores become depleted causing you to feel mentally exhausted and emotionally distraught. This is a surefire way to cause an onslaught of anxiety.
Studies have shown L-tyrosine works to fight against brain dysfunction by creating neurotransmitters thereby easing stress and improving focus during difficult mental situations.
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Anxiety and depression are currently at an all-time high worldwide. With so many stressors and negative situations in the world, it’s no wonder so many people struggle with mental illness.
Although there are numerous prescription medications available to treat these symptoms, they often times come with harmful side effects that can sometimes be worse than the original diagnosis.
The key is finding the right nootropics to live a healthier, happier, lifestyle. With time and effort, you can find an effective combination that allows you to live your best life.
Nootropics may be able to act as a substitute or complement to various medications on the market if dosed properly. However, you should not change or alter any prescriptions without seeking the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.
If you happen to know anyone that may benefit from reading this article, feel free to share it with them directly or via social media.
Ryan Rodal is an avid health and wellness enthusiast. He enjoys staying active in a variety of hobbies including weight lifting, boxing, cycling, and hiking. With over 500 publications to top named websites and supplement companies, he brings a wealth of experience on topics including health, wellness, workout routines, and supplementation. When he’s not working out, he enjoys spending time with friends and his dog. He believes health and wellness isn’t just a mindset, it’s a lifestyle choice.