The 15 Best Natural Supplements For Anxiety


Burnout and anxiety are rampant in our highly stressed society. Even children are suffering from stress and anxiety at a younger age than ever. So what gives?

In my telehealth functional medicine clinic, I consult people on a daily basis on how to recognize the signs of stress and anxiety and exactly what to do to heal naturally. One way is through natural supplements. Before we take a look at my favorite supplements, let’s learn a little bit more about stress and anxiety.


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What happens when you’re stressed?

Our bodies are built for stressful events. When our ancestors were chased by predators, the sympathetic nervous system responded by switching the body into fight-or-flight mode. During this stress response, the adrenal glands release cortisol, which increases blood pressure and blood sugar for faster response and better survival. 

When the predators were gone, cortisol decreased, and so did blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Normal balance was restored. Ongoing stress however acts as a predator, but because it never goes away neither does that heightened chemical state. This constant stress signal can cause intense adrenal fatigue, affecting your energy and health along with a slew of other health problems.

Symptoms of high-stress levels

Even though your body is resilient, there is only so much it can take before it reaches its boiling point. Oftentimes, symptoms that you might consider “normal” or a part of the aging process, aren’t actually normal at all and is your body crying out for help.

If you have any of these symptoms, you might be dealing with chronic stress:

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Trouble sleeping/insomnia
  • Skin problems (rash, eczema, acne)
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Frequent headaches or migraines
  • Thinning or losing hair
  • Frequent illness
  • Low libido
  • Irregular menstruation
  • Brain fog

Can I take supplements for anxiety and stress?

While your lifestyle plays a major role in your stress and anxiety levels, dietary and nutritional deficiencies can also play a large part. In fact, multiple studies have directly linked deficiencies in specific nutrients to higher rates of stress and anxiety due to their role in neurotransmitter function, inflammation, and cortisol levels.

Your body’s brilliant biochemistry requires specific fuel to ensure all systems function properly. When one thing goes awry, it can impact the whole picture. If you want to learn more about what mechanisms influence anxiety, stress, and depression, along with more natural tools to overcome stress beyond supplementation, check out my article here.

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The best supplements for anxiety and stress

What can I take to relieve stress? This is a common question I get in my telehealth functional medicine clinic. Dietary and lifestyle changes are going to be foundational in your journey to better health, but supplements are often necessary when looking to overcome certain health problems - especially stress and anxiety. What vitamin is best for relieving stress is going to be unique to your case, but these are my favorite supplements for stress and anxiety that I have seen be the most beneficial.

  1. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha can help regulate your body’s stress hormone, cortisol which can make you feel calmer and potentially soothe adrenal fatigue by supporting the brain-adrenal (HPA) axis, too. (1) Research shows significant reduction in cortisol levels and self-reported stress and anxiety symptoms in those taking ashwagandha.

My supplement The Brain-Adrenal Balancer features a curated blend of clinically tested and proprietary herbal blends and nutrients including an optimized form of ashwagandha and other stress-relieving adaptogens, making it one of the best supplements for anxiety symptoms

  1. Mucuna pruriens

This bean extract is packed with L-DOPA, which is the precursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine. I call this nature’s chill pill, one of the best natural supplements for anxiety and stress.

  1. CBD

CBD does wonders for anxiety without the need for the psychoactive compound THC. In order to lower anxiety, CBD increases prefrontal cortex activation and lowers activity in the amygdala - two areas of the brain involved in anxiety. (2) It also helps your brain generate new neurons through hippocampus neurogenesis to restore balance to GABA and glutamate levels that contribute to anxiety. (3)

  1. Zinc

Research has correlated an imbalance of zinc and copper, or more specifically, increased copper and decreased zinc – with symptoms of anxiety. (4) That’s likely because this trace mineral ratio is responsible for proper neurotransmitter function as well as adaptation to stress.

  1. Rhodiola

One of my favorite supplements for anxiety and stress is Rhodiola. This adaptogenic herb does wonders for relieving chronic stress due to its superstar compounds, rosavin and salidroside. Rhodiola is so beneficial for stress with one study showing that daily supplementation was able to greatly reduce anxiety and stress in as little as 2 weeks! (5)

  1. L-theanine

You can get this amino acid as a supplement or through drinking green and black tea where it is abundant. Studies have long shown (6) its ability to lower stress and anxiety with one study in particular highlighting the stress-reducing and cortisol balancing benefits of l-theanine in tea form. (7)

  1. Magnesium

When talking about the best supplements to relieve stress you can’t forget about magnesium. Not only does magnesium help to regulate cortisol levels to alleviate stress, it also helps calm down the excitatory NMDA receptor in the brain to keep anxiety levels in check. (8) Supplementing with this nutrient can make a huge difference considering up to 90% of the population is deficient.

Magnesium supplements are not all treated equally as a lot have poor bioavailability. If you are looking for a magnesium supplement to help with stress, sleep, and mood, my supplement The Magnesium is formulated with Albion chelated magnesium plus MagteinTM (magnesium L-threonate), the only form of magnesium proven in animal studies to cross the blood-brain barrier.

  1. B vitamins

If you are asking yourself “what vitamin is good for stress and anxiety?” look no further than B vitamins. B vitamins are necessary for various areas of your health including brain function and mood. Research has long concluded that B vitamins are required (9) for a healthy stress response and brain-adrenal axis while also acting as fuel for neurotransmitters like GABA and acetylcholine that relieve anxiety. (10)

When choosing a B-vitamin supplement, a B vitamin complex like my supplement The Methylator is best as it contains activated forms of the different types of B vitamins your body needs.

  1. Vitamin D

Vitamin D is one of the few nutrients that every single cell of your body needs to thrive. However, most people are deficient in this vital nutrient that is needed for healthy hormones and brain function. Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to sleep (11) and mood disorders (12) with research showing that vitamin D supplementation - especially when coupled with probiotics - can help improve stress and anxiety. (13)

You can get vitamin D through food but it's difficult to get enough to overcome deficiencies and overcome symptoms of stress. Since vitamin D and vitamin K2 - another popular nutrient deficiency - enhance absorption of one another, I formulated The D3-K2 to take advantage of vitamin synergy with highly bioavailable and bioactive forms of these nutrients.

  1. GABA

GABA stands for gamma-amino butyric acid and is your body’s signal to calm down. In anxiety, your brain’s cells get overly excited and boost their activity, much like a child on a sugar high. Certain neurons known as GABAnergic neurons, release GABA in the brain to calm down these hyper neurons.

Your body naturally produces and regulates GABA. However, this process sometimes malfunctions, causing GABA levels to decrease, and anxiety, depression, and insomnia to increase, making supplementation beneficial.

  1. Valerian root

Valerian is an herb that has been used for years as a natural solution to anxiety, stress, and insomnia. Although more studies need to be done to determine its long-term effectiveness, research has shown that valerian can be helpful at alleviating stress and anxiety with few side effects - one being drowsiness so talk to your doctor before taking. (14) The active compound valerenic acid in Valerian also has the ability to increase GABA. (15)

  1. Lemon balm

Studies around this herb are newer but have continually shown lemon balm’s ability to lower stress and improve mood. (16) This could be due to lemon balm’s antioxidant rosmarinic acid content which is responsible for increasing GABA by inhibiting the 4-aminobutyrate transaminase enzyme which is responsible for contorting GABA to L-glutamine. (17) Lemon balm is generally safe but can interact with some medications so it’s always good to check with your doctor before taking.

  1. Omega-3 fatty acids

Omega-3s are responsible for keeping your brain and hormones happy and healthy with studies showing that omega-3s were able to significantly reduce stress after just 6 weeks of fish oil supplementation. (18)

  1. Saffron

This rare spice does so much more than enhance the flavor of your cooking. Saffron has powerful mood boosting abilities with studies showing (19) it to be just as effective as the commonly prescribed SSRI, fluoxetine, to alleviate depression. It is also able to lower cortisol levels. (20)

  1. Chamomile

The ultimate calming tea, chamomile is an easy and delicious anti-anxiety medicine. This soothing, mild tea was shown to significantly decrease anxiety symptoms in just a few weeks of regular use. If you don’t like tea you can also find it in supplement form. (21)

Finding the right supplements for your unique needs

Everyone has different triggers for their stress and anxiety. The best stress and anxiety supplements are ultimately going to depend on the root cause. Working with a functional medicine practitioner can help you identify the underlying cause behind your symptoms and help you come up with a plan to address them head-on.

In my telehealth functional medicine clinic we take your whole health into consideration, looking at lifestyle and dietary factors that are impacting your stress levels and overall health. Then we can determine the best course of action and supplements for stress that are going to work for you.

If your stress and anxiety has reached a level where it is difficult for you to engage in normal day-to-day activities, reach out to a qualified mental health or medical professional who can get you the help you need immediately.

If you are ready to try some of these natural supplements for stress relief, shop The Collection, my personally curated line of supplements with the Earth’s finest ingredients. My favorite supplements for stress and anxiety include:

If you are ready to take your health to the next level and need some help overcoming stress and anxiety, check out our telehealth consultation to learn more about how we can help you using functional medicine.

As one of the first functional medicine telehealth clinics in the world, we provide webcam health consultations for people around the globe.


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  1. Chandrasekhar, K et al. “A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults.” Indian journal of psychological medicine vol. 34,3 (2012): 255-62. doi:10.4103/0253-7176.106022
  2. Hill, Matthew N, and Sachin Patel. “Translational evidence for the involvement of the endocannabinoid system in stress-related psychiatric illnesses.” Biology of mood & anxiety disorders vol. 3,1 19. 22 Oct. 2013, doi:10.1186/2045-5380-3-19
  3. Campos, Alline C et al. “The anxiolytic effect of cannabidiol on chronically stressed mice depends on hippocampal neurogenesis: involvement of the endocannabinoid system.” The international journal of neuropsychopharmacology vol. 16,6 (2013): 1407-19. doi:10.1017/S1461145712001502
  4. Russo, A J. “Decreased zinc and increased copper in individuals with anxiety.” Nutrition and metabolic insights vol. 4 1-5. 7 Feb. 2011, doi:10.4137/NMI.S6349
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  6. Lopes Sakamoto, Filipe et al. “Psychotropic effects of L-theanine and its clinical properties: From the management of anxiety and stress to a potential use in schizophrenia.” Pharmacological research vol. 147 (2019): 104395. doi:10.1016/j.phrs.2019.104395
  7. White, David J et al. “Anti-Stress, Behavioural and Magnetoencephalography Effects of an L-Theanine-Based Nutrient Drink: A Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Trial.” Nutrients vol. 8,1 53. 19 Jan. 2016, doi:10.3390/nu8010053
  8. Felice N. Jacka, Simon Overland, Robert Stewart, Grethe S. Tell, Ingvar Bjelland & Arnstein Mykletun (2009) Association between magnesium intake and depression and anxiety in community-dwelling adults: the Hordaland Health Study, Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 43:1, 45-52, DOI: 10.1080/00048670802534408
  9. Kelly, G S. “Nutritional and botanical interventions to assist with the adaptation to stress.” Alternative medicine review : a journal of clinical therapeutic vol. 4,4 (1999): 249-65.
  10. Chawla, Jasvinder, and David Kvarnberg. “Hydrosoluble vitamins.” Handbook of clinical neurology vol. 120 (2014): 891-914. doi:10.1016/B978-0-7020-4087-0.00059-0
  11. Grandner, Michael A et al. “Sleep symptoms associated with intake of specific dietary nutrients.” Journal of sleep research vol. 23,1 (2014): 22-34. doi:10.1111/jsr.12084
  12. Umhau, John C et al. “Low vitamin D status and suicide: a case-control study of active duty military service members.” PloS one vol. 8,1 (2013): e51543. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051543
  13. Ostadmohammadi, Vahidreza et al. “Vitamin D and probiotic co-supplementation affects mental health, hormonal, inflammatory and oxidative stress parameters in women with polycystic ovary syndrome.” Journal of ovarian research vol. 12,1 5. 21 Jan. 2019, doi:10.1186/s13048-019-0480-x
  14. Yeung, K Simon et al. “Herbal medicine for depression and anxiety: A systematic review with assessment of potential psycho-oncologic relevance.” Phytotherapy research : PTR vol. 32,5 (2018): 865-891. doi:10.1002/ptr.6033
  15. Santos, M S et al. “Synaptosomal GABA release as influenced by valerian root extract--involvement of the GABA carrier.” Archives internationales de pharmacodynamie et de therapie vol. 327,2 (1994): 220-31.
  16. Scholey, A.; Gibbs, A.; Neale, C.; Perry, N.; Ossoukhova, A.; Bilog, V.; Kras, M.; Scholz, C.; Sass, M.; Buchwald-Werner, S. Anti-Stress Effects of Lemon Balm-Containing Foods. Nutrients 2014, 6, 4805-4821.
  17. Alvin Ibarra, Nicolas Feuillere, Marc Roller, Edith Lesburgere, Daniel Beracochea,
    Effects of chronic administration of Melissa officinalis L. extract on anxiety-like reactivity and on circadian and exploratory activities in mice, Phytomedicine, Volume 17, Issue 6, 2010, Pages 397-403, ISSN 0944-7113,
  18. Bradbury, Joanne et al. “An adaptogenic role for omega-3 fatty acids in stress; a randomised placebo controlled double blind intervention study (pilot) [ISRCTN22569553].” Nutrition journal vol. 3 20. 28 Nov. 2004, doi:10.1186/1475-2891-3-20
  19. Noorbala, A A et al. “Hydro-alcoholic extract of Crocus sativus L. versus fluoxetine in the treatment of mild to moderate depression: a double-blind, randomized pilot trial.” Journal of ethnopharmacology vol. 97,2 (2005): 281-4. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2004.11.004
  20. Fukui, Hajime et al. “Psychological and neuroendocrinological effects of odor of saffron (Crocus sativus).” Phytomedicine : international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology vol. 18,8-9 (2011): 726-30. doi:10.1016/j.phymed.2010.11.013
  21. Amsterdam, Jay D et al. “Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) may provide antidepressant activity in anxious, depressed humans: an exploratory study.” Alternative therapies in health and medicine vol. 18,5 (2012): 44-9.

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Evidence-based reviewed article

Dr. Will Cole, DNM, IFMCP, DC is a leading functional medicine expert who consults people around the globe, starting one of the first functional medicine telehealth centers in the world. Named one of the top 50 functional and integrative doctors in the nation, Dr. Will Cole provides a functional medicine approach for thyroid issues, autoimmune conditions, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, and brain problems. He is the host of the popular The Art Of Being Well podcast and the New York Times bestselling author of Intuitive Fasting, Ketotarian, The Inflammation Spectrum and the brand new book Gut Feelings: Healing the Shame-Fueled Relationship Between What You Eat and How You Feel.

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Healing The Shame-Fueled Relationship
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