The 9 Best Anxiety Supplements of 2021, According to a Dietitian

Promote calm with dietary supplements

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Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in the United States, affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18% of the population, every year. When it comes to treating anxiety, there are various options available, including therapy and medication, as well as complementary and alternative treatments.

Natural remedies for anxiety include meditation, yoga, aromatherapy, herbal tinctures, botanical extracts, and dietary supplements. Research into how dietary supplements and herbal remedies work to reduce anxiety is still new and emerging. For those with significant anxiety, therapeutic interventions should be explored first, and supplements should be used in conjunction with therapy.

It is important to remember that there is no singular cure-all for mental health illnesses, and you will likely benefit the most from a variety of support. Before taking a new supplement, consult your health care team.

Here, the best supplements for anxiety:

Our Top Picks
This product aims to support mental well-being and help moderate occasional stress with amino acids, herbs, and vitamin cofactors.
This features kava and passion flower, two botanicals that help reduce levels of anxiety.
All Nordic Naturals products use wild-caught fish, are non-GMO, and are third-party tested for purity and freshness.
It is 100% pure with no synthetic colors or fragrances.
Raw Probiotics is an innovative line of raw, whole food probiotic formulas that emulates eating fermented food.
This uses ecologically harvested noble variety kava kava to produce a kava extract of the highest quality.
One serving contains 150 milligrams of L-Theanine and is gluten, soy, and GMO-free.
This alcohol-free product makes an excellent option for those in recovery or looking to avoid alcohol intake.
This is USDA-certified organic and gluten-free.

Best Overall: Pure Encapsulations Emotional Wellness

Pure Encapsulations Emotional Wellness

Pure Encapsulations is one of our favorite supplement brands because of its commitment to quality, purity, and potency. Though pricer than some other supplements, Emotional Wellness aims to support mental well-being and help moderate occasional stress with amino acids, herbs, and vitamin cofactors.

One of the ingredients is 5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP), the intermediate metabolite of the essential amino acid L-tryptophan. Taking 5-HTP as a supplement increases the production of serotonin, the “happiness neurotransmitter” by the central nervous system.

Another potent ingredient in this supplement is the adaptogenic herb Rhodiola. Some preliminary research has shown Rhodiola to help reduce anxiety and improve overall cognition.

The capsules also contain Vitamin B6, which has been shown to help alleviate stress.

Great for those with allergies or dietary restrictions, all Pure Encapsulations products are free from many common allergens like wheat, eggs, tree nuts & peanuts, gluten, artificial colors, flavors and sweeteners, coatings and shellacs, GMOs, unnecessary binders, fillers, and preservatives.

Best Budget: Herb Pharm Anxiety Soother

Herb Pharm Anxiety Soother

Anxiety Soother original lavender flavor by Herb Pharm features Kava and Passionflower, two botanicals that are widely studied and may reduce levels of anxiety. Kava is a beverage or extract prepared from Piper methysticum, a plant that is native to the western Pacific Islands. Some evidence suggests that kava may help anxiety sufferers find relief.

The plant passionflower has been studied in comparison to some pharmaceuticals for anxiety, and there is some evidence to support passionflower as a lower-risk intervention to try. In addition to these lesser-known botanicals, the Anxiety Soother features Lavender, which has support from herbal plant medicine as well as research evidence to support its use for anxiety.

HerbPharm is committed to top quality and purity. They use rigorous testing to ensure an herb’s identity when sourcing from their network of farmers.

Best Fish Oil: Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega

Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega Liquid

Omega 3-fatty acids are critical for optimal health and wellbeing. In addition to supporting healthy metabolism, skin, and hormones, omega-3 fatty acids have a big role in mood regulation.

Unless you are eating at least two to three servings of fish per week, it might make sense to supplement with a high-quality fish oil regardless of whether you have anxiety or not. One randomized control trial investigating the role of omega 3-fatty acids on anxiety found that after using omega 3-fatty acid supplements for 12 weeks, participants had a 20% reduction in anxiety symptoms.

We selected Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega Liquid supplement instead of their capsules because of the higher EPA and DHA levels per serving. Liquid fish oil supplements may not be for everyone and if you are more likely to be compliant with capsules, skip the liquid supplement.

All Nordic Naturals products use wild-caught fish, are non-GMO, and are third-party tested, surpassing the strictest international standards for purity and freshness.

Best Essential Oil: Frontier Co-op Lavender Essential Oil

Frontier Co-op Pure Lavender Essential Oil

Aromatherapy has long been used in plant medicine to remedy a variety of ailments. Lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia) is one of the most popular essential oils, and it is best used for calming the mind and refreshing the spirit.

Frontier Co-op Lavender Essential Oil is 100% pure with no synthetic colors or fragrances. The company extensively tests the oils to ensure that they are pure and unadulterated; they only sell true lavender—Lavandula angustifolia.

This lavender essential oil contains no synthetic ingredients, parabens, or artificial colors, or fragrances and is never tested on animals. It is important to note that this is for external use only; mix it with a carrier oil for a relaxing body mist or add it to a diffuser in your bedroom at bedtime.

Best Probiotic: Garden of Life Ultimate Care RAW Probiotic

Raw Probiotics Ultimate Care

Probiotics are live microorganisms that confer a health benefit to the host when administered in adequate amounts. The research to support probiotics for anxiety is emerging at a rapid pace; however, there is still a lot to learn. There are many mechanisms by which probiotics may help with anxiety and mood, and we know that there is a direct relationship between the gut and the brain.

Garden of Life's Raw Probiotics is an innovative line of raw, whole food probiotic formulas that emulates eating probiotic-rich fermented food. One capsule contains 100 billion colony-forming units (CFUs) and 34 different probiotic strains.

Unlike other probiotics, this product does not need to be refrigerated, so you can store it with your other supplements or medications and take it with you when traveling. In addition to a potent blend of probiotics, one capsule also provides digestive enzymes and a raw fruit and veggie blend.

This product is also great for those with a variety of dietary restrictions. It's gluten-free, soy-free, non-GMO verified, and vegetarian. It contains no binders, fillers, or carriers.

Kava is promoted as a natural remedy for anxiety, insomnia, stress, and depression. Research shows Kava may be used as a short-term treatment for generalized anxiety disorder.

Though kava might be helpful for anxiety, there is other evidence to suggest that kava can have unwanted negative effects on the liver. As with any new supplement, it is always important to discuss the risks and benefits with your healthcare provider.

Gaia Herbs uses an ecologically harvested noble variety, Kava Kava, to produce a kava extract of the highest quality, one that offers guaranteed potency of 75 milligrams of active Kavalactones per serving.

This product is made at their certified organic farm in North Carolina, and they are committed to using only non-GMO ingredients. This product is suitable for those with dietary restrictions as it is free of gluten, soy, dairy, meat, peanuts, sesame, shellfish, yeast, and eggs.

Best L-Theanine: Doctor's Best L-Theanine With Suntheanine

Doctor's Best L-Theanine

L-theanine, a non-protein amino acid-derived most commonly from green tea leaves, may be beneficial in treating anxiety and sleep disturbance. The research to support L-Theanine’s use for anxiety is mixed; however, a recent study examined taking 200 milligrams of L-Theanine per day for a total of four weeks and found that stress-related symptoms did decrease.

Doctor’s Best L-Theanine contains Suntheanine, a pure form of L-Theanine on the market produced via a patented process that mimics the natural process in green tea leaves. One serving contains 150 milligrams of L-Theanine and is gluten, soy, and GMO-free. 

Best Valerian: Herb Pharm Alcohol-Free Valerian

 Herb Pharm Certified Organic Valerian Root Liquid Extract

Valerian Root is well-known for its sleep-promoting and anxiety-quelling properties. Valerian has a mild calming effect that does not usually result in sleepiness the next day, so it is commonly used for sleep support. The research to support valerian use for anxiety is mixed; however, a meta-analysis suggests that taking valerian may improve sleep.

Herb Pharm’s Certified Organic Valerian Root Liquid Extract provides 825 milligrams per serving. It is recommended to add one full squeeze of the dropper bulb to 2 ounces of water or juice, up to four times per day, for general relaxation.

We love this specific product because, unlike many other tinctures, this product is alcohol-free, making it an excellent option for those in recovery or looking to avoid alcohol intake. 

Best Ashwagandha: ORGANIC INDIA Ashwagandha

Organic India Ashwagandha Herbal Supplement

Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb that has recently gained recognition as a supplement for anxiety and stress. Although used as a broad-spectrum remedy in India for centuries, Ashwagandha has only recently been under investigation in research. Several studies suggest Ashwagandha is a safe and effective remedy for stress relief and anxiety.

One serving of Organic India’s Ashwagandha provides 800 milligrams of Ashwagandha root. This product is USDA-certified organic and gluten-free.

Consumers can also feel good about purchasing from Organic India as this brand's food production facility was the first in India to obtain the LEED Platinum certification—setting the standard of excellence and commitment to the well-being of its community, environment, employees, and farmer partners.

Final Verdict

Though pricer than some other supplements, Emotional Wellness by Pure Encapsulations our top pick for anxiety. It is specifically designed to support mental well-being and help moderate occasional stress with amino acids, herbs, and vitamin cofactors.

If budget is a concern or you would like to start with a more simple supplement, Nordic Naturals Ultimate Omega is the next best choice. Omega-3 fatty acids play a big role in mood regulation, and unless you are eating at least two to three servings of fish per week, it might make sense to supplement with a high-quality fish oil.

What to Look for in Anxiety Supplements

Ingredients

Supplements for anxiety vary in strength, formulation, and ingredients; there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to choosing the right supplement for you. Research is mixed on the best type of anxiety supplement, so it may take trial and error to find the best product for you.

It is important to check the ingredients when shopping for a new supplement. Be mindful of potential allergens, and always reach out to your health care provider if you are unsure about complementary ingredients in a product.

Not all supplements, herbal blends, or essential oils are created equal. It is usually worth it to spend a little extra to buy a product from a company that puts quality and purity at the forefront of what they do. Look for certifications from independent, third-party testing companies such as ConsumerLab and NSF International. These organizations provide quality testing and allow products that pass their tests to display a seal of quality assurance that indicates the product was properly manufactured, contains the ingredients listed on the label, and does not contain harmful levels of contaminants. 

Contraindications

Though most of the supplements reviewed are generally recognized as safe, you may need to consult your healthcare provider if you are already taking certain medications or supplements.

It is always important to remember that just because a supplement is sourced from natural ingredients, it can still be incredibly powerful. Start a new supplement with the lowest dose possible being mindful of unwanted changes and increase as tolerated.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Which herbal supplement is most effective for anxiety?

    There does not appear to be one singular herbal supplement that is most effective for anxiety. Ashwagandha has been shown to decrease stress levels and levels of the stress hormone cortisol. More research is needed to determine whether or not it is an effective herb specifically for anxiety. In addition to Ashwagandha, the herb Passion Flower has shown some benefit in reducing levels of anxiety.

    It is important to note that an herbal supplement will likely not help anxiety on its own. Supplements should be used in conjunction with other inventions such as psychotherapy, breathwork, and meditation.

  • Can I take natural supplements with my prescription anxiety medications?

    When considering adding a natural supplement to your routine, it is important to consult with your prescribing physician. Whether or not it is safe to add a supplement alongside your prescribed medication depends on the dose, frequency of intake, as well the specific herb.

    Vitamin, mineral, and essential fatty acid supplements may boost the efficacy of some medications as they support optimal nutrition; however, there is not enough solid research to make a definitive statement about herbal supplements.

Why Trust Verywell Mind? 

Sydney Greene, MS, RD, takes supplement recommendations seriously. Every product has been researched and vetted against clinical research, product reviews, and third-party testing websites. These are products she would not only feel comfortable recommending to her clients, but she would take them herself if needed.

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Article Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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