Can nootropics really relieve stress and anxiety?
Nootropics, sometimes referred to as smart drugs, are natural compounds that can improve cognitive function and brain health in otherwise healthy people. Nootropics are growing in popularity as our world becomes ever more competitive and everyone is looking for an edge.
Nootropics are generally taken in supplement form and can be used to improve a whole spectrum of facets of wellbeing, including memory, mood, focus, creativity, motivation and concentration. Nootropics are often taken for their stress relieving properties.
Nootropics really come into their own in reducing stress and anxiety. If you sense that stress and anxiety are getting the better of you, then consider taking nootropics for stress relief and anxiety management.
What nootropic supplements can fight stress and anxiety?
Can the nootropic L-theanine help the brain with anxiety?
L-theanine is an amino acid that can actually be found in tea leaves. Yes, your daily cuppa contains this powerful nootropic substance. L-theanine can also be found in some varieties of mushrooms and in savoury umami foods such as Japanese broths.
L-theanine promotes relaxation and facilitates stress relief by altering the make-up of the brain and it gets to work in a couple of ways.
First and foremost, L-theanine elevates levels of GABA (a neurotransmitter responsible for reducing neuronal excitability), as well as emotion-regulating neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine in the brain.
Second, L-theanine enhances alpha brain waves, the electromagnetic brain waves that are associated with experiencing a feeling of ‘wakeful relaxation.’ Alpha brain waves are the brain waves that kick in when you’re meditating, doing something creative, or allowing yourself to indulge in the magic of daydreaming.
If you suffer with insomnia, L-theanine could help you to fall asleep faster and stay asleep for longer. Research has shown that L-theanine can help to promote the relaxation necessary for a good night’s sleep.
The nootropic gotu kola eases symptoms of depression.
Gotu kola works by increasing the number of dendrite branches and axons in the brain, thereby promoting new channels of communication in the brain and allowing for a more efficient flow of information from body to brain and back again.
Gotu kola has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress in humans and animals. In a 2016 study, mice were deprived of sleep in order to elicit a stress response before being treated with gotu kola. Mice that were given a supplementary dose of gotu kola for five consecutive days displayed a significant reduction in anxiety-like behavior, and their oxidative stress levels decreased.
Gotu kola can also help ease symptoms of depression. In one study, participants with generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) who supplemented with gotu kola for 14 days reported fewer feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression at the end of the study.
Gotu kola is also implicated in augmenting memory and cognition, improved blood flow to the brain, wound healing and effective blood clotting.
So, what is the best nootropic for anxiety?
Ashwagandha's anti-stress and anti-anxiety properties.
Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic adaptogen with recognised and potent anti-stress and anti-anxiety properties and is considered by many to be the best nootropic available today. The root extract has been used in Eastern medicinal practices for millennia and is gaining ground in the West as a go-to for curing and preventing mood disorders, sleep problems and inflammatory conditions.
Similar to L-theanine, ashwagandha has GABA-mimicking effects on the brain, calming nervous activity and helping the brain to slow down and relax when necessary. Like gotu kola, ashwagandha supports the formation of dendrites and axons that facilitate neurotransmission and nervous communication. Ashwagandha also regulates the body’s stress hormone, cortisol.
Daily supplementation has been linked with reduced blood adrenaline levels, slower heart rate, fewer instances of stress-related illness, and a reduced likelihood of suffering adrenal fatigue or burnout. 88% of people who supplemented with a clinical daily dose of 600mg of ashwagandha reported a reduction in anxiety over a six week period.
LYMA’s formula contains a patented and highly bioavailable form of ashwagandha: KSM-66® Ashwagandha is the world’s number one adaptogen and one of the most effective nootropics you can take to combat stress and anxiety. KSM-66® Ashwagandha is a full-spectrum root extract and retains all the natural constituents of the herb in their original balance. Routine supplementation has been clinically proven to enhance cognition and elevate mood when taken consistently over a period of time.
Ashwagandha is also a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory that supports both brain protection and cellular repair.
Bacopa Monnieri (Brahmi) increases your body's resistance to stress.
Like ashwagandha, Bacopa Monnieri, also known as Brahmi, is considered an adaptogenic herb. Bacopa Monnieri has been shown to increase your body's resistance to stress.
Bacopa Monnieri works by reducing the amount of cortisol your body produces in times of stress and also by improving synaptic communication and proliferating dendrite formation in the brain.
Researchers in India demonstrated that Brahmi can be as effective in curing anxiety as the prescription drug lorazepam, albeit without the memory-impairment that often comes as a side effect of taking the latter for any period of time.
Bacopa Monnieri works in a similar way to some of the other nootropics listed above, but has additional benefits associated with areas of cognitive and physical health as various as improving recall, boosting attention and memory and focus, reducing inflammation and oxidative stress and lowering heart rate.
Nootropics can help to support a whole host of areas of physical and mental wellbeing and can be taken either preventatively or as a cure for a number of ailments and health complaints. Nootropics are a great addition to your supplement regime at any age, but become all the more vital as you get older. Nootropics can play an important and integral role in reducing symptoms associated with the menopause, for example.
LYMA’s formula contains eight patented ingredients that are clinically-proven to support the brain and body during times of stress. Supplementing daily with LYMA can lead to improved mood, a more positive outlook and a sense of thriving - not merely surviving - through business and uncertainty. We understand that times are anxious and stress is rife, and we believe that you deserve nothing better than to feel your best. That’s where LYMA comes in.
Originally published Aug 28, 2021.