natural supplements for anxiety and stress

7 Best Nootropics for Anxiety

David Tomen
David Tomen
12 minute read

Key Takeaways

  1. Understanding the root causes of anxiety, often associated with neurotransmitter imbalances, is crucial.
  2. Certain nootropics can be effective in alleviating anxiety symptoms by targeting specific neurotransmitters.
  3. Acetylcholine, dopamine, and GABA are some neurotransmitters related to anxiety, and supplements like Alpha GPC, CDP-Choline, and L-Tyrosine can help modulate their levels.
  4. A trial-and-error approach may be necessary to find the most effective nootropic for individual anxiety relief.
  5. Nootropics offer a natural alternative to traditional anti-anxiety medications, with the potential for fewer side effects​1​.

This post is for you if tried anti-anxiety meds, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, counseling, or psychotherapy. And are looking for a natural nootropic alternative to optimize your brain health.

Or maybe you tried talking to your doctor about how you feel and didn’t get the help you need.

It may be of little comfort, but did you know there is a 77% chance that your anxiety has been misdiagnosed as some physical problem instead?[i]

Because anxiety often manifests as sweating, trembling, nausea, abdominal problems, dizziness, insomnia, heart palpitations, accelerated heart rate, chest pain, shortness of breath, pins and needles, feeling like your losing control and/or feelings of impending doom.

Instead of dealing with the real cause, maybe you were sent down the wrong path. And are still looking for answers.

Nootropic supplements may help if you’re dealing with a genuine anxiety disorder. The kind of anxiety that has you feeling constantly on-edge and an overwhelming sense of dread.

The type of anxiety where you have difficulty concentrating, you’re irritable or restless to the point you’re avoiding family and friends just to numb yourself from feelings of worry and unrelenting doom. Stress hormones gone nuts.

You know, it’s that very type of stress that makes your blood pressure rise from doing too much, or being stretched thin and depression symptoms start to peak through your window and you may even begin to manifest this unresolved energy into panic attacks? Yeah, we’re talking about that kind.

Here you’ll discover the real cause of your anxiety symptoms. And get some help dealing with how you feel. Concrete steps to take that doesn’t include meditation, yoga, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or psychoanalysis.

The Root Cause of Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Something may have happened that triggered the anxiety that has turned your life upside down. But if your feelings of anxiety are hanging on and won’t let go, it’s likely because of the dysfunction of neurochemicals in your brain.[ii]

It could be problems with acetylcholine, dopamine, GABA, glutamate, norepinephrine, or serotonin.

But the challenge is figuring out which neurotransmitter is causing the problem. And why drugs like benzodiazepines, SSRIs, SNRIs, TCAs, and MAOIs are often prescribed for treating anxiety.

How to Find the Root Cause of Your Anxiety Symptoms

A sign of emotion categories that bring on social anxiety disorder.If you have been using an anti-anxiety drug and experienced some relief in your symptoms, you have a head-start.

Because now you have a clue what could be causing your problem. And it may be easier for you to decide which nootropics to try to help you get better and improve cognitive functioning.

First, become familiar with the mechanism of action (or pharmacology) of the med you are using. is a good resource for this information.

Simply do a search of Wikipedia for your drug’s generic name. And scroll down to the section “Pharmacology”. Sometimes called the “mechanism of action”.

Once you understand how the drug works in your brain. And which neurotransmitter system it affects. Scroll down the list of nootropic supplements below.

And choose one of the anti anxiety nootropics that has a similar mechanism of action to the drug you were using. Then follow the dosage recommendations for that supplement and try it to see if you feel any anxiety relief.

Typical signs of relief can include positive cognitive performance like reduced brain fog and mental fatigue, less emotional stress, and lowered blood pressure.

But if you’ve never tried using a pharmaceutical to treat your anxiety, or have used one that didn’t work, you’ll need to try each nootropic separately.

And by trial and error you’ll work your way down to find the neurotransmitter system that is causing your anxiety and mental disorders.

Start at the beginning of the list below and try the first nootropic for 1 or 2 days. And see how you feel. If you experience relief from your anxiety symptoms and improved mental health, success!

Now you know which neurotransmitter to work with. You can continue using that nootropic as recommended. And look for other natural nootropic adaptogens that work on the same system.

But if the first nootropic you try doesn’t provide any comfort for lowering your anxiety, put it aside. And try the next one for a couple of days again following dosage recommendations.

Go through the list one-by-one until you find a nootropic that helps you and relieves at least some of your anxiety symptoms.

Some of the nootropics on the list below are precursors. Which means it provides the chemical or molecule needed to make a specific neurotransmitter.

And others are adaptogens that affect a specific neurotransmitter system. Usually by modulating how that brain chemical works in your brain and improving cognitive function.

Let’s get started …

best anxiety supplements 2023Neurotransmitter imbalances


Acetylcholine plays a critical role in learning and memory. And acetylcholine levels are modulated by levels of stress in several regions of your brain.

Acetylcholine levels decline as you get older. You need choline for the production of acetylcholine. Not eating enough foods high in choline can also result in insufficient acetylcholine.

In fact, choline is so vital to cognition and nerve function that, without it, we couldn’t move, think, sleep or remember anything.

Studies show that acetylcholine signaling in your hippocampus regulates social stress resilience and anxiety.[iii]

You can increase acetylcholine levels in your brain using either Alpha GPC or CDP-Choline (Citicoline).

Alpha GPC

natural remedies for anxietyAlpha GPC is a precursor to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Alpha GPC naturally occurs in your brain as a byproduct of phosphatidylcholine (PC).

When your brain needs more choline, and the choline floating around in your brain is running low, it breaks down PC from cell membranes. And turns it into Alpha GPC.

Alpha GPC, acetyl L-carnitine (ALCAR), and phosphatidylserine (PS) provide mitochondrial support and conserve growth factor receptors.

DHA (Omega-3) combines with Alpha GPC and PS to form brain cell membranes critical for neuron generation and regeneration.[iv]

Recommended dosage of Alpha GPC is 300 mg 3-times per day.

CDP-Choline (Citicoline)

CDP-Choline is a type of choline that is present in every cell in your body.

Taken as a supplement, it’s then converted to cytidine and choline in your gut. Once it crosses the blood-brain barrier it’s converted back to CDP-Choline.[v] The choline then assists cell membranes and helps create acetylcholine.

CDP-Choline is involved in memory and cognitive functions. And provides energy for the brain to conduct sustained mental effort.

Recommended CDP-Choline dosage is 250 – 500 mg per day.


L-Tyrosine taken as a nootropic supplement converts into the neurotransmitter dopamine.

A girl giving a thumbs up because she elevated her mood by boosting DopamineDopamine helps control movement in your body, is fundamental to memory, attention and problem solving.

The unused dopamine can then convert into the catecholamine neurotransmitters norepinephrine (noradrenaline) and epinephrine (adrenaline).

Norepinephrine is important for attentiveness, emotions, sleeping, dreaming, and learning.

Epinephrine drives your ‘flight-or-flight’ response. It’s what prompts your reaction to dangerous circumstances, emergency situations, or in stressful situations or environments.

Sleep deprivation and extreme stressors like heat and cold can deplete catecholamine levels. L-Tyrosine restores them to preserve optimal cognition and reduce anxiety.[vi]

Recommended dosage of L-Tyrosine is 500 mg 2 or 3-times per day.


GABA (Gamma-amino butyric acid) is the most abundant inhibitory neurotransmitter in your brain. And known to counterbalance the action of the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate.

GABA has long been recognized as the main regulator of anxiety. And the GABA neurotransmitter system is the main target of benzodiazepines and other anxiety related drugs used to treat anxiety disorders.[vii]

When GABA is taken as a nootropic supplement, and contrary to what you may have read elsewhere, crosses your blood-brain barrier, it binds with the GABAA receptor protein complex, and acts as an agonist: inducing changes in which the permeability of the central pore to chloride ions gets increased.

The resulting chloride flux hyperpolarizes the neuron, leading to a reduction in its excitability. And producing a general inhibitory effect on neuronal activity.[viii]

Recommended dosage of GABA is 250 – 500 mg per day


L-glutamine is a ‘conditionally’ essential amino acid and main precursor for the production of glutamate and GABA in your brain.

(NOTE: Don’t confuse glutamine with glutamate!)

Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in your body. And is involved in many of your bodily functions. Including much of the activity in your brain.

A man on a skateboard eliminated his performance anxiety with the help of glutamine.But Glutamate is the main excitatory neurotransmitter in your brain.[ix] And the balance of glutamine and glutamate is critical for optimal brain function.

Glutamate plays various important positive roles in your brain including brain development, learning and memory.

And degenerative roles including stroke, traumatic brain injury, Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s disease, stress response, and anxiety disorders.

Glutamate mainly acts through ion channel receptors including NMDA receptors, AMPA receptors, and G protein-coupled metabotropic receptors (mGluR1-8).

Glutamate is involved in synaptic release of acetylcholine, adenosine, kappa opioid, GABA, and neuropeptides.[x]

Recent research shows that glutamate dysfunction is involved in fear conditioning, OCD, PTSD, anxiety disorder and social phobia.[xi]

Monosodium glutamate (MSG) which is used as a flavor enhancer has been linked to obesity, metabolic syndrome, and neuron toxicity that can lead to cell death causing stroke, epilepsy, schizophrenia, anxiety, depression, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).[xii]

Eliminating your anxiety could be as simple as avoiding all foods containing MSG.

When your neurotransmitters, including L-glutamine and glutamate are in balance, you feel motivated, productive, and energetic. And you feel calm and relaxed during downtime.

When L-glutamine levels are low you feel filled with dread, you’re constantly worried, you have racing thoughts, and you’re frequently late and disorganized.

When you are in this L-glutamine slump is when you’re tempted to resort to high carbohydrate foods, and drugs or alcohol to relax.

Recommended dosage of L-Glutamine is 2 – 5 grams per day.

But remember, glutamine and glutamate must be in balance! If you suspect your glutamate levels are too high, you can get it under control by inhibiting its NMDA and AMPA receptors.

Some antidepressant drugs relieve anxiety by inhibiting NMDA receptors.[xiii]

Try the nootropics including Cat’s Claw[xiv], and L-Theanine[xv]  for inhibiting NMDA receptors. And Noopept[xvi] and many of the racetams[xvii] which inhibit AMPA receptors.

Keeping glutamate under control and helping to reduce anxiety if your condition is caused by glutamate dysfunction.


Serotonin plays a significant role in the development and persistence of anxiety disorders.

vitamins for anxiety and panic attacksSeveral studies show that increases in serotonin increases anxiety. And when serotonin decreases you may experience a reduction in the anxiety that’s associated with OCD or PTSD[xviii].

Too much serotonin and excess serotonin signaling has been implicated in social anxiety disorders.[xix]

If you are experiencing any type of anxiety, you should avoid anything that increases serotonin. Do NOT use nootropics like L-Tryptophan or 5-HTP.

Instead, use nootropics that help modulate serotonin and bring it under control.

Bacopa Monnieri helps modulate serotonin and dopamine which produces an anxiolytic effect. Studies show that Bacopa is as effective as the anti-anxiety drug lorazepam in reducing anxiety.[xx]

Vitamin D3 and Omega-3s (EPA & DHA) helps control serotonin synthesis and action. EPA helps inhibit serotonin release and DHA influences serotonin receptors. While Vitamin D3 deficiency can contribute to anxiety. Supplementing with Omega-3s and Vitamin D3 may help reduce anxiety.[xxi]

Ginkgo Biloba acts as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) which helps boost dopamine in your brain. Increasing dopamine can help lower serotonin levels. The result can be a reduction in anxiety.[xxii]

Rhodiola Rosea is an adaptogen that has been used in traditional medicine for thousands of years. Rhodiola enhances stress tolerance and relieves anxiety by modulating key brain neurotransmitters such as serotonin, norepinephrine and beta-endorphins (opioid neuropeptides).[xxiii]

Anxiety Disorders Eliminated

Nootropics are a viable and potent alternative to many anti-anxiety medications.

But you first need to determine the cause of anxiety in your brain. Use the trial and error method I suggested above and work through the nootropic supplements recommended one-by-one.

If you are not experiencing any results from taking a single nootropic, it may be that a combination of nootropics may be required to get the job done, and once the cross the blood brain barrier, have an effect.

Just remember, that the goal of experimenting is to find what works best for you is so you can determine what gets you the best results for reducing stress, improved mental energy, and reduce anxiety symptoms.

But a very strong word of caution – if you are currently using any prescription anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications. Or any medications for that matter. Research each nootropic including side effects and prescription drug interactions before using them.

You can relieve anxiety and bring on stress relief once-and-for-all with nootropics. If you do your research. And are willing to experiment until you find the one or two that is right for you, and mental clarity will come.

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This post may also contain other affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

[i] Roy-Byrne P.P., Wagner A. “Primary care perspectives on generalized anxiety disorder” The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry 2004;65 Suppl 13:20-6. (source)

[ii] Kaur S., Singh R. “ROLE OF DIFFERENT NEUROTRANSMITTERS IN ANXIETY: A SYSTEMIC REVIEW” International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research Projected Impact Factor (2019): 1.230, CiteScore (2017): 0.27 (source)

[iii] Mineur, Y. S., Obayemi, A., Wigestrand, M. B., Fote, G. M., Calarco, C. A., Li, A. M., & Picciotto, M. R. (2013). “Cholinergic signaling in the hippocampus regulates social stress resilience and anxiety- and depression-like behavior.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 110(9), 3573–3578. (source)

[iv] Kidd P. M. (2005). “Neurodegeneration from mitochondrial insufficiency: nutrients, stem cells, growth factors, and prospects for brain rebuilding using integrative management.” Alternative Medicine Review: a journal of clinical therapeutic, 10(4), 268–293. (source)

[v] Rao A.M., Hatcher J.F., Dempsey R.J. “CDP-choline: neuroprotection in transient forebrain ischemia of gerbils.” Journal of Neuroscience Research 1999 Dec 1;58(5):697-705. (source)

[vi] Hase A., Jung S.E., a het Rot M. “Behavioral and cognitive effects of tyrosine intake in healthy human adults.” Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior. 2015 Jun; 133:1-6. (source)

[vii] Lydiard R. B. (2003). “The role of GABA in anxiety disorders.” The Journal of clinical psychiatry, 64 Suppl 3, 21–27. (source)

[viii] Nutt, D. J., Ballenger, J. C., Sheehan, D., & Wittchen, H. U. (2002). “Generalized anxiety disorder: comorbidity, comparative biology and treatment.” The international journal of neuropsychopharmacology, 5(4), 315–325. (source)

[ix] Meldrum B.S. “Glutamate as a Neurotransmitter in the Brain: Review of Physiology and Pathology” The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 130, Issue 4, April 2000, Pages 1007S–1015S (source)

[x] Roberts-Wolfe, D. J., & Kalivas, P. W. (2015). “Glutamate Transporter GLT-1 as a Therapeutic Target for Substance Use Disorders” CNS & neurological disorders drug targets, 14(6), 745–756. (source)

[xi] Cortese, B. M., & Phan, K. L. (2005). “The role of glutamate in anxiety and related disorders.” CNS spectrums, 10(10), 820–830. (source)

[xii] Marcincakova H., Veronika & Ostatníková, D. (2013). “Monosodium Glutamate Toxic Effects and Their Implications for Human Intake: A Review.” JMED Research. 20135171. 10.5171/2013.608765. (source)

[xiii] Petrie, R. X., Reid, I. C., & Stewart, C. A. (2000). “The N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor, synaptic plasticity, and depressive disorder. A critical review” Pharmacology & therapeutics 87(1), 11–25. (source)

[xiv] Mohamed A.F., Matsumoto K., Tabata K., Takayama H., Kitajima M., Watanabe H. “Effects of Uncaria tomentosa total alkaloid and its components on experimental amnesia in mice: elucidation using the passive avoidance test.” Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology. 2000 Dec;52(12):1553-61. (source)

[xv] Lu M., Gray, Oliver C. “The Neuropharmacology of L-Theanine(N-Ethyl-L-Glutamine)” Journal of Herbal Pharmacotherapy Volume 6, Issue 2, 2006 (source)

[xvi] Gudasheva T.A. et. Al. “The major metabolite of dipeptide piracetam analogue GVS-111 in rat brain and its similarity to endogenous neuropeptide cyclo-L-prolylglycine.” European Journal of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics. 1997 Jul-Sep;22(3):245-52. (source)

[xvii] Isaacson J.S., Nicoll R. A. “Aniracetam reduces glutamate receptor desensitization and slows the decay of fast excitatory synaptic currents in the hippocampus” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in the United States of America vol. 88, pp. 10936-10940, December 1991 (source)

[xviii] Murphy, D. L., Moya, P. R., Fox, M. A., Rubenstein, L. M., Wendland, J. R., & Timpano, K. R. (2013). “Anxiety and affective disorder comorbidity related to serotonin and other neurotransmitter systems: obsessive-compulsive disorder as an example of overlapping clinical and genetic heterogeneity” Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences368(1615), 20120435. (source)

[xix] rick, A., Åhs, F., Engman, J., Jonasson, M., Alaie, I., Björkstrand, J., Frans, Ö., Faria, V., Linnman, C., Appel, L., Wahlstedt, K., Lubberink, M., Fredrikson, M., & Furmark, T. (2015). “Serotonin Synthesis and Reuptake in Social Anxiety Disorder: A Positron Emission Tomography Study” JAMA psychiatry72(8), 794–802. (source)

[xx] Bhattacharya, S. K., & Ghosal, S. (1998). “Anxiolytic activity of a standardized extract of Bacopa monniera: an experimental study” Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy and phytopharmacology5(2), 77–82. (source)

[xxi] Patrick, R. P., & Ames, B. N. (2015). “Vitamin D and the omega-3 fatty acids control serotonin synthesis and action, part 2: relevance for ADHD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and impulsive behavior” FASEB journal: official publication of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology29(6), 2207–2222. (source)

[xxii] Woelk, H., Arnoldt, K. H., Kieser, M., & Hoerr, R. (2007). “Ginkgo biloba special extract EGb 761 in generalized anxiety disorder and adjustment disorder with anxious mood: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial” Journal of psychiatric research41(6), 472–480. (source)

[xxiii] Lishmanov Iu.B., Trifonova Zh.V., Tsibin A.N., Maslova L.V., Dement’eva L.A. “[Plasma beta-endorphin and stress hormones in stress and adaptation].” – in Russian Biull Eksp Biol Med. 1987 Apr;103(4):422-4. (source)

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Join The Discussion - 169 comments

March 3, 2021

Hi David,
Stumbled across your blog and love it!
I have been on an SSRI for 20 years and have come off 2 months ago. I was taking 5HTP and Hardy Nutritional high potency brain supplement during taper and all seemed to be going well for 3-4 weeks. Recently though I have re-developed social anxiety symptoms, headaches, sleep issues (waking every hour or so) and attention/focus/productivity issues to name a few. I am off 5HTP and have tried a few things like L-Tyrosine for focus (which helps a little) and GABA but am still having sleep and anxiety symptoms. Can’t put my finger on it. Would love to know your thoughts.

    David Tomen
    March 4, 2021

    Rob, I hate to say this but you’ll likely be fighting some of these symptoms for a while because of what 20 years of SSRI use did to your brain.

    You need to do some brain repair while you are supporting individual neurotransmitters. SSRIs typically affect serotonin. L-Tryptophan is the safest way to increase serotonin naturally.

    See at least one of my articles for sleep ideas here:

      March 4, 2021

      Hi David, Thank you for your response. Totally agree regarding effects of long term SSRI use. But I have faith in the power of the body to heal if given right assistance. One question. Some of your posts mention that if you have had success with SSRI in treating anxiety then one should avoid 5HTP and L-Tryptophan. I am a little confused. Can you please clarify what research suggests on this. Thank you.

        David Tomen
        March 5, 2021

        Rob, what I said was you cannot use 5-HTP or L-Tryptophan while using SSRIs because it’ll likely result in Serotonin Syndrome.

        March 5, 2021

        Hi David,

        Thank you for clarifying.

        Is the Performance Lab Sleep a good option for L-Tryptophan / Sleep?
        As my sleep is very broken with waking every hour or so.

        Also is the Mind Lab Pro a good overall stacked option for brain repair?
        Will these two work well together and not contra-indicate / clash.

        Again thank you very much.

        David Tomen
        March 6, 2021

        Rob, they’ll definitely work together. The feedback I’ve heard from the community is Performance Lab Sleep benefits grow over time. If its not enough to solve your issues you can add Lemon Balm, GABA, and CBD OIl for sleep.

        And I attribute the brain repair I’ve experienced from years of stimulant use to Mind Lab Pro.

February 27, 2021

Which are best suppliments to eliminate physical symptoms of flight or fight response (adrenaline rushes) caused on non harmful situations ?

    David Tomen
    February 28, 2021

    Leo, these are the best nootropics to help prevent your adrenal gland from producing adrenaline (epinephrine); Panax ginseng, Holy basil, Ashwagandha, Rhodiola Rosea, and Cordycep mushrooms.

    Note however that these are not intended as “instant” fixes. You get the most benefit from these nootropics by using them at recommended dosages and using them daily.

    But you do NOT need ALL of them. Choose the one or two that work best for you.

      March 2, 2021

      Hi and thanks for your answer.
      Are there other Supplements beside Adoptogens which can prevent the adrenal gland to fire epinephrine ?
      I have read through them and it looks like that the most of them are maois and i have read Ashwagandha downregulate gaba.

        David Tomen
        March 3, 2021

        Leo, Ashwagandha supports GABA receptors and actually mimics GABA in your brain. It certainly does the exact opposite of “downregulate GABA”.

        Only other one I can think of is L-Theanine. It suppresses cortisol levels but doesn’t touch norepinephrine.

        March 4, 2021

        Thanks David.
        If i take Ashwagandha every day, some people claimed my body try to balance the “GABA increasing effect” and downregulate Gaba in the end ?
        Are there any other Adoptogens which dont touch anxiety related Neurotransmitter but reduce epinephrine rushes from fight and flight response ?
        Does Gotu Kola aswell decrease epinephrine rushes ?

        David Tomen
        March 5, 2021

        Leo, who are you going to believe? Some blogger somewhere or the science? It simply not true. And I promise not to repeat that.

        I’ve already answered your question on inhibiting epinephrine secretion with nootropic supplements.

        The only neurotransmitter that Gotu Kola touches is acetylcholine. It boosts acetylcholine levels in your brain.

February 23, 2021

David, I currently take Xanax for ano, and to help me sleep. I also have adhd and take adderall, which doesn’t help much with anxiety and sleeping. I want to get off Xanax and I am going to start tapering off, is there anything you recommend to ease the taper and possible rebound anxiety?

February 22, 2021

this is interesting and detailed information that i am hoping will provide the answer to some relief for me.
i have had social anxiety since i was young, although it disappeared during mid teens (went extroverted) then remerged in my 20s. Had it since, iam now 37. was give ssri by doc and took 1 tablet and it blew my mind. severe reaction of agitation, waves of panic over body etc. too scared to continue. I have noticed you have said too much serotonin can cause anxiety, so this would explain that, or do you have thoughts on my reaction? Why do you think docs prescribe ssri for anxiety and why does it work for some?
I am now trying magnesium and holy basil – are they good for controlling serotonin? can see them mentioned here.

    David Tomen
    February 22, 2021

    Louise, excess serotonin can definitely cause that type of reaction.

    SSRIs work for some because they have a problem with serotonin. But over half of those dealing with depression or anxiety do not have a serotonin problem. And it’s caused by something else.

    Most mainstream doctors don’t have a clue and listen only to what the drug reps tell them. The good news is I have a lot of doctors and other medical professionals coming to Nootropics Expert looking for answers how. Because they’re unhappy with what they learned (and didn’t learn) in med school.

    The best way to suppress serotonin is by increasing dopamine. And you do that by using 500 mg L-Tyrosine twice per day.

February 9, 2021

Hi David,

The sources you include with your statements only link back to the original page on anxiety. Is this a mistake? I’d like to see the research. Thanks!

    David Tomen
    February 9, 2021

    Ryan, if you’re talking about the reference links I’ve included in the above article when I click on the Roman numeral is takes me to the REFERENCES section above this comment thread.

      February 17, 2021

      Thanks for the reply, and excellent content! Sorry if I’m missing something–when I click on the roman numerals I am expecting to be directed to a PubMed article or something similar so I can locate the paper you are citing. Am I wrong thinking this? When I click the roman numeral, nothing happens–perhaps its my browser? I don’t see the ‘reference section’ you mention.

        February 17, 2021

        Nevermind! I found the hyperlink at the bottom called “references”. My apologies–my ADD kept me from finding that 😛

        David Tomen
        February 17, 2021

        Ryan, thanks for the heads up. It looks like that plugin is broken. For now you’ll need to do it manually by noting the Roman numeral and then scrolling down to the REFERENCES accordion. Scroll through the clinical studies until you find that matching number. You’ll find a link to the source in there.

        I’ll message my IT guy right now and get this fixed. Much appreciated.

February 8, 2021

Hi David.

Recently from last Friday I started taking Rhodiola once 150mg- 5 drops (wanted to take it slow to see if I reacted negatively to it and 1 NAC 600mg dose. Saturday 150mg than 180mg of Rhodiola and 2x NAC 600mg morning and afternoon. I take Suntheanine with the coffee which has MCT oil and Iodine to avoid the jitters of taking coffee, an hour approximately after NAC, Rhodiola. I feel that with Rhodiola or NAC it was making me feel more anxious and had a mild headache, at least on two occasions. On Sunday I had Rhodiola and over did it with 210mg in the morning with NAC 600mg. I felt more anxious and thinking it was Rhodiola, I decided to leave Rhodiola in the afternoon but take NAC still, and I felt extra anxious and had a mild headache. I attributed it to NAC. I took Rhodiola on Monday and didn’t notice anything particularly concerning. NAC is a really good nootropic and hoped it to be helpful for oxidative stress, depression and OCD. I wasn’t going to risk taking it again but wondered if it was worth the try, if perhaps on a smaller dose I might not get side effects with taking NAC. I have the vegetable capsules and was wondering if it was safe to open the capsules and take out some of the powder and reduce the dosage at a lower amount. I don’t know if I didn’t experience side effects at a lower dose 2-3 times a day, if NAC will still benefit my health or not. I don’t know what to do concerning the safety of this, or whether Taurine is a nootropic I can try instead as you have mentioned they are related and your article says it is good for OCD and may help with depression and anxiety. Would B-Vitamins be what Taurine needs alongside it to be effective? I would really appreciate your help on this. I need to make a decision but not make a rash one, and order a number of things from amazon in one go to save money on postage.

I have been looking into things to see where I may be deficient concerning anxiety. I started taking a probiotic after what I learnt from your article with the anxiety in my stomach and gut health to help that. Stomach is still feeling as if it is bubbling inside, but I believe a probiotic would be doing me more good than not taking it. I thought I was deficient in GABA based on what I read for tinnitus, how GABA or a supplement, specifically L-Theanine can help. It also sounded like I am deficient in Serotonin and when I looked at your article about Choline, surely I must be deficient in this supplement; I eat meat and eggs, but surely you have to eat a lot to get the recommended daily intake.

I read about Dr. Braverman’s Deficiency Test from a post on your website and did it and came up with the results (approximate, some questions have variables and didn’t answer them all):

Dopamine- mild (in the descriptor section there are things in there which is relevant to me, but still may be end of mild to low moderate). I am taking Rhodiola. It sounds like it should really benefit me down the track, even subconsciously if not noticeably. I am waiting on my multi-vitamins from Performance Lab as they are sold out at the moment. I need to get some Magnesium tablets for taking before bed so am deficient in Magnesium.

It came up with the lower end of moderate deficiency Acetylcholine. I am taking DHA. I was thinking of finding a CDP Choline supplement. I know Taurine relates to Acetylcholine, it gets complex and I wonder if I need more than B vitamins in the Multi-vitamin and if I need extra Zinc to use Taurine? It would still be better, from my understanding to take CDP Choline over Taurine if it’s about choline deficiency, so I don’t know if I should forget Taurine or keep it in mind if NAC’s not a good idea.

It came up with a major deficit in GABA. I am taking Suntheanine 150mg x2 and a cup of black tea a day, but just the last week, mostly 2 times a day and tea not every day. I am waiting on receiving my multi-vitamins from Performance Lab as they are sold out at the moment.

Serotonin was moderate (11), but could have thought it would easily be more than that, on the severe end according to the descriptors and tinnitus was interestingly mentioned as well. I am aware that not having a multi-vitamin, only having a small amount of B-complex supplements with small mg and mcg, zinc but no copper, my deficiency levels are worse.

I was thinking of buying Cat’s Claw as well as Rhodiola to have more on the side of alleviating anxiety symptoms, but wanted to see how Rhodiola works out first. I was trying to find in the posts if someone took Cat’s Claw with nootropics I had concerning interactions, but didn’t come up in the Cat’s Claw article or an anxiety article. I am wary of taking nootropics that are the same in some way, do the same things for example, because of something I have read and things can get confusing. It appears I would lack in L-Glutamine also, which Cat’s Claw was suggested.

Going through each and trying to see if I can point out the problem, it seems that I have more than one. I am sorry I have given a lot of information to you. I wanted to ask if you could please help me, to comment and give suggestions for what I have written, to help me declutter and make more sense of things, to help me be in a better position to make informed decisions. Unfortunately I can only buy the bare necessities of nootropics at the moment, for another 6-7 months or so at least. I also don’t want to get Serotonin syndrome or have excess levels of anything, particularly when doing so can be life-threatening and more nootropics, could be more possible interactions with supplements discussed that I am not aware of. I am grateful for your help.

    David Tomen
    February 8, 2021

    Kristen, Dr. Braverman’s test was a good idea and a good place to start. But let’s make it easier for you.

    Each of these neurotransmitters need a precursor molecule along with the B-Vitamins to make that neurotransmitter. For example, L-Tyrosine for dopamine, L-Tryptophan for serotonin, Alpha GPC or CDP-Choline for acetylcholine, and GABA for GABA (duh!).

    For now forget about Rhodiola, Cat’s Claw, NAC, etc. And get back to basics. If you are deficient in GABA (I was too) take 500 – 1,000 mg GABA before bed. Try that for two days and see what happens.

    If all goes well and you want to test dopamine try 500 mg L-Tyrosine in the morning. See what happens. If you feel better then you know you were dopamine deficient. And you start using 500 mg L-Tyrosine twice per day.

    See where I’m going with this? Don’t get confused. Stay with the basics until you start figuring things out. Only then start playing with things like NAC, Rhodiola Rosea, L-Theanine, etc. Because while each of those supplements has an effect on certain neurotransmitters (among other things in your brain), they do NOT make new dopamine, serotonin, GABA, etc.

    Only the precursors do that with the supporting cofactors of vitamins and minerals. The only exception to that is acetylcholine which needs a choline molecule from Alpha GPC or CDP-Choline, ALCAR, and thiamine.

      February 9, 2021

      Hi David,

      Thanks a lot for helping me, you made it much clearer and simple and appreciate your advice and explanations. I will go with the basics as you directed and forget about Rhodiola, etc., for now. I realise I don’t understand properly, even after reading to an extent about them, how these nootropics work (NAC, Rhodiola, etc.).

      From reading your advice, I understand you are advising me to take a precursor molecule for each neurotransmitter one at a time and see how they go.

      I have looked into buying GABA, so that’s all sorted there. I feel anxious of a morning with heart palpitations and can take me a while not to feel sluggish, to feel energised and motivated. The coffee I notice helps with feeling more awake. It sounds like GABA would give a refreshed or calm effect when I wake up in the morning.

      The deficiency test said I was in the lower end of moderate deficiency in Acetylcholine and sounds like I wouldn’t get all the Choline I need from my diet every day, around 290 to 360 to at most 650mg. I think you mentioned them for the purpose of me to try them out, but did you think I should get CDP Choline, Acetyl-L-Carnitine, and B1-Thiamine in addition to the NutriGenesis-vitamin dose? In fact would B-Vitamin levels be depleted, that I would need to find a good B-complex in addition? I would get the above if you thought it a good idea, but would hold onto them and not use them immediately, just getting them in the one transaction. If it was a good idea, would you be able to please advise me on dosages for CDP Choline, extra B1 and ALC.

      The best I could find CDP Choline or Alpha GPC without harmful ingredients and price being okay was Monoherb brand CDP Choline (Citicoline) 300mg, but comes with Omega-3 Fatty Acids 8mg, Alpha-Linolenic Acid 8mg included. I wondered if you thought this was okay. I couldn’t find a suitable Alpha GPC product.

      I appreciate your advice regarding taking L-Tryosine for increasing Dopamine. If this doesn’t make a difference to your advice, that’s fine, just thought to mention it. I am not certain whether I do actually need more Dopamine, if feeling tired, because anxiety drains my energy at times and feeling slow and sleepy sometimes of a morning, would be beneficial. The test gave a minor deficiency reading however and understand a deficit can be a cause of anxiety and can affect my mood. Do you think it is still worth trying L-Tryosine to see if I am deficient, what I said may have made no difference. If so, is the second dose early afternoon? I know that Dopamine and Serotonin need to be in balance, so would I need to end up taking a supplement to boost Serotonin to keep them in balance? I don’t know how to go about balancing dopamine and serotonin and the ratio for L-Tryosine and L-Tryptophan. I appreciate your advice on this.

      My thinking is after trying the GABA supplement as Serotonin deficiency levels showed to be moderate and Dopamine low, and I can see some symptoms which relate to not having enough Serotonin, I was wondering about if I could work to increase Serotonin second after trying GABA, or if it’s important I try L-Tryosine after GABA in that particular order. Coming across safety warnings about L- Tryptophan prior to your post, I was concerned to not take it, yet when I read what it does and the side effects on the article on the website I didn’t feel so apprehensive about it. I was wondering if being good to try L-Tryptophan out after GABA, (500mg before bed), then trying out CDP Choline, B1, etc., for Acetylcholine and then L-Tryosine for Dopamine, or should I change the order of what I would take or try out? I was thinking in order of the scores in the deficiency test, from being major deficient to low, but you know how neurotransmitters work and my thinking about this may not work, hence why you may have suggested Dopamine after GABA. I really appreciate your help.

        David Tomen
        February 9, 2021

        Kristen, the CDP-Choline supplement you have is fine. The only way you’re going to find out if these precursors work for you is by trying them.

        But let’s keep this comments section to a question of a couple of sentences instead of the essays you’ve been writing. If you require more help I suggest scheduling a consultation here:

        February 10, 2021

        Hi David,
        I apologise for the long posts and for taking too much of your time. I appreciate all the help you have given me, I now understand things better. Thank you for this.

February 1, 2021

At the moment i try to fix my overreactiv thoughts.
For example in a few weeks i have a meeting and i daylie get multiple times thoughts how i gonna fail there. I cant limit them by just trying to avoid them, they just appear and do me a bad feeling in the stomache. Im a lot more anxious now everyday because of these thoughts.

Which Neurotransmitter low/high could lead to those aggressive negative thoughs?
Which nootropics could i try ?
I lately read about your thread meditation-mindfupness-calmness. May i can pick one from there to reduce brain waves, if so which waves i need to reduce to limit those thoughts alpha, beta, delta, theta, gamma ?

    David Tomen
    February 2, 2021

    Paolo, using some ideas from my meditation article is a good idea. An even better idea is to start practicing meditation. That is one of the most effective ways I know of to get your overactive mind under control.

January 27, 2021

Hi David, thank you for all the work you put in to this incredible site!

I started taking N-Acetyl L-tyrosine 350mg, 1 pill each morning.

The effects are amazing but the only side effect it seems to produce is swelling of my gums in my mouth. If I stop taking it, the swelling goes down.

I was wondering if know why and if there is any other supplement similar to it that would have similar effects on the mind / body.

I appreciate your time, you have opened me up to a new world.


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