Dietary supplements may help reduce anxiety symptoms, but it’s important to know the facts before using them.

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Many of us have felt anxious from time to time. But for the millions of people living with an anxiety disorder around the globe, anxiety occurs on a more regular basis.

From therapy to medication and yoga to meditation, there are many approaches you can take to help reduce anxiety.

Another popular option? Dietary supplements.

While there’s still more to be learned about supplements and their role in mental health, research does suggest that they may be an effective remedy for easing anxiety symptoms.

If you’re wondering how supplements can help you curb anxiety, we’ve got you covered. We’ve rounded up nine of our top choices below, including specific products we recommend.

Supplements for anxiety may work, but results can depend on a variety of factors, including:

  • how much you take
  • other treatments you may be using
  • other conditions you have or medications you use

Even though they’re natural, supplements can be powerful. Science still has more to learn about what dosages are effective (and what may be dangerous), so it’s best to start with the smallest dose possible.

If you’re already participating in therapy, taking anti-anxiety medications, or receiving any other treatment, supplements shouldn’t be used as a replacement remedy.

In these cases, adding supplements as part of your existing treatment plan may help reduce symptoms further.

Supplements may also interact with certain medications, conditions, and even other supplements. People who are pregnant or taking medications should talk with their doctor before adding any supplement to their diet, as there may be risks.

It’s important to talk with a healthcare professional for guidance if you have any questions or want to learn more.

We considered several key points when choosing the products listed below, including:

  • brand reputation and standards
  • quality ingredients
  • customer reviews
  • research

L-theanine

Naturally found in green tea leaves, L-theanine is an amino acid that may be helpful in easing stress and anxiety. It may also aid in getting a good night’s sleep.

A 2019 review of nine studies found that taking 200 to 400 milligrams (mg) of L-theanine supplements each day reduced stress and anxiety levels in people exposed to stressful situations.

A small 2019 study supports L-theanine’s effectiveness in soothing stress-related symptoms, as well as its ability to help reduce sleep disturbances.

L-theanine is most commonly available in 200-mg capsules. As with any supplement, it’s best to start with the lowest dose possible when trying L-theanine. It’s vital to speak with a healthcare professional before taking more than 400 mg.

Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is an Ayurvedic herb that’s been used in India for many centuries. It’s gained widespread popularity in the United States as a supplement in recent years, particularly as a remedy for stress and anxiety.

While research into the benefits of ashwagandha is still fairly new, it does look promising. A small 2019 study found it to be safe and effective in reducing stress and anxiety.

Keep in mind that because we’re still learning about the benefits of ashwagandha, there’s uncertainty over how much should be taken. It’s best to consult a healthcare professional for guidance on adding this supplement to your diet.

Magnesium

Magnesium is an important and essential mineral that plays a role in almost every function of your body, including muscle function, blood pressure, and how it responds to stress. It supports your metabolism to help your body best use carbohydrates, fats, and amino acids.

Magnesium is generally safe to take. A 2017 research review suggests that magnesium supplements can positively benefit people who have anxiety by helping relieve symptoms, but study authors note better quality studies are needed.

Dosage depends on several factors, including your age and sex: For adult men, 400 to 420 mg a day is recommended, while 310 to 320 mg a day is recommended for adult women.

It’s best to talk with a healthcare professional about dosage before giving to children or taking while pregnant or breastfeeding.

Curcumin

Found in turmeric, curcumin is a polyphenol compound with strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. A 2017 review suggests it may also be an effective remedy for depression and anxiety.

A 2017 review of six studies found curcumin to have great anti-anxiety effects as well as a positive impact on reducing depression symptoms. While this analysis was small, its results were significant.

A 2017 study involving 123 participants support these findings, particularly for people living with major depressive disorder. Curcumin has also been found to reduce anxiety symptoms for people with diabetes.

Saffron

Saffron may be popular in the culinary world, but it’s also known for its medicinal properties. This brightly colored spice is packed with antioxidants. Saffron supplements may help elevate mood and help you relax.

In a 2018 review of 100 studies ranging from 1996 to 2016, saffron was one of several herbs found to mitigate anxiety.

Recent clinical trials have also shown saffron to be as effective as antidepressant medications in treating depression — but with fewer side effects.

CBD

There’s a lot of hype around cannabidiol (CBD), a popular natural remedy derived from the cannabis sativa plant. It has many reported uses, including soothing pain, treating acne, and easing anxiety.

A 2020 research review supports its use as a treatment for anxiety, including providing symptom relief for those with social anxiety disorder. A 2015 review also found that CBD can help provide calming relief to those who don’t have an anxiety disorder.

While CBD is generally considered safe, there’s still a lot we don’t know about it. More research is needed on its benefits, safety, and how it may interact with other medications.

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is an important nutrient that helps balance mood and keeps your brain healthy. The human body naturally makes vitamin D when it’s exposed to sunlight. We can also get it from certain foods or through supplements.

Research has connected low levels of vitamin D with depression, which suggests that a deficiency may also be tied to other mood disorders, including anxiety. In fact, a 2019 study suggests that vitamin D is effective in lessening the severity of anxiety disorder symptoms.

Dosage depends on your body’s levels of vitamin D. A doctor can test your vitamin D levels to help you determine what dose is right for you.

Omega-3s

Omega-3s are fats with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Your body can’t make omega-3 fats on its own and must get them from food or supplements.

A 2018 review of 19 clinical trials found that omega-3 greatly reduced anxiety symptoms in people treated with omega-3 supplements.

Omega-3 fats seem to be most effective in high doses, with participants in the review using 2,000 mg of omega-3s each day.

It’s important to keep in mind that the National Institutes of Health recommends not taking more than 1.1 to 1.6 grams (1,100 to 1,600 mg) of omega-3 per day, depending on your age and sex.

Therefore, it’s best to speak with a doctor before adding higher dosages to your supplement routine.

Vitamin C

A powerful nutrient, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant in the body. A 2018 review suggests it may help heal and prevent oxidative stress in people with neuropsychological disorders.

Multiple studies have touted vitamin C’s effectiveness in treating symptoms of anxiety in people of all ages.

A 2015 study focused on high school students found that 500 mg of vitamin C each day for 2 weeks helped reduce anxiety levels. Plus, research from 2013 and 2017 suggests that vitamin C supplements provided anxiety relief in people with diabetes and women, respectively.

How much vitamin C you need depends on your age. You can generally get the recommended amounts through fruits.

In some cases, a supplement may be all you need to manage anxiety symptoms. However, if your symptoms are becoming overwhelming or affecting your day-to-day activities or overall quality life, it may be time to ask for help.

Seeking support from a medical or mental health professional can provide you with treatment options tailored to you. This can include talk therapy, medication, or other techniques or remedies.

If the products on this list aren’t what you’re looking for, there are many other options available.

Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re searching for a high-quality supplement:

  • reputable brand
  • brand transparency
  • quality ingredients
  • certifications (by third-party organizations)
  • positive user reviews

Because the FDA doesn’t regulate dietary supplements to the same degree as medications, searching for high-quality products is especially important.

You can learn more about choosing a high-quality supplement here.

How long does it take for anxiety supplements to have an effect?

How long it takes for a supplement to take effect can vary. There’s no set rule of thumb that tells us when to expect them to start working.

Some supplements can begin working within 30 to 60 minutes of taking them, while others need to build up over time, taking multiple weeks of regular use to see results.

It may help to read the product label for dosage instructions and information on effectiveness. Consider speaking with a doctor if you have any questions.

Are anxiety supplements safe?

Supplements are generally considered safe, but certain factors can put you at a higher risk of unpleasant or dangerous side effects, including:

  • pregnancy
  • breastfeeding
  • prescription medications
  • chronic medical conditions

It’s important to talk with a healthcare professional before adding supplements to your diet, especially if any of the above applies to you.

Supplements should also not be given to infants or small children without first consulting a doctor.

Will supplements cure my anxiety?

While supplements may help you manage some symptoms, they likely won’t cure your anxiety.

Because anxiety is often a result of an underlying cause — like past experiences or biological factors — it’s best to seek the support of a medical or mental health professional. They can help you address, understand, and learn to successfully manage your anxiety long term.

Can I take herbal supplements along with my prescription medication?

Some supplements can interact with prescription medications and interfere with their effectiveness.

If you’re taking a prescription medication, it’s important to talk with your doctor before starting any supplements to avoid potential risks.

Supplements are just one of the many options available when looking for ways to manage anxiety. They can be a natural alternative or used as part of a broader treatment plan.

While more research is needed, current findings are promising. Studies have shown the effectiveness of supplements in easing anxiety. Popular supplements to try include magnesium, curcumin, CBD, and vitamin D.

Even though they’re generally considered safe, anxiety supplements are not for everyone. If you’re pregnant, taking medication, or living with a chronic illness, it’s important to consult your treatment team before adding supplements to your care routine to avoid any unwanted side effects.