Best supplements for stress anxiety and depression: It is frustrating to know that stress, anxiety, and depression are among the most common illnesses that affect 40 million adults (18.1% of the population) each year in the United States. (1)
The severe cyclical situation is difficult to escape, and although we all want to trust the hope that we will eventually get rid of this anxious nerve attack, it is important to be aware of instant solutions. bring you a sense of peace.
Fortunately, there are some real cold pills you can take that will do anything from calming your nerves to relaxing your muscles. At least, according to Mona Dan, a herbalist, and owner of Vie Healing acupuncture in Beverly Hills; Edison de Mello, MD, Ph.D., board-certified doctor of holistic medicine and founder of the probiotics line ActivatedYou; and Care of the scientific advisory team we’ve all selected to find the best supplements for stress anxiety and depression.
De Mello points out that although there are some supplements anyone can take to relieve anxiety symptoms, you should combine these additives with other reliable remedies. “In my opinion, the best way to deal with anxiety is to work with a mental health professional. Also try meditation, exercise, and building a strong support network. Besides taking supplements, your diet can help improve your anxiety responses.
After all, dark green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach are rich in magnesium and B vitamins. So are grains like quinoa and millet. And green tea is a great source of theanine. So make sure your diet supports your mental and physical health needs. “Read on to find out about the Best supplements for stress anxiety and depression recommended by experts.
What is the difference between stress and anxiety?
Because the symptoms of stress and anxiety are very similar, many people use the terms interchangeably. Symptoms shared between the two conditions include:
A hard time concentrating on tasks, conversations, etc.
Mood swings or mood changes, such as irritability
Chronic fatigue and loss of motivation
However, even though stress is a response to a short-term trigger (a tough email from your boss, your child’s tantrum in the morning, etc.), anxiety is a persistent emotion that never goes away.
Whether you’re experiencing prolonged anxiety or short-term stress, psychologists point out that both are emotional responses in your brain and nervous system. And an expanding group of research is investigating how the foods you eat affect how you feel, and whether certain vitamins and minerals can help your brain better manage your emotional responses to life’s challenges.
Best supplements for stress anxiety and depression
If you’re feeling anxious or stressed, or want to take proactive steps today to prevent problems ahead, start with these natural vitamins that can help with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks.
1. B vitamins for anxiety, stress and depression
For optimal health, your body needs eight B vitamins:
- Vitamin B1 (Thiamine)
- Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin)
- Vitamin B3 (Niacin)
- Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic acid)
- Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)
- Vitamin B7 (Biotin)
- Vitamin B9 (Folate)
- Vitamin B12 (Cobalamins)
All B vitamins play a beneficial role in reducing anxiety and improving your mood. For example, a study published in the Journal of Functional Foods  found that those who ate foods rich in B vitamins saw significant improvements in anxiety and stress scores compared to those who did not eat foods rich in B vitamins.
However, when it comes to vitamin B for anxiety, vitamin B12 is particularly powerful for managing your mood. For example, there is a strong association between low B12 levels and increased rates of anxiety and depression. B12 also offers additional brain care benefits such as increasing your ability to focus and remember information.
Daily nutritional reference values (NRV) for vitamin B12:
- Adults: 2.4 μg / day
- Pregnant individuals: 2.6 μg / day
- Breastfeeding individuals: 2.8 μg / day
The best food sources of vitamin B12:
- Shellfish such as oysters, mussels, and crabs
- Fish, especially Atlantic mackerel and salmon
- Lean poultry, such as turkey or chicken
- Plant-based eaters should pay particular attention to B12 as well as nutritious yeast – it is extremely difficult to obtain.
2. Melatonin for sleep, anxiety, and stress
Getting enough quality sleep is important for reducing stress.
Stress is strongly linked to insomnia, a sleep disorder characterized by difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep, or both.
However, if you are under stress, it may not be the easiest to achieve adequate quality sleep, which can worsen its severity.
Melatonin is a natural hormone that regulates your body’s circadian rhythm, or sleep-wake cycle. Hormone levels increase in the evening to promote sleep when it is dark and decrease in the morning to promote wakefulness.
In a review of 19 studies in 1,683 people with primary sleep disorders — not due to any other condition — melatonin shortened the time it took people to fall asleep, increased total sleep time, and improved overall sleep quality compared to a placebo.
Another review of 7 studies involving 205 people investigated the effectiveness of melatonin in managing secondary sleep disorders caused by another condition, such as stress or depression.
The review showed that melatonin reduced people’s time to fall asleep and increased total sleep time, but did not significantly affect sleep quality compared to placebo.
Although melatonin is a natural hormone, supplementing it will not affect your body’s production. Melatonin is also not habit-forming.
Melatonin supplements range in dosage from 0.3–10 mg. It is best to start with the lowest possible dose and work up to a higher dose if necessary.
While in the United States melatonin supplements can be purchased over the counter, many other countries require a prescription.
Supplementing with melatonin may help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer if you have difficulties falling asleep related to stress.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an adaptogenic herb native to India, where it has been used in Indian Ayurveda, one of the world’s oldest medicinal systems.
Similar to Rhodiola, ashwagandha is thought to enhance your body’s resilience to physical and mental stress.
In one study on the stress-relieving effects of ashwagandha, researchers randomized 60 individuals with mild stress to receive 240 mg of a standardized ashwagandha extract or a placebo daily for 60 days.
Compared with the placebo, supplementing with ashwagandha was strongly associated with greater reductions in stress, anxiety, and depression. Ashwagandha was also linked to a 23% reduction in morning levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.
What’s more, a review of five studies examining the effects of ashwagandha on anxiety and stress observed that those who supplemented with ashwagandha extract scored better on tests measuring levels of stress, anxiety, and fatigue.
A study investigating the safety and efficacy of supplementing with ashwagandha in people with chronic stress noted that taking 600 mg of ashwagandha for 60 days was safe and well-tolerated.
The adaptogenic properties of ashwagandha have been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, as well as lower morning cortisol levels.
4. Vitamin C for mood, stress and anxiety
You might think of vitamin C as an immune booster, but it’s also a brain booster and one of the best vitamins for anxiety.
This antioxidant plays a vital role in maintaining homeostasis (i.e. balance) in your central nervous system. A study in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry declared that “vitamin C deficiency is commonly associated with stress-related illnesses,” and noted that taking vitamin C supplements can improve mood and reduce anxiety.
Also, chronic anxiety leads to high levels of cortisol (a stress hormone linked to a higher risk of diabetes and many other diseases). Vitamin C can help your body better manage cortisol levels.
NRV for vitamin C:
- Adult males: 90 mg/day
- Adult females: 75 mg/day
Top food sources for vitamin C:
- Citrus fruits
- Colorful vegetables, such as red bell peppers
5. Vitamin D for anxiety and depression
Approximately 40% of Europeans do not get enough vitamin D.
While it is unclear whether vitamin D deficiency causes anxiety and depression, there is a correlation between low vitamin D levels and higher rates of anxiety and other mood disorders. One study even found that taking a vitamin D supplement helped improve symptoms of depression.
NRV for vitamin D:
- Adults: 600 IU/day
- Adults over the age of 70: 800 IU/day
Top food sources for vitamin D:
- Fish, such as salmon or sardines
- Egg yolks
- Fortified foods, such as milk or cereal
6. Magnesium for stress, anxiety and depression
This anti-anxiety mineral is one of the most common supplements. A systematic review analyzing about 20 different studies found that taking a magnesium supplement improved all anxiety measures. In addition to benefiting your stress and anxiety symptoms, magnesium is linked to improving symptoms of depression.
This is because your brain and nervous system may need magnesium for proper brain function and regulating neurotransmitters.
About 75% of people don’t get enough magnesium. If you choose to try magnesium supplements for anxiety, take them a few hours before or after taking another supplement. The mineral can decrease how well your body absorbs other nutrients.
NRV for magnesium:
- Adult males age 30 or younger: 400 mg/day
- Adult females age 30 or younger: 310 mg/day
- Adult males age 31 or older: 420 mg/day
- Adult females age 31 or older: 320 mg/day
Top food sources for magnesium
- Nuts, such as cashews or peanuts
- Whole grain brown rice
7. Omega 3 for depression and anxiety
Omega 3 is a polyunsaturated fatty acid and the reason cod liver oil is the source of all the rage.
It comes in a variety of forms, but the most important are DHA and EPA. DHA, in particular, may play a role in maintaining your mental health, and getting enough has been associated with a reduced risk of depression. In fact, one study found that taking a daily supplement can reduce the likelihood of developing symptoms by up to 30%.
One reason may be that DHA is vital for the production of serotonin, a hormone that helps us regulate our mood naturally. Healthy production and regulation of serotonin can also reduce anxiety and stress levels.
However, many people do not consume oily fish at all and reach the recommended omega 3 intakes of only about 16%. For everyone else, supplements may be worth investigating.
NRV for omega 3
There isn’t a specific NRV for omega 3. However, the recommendation is the equivalent of two servings of oily fish a week, which comes to around 400mg a day.
Top food sources for omega 3
- Oily fish
8. Rhodiola rosea for stress and depression
Rhodiola (Rhodiola Rosea) is an herb that grows in the cold, mountainous regions of Russia and Asia.
It has long been known as an adaptogen, a natural, non-toxic herb that stimulates your body’s stress response system to increase resistance to stress.
Rhodiola’s adaptogenic properties are linked to rosavin and salidroside, two of the plant’s potent active ingredients.
An 8-week study in 100 people with symptoms of chronic fatigue such as poor sleep quality and impairments in short-term memory and concentration found that supplementing with 400 mg of Rhodiola extract daily improved symptoms after just 1 week.
Symptoms continued to decrease throughout the study.
In another study in 118 people with stress-related burnout, taking 400 mg of Rhodiola extract daily for 12 weeks improved associated symptoms, including anxiety, fatigue, and irritability.
Rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb that has been shown to improve symptoms associated with chronic fatigue and stress-related burnout.
9. L-theanine for stress and depression
L-theanine is an amino acid most commonly found in tea leaves.
It has been studied for its ability to promote relaxation and reduce stress without exerting sedative effects.
A review of 21 studies involving approximately 68,000 people found that drinking green tea reduces anxiety and is associated with improvements in memory and attention.
These effects were attributed to the synergistic effects of caffeine and l-theanine in tea because each ingredient was found to have less of an effect on its own.
However, studies suggest that L-theanine on its own can help relieve stress.
One study showed that supplementing with 200 mg of l-theanine reduced measures of stress, such as heart rate, in response to performing a mentally stressful task.
In another study in 34 people, drinking a beverage containing 200 mg of l-theanine and other nutrients lowered levels of the stress hormone cortisol in response to a stressful task involving multitasking.
L-theanine is well tolerated and safe when supplemented with an effective dose for relaxation ranging from 200-600mg per day in capsule form.
For comparison, l-theanine makes up 1-2% of the dry weight of the leaves, corresponding to 10-20 mg of l-theanine per commercially available tea bag.
However, drinking tea is unlikely to have any noticeable effect on stress. However, many people find drinking tea relaxing.
L-theanine is a natural component of tea leaves that has been shown to reduce stress and promote relaxation.
10. Valerian Root for depression and anxiety
“Valerian root has special chemical components that are useful in the treatment of anxiety,” Dan explains. “Research has found that specific acids called valeric acids, named after the plant itself and which turn into GABAs, are specifically responsible for inhibiting and regulating the activity of neurons in the brain.”
NOTE: Please call a doctor or mental health professional before trying new supplements or making dietary adjustments.
- Best supplements for stress anxiety and depression
- Best supplements for stress anxiety and depression