There’s a new circle of people forming around digital existentialism. Even as we speak, intellectually fluid college students, modern-day academics, protean entrepreneurs and Silicon Valley moguls are teaming up in order to find the ultimate smart drug.
The sci-fi future is finally here, brain-rewiring techniques are everywhere around us, and if times were any different, some would say we’re playing God.
If our credo could be described in two words, “mind” and “stimulation” would be the main contenders.
As our cerebral efforts continue a millennia-long search for superhuman abilities, new revelations are taking their toll. We’ve grown smarter, that’s for sure, but at what cost? On account of improved cognition, memory, and knowledge, the human race is more anxious than ever.
Now, we could easily replace “mind” and “stimulation” for “mental disorders” and “brain enhancers”.
Though the ultimate smart drug might not have been discovered yet, certain compounds (naturally occurring and man-made alike) are doing a pretty good job of stimulating cognition and memory, protecting the brain, and decreasing social and generalized anxiety disorder.
Thinking minds named them nootropics – be they racetams, stimulants, or nutraceuticals, these smart substances might be your best shot at life without inner turmoil.
- 1 How do Nootropics for Anxiety work?
- 2 Nootropics for Anxiety
- 3 How to Know Which One to Choose?
- 4 Where to Buy?
- 5 How to Stack and Dose?
How do Nootropics for Anxiety work?
Nootropics are classified as supplements, but they differ from most mind enhancers in one simple point. While both boost cognition, improve focus, and hone memory, only nootropics protect the brain from physical and chemical assaults.
At the same time, this is the only mutual effect that different types of nootropics share. Since there are numerous ways in which they communicate with the brain, “how they work” is a pretty complicated question. A complete answer would require a scientific expose, at the very least.
Here’s the simple version: all nootropics impact the brain in a positive way by changing the supply of various enzymes, hormones, or neurotransmitters. In case of a deficiency, they act as boosters; if the brain is saturated, hyped, or overstimulated, they serve as tranquilizers.
Nootropics for Anxiety
Some forms of anxiety are triggered by life experiences and other external factors, and thus require a behavioural intervention and counselling. But, anxiety is also caused by low neurotransmitter levels – but it’s hard to say which ones. The biochemistry of anxiety is as complex as the brain itself, with almost every type of neurotransmitter playing some role in how we deal with everyday thoughts and worries.
Dopamine, for instance, also known as the happiness hormone, provenly contributes to anxiety levels. Other mood stabilizers, such as endorphins, have impact on our emotions too. Then, there are epinephrine (adrenaline and energy hormone), GABA (the downer neurotransmitter), thyroid hormone (responsible for regulating the metabolism), and serotonin (another “happy” neurotransmitter, present in chocolate). Needless to say, they are not the only reasons for anxiety.
Depending on a specific neurotransmitter, hormone, or enzyme that a nootropic interacts with on a biochemical level, the anti-anxiety effects of these substances can range from stabilized or improved mood and general relaxation to a powerful calming response, tranquillity, or even strong sedation.
Nearly all nootropics with an “adaptogen” label count as anti-anxiety drugs, also called anxiolytics
How to Know Which One to Choose?
Since externally-induced anxiety affects the brain’s biochemistry, and vice versa, your condition can be successfully treated with nootropics in both cases. Are there any guarantees? Well, no. The problems is, with so many nootropics to choose from, you can easily end up picking the wrong one.
In that case, the only fallout will be no fallout at all. Nootropics are perfectly safe, which means that picking the wrong one won’t do you any harm, but it will cost you one big disappointment and around 50 bucks (give or take). But, if you choose an anti-anxiety nootropic, the results will vary only slightly.
Nearly all nootropics with an “adaptogen” label count as anti-anxiety drugs, also called anxiolytics.
To make sure that you’ll be making the absolute best pick, pay a visit to a medical professional first. An expert will run an anxiety test, and determine the specific cause of your chronic nervousness. Ask about biochemical factors, neurotransmitters, and hormones, and you’ll know exactly what you need.
These are the best nootropics for anxiety, used for disorders with a different intensity and triggers.
The only proper way to introduce L-theanine as an anti-anxiety nootropic is through its most natural state, the green Chinese tea. The leaves, plucked from a plant called Camellia sinensis, are used for making white tea as well, while L-theanine can also be found in an edible mushroom Boletus badius.
A unique calming effect that regular tea drinkers are well-familiar with is thus completely the same as the anti-anxiety effect of this nootropic. General relaxation is combined with sharpened focus, resulting in improved mood and better quality of sleep. In all its forms, L-theanine sparks optimism.
If you always feel a bit on edge just take some Ashwagandha and see how stressed you are afterwards. Not only does this herb, whose name translates to “The Smell of a Horse”, prevent anxiety in an all-natural way, but it also makes you physically stronger. It boost immunity too, all thanks to reduced levels of cortisol.
What’s brilliant about Ashwagandha – besides the fact that it successfully attacks cancer cells – is that it serves as both an adaptogen with a calming presence and an energizer that lowers fatigue. As such, it can be used for treating anxiety and depression at the same time. It’s often stacked with phenibut.
Never in the history of botanics has another mushroom had a name as powerful and vivid as Lion’s Mane. It belongs to the Chinese herbal lore, and it’s been used for thousands of years as both a smart drug and a mood enhancer. As for anxiety, its calming effects have been scientifically proven in studies.
Bacopa Monnieri looks like a daisy, but is both delicate and strong at the same time. Even though the plant itself comes from Indian fields, many other cultures have been using it as a stress reliever for centuries. Bacopa’s main superpower was linked to cognitive abilities and memory enhancement.
Either by controlling the levels of dopamine and serotonin, or by fighting nerve damage and inflammation, Bacopa Monnieri makes a loyal ally to those struggling with everyday stress. Like Lion’s Mane, it manages both anxiety and depression, uprooting virtually all common symptoms of stress.
For one reason or another, some nootropics are simply less popular than others. Inositol is definitely among these, even though its potent effects successfully treat everything from nerve pain, high cholesterol and psoriasis, to schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety.
A popular multi-faceted supplement, aniracetam promotes healthy memory formation and supports overall good mood. It also binds to dopamine and serotonin receptors, inhibits the breakdown of both, and thus restores their optimum levels. I don’t know about you, but it’s exactly what I need right now.
Together with aniracetam and fasoracetam, this nootropic forms a family called racetams. Cognitive reinforcement is what they do best – their positive effect on memory has been successfully tested on rats, resulting in all three being the favourite choice of students and elderly people alike.
Coluracetam is useful in generalized anxiety disorder treatments too, just as well as in cases of depression and recurring panic attacks. Unlike other members of this family, however, this nootropic is less known and studied. Given its benefits, we all hope that this will change for the better very soon.
Another member of the racetam family, fasoracetam, was only recently discovered. Though it’s already being used by many, especially for its potential to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, vascular dementia, and generalized anxiety, fasoracetam is yet to be studied.
Tianeptine belongs to the same category as inositol, at least when it comes to their inexplicable lack of popularity. This nootropic has been both researched and proven successful, with many cases of depressive disorders and anxiety being effectively eliminated thanks to its antidepressant properties.
A box of Tenoten counts around 50 pills, and is often wonderfully bright and colourful. The same can be said about its effect on overall mood, given the fact that this nootropic aims to solve little but anxiety and stress. While some find it useful, others are contributing Tenoten’s power to placebo.
Be as it may, this homeopathic drug is supposed to regulate stress-limiting systems and manage GABA levels. Besides anxiety and irritability, Tenoten is said to ameliorate stress-induced disorders with increased tensions, neurotic and neurosis-like disorders, and a solid range of psychosomatic diseases.
Coming from South Pacific islands, kava root has been used in folk medicine for centuries. In languages of some cultures, the name of this well-known nootropic evokes coffee, but its effects are actually exactly the opposite. Kava is brilliant for stress-related issues like insomnia, restlessness, and anxiety.
Being an all-natural supplement, kava is often stacked with a man-made nootropic, primarily picamilon. Developed in Soviet Russia circa 1970, it’s been synthesized to boost brain function, improve memory, encourage productivity, and of course, lower the mental pressure that comes with more brainwork.
Because it increases cognitive abilities while decreasing stress and anxiety, picamilon has become one of the most sought-after nootropics. It’s potent, inexpensive, and available almost everywhere. And, being a GABA miracle worker that it is, picamilon sure seems like an infallible anti-anxiety choice.
From China to Scandinavia, the “golden root” of Rhodiola Rosea has already travelled many paths before it was finally made available to general public. Two of its main compounds, salidroside and rosavin, complement each other’s anxiolytic properties by inhibiting the synthesis of MAOA and MOAB and consequently preventing degradation of “happy” epinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine.
The results of 2012 study have confirmed both the safety and the effectiveness of Rhodiola Rosea – after only 3 days of observation, all participants showed relevant improvements in terms of stress and anxiety. On top of that, the benefits of this nootropic also include cognitive enhancement, muscle recovery, and stronger immunity. If you are a binge eater, Rhodiola Rosea can help you with that too.
Aniracetam and phenibut are the only nootropics with scientifically proven effects on social anxiety. Though less known, and not as widely used, phenibut improves the quality of social interactions and restores healthy sleep patterns. In terms of chemical effects, it mimics the behaviour of neurotransmitter GABA, thus boosting mental ability, improving neurological functions, and lifting the overall mood.
While phenibut simulates GABA, sulbutiamine acts in lieu of the vitamin B1. Japanese developed it in hope of reversing the effects of B1 deficiency, but it’s today used for treating various symptoms of stress, including fatigue, chronic nervousness, and insomnia. It’s similar to thiamine, only much better.
Nootropics can be found everywhere around, but that doesn’t mean you should buy them without any research. Be they nature-based and fully-organic or manmade and processed, these supplements guarantee positive effects on health only as long as they are purchased from a trustworthy vendor.
When buying nootropics, price should be the least of your concerns.
Long before modern-day nootropics, ancient medicine men used to blend, stir and mix various plants and herbs together for the enhanced effect.
Bargain supplements may trick you into ordering something that’s not only ineffective, but potentially dangerous for your health as well. Compare prices from different vendors if you must, but never opt for the cheapest one before you’re one hundred percent sure that it provides high quality products.
If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to find what you need in a local health food store. If not, you’ll have to dig deep into internet forums, and research what actual users are saying about a certain product. Stay focused on quality control, and steer clear from any vendor with negative consumer feedback.
To avoid shady business, order from Amazon. All trustworthy vendors are there, the offer is great and diverse, each product is described in detail, and both ingredient lists and user reviews are made transparent. Whatever you choose, don’t make hasty decisions.
At the end of the day, your health should come first.
How to Stack and Dose?
Long before modern-day nootropics, ancient medicine men used to blend, stir and mix various plants and herbs together for the enhanced effect. Today’s experts do it too, and call this wonderful practice stacking. In fact, most nootropic supplements available on the market are being sold as blends of two or more compounds, but you can always buy them individually and combine them however you like.
Not all nootropics stack well with other supplements, though.
Another indicator of a trustworthy vendor is that it provides this kind of info on each product page.
As for the aforementioned anxiolytic nootropics, we can say that L-theanine stacks well with caffeine, 5-HTP, and green tea extract, while Ashwagandha’s effects can be enhanced with aniracetam or phenibut. Lion’s Mane is more powerful when combined with Ashwagandha or Bacopa Monnieri, which can be stacked with phenibut and aniracetam. Rhodiola Rosea is great with Ashwagandha too.
In case you cannot find which nootropics stack well with your initial pick (which is highly unlikely), don’t play the medicine man until you discuss it with a medical professional. Properly stacked nootropics tend to deliver a more potent and longer-lasting effect, but stacking is not a DIY practice.
The same can be said about the way you take your anti-anxiety nootropic.
Information on dosage should not only be clearly stated on the product page, but should also be included into the product packaging. Naturally, they depend on type, potency, and form of a supplement – the right dose of Ashwagandha, for instance, ranges from 50 mg once a day to 1250 mg several times per day, while Lion’s Mane can be taken in daily doses in between 500mg and 3 grams!
The rule of thumb here is to start small and observe how your body responds.
If it doesn’t work, continue increasing the dose until you reach the recommended daily maximum.
Anything more than that unfortunately means that you haven’t made the best possible pick.
Since nearly every type of anxiety can be successfully treated with drugs, why not choose the most natural solution? Whether you need to unwind and relax or to uproot more severe anxiety symptoms, anxiolytic nootropics will help you out. They’ll protect your brain, repair what’s been broken, and make you strong, healthy, and stress-free for months to come.