The 30+Best Nootropics for Mood & Stress Support

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Much like nourishing whole foods contribute to a healthy mood, the realm of nootropic supplements offers a range of effects on mood states and their related outcomes. While renowned for their impact on memory and focus, numerous nootropics also hold the power to uplift mood and reignite motivation.

While individuals grappling with profound clinical depression or specific anxiety disorders necessitate primary medical attention, nootropic supplements offer a potential avenue for those experiencing temporary shifts in mood to seek support.

For individuals facing heightened stress, select nootropics can serve as potent mood boosters, helping to alleviate tension and enhance mental well-being.

Below lies a compilation of 30+ scientifically grounded nootropics, nutrients, and nutraceuticals recognized for their role in enhancing mood.

Table of Contents

How mood enhancers work?

Mood enhancers, whether natural substances or pharmaceutical compounds, work through various mechanisms to positively influence mood and emotional well-being. These mechanisms often involve intricate interactions within the brain’s neurotransmitter systems and other physiological processes. Here’s a brief overview of how mood enhancers work:

  • Neurotransmitter Regulation: Many mood enhancers target neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers that transmit signals in the brain. Examples include serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, and GABA. These substances may increase the availability of certain neurotransmitters or regulate their reuptake, leading to improved mood and emotional balance.

  • Neuroplasticity and Neurogenesis: Mood enhancers can promote neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to reorganize and form new connections. They may also stimulate neurogenesis, the creation of new neurons. This can lead to improved mood, cognitive function, and resilience to stress.

  • Hormonal Balance: Some mood enhancers influence hormonal systems that play a role in mood regulation, such as the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis. Balancing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline can contribute to reduced stress and improved mood.

  • Inflammation Reduction: Chronic inflammation is linked to mood disorders. Certain mood enhancers possess anti-inflammatory properties, helping to alleviate inflammation and potentially leading to improved mood.

  • Antioxidant Effects: Oxidative stress can negatively impact brain health and mood. Mood enhancers with antioxidant properties help combat oxidative damage, promoting a healthier brain environment.

  • Stress Reduction: Many mood enhancers have anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects. By modulating stress responses, these substances can help individuals cope better with challenging situations and maintain a more balanced mood.

  • Blood Flow and Oxygenation: Some mood enhancers support increased blood flow and oxygen delivery to the brain. Improved circulation can enhance cognitive function and contribute to better mood regulation.

  • Endorphin Release: Certain mood enhancers stimulate the release of endorphins and other “feel-good” chemicals in the brain, leading to a sense of pleasure and improved mood.

It’s important to note that the specific mechanisms of action can vary greatly depending on the type of mood enhancer, whether it’s an herbal remedy, nutrient, pharmaceutical, or nootropic compound. Additionally, individual responses to mood enhancers may differ, making it essential to consult with a healthcare professional before making any changes to your regimen.

Main neurotransmitters and chemicals for enhancing mood

While neurotransmitters imbalance is not the only cause of various mood disorders, these categories of chemicals are generally considered the main players and mood enhancers:

  1. Serotonin: Often referred to as the “feel-good” neurotransmitter, serotonin is involved in regulating mood, sleep, appetite, and overall well-being. Low levels of serotonin are associated with conditions like depression and anxiety. Many antidepressant medications, including SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors), work by increasing the availability of serotonin in the brain. Read more on serotonin nootropics.

  2. Dopamine: Dopamine is associated with pleasure, reward, motivation, and the experience of positive emotions. It plays a role in regulating mood and can contribute to a sense of happiness and satisfaction. Some activities, such as exercise and engaging in pleasurable experiences, can boost dopamine levels. Read more on dopamine supplements.

  3. Norepinephrine (Noradrenaline): Norepinephrine is involved in the body’s stress response and plays a role in arousal and alertness. It can have an impact on mood, energy levels, and focus. Imbalances in norepinephrine levels have been linked to mood disorders like depression and bipolar disorder.

  4. Endorphins: Endorphins are natural painkillers and mood enhancers produced by the body, often in response to activities like exercise, laughter, and positive social interactions. They contribute to feelings of pleasure and well-being.

  5. GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid): GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter that helps regulate anxiety and stress. It has a calming effect on the brain and can promote relaxation. Low GABA levels are associated with anxiety disorders.

  6. Glutamate: Glutamate is the most abundant excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain. It plays a role in learning, memory, and overall brain function. Imbalances in glutamate have been linked to mood disorders and other neurological conditions.

  7. Oxytocin: Often referred to as the “love hormone” or “bonding hormone,” oxytocin is involved in social bonding, trust, and emotional connections. Positive social interactions, physical touch, and feelings of closeness can increase oxytocin levels. Read more about oxytocin.

  8. BDNF: While BDNF is not a neurotransmitter itself, it plays a crucial role in brain health and mood enhancement. Strategies that promote the production of BDNF, such as exercise, a balanced diet, and stress reduction, can contribute to improved mood and overall well-being. Additionally, some natural supplements and activities that have been suggested to support BDNF production include aerobic exercise, curcumin (found in turmeric), green tea extract, and intermittent fasting. As with any approach to enhancing mood, it’s important to discuss any changes or interventions with a healthcare professional to ensure they are safe and appropriate for your individual circumstances.
     

Enhancing mood involves a complex interplay of these neurotransmitters and other factors, including genetics, environment, and lifestyle. While neurotransmitter balance is important, it’s also crucial to recognize that mood regulation is a multifaceted process influenced by various biological and psychological factors. If you’re seeking to improve your mood, it’s a good idea to focus on a holistic approach that includes healthy lifestyle choices, social support, stress management, and, if needed, consultation with a healthcare professional.

Are nootropics safe?

Picture of a hand emerging from the sea holding a sprinkler; how mood enhancers work
You can’t always be sure what you’re getting and whether it’s safe.

While natural nootropics can offer potential benefits for mood enhancement, it’s important to recognize that all effective drugs, including herbal medicines, may carry adverse side effects. While many natural options are generally safe, certain herbal supplements can pose risks, including liver injury due to varying levels of active ingredients and interactions with antidepressant medications in the SSRI, SNRI, tricyclic and tetracyclic classes.

Differences in manufacturing methods can lead to variations in relevant compounds, underscoring the importance of using standardized nootropic extracts. Absorption rates also matter, especially for those with sensitivities, as certain ingredients might cause digestive issues, headaches, dizziness, nausea, or insomnia.

Because body chemistry varies, mild to adverse reactions are possible if ingredients are poorly tolerated. Consequently, the safety and reliability of the supplement can be uncertain.

If you’re considering a healthy nootropic regimen, prioritize reputable vendors when purchasing nootropics online. Your health is paramount, so consulting a healthcare professional before introducing any new supplement is wise to ensure it aligns with your individual needs and minimizes potential risks.

Best nootropics for mood support

Nootropics, whether herbal, amino acids, extracts, synthetic, or pharmaceutical-grade, are not uniformly proven to be effective for treating anxiety, depression, or mood disorders. While some individuals may report improvements in mood or symptoms, the use of nootropics for mental health conditions is a complex and individualized matter. Here’s a breakdown of their potential relevance:

  • Herbal Nootropics: Some herbal nootropics, such as Bacopa Monnieri and Rhodiola Rosea, have been studied for their potential to alleviate stress, anxiety, and mild depression. However, the evidence is often preliminary, and results can vary from person to person.

  • Amino Acids: Certain amino acids, like L-Theanine and L-Tryptophan, are associated with relaxation and mood enhancement. L-Tryptophan, for example, is a precursor to serotonin, a neurotransmitter linked to mood regulation. These amino acids may have a mild positive impact on mood, but they are not a substitute for proper medical treatment for clinical depression or anxiety disorders.

  • Nootropic Extracts: Some nootropic extracts, such as Lion’s Mane mushroom extract, have been explored for their potential cognitive and mood benefits. However, more research is needed to fully understand their effects on mood disorders.

  • Synthetic OTC Nootropics and Racetams: The mood-enhancing effects of these substances can vary widely, and research is often limited. Aniracetam, for example, is a racetam that some users report may have anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) effects. However, these compounds are not approved by regulatory agencies for the treatment of mood disorders.

  • Pharmaceutical Grade Nootropics: Some prescription medications used off-label for cognitive enhancement or attention-related issues (such as Modafinil) might have secondary effects on mood. However, their use should only be considered under the guidance and supervision of a qualified healthcare professional.

It’s important to emphasize that if you are dealing with clinical anxiety, depression, or mood disorders, seeking proper medical care is crucial. Nootropics, even if they provide some benefits, are not a replacement for evidence-based treatments such as psychotherapy, counseling, and medications prescribed by a qualified healthcare provider.

DNA chain nootropics for mood ebhancement
The best 30+ nootropics for mood and stress support

We’ll commence by exploring herbal extracts and natural nootropics, while synthetics and pharmaceutical-grade substances will be presented towards the conclusion of the list.

1. St. John's wort

Picture of Yellow flowers of St. John's Wort plant

St. John’s wort is probably one of the most recognized natural nootropics for treating depression and mood disorders. The use of St. John’s wort dates back to the moment of the ancient Greeks, as the Hippocrates recorded its medical use. It has long been known in folk medicine for healing properties. The official medicine also attaches importance to it, and various studies prove its pharmacological effects in mood disorders.

2. Kanna Extract

Close up of Kanna flowerKanna (Sceletium tortuosum) is native to South Africa and traditionally is used to improve mood, find support for fatigue and stress. It is not known to be hallucinogenic or to create habits. Local people take it before stressful events like hunting because of its cognitive-enhancing effects. Although there are currently insufficient trials to recommend it, the popularity of Kanna to reduce anxiety and antidepressant effects has led to one effective product. A supplement called Zembrin has all the concentrated qualities of Kanna.

The Zembrin form of Sceletium extract works by increasing levels of serotonin in your body. Serotonin is most well-known for playing a part in regulating mood and contributing to happiness and general well-being.

By inhibiting PDE4, Zembrin enhances the availability of cAMP molecules, leading to positive effects on mood and memory.

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3. Nigella Sativa

Black cumin or nigella sativa

 

Nigella Sativa, commonly known as Black Seed Oil, has gained recognition for its potential as an antidepressant, antianxiety agent, and mood enhancer. This miracle herb offers numerous advantages, notably its anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties, making it a notable natural remedy. Beyond its mood-related benefits, Nigella Sativa serves as a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent, contributing to overall well-being throughout the body. With a suggested intake of 1-2 tablespoons daily, this remarkable herb presents a holistic approach to promoting mental health and supporting various bodily functions. Nigella Sativa, or Black Seed Oil, is revered for its potential as an antidepressant, antianxiety, and mood-enhancing agent. This versatile herb, acknowledged for its antianxiety and antidepressant properties, holds promise as a natural remedy. Its wide-ranging benefits extend to being a robust antioxidant and anti-inflammatory substance, fostering well-being across the body. A daily intake of 1–2 tablespoons offers a holistic approach to nurturing mental health and supporting overall bodily functions.

 


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4. Ashwagandha

Picture of green leafs of Aswagandha plant

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), or winter cherry, is an important medicinal plant that has been used in the traditional medicine of Ayurveda. In Sanskrit, ashva means “horse” and gandha means “smell”. Its root has a horsey smell and is said to confer the strength and virility of a horse. Various parts of the plant are used, but the most common in supplements is an extracts of its root.

These extracts usually vary between 2%-10% withanolides, its main active compound. Some products like the Shoden® Ashwagandha Extract Capsules by Nootropics Depot goes a big step further in putting a whopping 35% withanolides. In the context of this article, they can help maintain healthy stress levels. But, also may have many unique benefits.

A number of studies suggest anti-anxiety effects, but in the context of chronic stress and anxiety disorder. It has less potency in standard forms of non-stress-related anxiety. However, more research is needed before we can have much confidence or know the optimal dose of this great nootropic for stress support.

5. Kava Kava

Picture of Kava Kava leaves

Kava Kava (lat. Piper methysticum), is a peppermint family plant culture from the North Pacific islands such as Fiji and Tonga. It contains substances called kavapyrones that make people feel calm, relaxed, and happy. In local tradition, Kava is used for medical, religious, and social purposes as a drink with sedative, anesthetic, and hypnotic properties. Maybe a good nootropic for cognition related to mood. Though not completely safe.

In human trials, it appears to be quite reliable and effective in treating nonpsychotic anxiety, and by its reduction depressive symptoms have been reduced too. The increase in well-being seems to be quite large, but secondary to a decrease in anxiety.

6. Saffron

Close up of Saffron floweSaffron is a plant of the iris family that grows wild in Europe. However, today it is so valued that it is cultivated in large quantities, and is also planted as an ornamental plant and spice. Saffron is gaining popularity after the study that gave comparable results to those of Ritalin in ADHD Treatment. In essence, it has an antidepressant action by increasing the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine.

Saffron extract

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The Saffron flower contains a lot of active plant substances that can have medicinal properties. All of these compounds can function as free radical scavengers.

Although scientists believe that saffron can reduce appetite due to the fact that it improves mood, which neutralizes the occurrence of impulsive food intake, saffron is not the only means to reduce weight.

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7. Magnolia officinalis

picture of Magnolia bark

 

The Magnolia Officinalis tree is one of 200 species of magnolia whose aromatic bark is used in traditional Chinese practice due to its unique calming effects. Among 250 ingredients found in Magnolia Bark, Honokiol and Magnolol produce the bulk of their benefits. Both compounds appear to be quite good at regulating stress management, mood, and sleep. They help promote positive mood by regulating serotonergic activity and neuroplasticity in the brain. A very deep sense of relaxation comes from interacting with GABA signaling.

However, optimal doses of magnolia have not been set for any condition. So the quality of supplements can vary greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer, who proclaiming their benefits. You can look at Nootropics Depot for a Magnolia Bark extract standardized for a whopping Magnolol + Honokiol Minimum Content of 80% by UPLC.

 


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8. Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

Lemon balm

 

Lemon balm, scientifically known as Melissa officinalis, is a fragrant herb revered for its potential to promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, and contribute to an improved mood. With a history dating back centuries, lemon balm has been used for its calming properties and its role in supporting mental well-being. Its natural compounds, including rosmarinic acid and flavonoids, are thought to interact with GABA receptors, which play a crucial role in anxiety regulation. Lemon balm's ability to enhance GABA activity contributes to its anxiolytic effects and its potential to alleviate stress. Furthermore, lemon balm is recognized for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, further supporting its role in overall health. Whether consumed as a herbal tea, supplement, or incorporated into aromatherapy, lemon balm offers a soothing and uplifting option for those seeking a natural approach to enhancing mood and managing anxiety. As with any herbal remedy, consulting a healthcare professional before use is recommended, especially for those with existing medical conditions or who are taking medications.

 


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9. L-tyrosine & N-acetyl-tyrosine (NALT)

Tyrosine is one of the most effective nootropics for mood and stress. It’s a non-essential amino acid that plays an important role in the production of the neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine which affect mood, sleep, and concentration.

Several studies have focused on how tyrosine can help reduce stress. They showed a positive correlation between tyrosine supplementation and increased mental performance.

The main effects of L-tyrosine under investigation are acute effects in preventing a decline in cognitive functions in response to physical stress. Tyrosine is of great interest to the military, in response to cold stress, a combination of cold stress and high-altitude stress, prolonged vigilance, and negative body pressure stress.

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Many biohackers like to use N-Acetyl-L-Tyrosine (NALT) form, which is better soluble in water, but has a low rate of conversion to tyrosine in the body. Therefore, it is recommended to give preference to the free form of tyrosine.

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10. L-theanine

pictures of green tea

 

A natural substance found in green tea, L-theanine is an amino acid and an extremely popular mild nootropic that is also considered a mood enhancer. L-Theanine has structural similarity to glutamine and both neurotransmitters that are produced from it (GABA and glutamate). The studies suggest a notable increase in relaxation, usually without sedation. Also, the potential reduction in anxiety has been noted in various studies (not consistent) and a notable reduction in response to acute stress. We'll go for Nootropics Depot L-theanine which promotes relaxation, supports healthy sleep cycles, supports healthy stress levels, promotes feelings of well-being, supports cognitive function, focus, and has synergistic effects with Caffeine.

 


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11. Agmatine

 

Agmatine molecule

 

Agmatine, derived from L-arginine involved in protein synthesis, acts as a neurotransmitter or neuromodulator, possibly explaining its nootropic and mood-enhancing effects. Its antidepressant potential, inhibiting glutamatergic transmission, sparks interest in future studies. Agmatine's rapid antidepressant properties and interaction with SSRIs, as ome studies propose that SSRIs may deplete agmatine levels in the brain, suggest supplementary therapy potential. It's believed to protect the brain and modulate neurotransmitter pathways for mood and cognition. Notably, agmatine might reduce "brain zaps" upon discontinuing SSRIs. Balancing GABA and glutamate, vital neurotransmitters, further underscores its importance in mood and cognitive stability. Agmatine sulfate capsules are great to go as they synergize effectively with various nootropics, enhancing stack combinations, and aiding in sustaining tolerances to different substances.

 


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12. Cannabidiol (CBD)

Cannabis plants for cannabidiol (CBD)Cannabidiol (CBD) was isolated from cannabis by American chemist Roger Adams in 1940, but it was only in recent years that it was promoted into a modern panacea. While there are no long-term human anxiety trials that exist, CBD became very popular for its well-known mood support effects.

It appears that CBD impacts a variety of receptors in the body involved in pain and stress response, including the 5-HT1a serotonin receptor, which affects a variety of mood-enhancing conditions.

In addition to its nootropic benefits, it is accepted that CBD reduces anxiety by altering the GABA-A receptor in such a way as to potentiate the natural calming effect of GABA.

CBD status is a Novel Food in EU while FDA stating that it is not a supplement.

13. Rhodiola Rosea

close-up of yellow rhodiola rosea plants

Rhodiola is considered one of the best natural nootropics. Traditionally, is being used as an anti-fatigue agent and adaptogen compound. Overall, it appears to be a highly serotonergic compound that has mild mood-boosting benefits. Golden Root contains 140 useful compounds, with the main being rosavins and salidrosides.

Rhodiola’s holistic mood-boosting products provide general health benefits and stress relief effects when standardized to 3% rosavins. Daily use of Rhodiola for fatigue and anti-stress is in the range of 288-680 mg. A great nootropic stack Qualia Mind uses it that way in its formula at 300 mg.

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For anti-fatigue and stimulating properties, you want to use a Rhodiola Rosea extract standardized to 3% salidroside. Then it is effective in doses even as low as 50 mg.

As seen in one of the best nootropic formulations, Mind Lab Pro, which takes advantage of the Rhodiola dose-dependent curve.

14. Lion’s Mane Mushroom

Picture of culinary Lion's mane mushroomsLion’s Mane (Yamabushitake) is an edible fungus from Japan and China that looks reminiscent of the mane of a wild cat. It is equally used in medicine and cooking, so in addition to restoring neurons, it serves as a culinary specialty.

In 1991, the Japanese managed to extract the active ingredient Cyathane which stimulates the production of NGF (nerve growth factor). NGF is a protein that protects existing brain cells and even promotes brain cell formation. It also has a role in reducing symptoms of depression.

New research suggests that Lion’s Mane may alleviate irritability, anxiety, and depression due to its beneficial effects on the autonomic nervous system. Studies have found a reduction in anxiety, but also a reduction in the symptoms of depression.

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15. MYO-INOSITOL (MI)

myo inositol

 

MYO-INOSITOL (MI) emerges as a potential breakthrough in the realm of mental health, offering notable antidepressant, antianxiety, and mood-enhancing effects. Distinct from conventional antidepressants, MI operates on a unique pathway, particularly in its initial actions. It is believed to influence phosphatidyl inositol second messenger signals associated with the 5HT2A receptor, a pivotal component in mood regulation. Additionally, MI's capacity to upregulate D2 receptors further contributes to its remarkable impact. Given the significance of these receptors in numerous psychiatric disorders, MI holds promise as a versatile intervention with far-reaching implications. As research continues to unfold, MYO-INOSITOL presents an innovative avenue for enhancing emotional well-being and addressing various mental health challenges.

 


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16. PEA (Palmitoylethanolamide)

Palmitoylethanolamide, also known as PEA, is an endocannabinoid-like lipid that is endogenously synthesized in various body fluids and cell types, such as immune cells, neurons, and microglia to fight pain and inflammation. It also exerts a physiological function related to metabolic and cellular homeostasis.

PEA is considered an immunity supplement, and a potent mood enhancer.

One study found that around 60% of individuals with low moods reported mood improvements when they took PEA supplements. Studies show that patients suffering from low mood have lower levels of PEA (and substances produced by the breakdown of PEA) in the blood and other body fluids. 

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PEA is released during exercise, so this could be the reason why exercise makes us feel so good! And it’s an effective post-workout supplement.

17. S-Adenosyl-L-Methionine (SAMe)

This supplement is derived from the amino acid methionine, which means you also consume it when you eat food sources of protein.

There is evidence that SAMe can improve symptoms of depression. After a build-up period of 1-2 months, supplemental SAMe at 800-1600 mg daily appears to be as potent as some pharmaceutical options for depression.

It has been observed to enhance SSRI therapy and SAMe monotherapy and appears to be similar in some studies to tricyclic antidepressants.

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18. N-Acetyl L-Cysteine (NAC)

structured formula of NAC molecule

NAC serves as a potent free radical scavenger and a prodrug for L-cysteine, a precursor to the vital antioxidant glutathione. By enhancing the body's antioxidant defenses, it fosters a balance between excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters in the brain. Promisingly, studies indicate potential alleviation of depressive symptoms in psychiatric disorders. This supplement significantly regulates glutamate and dopamine levels, influencing mood stability. While comprehensive human trials are awaited, NAC's anti-inflammatory effects may contribute to its mood-enhancing properties. It acts as an antioxidant and modulates glutamate, which can benefit those with overactive glutamate activity, particularly aiding individuals susceptible to OCD or addiction. The recommended dosage ranges from ~1.2g to 2.4g daily. It's worth noting that prolonged high dosages may impact mineral levels such as copper and zinc. For healthy and balanced individuals that have an optimized glutathione level, the most logical suggestion is to cycle off NAC or otherwise not exaggerate it. Find more in our guide to NAC benefits.

 


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19. Fish oil (Omega-3)

picture of Omega-3 capsules

 

A study conducted at the University of Pittsburgh found that people who have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood are more likely to be negative and impulsive in their attitudes and feel mild to moderately depressed. Unlike people who have higher values of omega-3 fatty acids. For moderate mood fluctuations, it is good to take an omega-3 choice. Currently, there is not enough high-quality evidence to determine the effects of omega-3 fatty acids as a therapy for major depressive disorder. Small to moderate positive effects of omega-3 fatty acids were found compared to placebo, but the level of this effect is probably of no major importance to people with depression. And the evidence is low or very low quality, with many differences between studies.

 


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20. Tryptophan

picture of dark chocolade rich in tryptophan

Tryptophan is one of the many amino acids found in foods that contain protein. In the body, tryptophan hydroxylase is converted into a molecule called 5-HTP (5-hydroxy-tryptophan) which is used to produce serotonin, melatonin, and niacin (Vitamin B3). The action of tryptophan supplements for the purpose of treating mainly depressive states is based precisely on this metabolic pathway.

The researchers found that anxiety, tension, and feelings of nervousness were greater when participants had tryptophan levels lower than normal

Serotonin regulates our feeling of well-being and happiness. You can test it by eating chocolate, which is rich in tryptophan (contains up to 18 milligrams per ounce) that enters the brain at a rapid rate.

21. Phenylalanine

Phenylalanine is involved in the construction of proteins and belongs to the group of essential amino acids. It is a precursor to tyrosine in your brain. Tyrosine helps in the formation and utilization of dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and melatonin.

The antidepressant action of individual phenylalanine supplements is based on the assumption that they affect the concentration of dopamine and norepinephrine, the balance of which is disturbed in depressed states of the body.

Numerous studies on this topic in the United States were done in the 1970s and 1980s, but further research is needed to prove the antidepressant effect of this amino acid.

Some classic ready-made supplements use Phenylalanine in good quantities. Read our CILTEP nootropic stack review

22. 5-HTP

As a direct precursor, 5-HTP affects the increase in the levels of serotonin which makes us satisfied and motivated. Its supplementation has been shown to be more effective than tryptophan itself for this purpose.

5-HTP is used in clinical trials of drugs that affect serotonin levels. It is a safe alternative to antidepressants from the SSRI group (serotonin reuptake inhibitors). Without the advice of a psychiatrist, do not write the treatment protocols on your own.

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23. Brahmi (Bacopa Monnieri)

Close upa of the Bacopa Monnieri flowers

 

Bacopa Monnieri is known as one of the best nootropics for studying and learning. It affects the increase of certain chemicals in the brain that are important for the successful performance of cognitive functions such as thinking, learning, and memory. Many premade nootropic blends use it primarily for its unparalleled benefits as a natural memory booster. However, studies have shown Bacopa seems to prevent the rise of anxiety in aging, but is more of a modulator that doesn’t act overly powerful. Another study showed significantly reduced anxiety and depression scores in adults, compared with the placebo. An antidepressant and stress effects were also observed but in a relatively small size.

 


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24. Ginkgo Biloba

picture of a leaf of Ginkgo BilobaWhile this herb has no effect on depression or other mood disorders, one high-quality clinical trial showed that a higher dose (up to 480 milligrams) of Ginkgo Biloba reduced generalized anxiety symptoms by the end of four weeks. The researchers found that the maximum daily dose was more effective manually and that the reduction in symptoms did not gain statistical significance until after a full four weeks had passed.

25. Uridine

Uridine is an important nootropic that plays a big role in brain and cognitive function. It is a component of Ribonucleic Acid (RNA) that helps your DNA to create a memory by making strong connections between brain neurons.

Uridine modulates and stabilizes dopamine release and helps create new dopamine receptors by activating the D1 and D2 receptor signaling cascade. This will improve your mood and motivation by reducing stress.

It is promising in treating depressed adolescents with bipolar disorder, although the new studies should confirm that.

For fortifying mood, Uridine is especially good in combination with Alpha GPC. Like in the Beginner’s nootropic stack by Double Wood Supplements.

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26. Magnesium

Picture of Magtech drink by Natural Stacks

Magnesium, an essential dietary mineral and the second most abundant electrolyte in the body plays a significant role in mental well-being. Research indicates a link between depression and magnesium deficiency, elevating the risk of developing depressive symptoms. Oral magnesium supplementation has shown promise in reducing depression in elderly diabetics, positively impacting both depression and anxiety symptoms over several weeks. Magnesium's antidepressant effect is notable, potentially serving as a meaningful complement to depression therapy. Its effects on mood and anxiety are profound, achieved through various mechanisms. Magnesium blocks excessive NMDA signaling without cognitive impairment. It supports GABA levels through the GAD enzyme. Magnesium acts as an antidepressant by influencing BDNF. An optimal intake of 5-10 mg per pound of body weight of ELEMENTAL Magnesium is recommended, sourced from at least two forms, such as Sucrosomial, Bisglycinate Chelate, Acetyl-Taurate, L-Threonate, and Chloride.

 


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27. Vitamin B6 & B12

Also known as pyridoxine, vitamin B6 affects many physical and mental functions. In addition to strengthening the nerves, this vitamin fights depression, especially that caused by hormones.

Research has shown that vitamin B12 affects our mood, i.e. depression. Namely, studies have proven its balancing effect. It increases energy, shortens sleep time, improves the quality of sleep and wakefulness during the day.

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28. Taurine

Taurine

 

Taurine, a naturally occurring amino acid, holds promise as a mood enhancer and a potential alternative to conventional SSRIs. Its impact on neurotransmitters like GABA, serotonin, and dopamine suggests a role in mood regulation and anxiety reduction. Taurine's modulation of GABA receptors may foster relaxation and overall improved mood. Early research indicates antidepressant-like effects, making it an intriguing option. While further study is warranted for a comprehensive understanding, taurine's unique neurotransmitter interaction offers holistic mental well-being potential. Consultation with a healthcare professional is advised before incorporating taurine, particularly for those on antidepressants. Moreover, taurine is recognized for its potential as a mild antidepressant, aiding neurogenesis, boosting BDNF expression, and enhancing mitochondria. It could even offer benefits for ADHD. A suggested daily intake of 2-3g, divided into two doses with a larger one before bedtime, is recommended. Taurine's notable safety profile akin to magnesium adds to its appeal.

 


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29. Sulbutiamine

Sulbutiamine is a synthetic molecule developed by Japanese researchers in the 60s to treat thiamine (Vitamin B1) deficiency. So, it’s an upgraded version of vitamin B1 because it consists of its two fused molecules. This nootropic is fat-soluble, rapidly absorbed, and crosses the blood-brain barrier easily. 

Sulbutiamine’s primary effects are to reduce mental and physical fatigue and to boost energy. These two functions will also improve your mood. As vitamin B1 is the only vitamin used in the synthesis of acetylcholine, Sulbutiamine may also boost long-term memory.

Few human studies show that Sulbutiamine has no antidepressant effect but can accelerate the recovery of depressed patients by facilitating their rehabilitation in social, professional, and family life.

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The nootropic community takes it in doses of 200-600 mg, best in the morning, on days when you feel sluggish and out of focus. When used in normal doses of 200-1000 mg, Sulbutiamine is safe. Otherwise, in higher doses, people report anxiety and negative thoughts.

30. Phenibut

graphic of cosmonaut sitting on the moonPhenibut is a GABA-mimetic psychotropic drug developed in the USSR in the 1960s that was used in a Soviet cosmonaut program. Phenibut possesses both calming effects and improves cognitive capabilities. It has a similar structure to the GABA neurotransmitter, and mood-boosting activity has been shown to correlate with Phenibut’s affinity to bind to GABA-B receptors.

Along with its racemic form that is used clinically, there are two commercially available isomers of the substance, R-phenibut, and S-phenibut. It has been investigated that the version of R-phenibut is better for mood-boosting effects.

The recommended dose of Phenibut for anxiety is 250-500 mg, which you can take three times a day. Russia boasts the best Phenibut preparations, where, unlike the US, 250 mg in one tablet is the standard for mood treatment.

Read our Cosmic Nootropics review for more on the original pharmaceutical-grade Russian Nootropics.

31. Aniracetam

Aniracetam is one of the original racetam drugs developed by Dr. Corneliu Giurgea, who coined the term nootropic. It is considered an anxiolytic (anxiety-relieving) and one of the most effective mood support compounds that the nootropic community likes to use.

It seems to interact between the serotonergic, dopaminergic, and cholinergic systems according to the research.

It also appears to have some GABAergic effects that can improve mood and alleviate nervousness without sedation that further impairs cognition.

32. Fasoracetam

Fasoracetam is a new member of the racetam family of nootropics. It appears to interact and modulate three major neurochemical systems in the brain. To improve memory, it acts on acetylcholine, and to improve mood, it establishes an optimal balance of excitation and inhibition in the neural circuits of GABA and glutamate.

Although there are no clinical trials in humans to confirm the claims, studies in rodents are encouraging. It is to be believed that Fasoracetam is as safe as other racetams.

33. Noopept

Noopept is a peptide nootropic related to the racetams. It is far more potent than the other traditional racetams and is taken in much smaller doses (10-40 mg is a recommended daily dosage).

Noopept is a popular psychostimulant that stimulates the brain without increasing heart rate or direct stimulation of the body. Anecdotal use is widespread and suggests that Noopept can alleviate anxiety, improve confidence, and elevate mood.

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34. Modafinil

Modafinil is a prescription drug for Narcolepsy that is also an incredible mood enhancer. Subjective well-being and enjoyment during cognitive tasks appear to be significantly improved by modafinil supplementation.

The primary mechanism that makes modafinil one of the most powerful mood enhancers is dopamine stimulation. Although studies suggest modafinil doesn’t have strong enough properties to induce euphoria and addiction, it will improve most people’s mood through dopamine alone.

35. Picamilon

Picamilon is a nootropic synthesized in the USSR for ordinary people. The main mechanism is to improve cognitive functions and increase mental energy, while reducing feelings of stress and anxiety.

Its effects are similar to those of Phenibut as both drugs reduce anxiety and improve mood. However, unlike Phenibut, Picamilon has a much stronger impact on brain energetics because it stimulates the consumption of oxygen and glucose by the neuronal tissue.

Brst nootropics for mood and stress support
Mood enhancing tips & stacks

gut health and mood enhancement

While the famous words of Hippocrates—”all diseases begin in the gut”—underscore the gut-brain connection, recent research delves into the intricate interplay between brain and gut health, facilitated by neural, endocrine, and immune pathways. Emerging studies emphasize the correlation between psychological well-being and gut microflora, where a thriving community of beneficial bacteria supports immunity and digestion. Crucially, our gut contributes significantly to serotonin production, a mood-regulating chemical.

Insufficient beneficial bacteria in the digestive system might render individuals susceptible to conditions like depression, anxiety, and insomnia. A contrast in microbiotic strains between depressed patients and healthy individuals highlights this link. The synergy of probiotics and prebiotics has shown promise in alleviating depression and mitigating anxiety symptoms, enhancing stress resistance.

Notably, cognitive mechanisms linked to mood disorder vulnerability can be influenced positively by probiotics. While incorporating probiotic-rich foods is crucial, dietary supplements can complement these efforts to bolster gut health.

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Qualia Synbiotic for overall gut health

Qualia Synbiotic has proven to be more effective and convenient for me compared to separate prebiotic, probiotic, and digestive enzyme supplements. It swiftly restores regularity, reduces bloating, and provides continuous digestive support throughout the day. Within just a few days to two weeks, I have observed improvements in my gut and digestive functions, as well as an uplifted mood and an overall sense of well-being. Moreover, it seems to enhance the efficacy of my daily supplements, ensuring they fulfill their intended purposes more effectively.

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Pharmaceutical-Grade Anxiolytics: Precision in Mood Management

Cosmic Nootropic Anxiolytics bundle reviewIn the realm of mood enhancement, pharmaceutical-grade anxiolytics stand as a distinct category, offering precise and targeted support for managing anxiety. These compounds, developed through rigorous scientific research and clinical testing, are designed to interact with specific neurotransmitter pathways in the brain to alleviate anxiety and promote a calmer state of mind. Unlike natural supplements, pharmaceutical-grade anxiolytics often require a prescription and are closely monitored by healthcare professionals due to their potency and potential side effects.

Pharmaceutical anxiolytics commonly belong to classes such as benzodiazepines, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and others. They work by modulating the levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and GABA, which play pivotal roles in mood regulation and anxiety reduction.

It’s important to note that while pharmaceutical anxiolytics can provide effective relief for individuals with severe anxiety disorders, they also come with potential drawbacks. Some may cause dependency or withdrawal symptoms, and their usage should always be closely supervised by a healthcare professional. Moreover, these medications may interact with other substances and have individualized effects.

Read our review of the Anxiolytics Bundle by Cosmic Nootropic.

Stacking nootropics for mood & anti anxiety

Probably a better option than taking a single nootropic for mood is taking them in the popular stacks of two or more nootropics. Stacking nootropics is valuable if you want to reap the benefits of their synergistic qualities. They mix well and amplify individual effects with each other, which can unleash the true power of different benefits.

Mr. Happy Stack – mood, focus, and energy

One of the most popular combinations of nootropics to support mood, focus, and energy is the so-called Mr. Happy Stack.

The origin of this popular stack is on the Longecity forum when the thread was launched by user “Mr. Happy” and explained how this combination of nootropics affects him.

This stack consists of Uridine, CDP-Choline, and Fish Oil as a basis, along with B6, B9, B12 vitamins, and selenium.

Some premade nootropics manufacturers are also producing their own version of Mr. Happy stack.

Natural ingredients to Get off of SSRI’s

Disclaimer: The information provided below is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Always consult a qualified healthcare professional before making any changes to your health regimen or medication.

Tapering off SSRIs is a delicate process that requires careful consideration and medical supervision. While the journey may vary for each individual, some strategies and natural ingredients have shown promise in supporting this transition. Gradual tapering under a doctor’s guidance is essential.

Key considerations include stabilizing GABA and glutamate to prevent rebound anxiety, promoting neurogenesis and plasticity to address depression, and minimizing withdrawal symptoms like “brain zaps.” Optimizing diet, sun exposure, exercise, and sleep can further aid the process.

Several natural ingredients play a role in this protocol:

  1. Agmatine: Considered essential due to its potential to counteract depleted agmatine caused by SSRIs, alleviate brain zaps, and balance GABA and glutamate levels.

  2. Magnesium: With profound effects on mood and anxiety, magnesium blocks excessive NMDA signaling, supports GABA via GAD enzyme, and promotes antidepressant effects via BDNF.

  3. Taurine: This amino acid acts as an anti-anxiety agent and mild antidepressant, enhancing neurogenesis, increasing BDNF expression, and potentially aiding ADHD symptoms.

  4. Myo-Inositol (MI): Offering therapeutic effects in conditions often treated with SSRIs, MI stabilizes anxiety, improves mood, and may prevent relapse by regulating neurotransmitter signals.

It’s important to note that MI works differently from most antidepressants, particularly in its interaction with the 5HT2A receptor and upregulation of D2 receptors, both pivotal in psychiatric disorders. Dosages and administration methods vary; for MI, sublingual consumption could enhance efficacy. These natural elements, found within the body, constitute the core of this protocol, potentially offering a holistic approach to support individuals in tapering off SSRIs. However, individual responses may vary, and consultation with a healthcare professional is crucial before considering any changes.

What life hacks lift your mood instantly?

You can do a lot of things naturally, which will lift your mood and be a cornerstone for better psychological health.

While we are a website that reviews the best cognitive supplements, these common-sense things will help make them not your only choice.

Nootropics work best when you’re healthy, and mood enhancers will be much more effective if you adopt some of these recommendations.

  • Get up early and go for a morning walk. Be in the fresh air and sunshine whenever you can. It’s a known fact that vitamin D (the “sunlight” vitamin) can influence serotonin synthesis. This will improve your mood and self-esteem to start a productive day. 
  • What you eat affects how you feel. Focus on eating whole foods to not feel bloated and sluggish.
  • Beautify and tidy up your living space. Throw out the excess.
  • Meditation and gratitude naturally boost your mood and improve mental health. 
  • Exercise releases endorphins into our bodies to make us feel good. You can improve your mood immensely by regularly breaking a sweat.
  • Socialize, don’t isolate. Reach out to an upbeat friend. 
  • Listening to music can greatly improve your mood.
  • Gardening or working in the yard is great as the color in our surroundings also affects our mood.
  • Create something and be creative in your hobbies! 

Conclusion

In the realm of mental well-being, the impact of a negative mood or depression extends far beyond emotions—it casts a shadow over cognition. Much like anxiety and the weight of stress, these states can dull cognitive faculties and impede the full potential of the mind. The antidote lies in the exploration of nootropics for mood support—a realm of science-backed solutions that offer a path to equilibrium and renewed mental vitality.

Embark on a journey of self-discovery as you delve into the realm of mood-enhancing nootropics. It’s a delicate balance, an artful interplay of responsible use and scientific exploration. For those venturing down the DIY path, consider introducing three of these supplements into your daily routine—a thoughtful stride toward harmonizing mood and cognition.

Alternatively, if you seek a seamless approach, consider exploring pre-made stacks that harness the power of nootropics to fortify your mood. To embark on this enlightening journey, delve into the insights waiting for you in the following post. Embrace the potential of a brighter, balanced mental landscape.

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