Supplements for anxiety address the underlying causes of anxiety and do so in an effective, non-addictive fashion.
Unlike prescription meds for anxiety, anxiety supplements are virtually free of side effects. In addition, many provide secondary benefits for the heart, bones, brain, and more.
There are scores of different supplements on the market today claiming to deliver anxiety relief. After many long hours of research, we determined that the following are the best supplements for anxiety of 2023.
1. Nature Made Super B-Complex
Nature Made is a mainstay of the supplement industry. For decades they have produced some of the most effective dietary supplements found anywhere. Their Super B-Complex leverages the power of B vitamins to neutralize feelings of anxiety.
What we like: There is a ton of research verifying the efficacy of B vitamins in relieving anxiety and enhancing mood. Nature Made is a rock-solid producer of high-quality supplements. Put the two together, and you have our #1 choice.
Flaws: The taste is not going to win over a lot of people.
2. NOW Supplements L-Theanine
NOW Supplements L-Theanine elevates serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain, providing non-drowsy relaxation while sharpening the mind. Here they pair it with the B vitamin inositol to ramp up the relaxation.
What we like: L-theanine is an essential amino acid that is well-known for generating those relaxing feelings people get from green tea. Here you get a double shot of L-theanine along with inositol in a vegan capsule that is easy to swallow.
Flaws: Not the cheapest supplements on the market.
3. Solgar Magnesium Citrate
Solgar Magnesium Citrate delivers 420mg of magnesium citrate in each capsule to calm the mind and relax the body. Solgar has been producing high-quality supplements for more than 70 years and has an unassailable record.
What we like: Magnesium is an effective muscle relaxant that has similar effects on the nervous system. After a couple of weeks of Solgar Magnesium Citrate use, you should begin to feel much calmer both mentally and physically.
Flaws: These pills may be too large for those with difficulty swallowing.
4. Gaia Herbs Ashwagandha Root
Ashwagandha has been a staple of Ayurvedic medicine for more than a thousand years. It is well-known and appreciated for its ability to reduce stress, improve mood, and promote restful sleep. Gaia Herbs Ashwagandha is certified organic and vegan.
What we like: The adaptogenic herb ashwagandha has been used for centuries to restore emotional balance and calm frayed nerves. Gaia Ashwagandha is certified organic, free of allergens, and certified vegan.
Flaws: Ashwagandha may interact with medications intended to regulate immune system response.
5. Natrol Melatonin Fast Dissolve Tablets
A lack of melatonin can cause major disruptions to your sleep cycle. That, in turn, can cause you to feel anxious. Natrol Melatonin Fast Dissolve Tablets get right to work filling the melatonin gap and restoring your natural circadian rhythms.
What we like: Natrol Melatonin is a safe and effective relaxant that will have you sleeping better in no time. These capsules are quickly absorbed by the body creating the closest thing you will get to immediate relief in an anxiety supplement.
Flaws: Contains the sweetener xylitol. Must be kept in a cool dry place.
6. Carlyle Valerian Root Capsules
Valerian root has been shown to mimic the effects of melatonin in the brain. This means it can help you get to sleep easier and make you feel more at ease during your waking hours. Carlyle Valerian Root Capsules are pure, potent, and free of food allergens.
What we like: Carlyle Valerian root is potent and pure and free of objectionable ingredients. Take it on a regular basis and you should start sleeping and feeling better.
Flaws: The odor is pretty strong and not particularly pleasant.
7. Sports Research Omega-3 Wild Alaskan Fish Oil
Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial to effective nervous system function. Sports Research Fish Oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Taking it can help reduce anxious feelings caused by compromised neural pathways.
What we like: Omega-3 Fish Oil produces multiple benefits for the nervous system, brain, bones, and more. We appreciate that SR’s Fish Oil is sustainably sourced and produced, that it is virtually free of toxins and that it is remarkably affordable.
Flaws: Contradictory label information suggests it may not be 100% Alaskan fish oil.
8. Garden of Life Probiotics
Prescription drugs seek to overwhelm anxiety symptoms. Vitamins, minerals, amino acids and the like address obvious underlying causes. Probiotics, like these from Garden of Life, address digestive deficiencies that may lead to disruptions in the nervous system.
What we like: Probiotic supplements represent a long-range approach to reducing anxiety. GoL Probiotics gradually restore efficiency to your digestive tract, which leads to more effective digestion, better overall health, and reduced susceptibility to stress.
Flaws: Makes a lot of claims that are virtually impossible to verify or debunk.
9. Source Naturals Serene Science GABA
Amino acids play many roles in the body. One of them, gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, influences neurotransmitters in the brain. A shortage of GABA can cause disruptions in neurotransmission we experience as anxiety.
What we like: GABA helps straighten out the kinks in neural transmission that are often behind anxious feelings. Source Naturals provides a robust dose of 750mg of GABA per capsule, and that is it. No fillers. No artificial anything.
Flaws: GABA seems very much a hit or miss supplement. Works great for some, not at all for others.
10. Doctor’s Best L-Tryptophan
There are decades worth of clinical evidence to support the notion of L-tryptophan as the ultimate ‘chill pill’. Doctor’s Best provides 500mg of tryptophan in easy to swallow capsules that are certified vegan and free of GMOs.
What we like: Doctor’s Best L-Tryptophan is free of common food allergens and superfluous ingredients. You get 500mg of tryptophan per capsule that helps take the edge off of things so you can reset your relationship to the world in a healthier way.
Flaws: L-Tryptophan has quite a few potential side effects including headache, drowsiness, dry mouth, nausea, and more.
Who Needs An Anxiety Supplement?
If you find that anxiety is interfering with your quality of life, you should consider anxiety supplements. If you find yourself lying awake at night worrying about this or that or dreading the future, you should consider anxiety supplements. And if you feel yourself beset with anxiety as a result of recent events, you may well benefit from an anxiety supplement.
One of the many great things about anxiety supplements is that you do not need to make a special trip to the doctor to ask them to prescribe one for you. They are safe and legal and can be purchased online or in scores of brick and mortar retailers. Because of that, there is no need to wait for things to get out of control before you seek help.
So, if you find yourself unusually distressed for whatever reason, keep in mind that there is probably an anxiety supplement that can help you regain emotional equilibrium.
How We Ranked
When it comes to anxiety supplements, there is only one way to discern their effectiveness, and that is this: do they work for the people that use them? As such, job one when formulating our rankings was to sift through literally thousands of user reviews to try and arrive at a consensus about each type of anxiety supplement until we had a couple of dozen contenders.
We sought to include a variety of different supplement types for our ranking, because what works for one person may not work for another. Among the various supplement types (magnesium, B-vitamins, tryptophan, etc.), there was also the issue of which brand was generally considered more reliable and effective.
Beyond that came other considerations including possible drug interactions, the size of the capsule or tablet (and how easy they were to swallow), and whether a particular substance was more likely to produce side effects than others. In addition, we took off points if a supplement included food allergens, artificial ingredients, or genetically modified ingredients. Since most anxiety supplements hover in the same basic price range, cost was not a major consideration.
Q: Why should I take a supplement for anxiety?
A: The main reason to take an anxiety supplement is to feel better, sleep better and enjoy a higher quality of life. Anxiety supplements are an affordable, effective way to address the everyday stress that often causes sleeplessness and compromised physical and mental performance. Anxiety also tends to undermine our personal and social relationships in ways we are not always aware of (1).
Q: Do anxiety supplements work?
A: They do. But their effect is often cumulative. Prescription anxiety meds like Valium produce an almost immediate effect, which is one reason they are so popular. However, the effect is short-lived, and it is not long before you need another pill. With many anxiety supplements, it may take a week or more to start feeling the benefits. But once they kick in you simply continue to take the supplement as directed to sustain the beneficial effects.
Q: Are supplements for anxiety safe?
A: Health professionals consider anxiety supplements to be generally safe and effective for the vast majority of people. It is possible that some folks, particularly those being treated for specific conditions such as depression or high blood pressure, may want to avoid these supplements until they discuss the matter with their doctor.
Q: Do supplements for anxiety interact with medications?
A: Some supplements may have mild interactions with certain types of medication. For instance, ashwagandha may increase immune system activity which could interfere with certain drugs intended to suppress autoimmune function (2). Other supplements that produce a relaxed, drowsy effect may multiply the effects of sedatives and produce an exaggerated sense of drowsiness that could interfere with activities like driving.
Q: Do I need a prescription for anxiety supplements?
A: No, you do not need a prescription for anxiety supplements. They are freely available online, in most health food stores, in many supermarkets, and over the counter in many drug stores.
Q: What is the best supplement for anxiety?
A: The best anxiety supplement for one person may not be the best anxiety supplement for someone else. Fortunately, anxiety supplements are very affordable, so you can try different ones without breaking your bank. Keep in mind that the effects of anxiety supplements are often cumulative, meaning you should not give up if you do not see instantaneous results. Give it a few weeks before deciding if a supplement works or not.
Q: Are anxiety supplements regulated by the FDA?
A: No, anxiety supplements are not subject to FDA regulation. But the FDA still plays a role in ensuring you are getting a safe product. They have formulated a series of guidelines they call ‘Good Manufacturing Practices’ (3) that supplement makers in the US need to adhere to. They also keep a close eye on the marketing of supplements. If they suspect dishonest or openly fraudulent marketing, they will recall the product in question.
Q: Can a person overdose on anxiety supplements?
A: The amount of vitamin B or ashwagandha or omega-3 fatty acids you would have to consume to produce seriously adverse effects is astronomical. Also, while it is theoretically possible you could consume enough to overdose, it would not be an overdose like you are probably imagining. Instead, it might manifest as severe diarrhea, strong intestinal cramps, nausea and vomiting, and perhaps dizziness.
Q: Do supplements for anxiety create drug interactions?
A: Some anxiety supplements may affect serotonin or dopamine (4) levels in the brain. If you are being treated for depression, you should discuss it with your doctor before taking such a supplement. Other anxiety supplements may reduce blood pressure. So if you are already taking blood pressure meds, you should avoid taking any anxiety supplement that affects blood pressure before discussing it with your doctor.
Q: Are supplements for anxiety addictive?
A: No. Unlike prescription anxiety medications, anxiety supplements pose no threat of addiction. Most provide a combination of vitamins, minerals, herbs, and other compounds such as amino acids that address the cause of the anxiety, rather than simply masking over the symptoms the way prescription medications often do.
Q: Can I drive while taking supplements for anxiety?
A: This is a good question, because anxiety supplements that include tryptophan enhance the production of serotonin and cause drowsiness. By itself, the level of drowsiness produced by these supplements is not usually worrisome. However, if you are also taking prescription drugs that cause drowsiness, the effect may be amplified by tryptophan. If you have any doubts, avoid taking such supplements until you discuss it with your doctor.
Q: Do anxiety supplements cure anxiety?
A: There is quite a lot of debate about whether or not anxiety disorders can be cured at all (5). The issue is further clouded by the fact that a certain amount of anxiety in certain situations is absolutely normal. Essentially, it all comes down to the source of the anxiety. If your anxiety is caused by a lifestyle choice or a nutritional shortfall of some kind (say a lack of B vitamins), then you may be able to obtain permanent relief from an anxiety supplement.
Q: Do supplements for anxiety help with depression?
A: Many mental health professionals believe there to be a connection between serotonin levels in the brain and depression (6). And more than a few clinical studies have been conducted that support that hypothesis. As such, anxiety supplements that contain serotonin may well be able to alleviate symptoms of depression to some degree. Keep in mind that there are no guarantees, and you should discuss the matter with your doctor.
Q: Are supplements for anxiety expensive?
A: Not at all. Most anxiety supplements wind up costing just pennies per day. Contrast that to some common prescription medications used to treat anxiety that can cost $5 per pill or more.
Q: Do anxiety supplements contain food allergens?
A: The overwhelming majority of supplement makers today are mindful of food allergens and how they can undermine the effectiveness of their products. As such, most are rigorous when it comes to making sure no common food allergens make it into their products. Most anxiety supplements will be free of gluten, yeast, dairy, and other potentially problematic ingredients. Just be sure to read the label anyway.
Q: Will I suffer withdrawal symptoms if I stop taking anxiety supplements?
A: No, you will not suffer withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking anxiety supplements. There are no opioids (7) in these supplements, and no other potentially addictive substances that could cause withdrawal symptoms. That said, you will likely see a return of your anxiety if you decide to stop taking a supplement that had been working for you. So make sure you give it proper thought before deciding to stop.
Q: Can supplements for anxiety cause me to fail a drug test?
A: The standard 5-panel drug test looks for cocaine, opiates, marijuana, PCP, and amphetamines. You will not find any of those things in an anxiety supplement. Some people worry that anything that releases serotonin or dopamine must show up on a drug test. But that is not the case. L-theanine is not the same as morphine or codeine and will not cause a positive result on a drug test.
Q: Do supplements for anxiety have any side effects?
A: While it is possible that some anxiety supplements may interact with certain prescription drugs, the supplements by themselves are virtually free of side effects. They contain herbs, vitamins, minerals like magnesium, essential amino acids, and other things that are known to be beneficial to the body. So unless you have a specific health issue that may be affected by these ingredients, there is little need to worry about side effects.
Q: Can I take supplements for anxiety with me when I travel?
A: The TSA in the US has no set restrictions on supplements (8). They are allowed in both carry-on and checked baggage. They do, however, leave the final decision up to the individual TSA officer. As such, it is always a good idea to bring a new bottle with an unbroken seal as that can dispel any suspicions that the contents may have been tampered with in some way.
Q: How will I know if I no longer need supplements for anxiety?
A: The only way to know for sure is to stop taking them and see what happens. It will likely take at least a few days before some substances are completely out of your system and you can make an accurate assessment. But there is no need to worry. If you find the anxiety returning, there is no reason why you cannot go back to taking the supplements again.
Supplements for anxiety are an affordable, effective way to obtain relief from low-level stress or nutritionally induced anxiety. They are safe, non-addictive, have few side effects, and can provide a wealth of secondary benefits.
Millions of people worldwide rely on anxiety supplements to help them get to sleep, deal with work-related stress and strain, and enhance the quality of their personal relationships. Anxiety supplements can also enable more effective workouts, reduce the risk of heart disease, and even improve your sex drive and performance.
The above-listed supplements are proven effective and safe. They each take a slightly different path to anxiety relief, so you are bound to find one that works for you. Use the above information to make an informed decision.
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