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

September 10, 2021

i think my problem is related to low Gaba. I have severe anxiety for years.
Can you please advice me supplements with a building effect on gaba ?

As example i dont look for a supplement which increase gaba acute/specific time, but in the long run. Its ok for me if the effects start working after weeks if they still keep working after stopping the supplement.

    David Tomen
    September 10, 2021

    Dean, there are two ways you can affect GABA in your brain. Take a supplement like PharmaGABA or L-Glutamine which eventually produces GABA. Or use something like Lemon Balm which is a GABA transaminase inhibitor which means that rather than GABA getting excreted from your system it is forced back into play. It does not increase the “amount” of GABA in your brain like the first two I mentioned but makes it more available.

    All the these supplements begin to provide their benefit 30 – 60 minutes after taking it. But its effects will only last as long as you are using the supplement. When you stop using it then it will stop providing any benefit.

      September 11, 2021

      Hi David and thanks.
      Are there any other supplements like herbs, subsances, amino acids or minerals-vitamins which can have a building effect (lasting effects even after stopping supplementing) on gaba ?

      I have not felt a lot of effects from lemon balm.

        David Tomen
        September 13, 2021

        Dean, none that I am aware of.

Mitchel Erenberg
May 27, 2021

HI, I was on Benzos for 30 years and been off now for over 4 years but I can not seem to get back to a normal baseline. My body and mind seem to feel chronic exertion and stimulation and can not handle even minimal stress loads. I have definitely having stronger palpitations and PVC’s and I have a hard time being able to relax and sleep well which i know is a big problem. it’s hard to know where to begin. What would you suggest as the right way to start to restore the neurotransmitter imbalance in my brain after so many years of Benzo use and some to stay away from. is MLP a good starting point? Some have even mentioned there is adrenal fatigue. Thanks Ill wait your response

    David Tomen
    May 27, 2021

    Mitchel, I just went through this with a consultation client and your options are limited. Because the “professionals” warn against using anything that boosts or even touches GABA or its receptors in any way. Because long-term use of benzos seems to destroy GABA receptors throughout the brain.

    Which is a huge problem because all of your major neurotransmitters have a job to do and need to be in balance. You cannot restore that balance if you can’t touch GABA.

    This is what I suggest you try. Use a couple of supplements to increase BDNF for brain repair:

    Use 2 or 3 supplements to support mitochondrial function:

    And raise the neurotransmitters that you can. L-Tyrosine for dopamine. Alpha GPC and ALCAR for acetylcholine. Tryptophan for serotonin. And possibly L-Glutamine which is an indirect method of supporting GABA. See the Nootropics List at the tip for links to each of those supplements.

    MLP may be a good option for you but is not nearly enough for you what are trying to do. Get Mind Lab Pro and try it along with the above. And a really good multivitamin:

May 27, 2021

Can you recommand me something to increase Dopamine for my social anxiety? At best it shouldnt downregulate Dopamine aswell.
I dont like L-Tyrosine because of Thyroid issues and i dont like herbs.

    David Tomen
    May 27, 2021

    Paolo, please explain your problem with Tyrosine and Thyroid issues because tyrosine is on the ingredients for making thyroid hormone.

    But if you don’t like tyrosine and don’t like herbs the only thing left is phenylalanine.

      May 28, 2021

      Yes Tyrosine is causing to much Thyroid hormones.
      Does Phenylalanine isnt the same ? If its Tyrosine precursor.

      Dont exist other vitamins/minerals/amino acids or substances which help with Dopamine downregulation/dopamine deficiency ?

        David Tomen
        May 28, 2021

        Paolo, good question but I honestly don’t know if phenylalanine will be a problem for you. It is a precursor to tyrosine but this mechanism of action may work for you without causing thyroid problems. The only way to find out is to try it.

        This is the only way to make dopamine: phenylalanine – tyrosine – L-DOPA – dopamine. To make this work you also need Vitamin B6, B9, and B12 as cofactors.

        You can use supplements that act like monoamine oxidase inhibitors like Ginkgo Biloba, Rhodiola Rosea, St. John’s wort and others. But they will NOT increase dopamine levels. All they do is make the existing dopamine in your brain to be more available.

        May 28, 2021

        Yeah im more interested in co factors, supporters or enzyme increasing supplements or what ever exists to converse L Tyrosine into l-dopa and l-dopa into Dopamine.

        I tried so many herbs and not a single one really helped me to relief my social anxiety, because they work on so much different processes and Neurotransmitter.
        And Tyrosine increased my Thyroid too much, i lost about 8kg in a single month.

        David Tomen
        May 31, 2021

        Paolo, I’m not aware of any supplements that helps create the enzyme phenylalanine hydroxylase or the enzyme tyrosine hydroxylase. They don’t exist.

May 8, 2021

Would you please provide references for some double blind, peer reviewed research papers published in reputable open access or even closed access scientific journals regarding nootropic supplementation effects in humans? I’ve been striking out for hours now trying to find bonified research. The few studies I’ve found for the are all inconclusive or show significant and potentially harmful side effects particularly when mixed with certain pharmaceuticals. There is nothing on the NCCIH.nih website other than warnings and statements of inconclusive evidence. No surprise. I found a couple of questionable research papers in journals that I discovered were identified as predatory, so I scratched those. I am especially interested in those that have a scientifically demonstrated effect on anxiety, more specifically anxiety attacks and depressive disorders. There are tons of papers that describe the metabolic pathways and effects of D3, glutamate, and molecules of all kinds but none that have tested supplements. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

April 21, 2021

Hi David,

I have had anxiety issue, mainly fear of many other things. My blood test results indicated Vitamin D is not optimal, rather, right below the minimum range. I think it is 29. Normal range is 30 – 60 or something. Would that be possible my anxiety is caused by vitamin D deficiency. How many IU of D3 I should take to restore normal Vitamin D level. I took 1000 IU every day but still is right below the normal range.



    David Tomen
    April 22, 2021

    Steve, Vitamin D is critical for the synthesis of GABA, glutamate and glutamine, and dopamine in your brain. So if you are low in Vitamin D it is possible you are not making enough of one or more of those neurotransmitters.

    Here is how to tell which one may be dysfunctional:

    BTW, increase your Vitamin D to 4,000 IU per day until you get your levels up. It will take awhile for it to get there even at that dosage.

      May 3, 2021

      I have been interested in nootropics for years and just came across you site. Regarding Vitamin D…I also have low levels, which I try to boost with controlled doses of narrow UVB therapy because I seem to be “allergic” to Vitamin D supplements (heart palpitations after taking). Any ideas on alternative (preferably non-synthetic) forms of Vitamin D to help raise my levels? Thank you for all the amazing information on your site.

        David Tomen
        May 4, 2021

        Jen, the only good, reliable way to naturally raise your Vitamin D levels is to sunbathe nude every single day. That is about as non-synthetic as you can get.

Louis Rossino
April 9, 2021

Interesting information! Pax

    David Tomen
    April 16, 2021

    You are welcome Louis.

April 7, 2021

Hey David,
is there a way to lower serotonin witouth touching Dopamine (L tyrosine which aswell can boost Norepinephrine) long term ?

    David Tomen
    April 7, 2021

    Paolo, it is difficult to lower serotonin levels because anything you try to lower serotonin also lowers dopamine and norepinephrine. Because they use the same transporters.

    The best solution I can find if you can figure it out is this one:

Tom R
March 26, 2021

Hi David,

Firstly, thank you very much for your contribution to Nootropics. You have greatly educated myself and I am sure many thousands more on this topic.

Having recently come out of addiction (heroin and crack cocaine), I have also been recently diagnosed with ADD and in two weeks I am due to start Ritalin at BD of 5mg/10mg a day.

To counteract feeling low (coming out of addiction) while also trying to face up to underlying anxiety issues that I have had for years (but suppressed), I have used the following nootropics for the respective issues. I was hoping you could tell me if I am on the right direction, or if you recommend something different.

1) feeling low/motivation, dopamine – 500mg of DLPA each morning + 75mg 5HTP5.

I have only just started this regimen and having read your comments, I am considering changing to L-Tryptophan 1500mg, considering that effects of 5HTP can wear off after a few weeks.

2) anxiety/motivation – Combination supplement of Ashwaganda (600mg), Rhodiola Rosea (400mg) and L-Theanine (200mg).

3) Sleep – CBD (5mg), Magnesium (200mg), and 50mg 5HTP. This forms part of the 75mg daily routine I mentioned above.

I also take a variety of Vitamin complexes.

I have to admit, I feel better even after two weeks. Clearer in the head and I don’t feel as agitated. Frustratingly I started virtually all of them at the same time so I am not sure what is working best.

I have two questions though.

In terms of number 1), would this be your recommendation to switch to L-Tryptophan before 5HTP stops working and where does L-Tyrosine fit into this? Should I just ignore this amino acid, or do you think there would be benefit in taking this as well?

As you can see, anxiety and motivation (and that link) are big issues for me and I am really looking forward to seeing what Ritalin can do for my motivation and focus. For anxiety I have previously used benzos for anxiety. They worked incredibly well but they are also a terrible drug with withdrawals. My second question therefore relates to GABA. I really feel this is an issue with me. Do you think taking a GABA supplement alongside what I mention in 2) is all fine, and would you recommend that over anything for someone with anxiety where benzos have worked really well in the past.

If you think there would be any other supplement (s) that would particularly benefit me, I would really appreciate if you could point me in the right direction.

Many thanks for your time on this.


    David Tomen
    March 27, 2021

    Tom, this is my protocol for ADHD with or without Ritalin: But if you are not clinically ADHD then Ritalin will not work for you long-term. It’ll be like any other prescription stimulant.

    To increase focus you need to increase acetylcholine.

    To increase motivation to you need to activate AMPA receptors which in turn activates the dopamine/reward/motivation pathway.

    To conquer anxiety you first need to figure out what the cause is. And it sounds like you may have found what is causing your anxiety because of your success with benzos. And that is issues with GABA.

    There are two ways to directly increase the amount of GABA in your system and that’s with a GABA supplement (i.e. PharmaGABA) or with L-Glutamine which turns into L-Glutamate which turns into GABA.

    And you are correct. 5-HTP is a bad idea for trying to increase serotonin long-term. But I’d start with 500 mg L-Tryptophan because 1,500 mg may backfire on you. That’s been my experience for what it’s worth.

      April 22, 2021

      Hi David,

      Will L glutamine turn into glumate? Too much glumate would be a problem right?


        David Tomen
        April 26, 2021

        Steve, glutamine turns into glutamate which turns into GABA and Human Growth Hormone.

        You need glutamate. But you are correct that excess glutamate is bad news. One way to keep that in balance is by using L-Glutamine.

        I realize it’s like whack-a-mole but it’s the easiest way to do it. But you need to do it consistently and daily.

        There are some nootropics that keep excess glutamate down or from causing harm. You can find those by doing a search for glutamate top right and see what turns up.

        It’ll take some reading but I think you’ll find it interesting.

        BTW, if you open a tab that is supposed to include glutamate do ctrl+F on your keyboard and enter glutamate in the search box that turns up to quickly find all mentions of glutamate on that page.

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