People use nootropic supplements mainly to improve their performance in learning, reasoning, memory and other crucial aspects of cognition. In addition to cognitive improvements, a variety of these products are also used to enhance mood and manage stress levels.
Anxiolytic group of nootropics includes nootropic supplements that provide a relaxed state of mind, reduce the feelings of social anxiety and shyness. The combination of nootropics to be used solely depends on your individual preferences, needs (i.e. what kind of anxiety you suffer from) and responses.
Therefore, the main purpose of this brief guide is to introduce you to the best anxiolytic nootropics.
Anxiety is a fairly abstract symptom that can be caused by a number of various anxiety disorders. Briefly, one of the main underlying mechanisms appears to be the deficiency of GABA neurotransmitter in the brain.
GABA (aka gamma aminobutyric acid) is made by another neurochemical called glutamate. It has an inhibitory effect on the central nervous system (CNS) and therefore functions as the main neurotransmitter to counter the feelings of anxiety.
If the levels of GABA are low, the nerve cells start “doing overtime”, sending signals in higher frequencies than normally. As a result, an individual can feel nervous or mentally strained. In more severe cases, it can develop into compulsive behaviour, panic attacks and seizures. If GABA levels are within their normal range (or even higher), chances of experiencing anxiety are drastically reduced. In contrast a person feels relaxed and calm.
If we take sedatives as an example, a lot of them work by stimulating GABA receptors. Similarly, alcohol is well-known to relieve symptoms of anxiety. Obviously, alcohol is not a nootropic as it has a number of unwanted side effects.
Another important thing to remember is that simple GABA supplements are inactive at altering the levels of GABA. This is because GABA itself is unable to cross the blood-brain barrier and therefore it cannot inhibit the anxiety causing signals in the brain. In order to experience positive results GABA precursors should be used. Such supplements are able to cross the blood-brain barrier thereby providing the desired effects.
The nootropics presented in the list below are fully capable of entering the brain, which is why they are considered to be very effective against anti-anxiety symptoms, whilst simultaneously working as cognitive enhancers.
It is generally accepted that Phenibut is a very good nootropic to relieve anxiety, tension and fear. It is a natural derivative of GABA, but it is very effective at crossing the blood-brain barrier and binding to GABA receptors in the brain. Phenibut works as an agonist of GABA-A/B receptors and it causes a slight sedation, relaxing the user. This is quite similar to the effects of alcohol.
Phenibut is very effective as a short-term anxiety solution. However, you should not use it daily (you should not take it more than 3 times a week), as there is a danger of developing negative side effects. One of them is development of tolerance.
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Aniracetam is considered to be the best nootropic in the racetam family for treating social anxiety and different types of stress. Aniracetam is an effective mood enhancer, because it stimulates the AMPA receptors that regulate glutamate and subsequently GABA neurotransmitters.
This racetam helps shy or introverted people to be more open among others by temporarily reducing social inhibitions. Aniracetam also increases energy, focus, motivation and communication skills.
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Mixed opinions surround Noopept as an anxiolytic nootropic. Some reviewers claim excellent results, while others suggest it does not have any mood enhancing effects. Much like the racetams, Noopept affects AMPA receptors and boosts the uptake of glutamate. As an extra benefit, Noopept appears to increase the levels of dopamine and serotonin in the cerebral cortex.
Noopept is considered to be as much as 1000 and 200 times more potent than Piracetam and Aniracetam, respectively. As Noopept has a longer half-life than Aniracetam, taking it once a day is likely to be enough.
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Picamilon in many ways is similar to Phenibut. It is also a GABA derivative with an ability of crossing the blood-brain barrier. It is praised for the effectiveness of treating anxiety, depression, mental fatigue and preventing negative thoughts.
Picamilon is safer and has fewer documented side effects than Phenibut. Interestingly, it works not only as a sedative but a stimulant too. Picamilon can be used every day and stacked with other nootropics to gain even more profound effects.
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Inositol is a natural supplement that appears to be a very effective anxiolytic nootropic when taken at higher doses. It is capable of reaching the brain tissue and changing the levels of the GABA. Many users find Inositol very effective for their anxiety symptoms. Some effects can be felt within an hour. The supplement provides the relaxed and secure state of mind. Inositol is being researched as a way to treat even more serious problems, such as bipolar disorder, depression and various mental illnesses.