Nootropics, or smart drugs, have changed the world of supplements. There are a wide variety of nootropics, but the common thread running among this class of substances is that they have a significant effect on improving mental functioning.
Find the Best Nootropic for Depression
recommended for you: NSI-189
We have tested several nootropics that boost mood and help treat depression.
Our top-pick is NSI-189 by xNootropics
This could mean any of a number of things.
- Some nootropics are fantastic for improving focus. They can help people suffering from ADHD or similar conditions without the need to resort to using pharmaceuticals, which often come with a wide range of unwanted side effects.
- Many nootropics are marketed for the purpose of improving memory. They can improve working memory, short-term memory, and long-term memory recall, which are all ideal for people who work very mentally strenuos jobs or for students.
- Some nootropics are good for alleviating anxiety (according to this study). These differ from doctor-prescribed anxiolytics because they don’t just numb the anxiety, but they expand the mind in a way that allows people to work through the anxiety on their own.
- There are nootropics that are used to enhance overall cognition and comprehension. These are very useful for people who work didfficult jobs or for people who are studying very complex topics. This also makes it easier for people to explain things and enhances verbal fluidity.
- Some nootropics are great for helping people work through depression (study here).
Today we’re going to be looking at the best nootropics for helping people overcome depression. There are a wide range of symptoms caused by depression, and thus its important to understand what the best mood booster supplements would be to help you manage your depression.
For example, a depression that’s caused by an imbalance of dopamine (one of the primary neurotransmitters responsible for mood and motivation) can’t be helped by a nootropic that helps to manage serotonin.
Sometimes anxiety can also be a huge contributing factor for depression. Fortunately, a fair few nootropics target not just depression, but anxiety as well. Sometimes anxiety prevents people from being able to cope with their depression, so we’ll outline some of these mood lifting supplements as well.
nootropic (click for more info)
100 - 200 mg per day
500-1000 mg per day
50 - 250 mg per day
Capsules or Powder
20 mg per day
Capsules or Powder
200 - 1500 mg per day
750 - 1500 mg per day
300 mg per day (at 50% bacoside), 700 - 1500 mg (at 10 - 20% of bacoside)
Before we go any further into this article, I do need to provide a disclaimer.
Please, note that any information in this article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.
Nootropics are not a magic pill that will eliminate symptoms and signs of depression. However, they can enhance your mood and help you fight depression more effectively.
If you feel constantly sad, anxious, or if you're having obsessive thoughts, our advice is to seek help from a mental health professional.
Best Nootropics for Mood
These nootropics excel in the particular area of boosting mood. Some of them have a positive impact on anxiety, but some of them are stimulatory in nature and might actually increase anxiety for those who are sensitive to the problem.
L-tyrosine is an amino acid, but it’s actually quite potent as far as amino acid supplements go. L-tyrosine is one of the precursors to dopamine, meaning your body metabolizes it directly into dopamine.
For those who are familiar with how dopamine works, you probably understand what this implies. Taking L-tyrosine will cause a significant increase in mood, productivity, and motivation. People sensitive to anxiety may also notice an increase in anxiety, but this typically only manifests in higher doses.
L-tyrosine dosages can vary between people, but it’s best to start slow. If you’ve never used the substance before, you should start with as little as 100 mg. Some people end up using 500mg for their doses once or twice a day, and others even use up to 3 grams. However, high doses are known to cause nausea and stomach upset, so it’s important to start slow and figure out your sweet spot.
Uridine is a very unique nootropic and one of my personal favourites. It tackles depression - particularly dopamine related depression - in a very unique manner. Uridine promotes neurogenesis, or the formation of new brain cells, which can lead an individual to improved symptoms of depression.
Uridine is particularly useful for people who have damaged their brains by doing too many stimulants. Doing stimulants, like amphetamines or cocaine, can seriously damage the brain’s dopamine system. It was thought before that it was impossible to repair destroyed neurons, but recent research shows that the brain is fully capable of not only repairing, but building new neurons.
Uridine dosages vary depending on whether you take the stuff sublingually or orally (swallowed). Knowing that you can take it sublingually, you should probably never take it orally, considering the stuff’s not cheap and you can get ten times more out of your uridine if you does it sublingually.
Regular oral doses range between 50-200 mg. If you take the stuff sublingually, you’ll only need between 5 and 10mg. I usually take these doses twice a day, once in the morning and once before bed. I started noticing effects within a week.
Some people swear by 5-HTP, nootropic users and others alike. If you tried L-tyrosine to help your depression and you didn’t experience any benefits, it’s possible that your depression is caused by another neurotransmitter deficiency like serotonin. That’s where 5-HTP comes into play.
5-HTP, or 5-hydroxy-tryptophan, is a precursor of serotonin. Serotonin is responsible for feelings of love, self-confidence, motivation and happiness. Most doctors initially prescribe drugs to treat serotonin when they’re treating depression.
Most 5-HTP supplements come premade with about 100 mg per capsule. This should be enough for most people, and many report that they experience negative side effects if they take much more than this.
For the typical user of noopept, depression might not be the first symptom they think of when considering Noopept benefits. Since Noopept is structurally similar to the -racetam family, it’s known for providing benefits to cognition: it’s great for enhancing memory, verbal fluidity, and comprehension in general.
However, nootropic also helps to stimulate dopamine and serotonin, as well as the nicotinic receptors in the brain. The nicotinic receptors are mostly related to the cholinergic system and help to encourage the nootropic benefits.
Noopept is a highly potent nootropic and works best when taken sublingually. For that reason, people generally only need a tiny bit to feel anything - doses usually range from 3-10 mg sublingually, and they rarely need to exceed 30mg in a day.
Best Nootropics for Anxiety
The nootropics listed below stand out because not only do they treat depression - they treat anxiety as well. This makes them fantastic for people who struggle with anxiety and have to deal with it being a further barrier between them and a happy mindset.
NAC is another interesting amino acid that might help people who are not responsive to L-Tyrosine or 5-HTP. NAC helps to regulate the amount of dopamine in your brain, as well as helping to balance out glutamate. Glutamate is the chief inhibitory neurotransmitter, and your brain uses it to balance out the effects of other neurotransmitters.
If you don’t have enough glutamate, you may experience serious symptoms of anxiety. Since NAC as a nootropic helps to regulate both dopamine and glutamate, this nootropic can be great for helping to alleviate a wide range of symptoms, making it potentially one of the best anxiolytic nootropics around. It’s also metabolized into glutathione, which is an important antioxidant that can help all sorts of bodily functions.
Most of the capsules of NAC that I’ve seen available are made to be around 600 mg, and these are usually enough for most people to feel the effects. If you want to play it safe, you can try taking half a capsule, but MAC isn’t really notorious for causing too many side effects so you should be safe taking a full one.
Aniracetam is one of the more interesting nootropics because it provides benefits beyond those of the typical racetams. While Aniracetam is very effective at enhancing memory and boosting cognition, it’s also known to exhibit fairly significant antidepressant and anxiolytic effects.
Aniracetam works in this manner because it targets the dopamine receptors in the brain. However, unlike many other dopaminergics, Aniracetam actually tends to relax the individual instead of causing anxiety and stimulation. This means it can enhance your mood, provide a boost to motivation and mental health, and also decrease anxiety.
Aniracetam doses tend to start around 750 mg, and often range up to 1500mg. It’s important to find your sweet spot so you can maintain the maximum efficacy without promoting some of the unwanted cholinergic side effects, like brain fog and headaches. These can sometimes be mediated by adding a choline supplement like Alpha-GPC to your stack.
Aniracetam has a pretty short half-life of around two hours. This means that you might want to redose a couple hours after you take your last dose. I try to limit my use of Aniracetam to no more than three times a day.
Bacopa is one of the most potent adaptogens on the market. It’s been used by Ayurvedics for thousands of years and is hailed as one of the best natural anxiolytics and antidepressants. It’s also great for enhancing brain power in general.
An adaptogen is a substance that helps your body respond better to stress, both physical and mental. This means that it puts you in a better mental state overall, and makes it easier for you to overcome depression and anxiety. Bacopa has even been shown to be as effective as benzodiazepines for treating depression, which puts it in league with some of the most potente clinical anxiolytics available. Without the risk of terrible addiction and fatal withdrawals.
The dosage of bacopa varies on a few topics - depending on if you’re getting raw plant matter or a supplement, you’ll need to adjust yoru dosage.
A good supplement will contain at least 50% bacosides - the active components in the plant - and these are usually dosed around 500mg. It’s not always easy to tell how much bacosides are in the raw plant material, and the dosage will vary depending on how old the plant is and how it was harvested.
It's generally safe to say that you’ll need at least 500 mg when taking the raw plant, but it might be smart to start lower if you’re not sure how you’re going to react. Just be prepared to need larger doses.
There are a lot of fantastic nootropics available for anxiety and depression, but some stand out above the rest. The ones we’ve mentioned today work fine on their own for managing depression and anxiety more effectively.
There are a lot more nootropics out there, but they often need to be stacked with one another to provide benefits as significant as any of the one listed here. Good luck managing your depression and anxiety!