Dietary supplements may help reduce anxiety symptoms, but it’s important to know the facts before using them.
Many of us have felt anxious on occasion. But for the millions of people globally living with an anxiety disorder, anxiety occurs more regularly.
From therapy to medication and yoga to meditation, there are many approaches to help reduce anxiety.
Another popular option is dietary supplements.
While there’s still more to be learned about supplements and their role in mental health,
If you’re wondering how supplements may help you curb anxiety, we’ve got you covered. We’ve rounded up 10 of our top choices, including specific products we recommend.
Supplements for anxiety may work, but results can depend on various factors, including:
- how much you take
- other treatments you may be using
- other conditions you have or medications you use
Even though they’re not medications, supplements can be powerful. Science still has more to learn about what dosages are effective (and what may be dangerous), so it’s best to begin with the smallest dose possible.
If you’re already participating in therapy, taking anti-anxiety medications, or receiving other treatment, supplements shouldn’t be used as a replacement remedy.
In these cases, adding supplements as part of your treatment plan may help reduce symptoms further.
Supplements may also interact with certain medications, conditions, and even other supplements. People with psychiatric conditions and those who are pregnant or taking medications should talk with a doctor before adding any supplement to their diet, as there may be risks.
It’s important to talk with a healthcare professional for guidance if you have any questions or want to learn more.
If you want to jump directly to the sections for each supplement, you can click the links below.
We considered several key points when choosing the products listed below, including:
- Brand reputation and standards. Recommended brands are well established and highly regarded.
- Quality ingredients. Recommended brands adhere to strict quality standards, often through third-party certification.
- Customer reviews. Recommended products are overall well-reviewed by customers.
- Research. The anxiety-relieving properties of the active ingredients recommended below are backed up by scientific research.
- Vetting. All products have been vetted to ensure they meet Psych Central’s medical, editorial, and business standards.
Naturally found in green tea leaves, L-theanine is an amino acid that may help ease stress and anxiety. It may also aid in getting a good night’s sleep.
A 2019 review of 9 studies found that taking 200 to 400 milligrams (mg) of L-theanine supplements each day reduced stress and anxiety levels in people exposed to stressful situations.
A small 2019 study supports L-theanine’s effectiveness in soothing stress-related symptoms and its ability to help reduce sleep disturbances.
L-theanine is most commonly available in 200-mg capsules. As with any supplement, it’s best to start with the lowest dose possible when trying L-theanine. It’s vital to speak with a healthcare professional before taking more than 400 mg.
Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb used in India for many centuries. It’s gained widespread popularity in the United States as a supplement in recent years, particularly as a remedy for stress and anxiety.
While research into the benefits of ashwagandha is still fairly new, it does look promising. A small
Because we’re still learning about the benefits of ashwagandha, there’s uncertainty over how much should be taken. It’s best to consult a healthcare professional for guidance on adding this supplement to your diet.
Magnesium is an important and essential mineral that plays a role in almost every function of your body, including muscle function, blood pressure, and how it responds to stress. It supports your metabolism to help your body best use carbohydrates, fats, and amino acids.
Magnesium is generally safe to take. A
The dosage depends on several factors, including
Found in turmeric, curcumin is a polyphenol compound with strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. A
A 2017 review of six studies found curcumin to have great anti-anxiety effects and a positive impact on reducing depression symptoms. While this analysis was small, its results were significant.
A 2017 study involving 123 participants supports these findings, particularly for people living with major depressive disorder. Curcumin has
Saffron may be popular in the culinary world, but it’s also known for its medicinal properties. This brightly colored spice is packed with antioxidants. Saffron supplements may help elevate mood and help you relax.
Recent clinical trials have also shown saffron to be as effective as antidepressant medications in treating depression — but with fewer side effects.
Psych Central has sole editorial control over this article. Potential uses for the products listed here are not health claims made by the manufacturers.
The information in this article is intended to be general in nature. It’s not intended to be a substitute for medical advice from a healthcare professional. Psych Central encourages you to make any treatment decisions with your healthcare professional.
There’s a lot of hype around cannabidiol (CBD), a popular natural remedy derived from the cannabis sativa plant. It has many reported uses, including soothing pain, treating acne, and easing anxiety.
While CBD is generally considered safe, there’s still a lot we don’t know about it. More research is needed on its benefits, safety, and how it may interact with other medications.
Is CBD legal? The 2018 Farm Bill removed hemp from the legal definition of marijuana in the Controlled Substances Act. This made some hemp-derived CBD products with less than 0.3 percent THC federally legal. However, CBD products containing more than 0.3 percent THC still fall under the legal definition of marijuana, making them federally illegal but legal under some state laws. Be sure to check state laws, especially when traveling. Also, keep in mind that the FDA has not approved nonprescription CBD products, and some products may be inaccurately labeled.
Vitamin D is an important nutrient that helps balance mood and keeps your brain healthy. The human body naturally makes vitamin D when it’s exposed to sunlight. We can also get it from certain foods or through supplements.
Research has connected low levels of vitamin D with depression, which suggests that a deficiency may also be tied to other mood disorders, including anxiety. A 2019 study suggests that vitamin D effectively lessens the severity of anxiety disorder symptoms.
The dosage depends on your body’s levels of vitamin D. A doctor can test your vitamin D levels to help you determine what dose is right for you.
Omega-3s are fats with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Your body can’t make omega-3 fats on its own and must get them from food or supplements.
Omega-3 fats seem to be most effective in high doses, as the review notes that significant anti-anxiety effects were seen in studies using at least 2,000 mg of omega-3s each day.
A powerful nutrient, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant in the body. Multiple studies have touted vitamin C’s effectiveness in treating symptoms of anxiety in people of all ages.
How much vitamin C you need depends on your age. You can generally get the recommended amounts through fruits.
Most commonly used for tea, chamomile is best known for its soothing, calming effect.
Plus, a 2016 study found that chamomile may reduce symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder with regular use.
Still, more research is needed on chamomile’s effectiveness and dosing. Because it’s available in various forms — including capsules, oils, and tea — recommended dosages can vary greatly.
It’s best to read the directions on any product carefully and reach out to a healthcare professional with any questions.
A supplement may be all you need to manage anxiety symptoms in some cases. However, if your symptoms are becoming overwhelming or affecting your day-to-day activities or overall quality of life, it may be time to ask for help.
Seeking support from a medical or mental health professional can provide you with tailored treatment options. This can include talk therapy, medication, or other techniques or remedies.
If the products on this list aren’t what you’re looking for, many other options are available.
Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re searching for a high quality supplement:
- reputable brand
- brand transparency
- quality ingredients
- certifications (by third-party organizations)
- positive user reviews
Because the FDA doesn’t regulate dietary supplements to the same degree as medications, searching for high quality products is especially important.
How long does it take for anxiety supplements to have an effect?
How long it takes can vary. No set rule tells us when to expect them to start working.
Some supplements can begin working within 30 to 60 minutes of taking them. Others need to build up over time, taking multiple weeks of regular use to see results.
It may help to read the product label for dosage instructions and information on effectiveness. Consider speaking with a doctor if you have any questions.
Are anxiety supplements safe?
Supplements are generally considered safe, but specific factors can put you at a higher risk of unpleasant or dangerous side effects, including:
- breast- or chestfeeding
- prescription medications
- chronic medical conditions
It’s important to talk with a healthcare professional before adding supplements to your diet, especially if any above applies to you.
Supplements should also not be given to infants or small children without first consulting a doctor.
Will supplements cure my anxiety?
While supplements may help you manage some symptoms, they likely won’t cure your anxiety.
Because anxiety is often a result of an underlying cause — like past experiences or biological factors — it’s best to seek the support of a medical or mental health professional. They can help you address, understand, and learn to successfully manage your anxiety long term.
Can I take herbal supplements along with my prescription medication?
Some supplements can interact with prescription medications and interfere with their effectiveness.
If you’re taking a prescription medication, it’s important to talk with your doctor before starting any supplements to avoid potential risks.
Supplements are just one of the many options available when looking for ways to manage anxiety. They can be a natural alternative or used as part of a broader treatment plan.
While more research is needed, current findings are promising. Studies have shown the effectiveness of supplements in easing anxiety. Popular supplements include magnesium, curcumin, CBD, and vitamin D.
Even though they’re generally considered safe, anxiety supplements are not for everyone. If you’re pregnant, taking medication, or living with a chronic illness, it’s important to consult your treatment team before adding supplements to your care routine to avoid any unwanted side effects.