7 Science-Based Nootropics For Anxiety

Anxiety is criminally underdiagnosed and often misdiagnosed as some other bodily ail.

Traditional science proposes the usage of benzodiazepines in the treatment of anxiety disorders but those medications carry a high risk of addiction and shouldn’t be taken long-term.

Best Nootropics for anxiety

With that in mind, what should a person suffering from anxiety do?

Introducing nootropics for anxiety, a simple yet powerful solution to a huge problem plaguing our society.

Why Anxiety Happens

The main cause of anxiety is not an innate weakness of the person affected by it but due to a chemical imbalance in the brain.

In our case, an imbalance in neurotransmitter count.

According to a systematic review, the top neurotransmitters controlling anxiety in our brain are serotonin, dopamine, GABA, adenosine, acetylcholine and glutamate.

Nootropics for anxiety

Targeting GABA is especially popular, since it acts as the principal neurotransmitter in the central nervous system.

Beyond that, it also controls levels of neuronal excitement, which is a precursor to anxiety.

That’s the reason why many anxious people self-medicate with alcohol, a substance known for targeting GABA receptors.

How Nootropics Can Help

Not all nootropics are good for anxiety, some of them, like caffeine, might even worsen it.

Certain nootropics can target neurotransmitters in the brain and cause immediate relief from anxiety.

The only problem is, we don’t exactly have a tool for measuring neurotransmitter count in your brain, i.e. we don’t know what neurotransmitter is amiss.

This means that you’ll have to experiment with multiple nootropics over a period of time to find the right one for you.

How Nootropics help with Anxiety

Some people get it right from the start, others have to use trial and error to finally alleviate their anxiety.

The good news is that the nootropics you’ll see below don’t have many side effects, which means you can test them out without fear of harming yourself in the process.

We’ll divide them into natural and synthetic nootropics, the former are a bit less effective but they carry virtually zero risk of side effects, when taken in appropriate dosages.

The latter are stronger and more likely to completely rid you of anxiety but they can cause some adverse effects.

5 Natural Nootropics For Anxiety

1. Alpha GPC

Alpha GPC occurs naturally in the brain and is one of the main substances providing nourishment to your nerves.

Alpha GPC raises choline levels, which automatically means more acetylcholine in the brain.

Acetylcholine is one of the most important neurotransmitters, since it maintains cognitive function and controls our stress response when in social situations.

This means that a lack of acetylcholine could easily lead to feelings of anxiety.

Side Effects

The standard dosage, 300mgs per day is unlikely to cause any side effects.

However, if taken two or three times per day, mild headaches and stomach problems are not out of the question.

2. L-Theanine

If you drink a lot of tea, you’re probably already sufficiently supplied with L-Theanine, since it naturally occurs there.

L-Theanine has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier and when it does, it regulates anxiety and pleasure.

The latter is especially important since L-Theanine is a precursor to dopamine and serotonin, both neurotransmitters essential to the normal functioning of our brain.

Not only that but it also has the ability to influence GABA receptors on top of promoting alpha brain wave activity.

Side Effects

L-Theanine has been tolerated quite well in clinical trials, especially in those studying the relationship between L-Theanine and anxiety.

Dosages up to 200mgs should come without side effects, any higher than that and you might experience low blood pressure and nausea.

3. Bacopa Monnieri

Native to traditional Indian medicine with a history spanning hundreds of years, it’s probably one of the oldest nootropics to date.

This herb regulates serotonin in the brain, which improves mood and it’s so good against anxiety that one study proved it to have the same effectiveness as Ativan, a benzodiazepine.

Bacopa Monnieri increases GABA in the hippocampus, which leads to feelings of relaxation and calmness.

Lastly, it also regulates cortisol and reduces stress and tension, as evidenced by this study.

Side Effects

Rat studies showed no side effects from Bacopa usage, even at higher dosages.

The worst thing that can happen with this herb is mild nausea, especially during the first week of usage.

4. Ginkgo Biloba

Ginkgo Biloba is very effective against anxiety, especially if caused by tinnitus. Two clinical trials confirmed this notion, citing reduced cortisol as the main effect of the plant.

Ginkgo also reduced blood pressure in subjects plagued by daily stress, which led to less subjective anxiety reported by the participants.

Ginkgo helps increase dopamine levels in the brain, which leads to more positive emotion experienced, which could override feelings of anxiety.

Side Effects

Ginkgo Biloba is considered very safe and was generally well tolerated in clinical studies.

However, going over the recommended dosage may lead to constipation and headaches.

5. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha works especially well if the anxiety you experience happens before bedtime as it causes mild sedation which helps with falling asleep.

Promising results from a study revealed Ashwagandha to be very effective against anxiety and stress.

An interesting benefit of this plant is the improved stress tolerance it provides you with.

This addresses the root cause of the issue, as anxiety and stress are often intertwined.

Side Effects

This plant is very mild on the body. Remember to take it before bed so the sedative effects don’t impair your judgment.

People taking higher-than-recommended dosages reported feelings of drowsiness, diarrhea and nausea.

Long-term high volume usage has been linked to liver problems.

2 Synthetic Nootropics For Anxiety

1. Phenibut

We’re starting this list off strong with one of the best nootropics for anxiety to date.

Phenibut is very similar to the neurotransmitter GABA.

When introduced into the body, it mimics the action of GABA and modulates serotonin and dopamine, which leads to less anxiety.

A study confirmed that over three-fourths of those who’ve been given Phenibut experienced a marked reduction in anxiety.

It even has a positive effect on emotional intelligence, which is a good sign, as people with higher emotional IQ tend to fend off stress and anxiety better.

Side Effects

Studies performed with Phenibut showed great tolerance of the drug. 

If you stick to clinical dosages (500mgs-1000mgs a day), you shouldn’t have any problems, at least in the beginning.

However, Phenibut quickly builds up tolerance and has potential for abuse and addiction.

2. Sulbutiamine

Sulbutiamine is essentially the synthetic version of Vitamin B1, also known as Thiamine.

This nootropic acts on dopamine, increasing its amount in the brain, which leads to better mood, more positive emotions and therefore, a reduction in anxiety.

A study that looked into Sulbutiamine use for depression found no statistically significant change in subjects but anxiety and stress showed marked improvements.

Side Effects

Dosages between 200 to 600mgs were used in clinical studies and no significant adverse effects were found.

Only 0,6% of study participants reported side effects but they were in congruence with placebo and therefore, invalid.

It’s important to note that dosages beyond 600mgs may cause troubles with sleep, so it’s best to avoid higher dosages.


Anxiety is a terrible disorder that takes the glee out of our lives and puts us into a constant state of fear and misery.

We hope that the seven nootropics for anxiety listed today will help you out in your journey.

To conclude, don’t go over the recommended dosages, buy nootropics from verified sources and stay safe at all times!

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