There are a lot of nootropics available on the market. When you think about nootropics, the first thing that probably jumps to mind is improved brainpower. That means different things to different people, but most people typically associate nootropics, or smart drugs, with academic intelligence. They can be used for much more than just boosting scores on a test, though.
- Of course, nootropics are great for improving cognition and memory. This makes them ideal for students who are studying or who want to be able to retain the information they earn in the long-term.
- Nootropics improve working memory, meaning they make it easier for people to absorb information and put it into their long-term memory. They also increase memory recall and some people report spontaneously remembering things that they hadn’t thought about in 10 or 20 years after taking a nootropic.
- Nootropics are great for enhancing comprehension. They can make it easier to use logic and comprehend difficult topics, which makes them good for people who have highly intellectual jobs or who want to be able to easier tackle their schoolwork.
- Nootropics can be used to alleviate depression. They’re not just used as cognitive enhancers - though eliminating depression could be seen as a cognitive enhancement - because some of them have potent effects on mood.
- Some nootropics are great for alleviating anxiety. Anxiety can impact cognition in a lot of ways that people don’t always recognize - it can be a barrier for absorbing information or for functioning well at school, and it can also be an obstacle that prevents people from getting over their depression. Some nootropics are better than prescribed drugs like Wellbutrin, social anxiety sufferers may not want to use prescriptions because of their huge side effects profile.
- Some nootropics are fantastic for improving focus, which can make them viable alternatives for people suffering from ADHD who don’t want to get stuck chained to the pharmaceutical system taking hard drugs like amphetamines.
Today we’re going to look at some of the best nootropics for anxiety. These drugs are available online or at vitamin stores, and they can help you avoid the need to use dangerous or addictive prescriptions like benzodiazepines. I used benzodiazepines for most of my life and, while I always fell back on the excuse of “well I need them,” which I did, there was a part of me that just liked getting high on them. Since beginning to use nootropics in a healthy manner, I’ve stopped taking benzos completely.
100 - 200 mg per day
N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)
Capsules or Powder
200 - 1500 mg per day
Powder or Tablets
300 - 600 mg per day
750 - 1500 mg per day
750 - 1500 mg per day
300 - 500 mg per day
300 mg per day (at 50% bacoside), 700 - 1500 mg (at 10 - 20% of bacoside)
The Best Nootropics for General Anxiety
These nootropics are great for tackling all sorts of anxiety. While they can certainly be useful for social anxiety, there are particular nootropics that stand out for social anxiety and we’ll detail these in the next section. These nootropics are for all-around reduction of anxiety.
L-theanine is a pretty mild anxiolytic, but people who are sensitive to substances can experience some significant benefits from it. I don’t get a whole lot of benefit from l-theanine, but that's because (as I’ve mentioned) I’ve been prescribed heavy-duty anxiety medication for most of my life. Some users think L-theanine social anxiety reduction is noticeable.
It’s important to know that L-theanine is the main difference that people notice such different effects from green tea compared to caffeine, despite them both being caffeinated beverages. L-theanine is mildly relaxing and helps to decrease the jitters. I certainly notice this about L-theanine, even when I include it in my own coffee - plus it tastes pretty good, adding a bit of an umami flavour.
Dosages for l-theanine range massively. Some people report only needing 100 mg to feel anything. Some people also suggest that taking much more than 200 mg won’t increase the effects. I personally wallop the stuff onto a spoon when I take it and usually end up taking between 3 and 5 grams. I haven’t noticed any side effects while taking L-theanine, but it’s important to know that if you’re taking any other amino acid supplements, you have to take them at different times because amino acids are absorbed by the same enzyme and they will compete for each other.
We recommend: L-Theanine from AbsorbYourHealth.com
N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC)
NAC is a very interesting supplement because iti targets a few receptor sets that can have negative impacts on a person’s psychological health. The two main systems that it affects are dopamine and glutamate. Dopamine is important for motivation and happiness, and glutamate is the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter which allows the other neurotransmitters to operate at a healthy level. Without a healthy glutamate system, people can develop serious anxiety problems,irritability, and agitation.
NAC, thus, can be a great help for people suffering from both depression and anxiety. It also converts into glutathione which is a potent antioxidant that’s used by all parts of the body.
The dosage range of NAC varies from person to person, but the low-end is usually around 200mg a day and the high-end is around 1500mg. To start taking n-acetylcysteine for anxiety, I’d say you should use a single small dose of 200mg and see how that makes you feel. If you don’t notice anything, take another 200mg dose or increase the dosage throughout the day.
We recommend: N-Acetyl Cysteine from AbsorbYourHealth.com
Gotu kola is one of my favourite herbs. It’s a potent adaptogen that’s been used in Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years.
Adaptogens are unique substances that help your body respond better to physical and mental stress. One of the most apparent things that this does is reduces anxiety of all types. Gotu kola is also known for promoting memory recall and improving cognition in general.
Gotu kola can be made into a tea or taken in a powdered form, or purchased in capsules. I prefer making a tea because it tastes good. No matter how you take gotu kola, anxiety will quickly diminish.
I don’t usually measure my dosages because I just use the loose leaf and make tea out of a few tablespoons of it. However, most capsules come with about 300 mg of powdered material. Some people take two or three of these a day. Side effects are minimal - I’ve gobbled handfuls of gotu kola before with no adverse effects.
The racetam family are probably the most well-known smart drugs, and they’re usually just used to promote cognition. However, aniracetam stands out among the rest of the racetams because of its ability to fight depression and anxiety.
Aniracetam targets the dopamine D2 and D3 receptors, which allow it to help regulate anxiety. It’s also a good mood booster, and - of course - it helps to improve cognition and memory formation.
Aniracetam doses are fairly high for a racetam. Not as high as piracetam, but higher than most of the newer ones - doses range from about 750 mg to 1500mg. Aniracetam can be taken several times a day, and can be taken later in the day than some of the other racetams because it’s more relaxing than it is stimulating.
Taking aniracetam with choline will improve its effects. However, when using high amounts of choline, anxiety can occur - don't use too much or you’ll waste the benefits of the aniracetam.
We recommend: Aniracetam from AbsorbYourHealth.com
Best Nootropics for Social Anxiety
These are the best supplements for social anxiety. Many of them still provide cognitive benefits.
Some people call phenibut ‘social lubricant,’ and I can attest to this. The first time I used enough phenibut to feel it, I felt like I was floating on a cloud that sped me towards every possible social interaction. On phenibut, social anxiety doesn’t exist. Neither do inhibitions, though.
Unfortunately, phenibut is the most ridiculously addictive substance I’ve ever encountered. Tolerance can triple when you use it for consecutive days, and the withdrawal symptoms can arrive quickly and without mercy. Phenibut withdrawal is akin to benzodiazepine and alcohol withdrawal and can cause seizures and serious delusions.
Phenibut is notorious for having a very specific dosage for each person. Start small, with around 500 mg, and increase your dose by about 100 mg at a time. This can be irritating because phenibut takes hours to kick in, but it’s safer than overdosing.
We recommend: Phenibut from AbsorbYourHealth.com
Ashwagandha is a great supplement for a lot of reasons. It’s another Vedic adaptogen, and helps to regulate stress responses. It also enhances cognition and libido.
When using ashwagandha, social anxiety is minimized to a serious degree. It’s not as obvious as phenibut, because ashwagandha doesn’t get you high - but once you’re in a social situation you’ll recognize its importance.
It can make you sleepy, so combining ashwagandha and caffeine is one of the best ways to experience this plant. Ashwagandha and rhodiola - another potent adaptogen - makes a great combination for long-lasting, angst-free social comfort.
Dosages for ashwagandha can vary - some suggest starting at 500mg. I was taking full teaspoons of the stuff, which apparently isn’t good for me because it reduces cortisol to the point that people can lose their motivation. I felt fine, though.
We recommend: Ashwagandha from AbsorbYourHealth.com
Bacopa is probably the most well-known Vedic nootropic. Another potent adaptogen, Bacopa benefits stand out among many herbal nootropics and, indeed, many plants in general. It can help boost cognition, enhance memory formation and recall, and eliminate anxiety. Bacopa is one of the most versatile herbs I’ve ever encountered, and if you decide to start taking bacopa, anxiety likely won’t be a factor in your life anymore.
Bacopa can be a bit tricky to dose because it’s hard to always know how many bacosides are in the plant matter. Bacosides are the active components that provide the benefits of bacopa.
Most supplementary bacopa comes in around 50% bacosides, so this is the standard that it’s measured against. If you take a supplement with 50% bacosides, it’ll probably come in capsules that are around 300 mg. You can take these a few times a day without seeing any negative effect.
You can also take raw bacopa powder or use the loose leaf to make tea. For raw powder, the dosage will be about the same; loose leaf tea can just be eyeballed.
We recommend: Bacopa Monnieri from AbsorbYourHealth.com
There are lots of nootropics out there, and many of them are great for boosting social skills and removing anxiety. We’ve outlined some of the best cognitive enhancers that specifically target anxiety today.