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Best Nootropics for Anxiety

Anxiety is an important part of human physiology and in many ways is what keeps us from living an accident prone disastrous lifestyle. A natural way of our body telling us we are in a potentially dangerous or harmful situation anxiety is a necessary response that promotes longevity in human life. With all that said; anxiety is often associated with stress and is generally seen in a negative light in most circles. The true villain here is “over-anxiety” and the body’s physical response which can include an increase in perspiration and heartbeat.  If we were anxiety free all the time we would be much more likely to engage in dangerous and potentially life threatening activities that would greatly hamper our life expectancy. So, why am I telling you all of this and how can we use nootropics to curb intense anxiety that may constrain our lives?

Nootropics are often used to enhance memory and improve cognitive function but they have also been shown to have anti-anxiety and stress reducing properties. Specifically there are certain nootropics that when taking in conjunction work synergistically to achieve this desired effect. There are a number of nootropics available that can alleviate anxiety and in many cases a trial and error method of experimentation may be required to find the optimal solution for your needs.

Nootropics for Anxiety

In this analysis of anti-anxiety nootropics we will take a look at a few different nootropic options including theanine, GABA, 5-htp, bacopa, and rhodiola. Theanine is the only nootropic that has the ability to simultaneously increase serotonin and GABA levels, both of which are associated with lowering anxiety levels. Alternatively direct GABA supplementation is more effective in raising GABA levels and 5-htp or bacopa can be more effective in raising serotonin levels. So, if you are looking for a one and done solution theanine seems to be your best option. Rhodiola is one of the only nootropics that specifically halts the breakdown of serotonin in the brain and has shown a significant effectiveness in research, therefore I suggest supplementing with rhodiola in addition to other nootropics in most cases. A combination of rhodiola and either 5-htp (a naturally occurring anti-anxiety and stress reducing amino acid) or bacopa (an herb that has shown to increase serotonin in the brain) is recommended for the best anti-anxiety results with nootropics.

While this recommended combination/stack has shown to be effective and is a good starting point, the topic of nootropics is notorious for being uncharted territory and should be approached with that in mind. This means that one should always pay attention to your body’s individual response and conduct personal research on a supplement or supplements before consuming them.

Nootropic supplementation can be an exciting and often very effective method of attaining your desired results in your personal health related goals. Always pay attention to your products packaging and label information for dosing guidelines and it is recommended you consult a doctor before implementing nootropics in to your daily routine.

Sources

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12467378

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11498727

Phenibut: Nootropic or Not?

Phenibut nootropic supplements help with brain health.One of the beautiful things about supplements is they usually have more than one beneficial purpose. It is especially nice when the benefits of a supplement cross into the nootropic category and provide cognitive enhancement. Occasionally, there is a bit of debate as to whether or not a supplement can be considered a nootropic. A current example is Phenibut, a supplement discovered in the 1960’s with anti-anxiety and calming properties.

Phenibut is a crystallized, powdery GABA derivative that easily crosses the blood-brain barrier and, when it enters the brain, acts as a GABA receptor agonist. By acting in a similar fashion as GABA, phenibut helps carry the burden of brain chemicals that can cause stress and tension resulting in an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effect. Since it works on the same receptor sites as certain prescription drugs, phenibut is often compared to barbiturates and other substances used for anxiety. The main difference between phenibut and these substances, is that phenibut doesn’t cause drowsiness like most popular anti-anxiety medications can. It’s included in the cosmonaut medical kit as a treatment for stress and anxiety for this exact reason. Phenibut also enhances dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is critical to daily function and helps control movement, emotions, response to rewards, and the brain’s pleasure center.

Phenibut is primarily used for the following:

  • Stress – The overall effect of phenibut on the GABA receptors help blunt the impact of stress.
  • Social Anxiety – Helps reduce tension felt around large or unfamiliar groups
  • Sleeplessness – Phenibut can have a relaxing effect and help bring on sleep in the evening
  • Mood Enhancer – Phenibut is used to enhance mood or help reduce trauma related stress

Without a doubt, phenibut has some properties that could be beneficial to most people. But does it act as a nootropic? Can it help boost cognition? Yes, evidence points to the effects of phenibut enhancing cognition:

  • Improved cross-hemisphere brain communication. Phenibut was used in an animal study to increase the amplitude of response from one side of the brain to other. A single dose of phenibut was effective in improving the response and confirmed the efficacy of phenibut as a supplement used for learning and memory.
  • More relaxed thinking. As a basis for cognitive enhancement, the reduction of stress is key. A state of stress and anxiety puts the body in position where it essentially feels unsafe. Even without adding any additional properties, reducing the amount of stress a person is under and relaxing the mind takes the brain and body out of survival mode and allows other thoughts to flow more freely.
  • Improving sleep quality. Improving sleep also has downstream cognitive benefits. Sleep gives the brain and the body enough time to rest, recover and reset, thus providing an optimal environment for focus, memory, learning and thinking.

If you’re looking to help increase calmness and also boost brain power as well, phenibut is a great supplement to test out.

Sources

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19334513
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phenibut