(The Top 9 Science-Backed Anti-Anxiety Supplements)
A recent publication by Harvard Medical School casts sharp warnings over two classes of medications, which we believe increase the risk of dementia.
Benzodiazepines (anxiety and sleeping pill medications) and anticholinergics (allergy, colds, depression, high blood pressure, incontinence, and pain medications) in two extensive studies, show an increased risk of dementia.
In both cases, this effect increased with the dose and duration of use as confirmed when taken for longer than a few months.
With side effects including confusion, clouded thinking, and memory impairment leading to auto accidents, falls, and fractures, “The Beer’s List published by the American Geriatrics Society has long recognized benzodiazepines, antihistamines, and tricyclic antidepressants as potentially inappropriate for older adults, given their side effects,” says Dr. Lauren J. Gleason, a physician in the Division of Aging at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
In lowering anxiety, science offers us several key targets, including the neurotransmitters glutamate, serotonin, and GABA.
Emerging and exciting research is analyzing the gut-brain anxiety connection.
The short-chained fatty-acid, (SCFA), butyrate we create in the gastrointestinal system as a byproduct of soluble fiber fermentation, may control a sizeable piece of this puzzle.
It’s important to note the neurotransmitter acetylcholine may play a role in lowering anxiety, as activating the neurotransmitters; dopamine, norepinephrine, and epinephrine can increase anxiety.
In this article, we will explore the primary top science-backed best supplements for anxiety, with the focus remaining on the neurotransmitters; GABA, serotonin, and glutamate.
Traditional Polynesian medicinal root plant, kava is being studied as an alcohol replacement, as it does not show the potential for abuse.
Kava is arguably the single strongest non-toxic, non-habit forming, anti-anxiety, and anti-insomnia plant known to man.
The plant came under unsubstantiated attacks in the 1990s as a liver toxic plant.
We see the same thing happening today with the non-scientific attacks against the kratom plant.
The consensus is while any substance in excess can be liver and kidney toxic, 100% Noble root-only kava is likely safe.
Always read labels and use reputable vendors selling the safe form of the product.
Kava acts on the GABA-A receptor and most likely an MAO inhibitor, so never combine kava with any other GABA increasing compound, especially alcohol or an SSRI or MAO inhibitor, (antidepressants and similar drugs).
If in doubt on the above, contact your doctor and/or pharmacist before any kava consumption.
If you are a daily kava user, drinking plenty of water, having regular blood panels, along with ongoing liver and kidney care is an optimal choice.
Dosage and Use: See [Related Article: How to Kava: Nature’s Xanax]
More studies continue confirming the effectiveness and strong safety profile of Cannabidiol, CBD for anxiety- and anxiety-related conditions.
While we refer to CBD as the “non-psychoactive” constituent cannabinoid within the cannabis Sativa, the cannabis plant, this is not a scientifically accurate claim.
CBD is not “psychedelic” much like its THC counterpart, however, it delivers medically valuable “psychoactive” effects without the undesirable negative side effects we associate with THC.
Along with confirmed and impressive anti-seizure effects, CBD delivers its greatest value in offsetting or counterbalancing the short and long-term side effects of THC, which acts on CB1 and CB2 of our Endocannabinoid System.
What this means is CBD delivers proven medicinal value as an anti-anxiety compound for both cannabis and non-cannabis users.
Its medicinal value for depression, schizophrenia, colitis, and Crohn’s, insomnia, pain, and inflammation remains unclear and under review.
Dosage and Use: Quality is of a major issue with an active compound percentage and an agreed-upon dosage.
FOLLOW US for further updates as they develop in real-time.
Traditional Indian ginseng, Ashwagandha delivers clinically proven anti-anxiety effects similar to lorazepam.
This ancient Ayurvedic medicinal root continues developing an almost cult-like following because of its adaptogenic mechanism of action, which we believe to block the body’s stress-based cortisol response.
Adaptogens are non-toxic plants assisting the body to resist an array of stressors, from biological to chemical to physical.
Popular in use for centuries in both Ayurvedic and Chinese healing traditions, adaptogens are now popular in the western world.
The two Ashwagandha types are Sensoril (10%) and KSM-66 (5%).
Most users claim KSM is stimulating and the daytime Ashwagandha, whereas Sensoril is the more calming nighttime Ashwagandha, and others report opposite invariable effects or no varying effects amongst the two.
(Dosage and Use: Users typically take a standardized dose of 300 mg, two times per day. It is both water and fat-soluble and is effective with or without food. A small subset of males report sexual and long-term negative serotonin-related side effects.)
Inositol is a sugar alcohol, or “pseudo-vitamin”, incorrectly called B8 of the B-complex, we find in most foods with the highest levels in whole grains and citrus fruits.
It has proven itself effective for anxiety and even panic attacks not related to PTSD, and to a lesser degree it is also effective for insomnia and depression, most likely for certain types of female populations.
Inositol displays exceptional results for PMS (anxiety and dysphoria), female fertility, repairing type 2 diabetes, insulin sensitivity, and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) cases.
As researchers, we consider inositol as an appropriate general female health supplement, as its anti-depressant effects seem to be specific to females only.
(Dosage and Use: Higher 12 to 18-gram doses are needed for neurological benefits with lower 2 to 4-gram doses able to produce fertility and insulin improvements. We see the label inositol on products as interchangeable with Myo-inositol, referring to the same molecule.)
#5 Xanthohumol Hops
A common component of beer shows potent sedative effects and is under further investigation in the xanthohumol hops extract form, with promising findings for anxiety, and several other chronic metabolic conditions.
Hops also appears effective for insomnia, and comes in products with the other two “sisters of sleep”, purple passionflower and valerian in the most widely “prescribed” insomnia “medication” in Germany.
We see a standardized dosage of 50 mg to 150 mg in use in trials.
Lavender, is an aromatherapy and essential oil and non-sedative plant which temporarily relieves anxiety and insomnia.
There is some support showing lavender increases slow-wave sleep patterns.
Topical lavender can trigger contact dermatitis and should be avoided. Studies show the best results with 80 to 160 mg of a lavender supplement brand, Silexan containing 25 to 46% linalool.)
#7 Red Clover Extract
Much like inositol, red clover extract, (RCE), from the red clover plant, is likely a top selection for females.
Red clover extract delivers an effective natural source of isoflavone molecules and appears most appropriate for menopause and/or asthmatic conditions.
Pure isoflavones of 40 to 80 mg, or the brand name Promensil, standardized to 8% isoflavones per 500mg capsule, or 5 grams dried are the general benchmarks we see in the studies)
#8 Black Seed Oil
Black seed oil, or black cumin oil, Nigella Sativa, one of the world’s oldest South Asian medical plants, earns the affectionate label, “the cure for all diseases except for death.”
Lacking previous scientific support, it is being used successfully in the opioid community to assist in recovery, and as well is in use both anecdotally and now in human studies raising acetylcholine, GABA, and serotonin levels.
We attribute black seed oils strong anti-anxiety actions because of its high amounts of the phytochemical compound thymoquinone.
Some suggest 1.5 grams per day, however, this remains unclear. Follow us for updates as they unfold. Black seed oil as well will increase the effects of opioids and even opioid agonist plants, such as Kratom.
Much like black seed oil, (BSO) while we find little science supporting the use of agmatine for anxiety, we expect it to rise on this list as more studies continue to arise.
Agmatine is the metabolite of the amino acid L-arginine.
Unlike arginine, agmatine appears to have profound anti-depressant and anti-anxiety effects through its direct effect on nitric oxide and its indirect effect on serotonin, making it a desirable and arguably the single most underrated supplement.
Agmatine increases eNOS (NOS3), the enzyme regulating blood circulation, while it blocks iNOS (NOS2) and nNOS (NOS1), which can increase inflammation and neurotoxicity.
iNOS is involved with several immune diseases, most notably rheumatoid arthritis, as we believe nNOS to increase neurotoxic glutamate.
Overall, agmatine is not to be ignored as we can all expect to continue to hear about it in the years to come.
(Dosage and Use: 2.5 to 3 grams in divided doses appears to be the range of use. Follow us for future confirmation and updates.)
Purple Passionflower, Lemon Balm, Magnolia Bark, Magnesium, Bacopa Monnieri, Valerian, Inulin, Probiotics: (Lactobacillus and bifidobacterium), Vitamin B3: Niacin and Niacinamide.
5-HTP, Butyric Acid, THC, St. John’s Wort, N-Acetyl-Cysteine (NAC), Sarcosine, Glycine, Blue Lotus, Kanna, Lecithin, Akuamma, Curcumin, Cat’s Claw, Chamomile, Gingko Biloba, Gotu Kola, Kratom, L-Theanine, Lithium Orotate, Omega-3, Fish Oil, Cod Liver Oil, Krill Oil, Algae Oil, Skullcap, Taurine, Tryptophan, Vitamin E, Zinc, Dietary Fiber, L-Phenibut, Collagen, Lysine, L-Proline, L-Glutamine, Chamomile, Saffron, Wood Betony, Camellia Sinesis, Linden Flowers, Dragon Eye Fruit, Reishi Mushroom, Centella Asiatica, D-Serine, Ganoderma Lucidum, Maca, Vitex Agnus-Castus, Yamabushitake, Holy Basil, Iron, Phenylpiracetam, Rhodiola Rosea, Butterbur, Phellodendron, Tianeptine, Fasoracetam.
Best Supplements for Anxiety Conclusions
In lowering anxiety, let’s remember meditation and self-hypnosis have supporting evidence showing notable benefits.
Our diet and getting exercise can play a role.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with different diets, as they are not one-size-fits-all.
Getting the best supplements for anxiety can be helpful, and for the best results, we always want to consider adding the best lifestyle strategies for anxiety.
Some report success with intermittent fasting.
Others are doing well with simple cold showers and far-infrared saunas.
Remember to take a high-quality multi-vitamin and as well cover any nutrient deficiencies, most notably vitamin D, B-vitamins, omega-3s, and magnesium.
Finally, get enough dietary fiber, as this has proven to be transformative for some.
Your Friend in Health