70 Anti-Stress Supplements That Can Give You Relief From Anxiety

Disclaimer: Supplements are a risky business… even if you think you know what you are doing, supplements can still mess you up. Which is why I first and foremost recommend food for your nutritional needs! Now with that said, chronic, debilitating anxiety is NOT FUN and anything that can help, even just a little bit, is probably worth trying. At least in my opinion.

Getting out of an anxious and fearful state can be quite difficult.

In my personal experience, chronic anxiety is a truly vicious circle where:

Emotional or physical stress → fearful emotions → anxious thoughts and rumination → more fearful emotions and chronically elevated stress hormones → reduced stress resilience → exaggerated fear response to stress → more horrible anxiety → and so on.

Basically, you get stuck in this (horrible) chronic fear response.

The best way to calm down this fear response is by making healthy lifestyle choices such as eating well and balancing your blood sugar levels, sleeping well, going for daily walks in nature, and so on.


Sometimes you may need a little extra help to calm down anxiety and fear!

To give you a practical example of what I’m talking about:

In this study, a single 40 mg dose of propranolol – a drug which blocks the effects of adrenaline – was able to completely “erase” the fear response to a traumatic memory.

The spider-phobic participants in this study could still conjure up the memory of a spider, but they didn’t get an anxious or fearful response to these traumatic memories.

Which is kind of amazing!

How To Use Supplements And Not Mess Something Up?

Here are 6 things I wish I knew before (that I had to learn the hard way):

1. There Are No Magic Pills That Can Substitute For a Healthy Lifestyle

Before you start dabbling with any supplements, it is crucial that you first have the basics in place:

  • Sleeping well
  • Eating a nutrient-dense (*low PUFA) diet
  • Regular de-stressing
  • Exercise (e.g walks in forest)
  • Being present more (and less time spent worrying)
  • Taking care of underlying health issues (gut issues, hormones etc)
  • Avoiding unnecessary stress (like the FACEBOOK FEED)
  • Don’t drink 10 beers every night and wake up hungover, feeling anxious

Just going for daily walks in nature is an excellent way of quieting the mind and reducing stress and anxiety.

I’m not saying this to be a party-pooper…

…”out-supplementing” a poor lifestyle just doesn’t work!

It will only give you a tremendous headache (and cost you a lot of money and energy).

2. Introduce 1 Thing At A Time

The “everything but the kitchen sink” or “throwing pasta against the wall and see what sticks” rarely works.

You can get into all sorts of trouble by adding in 10 things at a time and not knowing what does what. Again, its precious time, money and energy wasted!

Always introduce 1 thing at a time and perceive what the effects are (positive or negative).

3. Use The Right Tool For The Job.

If you want to hammer a nail into a board, you don’t need 10 fancy screwdrivers.

You just need a hammer!

When it comes to supplements, think “simple is always best”. If using 1 supplement works great, then just stick with that.

In theory it might sound like using 26 anti-stress supplements is better than using just one, but in reality this strategy often backfires on you.

4. Use Only Clean Supplements (Avoid Fillers)

Many supplements contain unhealthful excipient or fillers, such as silicon dioxide, titanium dioxide, talc, microcrystalline cellulose, artificial colours, and many, many more.

You want to avoid these!

Ideally, when you look at the supplement label it should contain only the active ingredient.

I will try my very best to always link to products with no or minimal fillers.

5. “Harmless” Supplements Can Cause Harm

Sometimes a ‘benign’ or ‘safe’ supplement just doesn’t sit well with a person for whatever reason.

I know some people can not tolerate oral magnesium (but magnesium salt baths are fine).

And personally I absolutely DO NOT tolerate supplemental vitamin D (but do just fine with vitamin D from the sun).

This could be due to some gut-irritating excipients, or traces of allergenic material triggering inflammation, or it may be causing some type of imbalance in the body, or pushing your neurotransmitters in the ‘wrong direction’… and so on.

Individuals can react so wildly different to different things that it’s almost impossible to predict the outcome.

You have to experiment yourself by adding in 1 thing at a time and seeing how you feel.

6. Go On An Occasional ‘Supplement Holiday

If you feel confused and overwhelmed, sometimes the best thing to do is stop all supplements and start over from a clean canvas; focusing instead on diet, sleep and de-stressing for a couple of months… maybe you’ll find you don’t need supplements at all?

70 Amazing Anti-Stress Substances

*DISCLAIMER: Always consult with your doctor before starting any new supplement. There is always a risk of supplements interacting with prescription medicines. If you feel unsure as to whether something is safe or not, please talk with your doctor first.

An asterisk (*) means it is safer to get this substance from natural sources like food (or for vitamin D from the sun).


Stressors such as alcohol consumption, malnutriton, infections, overexercising and emotional trauma (such as severe anxiety) can deplete essential nutrients in the body such as vitamin B1, vitamin B3, magnesium and vitamin C. These nutrient deficiencies then make you even more stressed out and anxious. A nutrient-dense diet and/or targeted supplementation can help replenish nutrient stores.

Water-Soluble Vitamins

Vitamin B1 (thiamine) – I have written an article on thiamine and its awesome anti-stress effects. It improve glucose oxidation and increases your ability to adapt to all kinds of stressors. Anywhere from 20-1000 mg of thiamine HCL can be therapeutic for stress and anxiety. (Amazon)

*Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) – makes your pee turn yellow. Kidding aside – while it does make your pee yellow – it’s also involved in energy production, antioxidant support, activating other B vitamins such as vitamin B12, and much more. Use up to 100 mg of the activated form riboflavin-5-phosphate (R5P) per day. (Amazon)

Vitamin B3 (niacinamide) – an incredible anti-stress vitamin which I also wrote an article about. Vitamin B3 gets converted to NAD+ in the body and aids cellular energy production. I’d recommend taking anywhere from 100 to 2000 mg niacinamide per day. (Amazon)

Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) – is needed for the synthesis of Coenzyme A a.k.a CoA. Vitamin B5 is involved in cellular respiration, synthesis of the important neurotransmitter acetylcholine, as well as synthesis of adrenal hormones. You can use up to 500 mg per day. (Amazon)

Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine) – the active form of vitamin B6 is called pyridoxal 5′-phosphate (P5P). P5P acts as a co-factor for many different reactions in body, e.g breaking down glycogen, amino acid metabolism, neurotransmitter synthesis, and a whole lot more. B6 is important for synthesis of the calming, anxiolytic neurotransmitter GABA. IMPORTANT: Buy the active form P5P (not pyridoxine HCl) and take no more than 10-20 mg per day as you can get toxicity symptoms with excessively high doses. (Amazon)

Vitamin B7 (biotin) – a coenzyme for 5 carboxylase enzymes. It’s important for healthy skin, hair and nails and is essential for proper energy production (through activating acetyl-coA carboxylase). Large doses of 300 mg have been used to treat MS. But most people probably wouldn’t need more than 1 mg or so. (Amazon)

*Vitamin B8 (inositol) – is used in intracellular signalling pathways. One study showed that taking 18 grams of inositol per day was effective for treating OCD symptoms. I’d go with a lower dose of maybe 2-4 g per day. (Amazon)

*Vitamin B9 (folate) – is very important! Your cells need folate for methylation (moving around methyl groups) and to synthesize DNA and RNA, activate vitamin B12, lower homocysteine, make new blood cells, and more. Folate is also needed to make neurotransmitters which make you feel good. IMPORTANT: Always get the active form 5-methylfolate or folinic acid. AVOID folic acid. (Amazon)

*Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) – this vitamin is SUPER important. Vitamin B12 is, among other things, required to maintain the protective myelin sheet surrounding nerves and to produce red blood cells. A B12 deficiency can cause a vast array of unpleasant symptoms, including severe anxiety and depression. Here is a an informative video on the topic of B12 deficiency. Larger doses of 1000 mcg or more can be used to bypass insufficient digestion. (Amazon)

*Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) – is necessary for collagen synthesis, antioxidant support, synthesis of neurotransmitters like noradrenaline, and more. Interestingly, most animals can make their own vitamin C… except for humans and guinea pigs. Vitamin C is found in fruits and vegetables but animal products also contain vitamin C in the form of dehydroascorbic acid (DHA). Vitamin C has anti-endotoxin properties and it can help reduce anxiety levels compared to placebo (in doses of 500 mg). It is stored in large amounts in your adrenal glands, and there seems to be an inverse relationship between vitamin C and cortisol levels. Supplementing with 3 g vitamin C per day had the effect of blunting the cortisol/stress response to acute psychological stress. I think most people will do just fine with vitamin C from whole foods like oranges and kiwis and potatoes, but you may find additional antistress benefits from taking a supplement. (Amazon)

Tip: You can buy a B-complex and avoid having to buy each one of the B vitamins separately. Here is an awesome B-complex.

Fat-Soluble Vitamins

*Vitamin A (retinol) – is a fat-soluble vitamin needed for steroid production, proper embryonal development, immune function and eye health/vision. Eggs, butter and full-fat dairy products are good natural sources of retinol and can help balance your hormones. I would avoid going overboard on vitamin A with organ meats or supplementing it due to potential concerns over vitamin A toxicity.

Vitamin K (menaquinone) – is a powerhouse of a nutrient! “Vitamin K” actually refers to a bunch of structurally similar molecules. Vitamin K1 is found in plant foods like broccoli, and vitamin K2 is found in animal foods like eggs and dairy (vitamin K1 can also get converted to K2 in the body). Vitamin K helps the liver synthesize important proteins involved in blood clotting, bone health and cardiovascular health (i.e keeping calcium in your bones and out of your arteries). There’s also evidence that vitamin K2 MK-4 can boost testosterone production (at least in rats). And it may help boost ATP production by carrying electrons. Compared to vitamin A, there is no known toxicity with using larger doses of vitamin K. I’d recommend taking anywhere from 0.5 to 5 mg of K2 MK-4 per day. (Amazon)

Vitamin E (tocopherol) – is another amazing fat-soluble vitamin! Vitamin E is a lipid-soluble antioxidant found in the membranes of cells and lipoproteins. Its job is to neutralize free radicals to protect other important cellular structures. It protects LDL against lipid peroxidation and was used way back in 30’s to treat heart disease by the Shute brothers. But vitamin E is so much more than an antioxidant, to get a more complete understanding of its effects I’d highly suggest you to read this article by Ray Peat PhD. According to Ray Peat vitamin E has anti-estrogenic effects, similar to aspirin or progesterone. According to studies done on rats, a vitamin E deficiency causes anxiety and giving administrating vitamin E has antidepressant effects. Up to 400 IU per day can safely be used (warning: it does act as a blood thinner in large doses). (Amazon)

*Vitamin D – “vitamin D” is actually not a vitamin but a group of fat-soluble secosteroid hormones. It is most recognized for its role in calcium metabolism; a vitamin D deficiency leads to rickets in children (weak and soft bones). But vitamin D does a lot more than supporting bone health. When active vitamin D binds to its nuclear receptor (vitamin D receptor “VDR”) it has a direct effect on the expression of over 1000 genes. For example, vitamin D is needed to mount an immune response and produce antimicrobial peptides that kill off pathogens. In my opinion, the best solution is getting it through sun exposure as your skin produces vitamin D upon UVB exposure.


*Salt/sodium chloride (Na) – salt a.k.a sodium is an amazing anti-stress mineral. Sodium functions as an electrolyte and helps regulate fluid balance, nerve impulses and more. Ray Peat explains the anti-stress properties of sodium in this article. Simply salt your food to taste! It will help reduce adrenaline symptoms. Or if you’re an athlete or sweating buckets you may want to take extra shots of salt throughout the day.

*Potassium (K) – potassium is another important electrolyte in the body and helps your heart and muscles to contract, helps regulates fluid balance and electric impulses between nerve cells. Potassium is found in a wide variety o foods so eating a nutritious diet should give you all you need (3500-4700 mg per day). Meat, dairy and potatoes are great sources. Supplements are risky IMO as taking too much potassium can cause cardiac arrhythmias or worse.

*Calcium (Ca) – calcium doesn’t seem to get quite the same attention as magnesium. But in my experience, it is just as important for your overall health, stress resilience and sense of well-being. According to this study: “Higher dairy and calcium intake was coincident with lower perceived stress and higher positive mood scores, while higher calcium intake was also coincident with lower anxiety, rumination, and higher resilience scores”. Doesn’t that sound pretty awesome? Calcium helps calm you down and reduce parathyroid hormone (PTH). Everyone likes to poo-poo on milk these days but consuming high quality dairy products is really the best way of meeting your calcium needs. Or use an eggshell powder or whole sardines if allergic to dairy.

*Magnesium (Mg) – an essential mineral with phenomenal anti-anxiety effects. Physical and emotional stress uses up and depletes magnesium stores… and a Mg deficiency leads to reduced stress resilience and more anxiety. So Mg deficiency becomes a bit of a vicious circle! Supplementing with magnesium has been shown to normalise HPA-axis activity (lower cortisol) and calm down anxiety! It is best to get magnesium from foods like meat, fruit and milk, but 100-200 mg per day from supplements can help when you are low on Mg. (Amazon)

*Zinc (Zn) – a trace mineral necessary for more than 100 enzymes to work properly. It plays an important role in immune function, wound healing, DNA synthesis, growth and development, antioxidant defence, and more. According to one study, individuals with anxiety have lower Zn levels and zinc supplementation helped improved symptoms. I recommend food sources such as red meat and oysters as supplements can cause imbalances.

*Copper (Cu) – another super important trace mineral that works as a co-factor for several enzymes (for example, superoxide dismutase which protects the cell from oxidative stress). Copper is also required for cytochrome oxidase c in the electron transport chain which allows your cells to produce energy. Same with zinc, it is best to get copper from foods like potatoes, mushrooms, chocolate.

Selenium (Se) – required for selenoproteins that help support thyroid function, antioxidant support (glutathione peroxidase), well-functioning immune system and much more. Selenium is one of few minerals that is worth supplementing with as soils are often depleted of this essential mineral. Around 50-200 mcg from selenized yeast per day is a good dose. Seafood, eggs and beef are decent food sources of selenium. (Amazon)

Iodine (I) – needed for the production of thyroid hormones (T3, T4). But iodine also has other benefits (e.g antioxidant, immune stimulating) beyond supporting thyroid health. A varied diet should easily give you the RDA of 150 mcg. If you have had a past history of fluoride exposure then iodine supplementation might be worth exploring. (Amazon)

Boron (B) – an interesting mineral that you can read more about in this article. Boron can improve your hormonal balance (increase testosterone) and strengthen bones (prevents loss of calcium, magnesium through urine). I’d recommend 3-9 mg per day. (Amazon)

Amino Acids

Glycine or collagen/gelatin – glycine is the simplest amino acid and has inhibitory, calming effects in the brain and body. It can give you relief from stress and anxiety and 3 grams per day helps with sleep quality. According to Ray Peat: “A generous supply of glycine/gelatin, against a balanced background of amino acids, has a great variety of antistress actions.” I’d recommend taking 3-10 grams per day. Or if you prefer a food source, drink bone broth or take 1-3 tbsp of collagen per day dissolved in hot liquids. (Amazon)

Trimethylglycine (betaine) – betaine is made up out of 1 glycine molecule + 3 methyl groups. Betaine helps with methylation and taking 4 g per day can reduce levels of inflammatory homocysteine. Betaine together with SAMe (another methyl donor) was shown to help improve symptoms “such as anxiety, psychomotor agitation, feelings of helplessness and worthlessness, physical efficiency, and somatization”. Betaine is great for histadelic (high histamine) people with seasonal allergies, ‘type A personality’, obsessive compulsive tendencies, etc. Recommended dose is around 2 grams per day. (Amazon)

Creatine – is what bodybuilders take to build bigger muscles. Creatine is produced by your body and acts as a short-term energy buffer by quickly regenerating ATP levels (which is why it increases performance and muscle gains). Supplementing with creatine can boost brain energy production and help depressive symptoms. 3 grams per day is a good daily dose. (Amazon)

Taurine – is classified as a conditionally essential amino acid – meaning our bodies can make some taurine but it may not enough during sickness and stress. Taurine is found in animal products (e.g red meat) and getting some either through diet or supplements can be a great benefit to your health. It has powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant properties and can increase the calming neurotransmitter GABA in the brain. I’d take around 500mg to 2000 mg per day. (Amazon)

L-theanine – a natural amino acid found in tea (theanine… tea.. get it?). Supplementing with theanine has similar effects as GABA in the brain and helps promote relaxation and sleep. “L-theanine significantly increases activity in the alpha frequency band which indicates that it relaxes the mind without inducing drowsiness.” Take 200mg before bed. (Amazon)

Agmatine sulfate – agmatine is a naturally occuring metabolite of L-arginine. In this mice study, agmatine reduced anxiety and depressive-like behaviours. And in this mice study, agmatine was found to be effective for reducing OCD behaviour. Humans are not mice – I get it – however there are plenty of anecdotes on reddit of people seeing drastic improvements in their anxiety/OCD/depression from taking agmatine. (Amazon)

Bio-Identical Hormones

Tip to boost natural hormone production: Make sure you eat robustly and get enough carbohydrates in your diet. Carbohydrates are needed to produce cholesterol in the body; cholesterol being the building block for hormone synthesis. Dietary cholesterol from eggs can also help. Eating a nutrient-dense diet and optimizing your thyroid function helps turnover cholesterol to protective steroid hormones like DHEA and progesterone.

Pregnenolone – dubbed the “mother of all hormones” as it can be converted into all other hormones e.g DHEA, progesterone, testosterone, cortisol, aldosterone, and so on. In one study pregnenolone (500 mg per day) was found to be safe and effective for treating bipolar depression. A lot of the benefits from pregnenolone comes from downstream neurosteroids like allopregnenolone. For pregnenolone anywhere from 50-500 mg can be used per day. (Amazon)

DHEA – a neurosteroid produced naturally in the body with antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects. DHEA is produced in response to stress and acts as a powerful cortisol antagonist; meaning it blocks the harmful effects of excessive cortisol. Studies have shown that decreased levels of DHEA (and a higher cortisol to DHEA ratio) is found in depressed persons. DHEA is awesome for boosting mood and energy levels, it increases stress resilience and reduces fight-or-flight responses to stressors. I would recommend smaller doses, either applied topically on your skin or orally, 2-15 mg per day. (Amazon)

Progesterone – this is likely anti-anxiety hormone number #1. Progesterone is another neurosteroid in the brain that helps to calm down anxiety (and can convert to other anti-anxiety neuroactive steroids such as allopregnenolone). Supplementing with progesterone feels extremely soothing if you have been in a chronically stressed state. Women can use anywhere from 10 – 400 mg per day but it has to be taken during the luteal phase. Men can use 5-10 mg (whenever they want, preferably before bed as it is sedating). (Amazon)

Allopregnenolone – as mentioned pregnenolone and progesterone can act as precursors and boost brain levels of a neurosteroid called allopregnenolone. Allopregnenolone is a powerful agonist for the GABA receptor which produces calming, anti-anxiety effects. Allopregnenolone was recently approved as a treatment for postpartum depression. You can buy allopregnenolone at idealabsDC (the product called AlloP).

Thyroid hormone – I could write several articles on thyroid hormone (T3 and T4) but suffice to say that it is absolutely essential for your physical and mental well-being. TyroMax is a high quality glandular extract that I have personally used and can recommend. Before dabbling with thyroid hormone you should talk with your doctor and also read the book written by Broda Barnes called “Hypothyroidism – The Unsuspected Illness”.

Testosterone – the hormone testosterone is important for mood, energy levels and stress resilience in both men and women (it blocks CRH-stimulated cortisol release). Of course I’m not advocating anyone to experiment with this as it is a prohibited substance in most countries, that is, unless you have a prescription from your doctor. However you can use it on your lab rat. Maybe 2-5 mg topically applied to skin for male rats. Female rats would use much, much less, more like 0.3 mg.

Natural Adaptogenic Herbs And Spices

Tulsi leaves (holy basil) – I really enjoy drinking Tulsi tea. Tulsi leaves contains adaptogenic substances that helps you deal with stress and and in mice studies it has anti-anxiety, antidepressant effects. 1-2 cups per day is a good idea. (Amazon)

Black cumin seeds (Nigella sativa) – I wrote an article about black cumin seeds here. Black cumin seeds contain the active component thymoquinone which can help reduce inflammatory mediators in the brain like nitric oxide and increase GABAergic signalling. Chewing on 1-2 tsp per day seems to work well. (Amazon)

Rhodiola Rosea – a plant that grows in northern Europe and Asia which contains natural adaptogenic compounds, increasing the body’s ability to deal with physical and emotional stress. Rhodiola Rosea has been shown to improve symptoms of anxiety in patients with diagnosed GAD. It has also been shown to help patients with depression in placebo-controlled randomized studies. (Amazon)

Chamomile tea – a pretty old traditional medicine that has been used to treat insomnia for its calming, sedative effects. Chamomile contains a flavonoid called apigenin that has pro-GABA effects in the brain, which may help explain the tranquilizing effect. There are some studies suggesting that chamomile extract has anti-anxiety effects and can help improve mild to moderate GAD (a.k.a generalized anxiety disorder). (Amazon)

Korean red ginseng – a natural warming and stimulating herb with adaptogenic (i.e antistress) properties. It gives you a great energy boost without any crash which makes it an awesome alternative to coffee if you need an extra kick in the morning, without any off the jittery, anxious feelings and poor sleep that caffeine can cause. It has a mood-boosting effect and reduces anxiety by increasing dopamine signalling – at least in mice. (Amazon)

Lemon balm – another herb that calms down anxiety through increased brain GABA levels. You can either make tea with lemon balm leaves or take 500 mg from a tincture/extract. (Amazon)

Magnolia bark extract – you guessed right, magnolia bark is another natural supplement which increases GABA. (Amazon)

Boswellia Seratta (frankincense) – Boswellia Seratta is a tree and from this tree you can extract anti-inflammatory boswellic acids. In this study, giving mice a boswellic acid called incensole acetate had antidepressant effects and lowered the stress hormone corticosterone. And in this study done on rats, boswellia extract was able to reduce the inflammation and depressive and anxiety-like behaviours caused by bacterial toxins. (Amazon)

Tribulus terrestris – is a plant that contains steroidal saponins (e.g protodioscin) and has been use been used as an aphrodisiac. Studies are a little inconclusive but it does seem to be able to boost DHEA levels. In this chronic stress rat study, giving the rats a Tribulus supplement completely prevented the rise in stress hormones and associated depressive-like behaviour. Here is a similar animal study where a TT extract had anti-anxiety effects. If you get a quality extract then you shouldn’t need more than 200-400 mg per day I reckon. (Amazon)

He Shou Wu (Fo-Ti) – it is a medicine used in TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) and it is supposed to reverse aging, make your hair black, nourish your blood and other things that I don’t understand. Anyways, He Shou Wu contains compounds that inhibit the enzyme MAO-B which gives you a nice dopamine (mood) boost. I can definitely confirm this subtle increase in energy/mood from long-term supplementation. Not a TCM expert, I just take the recommended dose on the label. (Amazon)

Supplements for Gut Health And/Or Chronic Infections

Poor gut health can cause all sorts of issues with anxiety or depression, or irritability, or overall just not feeling good. Things like IBS and bloating and gas, or constipation, or an unhealthy gut microbiome or even a gut infection – these can all trigger stress hormones and anxious thoughts and feelings. Below are some of my favourite tools for fixing gut health (…besides a good diet of course!).

Activated charcoal – This is a miracle worker for gut issues e.g IBS, bloating, distention or gas. Take 1-2 tsp in 8 oz water once per day on an empty stomach. You can go up to twice per day as well. Basically; if you experience any sort of gut symptom or suspect something if not quite right, take charcoal until the problem is gone. Charcoal binds to any bacterial toxins and removes them via pooping. (Amazon)

Clay – works the same as activated charcoal (binds and eliminates toxins in the gut). 2 tsp in 1 liter water per day is a good starting dose! (Amazon)

Hot water – not a supplement I know LOL, but it still needs to be included here. Hot water or tea between meals is one the simplest and best things you can do for promoting healthy bile flow and gut health. I wrote an article about it here.

Mastic gum – this is the tree sap from a mastic tree (a small evergreen shrub) that people have been using since ancient times for its medicinal qualities. Most antimicrobials are pretty harsh but not mastic gum… and it is awesome! It is a powerful natural antimicrobial that can help eradicate H. pylori infection (H. pylori makes you anxious and depressed), heal stomach ulcers, and get rid off other bacterial and fungal infections. Besides being an antimicrobial it is also anti-inflammatory, lowers lipids, has anti-cancer properties and fights Crohns disease. Either chew it as a gum or take it as a powder, 0.5 tsp with meals. You have to get a good quality mastic gum though, the best one is from the island Chios in Greece. (Amazon)

Bifidobacterium probiotics – Your gut microbiome affects your mood , your thoughts and your resilience to stress. Taking probiotics and replenishing your gut flora with “good bacteria” has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety in humans (in this particular study a bacterial strain called B. longum). I reccomend taking single strain, non histamine producing strains like B. longum and B. bifidum. (Amazon)

L. reuteri – another probiotic that increases oxytocin (love/human bounding hormone) and reduces autism-like symptoms in mice. I have written an article about L. reuteri here. (Amazon)

Oregano oil – another powerful broad-spectrum herb that can kill off bad bacteria and fungus in the gut. Very useful for SIBO type issues but can be a little harsh on the gut. Mastic gum is a little more gentle. (Amazon)

Cistus Incanus tea – an absolutely brilliant herb (comes from a shrub called rockrose that grows in Mediterranean regions) that helps support immunity, wards off respiratory illnesses, and anecdotally is able to fix persistent viral infections and Lyme. See this article for more information on the healing powers of Cistus incanus tea. For me personally this was a total game-changer for my health and well-being. (Amazon)

Thorne SF722 – used to treat anything fungal e.g candida. (Amazon)

Flowers of sulfur – a fancy name for plain sulfur powder. A mix of sulfur and molasses is an old-school home remedy to treat most things. You can use it topically for skin problems but also internally to treat fungus and parasites. Typically one would take just a few pinches for a few days. (Amazon)

Triphala – an Ayurvedic blend of three different herbs used to improve gut health. In one rat study, Triphala was able to regenerate the intestinal villi in the brush border of the small intestine which is where absorption of nutrients occur. It also improved antioxidant status and decreased inflammation in the intestinal lining. And in another rat study, Triphala reduced corticosterone release in response to noise stress. (Amazon)

Other Various Anti-Stress Substances

Propranolol – this is the drug I mentioned in the beginning of this article. Propranolol is a so-called beta-blocker that is commonly used to treat high blood pressure. It’s called a beta-blocker because it blocks the beta receptors that adrenaline binds to and exerts its effects. In other words, it is an anti-adrenaline substance. Fight-or-flight symptoms are largely caused by adrenaline, and by blocking its effects you can get relief from anxiety. Obviously this is something you would talk with your doctor about and not take willy-nilly as it can cause side effects, interact with other medications etc. It is often prescribed by doctors for generalised anxiety and can be a super helpful tool to stop a fear response (plus it has very few side effects compared to other anti-anxiety medications).

Baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) – supplementing with baking soda helps boost CO2 levels which has amazing anti-inflammatory properties. You can take it orally or take a bicarbonate bath!

Aspirinyes… the stuff your grandma used to treat headaches! Aspirin is an anti-inflammatory agent (blocks an enzyme called COX-2 and lowers inflammatory prostaglandins). There are several studies showing that taking aspirin can help with treating depression. It reduces stress hormones like cortisol and increases dopamine signalling (which helps with motivation and feeling good). I’d take about 80-500 mg aspirin mixed with baking soda to reduce the risk of gut irritation. (Amazon)

Bag breathing – you may have noticed that when you are dealing with intense feelings of anxiety, your breathing tends to become more rapid. This is called hyperventilation and can add insult to injury by reducing your body CO2 levels (CO2 is eliminated during exhalation). By breathing in a bag you stop this “CO2 leakage” which can help with anxiety. Plus it gives your mind something to focus on during times when anxiety and worry feels overwhelming. (Amazon)

Red light therapy – infrared light, either from the sun or a red light device, increases cellular energy (ATP) production and reduces inflammation! In this study 10 people diagnosed with depression and anxiety saw their symptoms greatly improve upon shining a red light on their body for 8 minutes everyday. The cheapest and most effective is to go out in the sun everyday, particularly during morning hours as morning sun has more infrared rays. Or buy a chicken lamp/red light device. (Amazon)

Inosine – is a nucleoside that the body can use to make DNA/RNA as well as the energy molecule ATP. It is a super interesting molecule and among many other things it’s used as an immunomodulatory drug to treat viral infections. Here is an interesting study done on mice showing that inosine improved depressive and anxiety-like behaviors (according to the authors this was mediated through the gut-brain axis as inosine lead to an improved gut flora). (iHerb)

GABA – a calming neurotransmitter in the body and brain. GABA works as the natural “brake system” in the brain and makes you feel more relaxed and grounded. The powerful group of tranquillisers called benzodiazepines work through increasing GABAergic neurotransmission in the brain. It may sound a little weird but you can buy straight GABA powder and… supplement with it! There are some questions as to whether supplemental GABA can actually pass the blood-brain-barrier or not, however you can find a ton of anecdotes of GABA helping alleviate anxiety (even it doesn’t make it to the brain it can act on peripheral GABA receptors in the body). (Amazon)

Cyproheptadine – an old school anti-histamine drug that powerfully lowers many, if not most, stress hormones in the body. Cushing’s disease is a disorder where your body produces too much cortisol, and cyproheptadine has been used to treat this disease by lowering ACTH (ACTH stimulates the adrenals to make cortisol). It also lowers histamine which can become a problem in excessive amounts. Here is one study where cyproheptadine was shown to be effective for treating depression. Moreover, cyproheptadine also lowers serotonin which can be a good thing for some individuals (serotonin is not really the “happy hormone”, it’s more of a stress-coping hormone). Cyproheptadine is sold OTC in some countries as Periactin, 0.5-1 mg with dinner is more than enough.

Phosphatidylserine – it makes you less stressed out/more stress resilient. In this study, supplementation with phosphatidylserine was found to normalize ACTH and cortisol response to an acute stressor. And another study found again that it lowers cortisol but also increases testosterone/cortisol ratio (a good thing!). (Amazon)

(Ethyl) pyruvate – when you eat starch or sugar (glucose) it gets converted in the body to another molecule called pyruvate, which then goes through more steps which results in ATP being produced (the cell’s energy molecule). By supplementing with pyruvate there is an increase in ATP production. I think this could be worth experimenting with if you feel depressed, moody, tired or sluggish. On idealabs.com they sell a product called Pyrucet containing ethyl pyruvate that I personally like using.

Methylene blue – is a dye which is… blue. This is a fascinating molecule which increases ATP levels by picking up electron and donating them to the electron transport chain (similar to red light therapy). The most common use for MB is to treat a condition called methemoglobinemia where the blood cannot carry oxygen. But it has many other uses. One study from 1986 found that relatively large doses of MB (300mg) helped improve symptoms of manic-depressive psychosis, and this study from 1987 found that “methylene blue at a dose of 15 mg/day appears to be a potent antidepressant” vs placebo. A more recent study from 2018 showed that MB reduced anxiety and depression in individuals with bipolar disorder. I get noticeable energy and mood-lifting effects from just tiny doses of 0.3 mg or so. Idealabs.com offers a MB called Oxidal that I can recommend.

Beta-lapachone – is another oxidizing quinone molecule that helps your mitochondria produce energy. You can think of it as a “natural” alternative to methylene blue, beta-lapachone is obtained from the Lapacho tree. You can take a Pau D’Arco extract (Amazon). Or buy Lapodin at idealabs.

Emodin – another quinone which inactivates cortisol through inhibition of 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1, an enzyme that turns inactive cortisone into active cortisol. Emodin is found in large amounts in He Shou Wu, another option is the Lapodin product mentioned above (it contains both emodin and beta-lapachone).

CoQ10 – coenzyme Q10, a.k.a ubiquinone, helps your mitochondria make energy (ATP). CoQ10 plays an important role in the electron transport chain by shuttling electrons from complex 1 and 2 to complex 3. In patients with bipolar depression CoQ10 supplementation has been shown to have antidepressant effects and in another study done on individuals with fibromyalgia, CoQ10 reduced pain, alleviated anxiety and improves mitochondrial function.(Amazon)

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.