8 Best Nootropics For Relaxation In 2022

Written on November 3, 2022 by | Reviewed by William Gallagher, MNeuroSci

In this article, I'll look at the 8 best nootropics for relaxation. I'll also cover the potential risks and side effects you may run into and the benefits you can expect.

Nootropics have become increasingly popular as a natural way to enhance mental performance and focus. However, some nootropics also have the added benefit of promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety.

These nootropics are a great option to consider if you're looking for a natural way to manage stress and improve your overall well-being.

So without further ado, let's take a closer look at the top 8 nootropics for relaxation in 2022.

The best nootropics for relaxation, according to scientific evidence, are:

  • Mind Lab Pro
  • Phenibut
  • L-Theanine
  • Ashwagandha
  • Valerian Root
  • Kava Kava
  • Picamilon
  • 5-HTP

1. Mind Lab Pro

Mind Lab Pro is a nootropic blend that includes a range of relaxation-promoting ingredients, such as L-Theanine, Bacopa Monnieri, Rhodiola Rosea, and Lion’s Mane Mushroom. It contains 11 nootropic ingredients that synergistically enhance relaxation and improve mood.

Lion's Mane Mushroom, in particular, has been shown to have significant anti-anxiety effects and improve overall mood. It's also considered an adaptogen, meaning it helps the body adapt to stress.

A study with 30 volunteers found that Lion's Mane Mushroom significantly improved depression and anxiety scores when compared to a placebo. The participants took the mushroom for 4 weeks and reported improved overall well-being [1]Nagano, Mayumi et al. “Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake.” Biomedical research (Tokyo, Japan) vol. 31,4 (2010): 231-7. doi:10.2220/biomedres.31.231.

Mind Lab Pro is a great option if you're looking for a blend of relaxation-promoting nootropics in one convenient pill.

Mind Lab Pros

  • An all-natural nootropic blend with a variety of relaxation-promoting ingredients
  • Contains adaptogens to help the body cope with stress
  • Improves mood and reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety

Mind Lab Pro Cons

  • Not ideal for people on a budget

Mind Lab Pro in Summary

Commonly referred to as a 'nootropic blend,' Mind Lab Pro contains 11 relaxation-promoting ingredients, including adaptogens, to help the body cope with stress. It's been shown to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.

2. Phenibut

Phenibut is a nootropic compound that is structurally similar to the brain neurotransmitter known as gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).

However, unlike GABA, Phenibut can cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB) and bind to GABA receptors. This allows Phenibut to produce a wide range of effects, including relaxation, improved mood, and increased sense of well-being [2]Lapin, I. “Phenibut (beta-phenyl-GABA): a tranquilizer and nootropic drug.” CNS drug reviews vol. 7,4 (2001): 471-81. doi:10.1111/j.1527-3458.2001.tb00211.x.

In addition, Phenibut has been shown to increase dopamine levels in the brain, which may account for its mood-enhancing effects. The only downside with Phenibut is that it can be addictive and should only be used occasionally or as directed [3]Ahuja, Tania et al. “Phenibut (β-Phenyl-γ-aminobutyric Acid) Dependence and Management of Withdrawal: Emerging Nootropics of Abuse.” Case reports in psychiatry vol. 2018 9864285. 30 Apr. 2018, … Learn more.

Phenibut Pros

  • Has powerful anxiolytic effects
  • Reduces stress and promotes relaxation
  • Improves mood and enhances well-being

Phenibut Cons

  • Can't be used daily as it can lead to addiction and tolerance

Phenibut in Summary

Originally developed as a tranquilizer in Russia, Phenibut has powerful anxiolytic effects. It can improve mood and enhance well-being but should only be used occasionally or as directed due to its potential for addiction and tolerance.

3. L-Theanine

L-Theanine is an amino acid commonly found in green tea. It is known to promote relaxation without causing drowsiness.

Studies have shown that L-Theanine can help to improve sleep quality, reduce stress levels, and promote cognitive performance [4]Hidese, Shinsuke et al. “Effects of L-Theanine Administration on Stress-Related Symptoms and Cognitive Functions in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Nutrients vol. 11,10 2362. 3 … Learn more. L-Theanine increases levels of GABA, a neurotransmitter that helps regulate anxiety.

As a relaxing agent, it also increases serotonin levels, another neurotransmitter that plays a role in mood and emotion [5]Nathan, Pradeep J et al. “The neuropharmacology of L-theanine(N-ethyl-L-glutamine): a possible neuroprotective and cognitive enhancing agent.” Journal of herbal pharmacotherapy vol. 6,2 (2006): … Learn more.

In addition, L-Theanine has been shown to boost levels of alpha waves in the brain, which are associated with a state of relaxed alertness. As a result, L-theanine is an effective nootropic for relaxation [6]Evans, Malkanthi et al. “A Randomized, Triple-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Study to Investigate the Efficacy of a Single Dose of AlphaWave® L-Theanine on Stress in a Healthy Adult … Learn more.

L-Theanine Pros

  • Naturally found in green tea
  • Improves stress and anxiety without causing drowsiness
  • Improves cognitive performance
  • Helps the brain achieve a state of relaxed alertness

L-Theanine Cons

  • Some people require higher doses to feel its effects

L-Theanine in Summary

Found in green tea, L-Theanine is a relaxation-promoting nootropic that can improve stress levels and cognitive performance without causing drowsiness. It works by increasing levels of GABA and serotonin in the brain, leading to a state of relaxed alertness.

4. Ashwagandha

Ashwagandha is an herb that has been traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine to help promote relaxation and calm the mind.

Today, Ashwagandha is gaining popularity as a nootropic, or cognitive enhancer, thanks to its ability to help reduce stress and anxiety.

Numerous studies have shown that Ashwagandha is effective at reducing stress and anxiety, and it has even been shown to improve symptoms of depression [7]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 … Learn more.

According to Chandrasekhar, K et al., Ashwagandha was shown to work by reducing levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, and increasing GABA levels in the brain.

Additionally, Ashwagandha is a potent antioxidant that helps to protect the brain from damage caused by free radicals [8]Bhattacharya, A et al. “Anti-oxidant effect of Withania somnifera glycowithanolides in chronic footshock stress-induced perturbations of oxidative free radical scavenging enzymes and lipid … Learn more.

Thanks to these properties, ashwagandha is an effective nootropic for relaxation that can help improve cognitive function and protect the brain.

Ashwagandha Pros

  • Used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Improves symptoms of depression
  • Potent antioxidant

Ashwagandha Cons

  • Can take several weeks for full benefits to be felt

Ashwagandha in Summary

An herb used in Ayurvedic medicine, Ashwagandha is gaining popularity as a nootropic for its ability to reduce stress and anxiety. This leads to improved cognitive function, overall relaxation, and well-being.

5. Valerian Root

Valerian root (Valeriana officinalis) is a popular herbal remedy that has been used for centuries to promote relaxation and ease anxiety.

The active ingredients in valerian root are thought to be valerenic acid and valerenol, which work together to increase levels of gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain [9]Yuan, Chun-Su et al. “The gamma-aminobutyric acidergic effects of valerian and valerenic acid on rat brainstem neuronal activity.” Anesthesia and analgesia vol. 98,2 (2004): 353-358. … Learn more.

GABA is a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate nerve cell activity, and low levels of GABA have been linked with anxiety and insomnia.

By increasing GABA levels, valerian root helps to reduce anxiety and promote sleep. Additionally, valerian root is thought to work by inhibiting GABA's breakdown, further enhancing its calming effects.

Valerian Root Pros

  • Effective at reducing anxiety and promoting sleep
  • Widely available and affordable
  • Works by enhancing GABA levels

Valerian Root Cons

  • May cause drowsiness if taken during the day

Valerian Root in Summary

Found in health food stores and online, valerian root is a popular herbal remedy for promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety. It works by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain.

6. Kava Kava

Kava kava is an herbal supplement that has been traditionally used for centuries to help promote relaxation.

The active ingredients in Kava kava are a group of compounds known as kavalactones. Kavalactones interact with the brain to produce feelings of calm and relaxation [10]Baum, S S et al. “Effect of kava extract and individual kavapyrones on neurotransmitter levels in the nucleus accumbens of rats.” Progress in neuro-psychopharmacology & biological psychiatry … Learn more.

They also seem to have mild sedative effects, which can help reduce anxiety and promote sleep. Kava kava is typically consumed as a tea, but it is also available in capsules and tinctures.

Kava Kava Pros

  • Reduces anxiety and stress
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Mild sedative and euphoric effects

Kava Kava Cons

  • Can cause liver damage at high doses

Kava Kava in Summary

Traditionally used in Pacific Island cultures, Kava kava is a popular herbal supplement for promoting relaxation and reducing anxiety. It has mild sedative effects. However, it should be used cautiously as high doses can cause liver damage.

7. Picamilon

Picamilon is a unique nootropic compound that was created in Russia in the 1970s. It is formed by combining niacin (a B vitamin) with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), an important neurotransmitter.

Picamilon is able to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB), where it is then metabolized into niacin and GABA.

Picamilon is thought to work by increasing levels of GABA. In addition, Picamilon helps improve blood circulation in the brain, which can also lead to increased relaxation.

Overall, Picamilon is a safe and effective way to promote relaxation and reduce stress levels.

Picamilon Pros

  • Crosses the blood-brain barrier for increased effectiveness
  • Enhances GABA levels and improves blood flow in the brain
  • Promotes relaxation and reduces stress

Picamilon Cons

  • High-quality Picamilon can be hard to find

Picamilon in Summary

Picamilon is a unique nootropic compound that combines niacin and GABA. It helps enhance GABA levels and improve blood flow in the brain, leading to increased relaxation and reduced stress.

8. 5-HTP

5-HTP is a natural serotonin precursor that can be taken as a supplement to promote relaxation.

It works by increasing levels of serotonin in the brain. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a role in mood, sleep, and appetite.

5-HTP supplements are typically derived from the seeds of the Griffonia simplicifolia plant. When taken as directed, 5-HTP supplements are generally considered safe [11]Maffei, Massimo E. “5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP): Natural Occurrence, Analysis, Biosynthesis, Biotechnology, Physiology and Toxicology.” International journal of molecular sciences vol. 22,1 181. … Learn more.

However, 5-HTP should not be taken with certain medications, such as SSRIs, MAOIs, or triptans.

If you're looking for a natural way to boost serotonin levels and promote relaxation, 5-HTP definitely worth trying.

5-HTP Pros

  • Increases serotonin levels for improved mood and relaxation
  • Generally considered safe when taken as directed
  • Can be used as a natural alternative to prescription antidepressants

5-HTP Cons

  • Interacts with SSRIs and MAOIs

5-HTP in Summary

5-HTP is a natural serotonin precursor that can improve mood and promote relaxation. It works by increasing serotonin levels in the brain.

What Are the Best Nootropics for Relaxation?

best nootropics for

The best nootropics for relaxation are:

  1. Mind Lab Pro
  2. Phenibut
  3. L-Theanine
  4. Ashwagandha
  5. Valerian Root
  6. Kava Kava
  7. Picamilon
  8. 5-HTP

My list contains a mix of herbal supplements, amino acids, and unique synthetic compounds for promoting relaxation and reducing stress.

How to Choose the Right Nootropic Supplement for Relaxation?

When selecting a nootropic supplement for relaxation, it is important to consider your individual needs and any potential drug interactions. Pick nootropics that work by increasing GABA levels or serotonin levels, as these neurotransmitters play a key role in relaxation.

It's also important to choose a high-quality supplement from a reputable brand. Reading customer reviews or consulting with a healthcare professional can help make your decision.

Finding the right nootropic for relaxation is a process of trial and error, but using these guidelines can help ensure your safety and optimize your results.

What Are the Benefits of Nootropics for Relaxation?

The benefits of nootropics for relaxation include:

  • Reducing stress and anxiety
  • Improving sleep quality
  • Enhancing overall mood

Nootropics can also improve focus and cognitive performance in a relaxed state.

Some nootropics, like Phenibut or Kava kava, may provide immediate relaxation effects. Others, like ashwagandha or 5-HTP, may have more long-term benefits for relaxation and reducing stress.

Overall, nootropics can be a valuable tool in managing stress and promoting relaxation.

What Are the Side Effects of Nootropics for Relaxation?

Some nootropics for relaxation, such as Phenibut, can be habit-forming and may cause withdrawal symptoms when discontinued.

Other potential side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness

It's important to follow dosage recommendations and consult with a healthcare professional before taking any nootropic supplement for relaxation.

That said, most natural nootropics for relaxation have a low risk of side effects when taken as directed.

Do Nootropics Really Work for Relaxation?

Yes, nootropics can be effective for relaxation. However, results may vary depending on the individual and the specific nootropic supplement being used.

I highly recommend looking into nootropic blends like Mind Lab Pro. These blends contain a combination of relaxation-promoting nootropics, which offer more synergistic benefits than taking individual supplements alone.

If you're looking for a powerful synthetic option, Phenibut can also be effective for promoting relaxation. However, it should be used with caution and not taken long-term due to its potential for addiction and withdrawal symptoms.

Final Thoughts

So what do we know about the best nootropics for relaxation?

Mind Lab Pro, 5-HTP, Phenibut, L-Theanine, Valerian Root, and Kava Kava are all excellent options for promoting relaxation and reducing stress. The best nootropics for relaxation work by increasing GABA or serotonin levels in the brain.

When selecting a nootropic supplement for relaxation, it's important to consider your individual needs and any potential drug interactions. It may also be helpful to consult with a healthcare professional or read customer reviews.

Nootropics can offer valuable benefits for relaxation and stress management, but it's important to use caution and follow dosage recommendations to avoid potential side effects.

References

References
1Nagano, Mayumi et al. “Reduction of depression and anxiety by 4 weeks Hericium erinaceus intake.” Biomedical research (Tokyo, Japan) vol. 31,4 (2010): 231-7. doi:10.2220/biomedres.31.231
2Lapin, I. “Phenibut (beta-phenyl-GABA): a tranquilizer and nootropic drug.” CNS drug reviews vol. 7,4 (2001): 471-81. doi:10.1111/j.1527-3458.2001.tb00211.x
3Ahuja, Tania et al. “Phenibut (β-Phenyl-γ-aminobutyric Acid) Dependence and Management of Withdrawal: Emerging Nootropics of Abuse.” Case reports in psychiatry vol. 2018 9864285. 30 Apr. 2018, doi:10.1155/2018/9864285
4Hidese, Shinsuke et al. “Effects of L-Theanine Administration on Stress-Related Symptoms and Cognitive Functions in Healthy Adults: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Nutrients vol. 11,10 2362. 3 Oct. 2019, doi:10.3390/nu11102362
5Nathan, Pradeep J et al. “The neuropharmacology of L-theanine(N-ethyl-L-glutamine): a possible neuroprotective and cognitive enhancing agent.” Journal of herbal pharmacotherapy vol. 6,2 (2006): 21-30.
6Evans, Malkanthi et al. “A Randomized, Triple-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Crossover Study to Investigate the Efficacy of a Single Dose of AlphaWave® L-Theanine on Stress in a Healthy Adult Population.” Neurology and therapy vol. 10,2 (2021): 1061-1078. doi:10.1007/s40120-021-00284-x
7Chandrasekhar, 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
8Bhattacharya, A et al. “Anti-oxidant effect of Withania somnifera glycowithanolides in chronic footshock stress-induced perturbations of oxidative free radical scavenging enzymes and lipid peroxidation in rat frontal cortex and striatum.” Journal of ethnopharmacology vol. 74,1 (2001): 1-6. doi:10.1016/s0378-8741(00)00309-3
9Yuan, Chun-Su et al. “The gamma-aminobutyric acidergic effects of valerian and valerenic acid on rat brainstem neuronal activity.” Anesthesia and analgesia vol. 98,2 (2004): 353-358. doi:10.1213/01.ANE.0000096189.70405.A5
10Baum, S S et al. “Effect of kava extract and individual kavapyrones on neurotransmitter levels in the nucleus accumbens of rats.” Progress in neuro-psychopharmacology & biological psychiatry vol. 22,7 (1998): 1105-20. doi:10.1016/s0278-5846(98)00062-1
11Maffei, Massimo E. “5-Hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP): Natural Occurrence, Analysis, Biosynthesis, Biotechnology, Physiology and Toxicology.” International journal of molecular sciences vol. 22,1 181. 26 Dec. 2020, doi:10.3390/ijms22010181