Some natural supplements for anxiety have proven to reduce symptoms and manage anxiety to some extent—however, more studies need to be conducted to further understand just how effective anxiety supplements are. If you have tried various anxiety supplements and haven’t found relief, you may want to make an appointment with a psychiatrist or doctor—they can prescribe anti-anxiety medications that help with generalized anxiety or panic disorder. Plus, ongoing therapy like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help reduce anxiety and equip you with healthy coping skills.
Keep in mind that most anxiety supplements are unregulated and as such, you may experience side effects or risks when taking them.
The 5 Best Anxiety Supplements: Backed by Research
These supplements may help to lessen some symptoms of anxiety:
Several trials have suggested that people taking passionflower supplements may see a significant reduction in anxiety with few significant adverse effects.
Some users may experience dry mouth, headache, constipation, or drowsiness, but not to a significant degree if passionflower is taken in small amounts.
Some evidence has suggested magnesium may help people with anxiety, but at least one systemic review has noted that more research on magnesium-containing supplements is needed when compared to the overall larger pool of available information on passionflower.
Of the three trials looked at in that 2010 review, no participants reported adverse reactions to taking magnesium, although they weren’t asked in at least one of the three trials.
3. CBD Oil
Anecdotally, CBD oil is often said to help treat anxiety. Notably, it hasn’t yet been approved by the FDA as an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety medication).
At present, initial evidence seems to support the idea that CBD oil may assist with at least some cases of anxiety and depression. However, it is worth discussing with a doctor before you start taking CBD for that purpose.
The Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA) has pointed out some problems with the present understanding of CBD, such as the lack of regulation and quality control on CBD products as well as insufficient research.
Ashwagandha is an herb that many people use to improve sleep and reduce anxiety. Some research has indicated that it can help relieve stress and symptoms associated with anxiety; however, the studies have been rather small. 
However, a review of research related to ashwagandha concluded that there isn’t enough evidence to confirm ashwagandha is a reliable supplement for anxiety reduction.
L-Theanine is an amino acid found in some mushrooms and tea leaves. Some studies have shown that it is can help people fall asleep more easily. One study revealed that L-Theanine helps reduce stress-related symptoms, while another showed this amino acid to reduce anxiety, depression, and stress.,
The Placebo Effect
An important point to note is that some research into the best anxiety supplements showed users seeing a similar reduction in their anxiety through the use of placebo supplements, containing no active ingredient associated with anxiety reduction.
In the case of all the supplements listed, more research should be conducted to test how much the specific substance may or may not impact anxiety and depression. This is applicable even if they’re generally considered safe to use and may be worth trying for people dealing with anxiety.
It’s also worth noting that if a product helps a person’s anxiety, even through the placebo effect, their anxiety level is still reduced. If a product helps a person, is reasonably priced, and has no significant adverse effects on their health, it is reasonable for a person to continue using it. However, this still means the substance should not have health benefits inaccurately attributed to it by the medical community.
Can Vitamins and Minerals Help Anxiety?
A person with a healthy level of nutritional intake will not generally see a significant reduction in their anxiety levels by taking in extra vitamins or minerals through supplements or dietary changes. However, a deficiency in some vitamins and minerals may cause a person to feel increased levels of anxiety.
Some potential deficiencies that might cause a person to feel anxious include insufficient levels of the following:
- Vitamin B1
- Vitamin B6
Because a diet should contain these vitamins and minerals anyway, it is worth considering trying a diet change if you think you may be deficient in these nutrients. Whole grains and legumes can be a good source of vitamins B1 and B6. Leafy greens, nuts, and meat contain iron and zinc.
You can seek help from a dietician if you are revamping your diet. Note that the title of nutritionist is not protected by any legal standard, meaning anyone can claim to be one without earning science-backed qualifications. However, a dietician is a job title protected under U.S. law, so it is generally better to talk to a dietician about making any dietary changes.
You can also likely speak with your primary care physician for some broader advice, even if they don’t specialize in helping people with their dietary needs.
How to Choose the Best Natural Anxiety Supplement
Although all anxiety supplements are unregulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there are still some ways to ensure you get the highest quality supplement possible. It’s important to remember that just because something is advertised as stress-relieving or anxiety-relieving doesn’t mean that it will work.
Here are some tips on how to choose the best supplement for anxiety:
- Work with a doctor who may have recommendations for beneficial supplements
- Work with a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) in case you have vitamin deficiencies
- Check for third-party verification or testing on the supplement label—NSF International, U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP), or Consumer Labs
- Look for supplements that are transparent about supplement purity and where the herbs are sourced from
When to Talk to Your Doctor About Anxiety
If a person deals with significant levels of anxiety, taking supplements and making dietary changes will usually not be enough. Anxiety often has deeper causes that require the help of a licensed therapist or similar medical professional to help.
If you deal with anxiety you can’t seem to get control over, talk to your doctor, especially if you feel your anxiety level often damages your quality of life. A doctor can help you access the resources you need to develop a more comprehensive treatment plan. They will likely want you to talk to a therapist and possibly a psychiatrist and can offer referrals.
If a psychiatrist thinks it is an appropriate treatment for you, they may be able to prescribe medications that can help you better control your mood and live a fuller, healthier life. A therapist can help you talk through your anxieties and offer some psychological tools to deal with them in your daily life.
While supplements and dietary changes may augment your overall treatment plan, they won’t replace traditional care.
- Improvement of Stress Resistance and Quality of Life of Adults with Nervous Restlessness after Treatment with a Passion Flower Dry Extract. (April 2017). Complementary Medicine Research.
- Nutritional and Herbal Supplements for Anxiety and Anxiety-Related Disorders: Systematic Review. (October 2010). Nutrition Journal.
- An investigation into the stress-relieving and pharmacological actions of an ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) extract: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. Lopresti AL, Smith SJ, Malvi H, Kodgule R. Medicine (Baltimore). 2019;98(37):e17186. doi:10.1097/MD.0000000000017186
- Effects of Withania somnifera (Ashwagandha) on Stress and the Stress- Related Neuropsychiatric Disorders Anxiety, Depression, and Insomnia. Speers AB, Cabey KA, Soumyanath A, Wright KM. Curr Neuropharmacol. 2021;19(9):1468-1495. doi:10.2174/1570159X19666210712151556
- Effects of L-Theanine Administration on Stress-Related Symptoms and Cognitive Functions in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Hidese S, Ogawa S, Ota M, et al. Nutrients. 2019;11(10):2362. Published 2019 Oct 3. doi:10.3390/nu11102362
- L-Theanine: A Unique Functional Amino Acid in Tea (Camellia sinensis L.) With Multiple Health Benefits and Food Applications. Li, M., Liu, H., Wu, D., Kenaan, A., Geng, F., Li, H., Gunaratne, A., Li, H., & Gan, R. (2022). Frontiers in Nutrition, 9, 853846. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnut.2022.853846
- Placebo Effect in the Treatment of Depression and Anxiety. (June 2019). Frontiers in Psychiatry.
- Find Out Which Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies Can Cause Anxiety. The Neuroscience Center.
- How to Use CBD to Help Alleviate Anxiety. (June 2022). Forbes.
- Dietary Supplementation to Manage Anxiety and stress: Hope, Hype or Research-Based Evidence? (February 2017). JBI Database of Systemic Reviews and Implementation Reports.