Nootropic supplements are most frequently used to enhance cognition, learning, memory and reasoning but many of these compounds also have implications for mood and stress relief.
Taking nootropics for anxiety can address some of the underlying neurochemical causes of anxiousness in the brain.
These anxiolytic nootropics can improve your mood, make you feel more relaxed and lessen the effects of social anxiety and shyness.
Which nootropic stack or supplement you use depends on what kind of results you are looking for and the specific type of anxiety you are experiencing. Here is a look at how Nootropics work for anxiety relief and which ones are the best anxiolytics.
Nootropics and Anxiety
Anxiety can be caused by many different factors, but one common source has to do with GABA deficiency in the brain.
GABA (gamma aninobutryic acid) is a neurotransmitter that is produced by another neurochemical called Glutamate. It is the primary anti-anxiety neurotransmitter which actually has an inhibitory effect on the central neverous system.
When GABA levels are low, your nerve cells can become overactive, transmitting signals more frequently than they are supposed to. In mild cases, this can be experienced as a sensation of nervousness or general mental strain but it can also lead to compulsive behavior, panic attacks and even seizures.
When GABA levels are normal or slightly higher, you are less likely to experience chemical anxiety and will feel more relaxed and generally at ease. This is why so many sedatives work by stimulating GABA receptors.
For example, alcohol is a GABA stimulant and a CNS depressant which is well-known to relieve symptoms of anxiety. Since alcohol comes with several negative side effects it would not be considered a nootropic. There are several nootropics that can activate GABA production to give you the calming benefits that you are looking for.
Because GABA itself can not cross the blood-brain barrier, one thing to keep in mind is that direct GABA supplements are actually not very good at reducing anxiety. That means that it is not effective at inhibiting signals in the brain that cause anxiety.
You will need a GABA precursor or intermediary that can penetrate the blood-brain barrier instead. This means that the supplements you take have to be able to leave your circulating blood supply and enter your brain tissue in order for it to be effective.
All of the nootropics listed below are able to do this which makes them effective as cognitive enhancers and anti-anxiety drugs.
Best Nootropics for Anxiety
Phenibut is generally agreed to be the best nootropic for anxiety relief, though it is not recommended for daily use.
Phenibut is a derivative of GABA, but one that is able to traverse the blood-brain barrier. It is an agonist of GABA-b receptors causing a mild sedative effect which can relax the user and cause slightly diminished control over actions.
Some people compare this effect to drinking small amounts of alcohol– a fitting comparison because alcohol also stimulates the GABA-b receptors. For serious bouts of short-term anxiety, Phenibut can be a good choice but there are some potential negative side effects with long-term use.
You can purchase Phenibut over the counter as a supplement in the USA but in many other countries it is a prescription drug.
Of all of the racetam supplements, Aniracetam is considered to be the best for treating social anxiety and other forms of stress. Aniracetam is a powerful mood enhancer because it stimulates the AMPA receptors that control Glutamate.
As mentioned previously, Glutamate is necessary for the production of GABA and so taking Aniracetam powder will have an indirect effect on GABA. Aniracetam is also documented as temporarily diminishing social inhibitions making it easier for introverted or shy individuals to come out of their shell.
Other benefits of taking Aniracetam can include increased energy, focus, communication and motivation skills.
Noopept is a hit-and-miss anxiolytic with some people saying it works incredibly well and others not feeling any mood enhancing effects. Similar to the racetams, Noopept activates AMPA receptors and increase Glutamate uptake.
Noopept supplements have been shown to cause higher amounts of dopamine and serotonin in the cerebral cortex. Noopept has been cited as 1000 times more potent than Piracetam and as much as 200 times stronger than Aniracetam.
Effects of Noopept also have a longer half-life compared to Aniracetam meaning you can take it once a day and experience reduced stress levels for several hours at a time.
Picamilon is a very interesting nootropic that is similar to Phenibut in that it is a GABA derivative which can cross the blood-brain barrier. Reviews of this supplement tout it as a treatment for anxiety, depression, mental fatigue and persistent negative thoughts.
Unlike Phenibut, Picamilion is much safer and has fewer known side effects. Picamilion is also mildly stimulative instead acting like a sedative. This means you can use it on a daily basis and stack it with other nootropics to increase your energy levels and motivation.
This natural supplement is also known as Vitamin B8 and was first discovered as a chemical in cerebrospinal fluid. It is another nootropic that can cross the blood-brain barrier to increase GABA neurotransmitter release.
Taking Inositol for anxiety is many and very effective user experience logs say they feel an improvement in their mood within an hour or two. Inositol supplements can promote feelings of security, well-being and relaxation.
This compound is also being investigated in conjunction with more serious mood disorders such as bipolar disorder, depression, and other mental illnesses.