Top 10 performance anxiety supplements for musicians, presenters, or those with general social anxiety.
Over 40 million US adults say that they suffer from some form of anxiety disorder and lots of this is linked to performance anxiety.
This could be presenting at work, standing in front of a class as a teacher or even just contributing to conversation at a party can trigger anxiety for some.
For musicians, performing comes with the territory but unfortunately automatically overcoming performance anxiety doesn’t.
A 2007 study found that 37% of professional musicians suffered from stage fright or acute performance anxiety with numbers likely to skyrocket for amateur musicians, due to lack of experience.
Some common coping strategies that 91% of professional musicians agree upon are:
- Deep breathing
- Positive self-talk
- Mock performance practice
- Familiarising yourself with the performance venue
- Relaxation methods
- Discuss with your band mates or close friends prior to performance
- Medication and supplementation
We are going to stick to our strengths in this article and pick up on the last point that nearly all professional musicians agree upon as a useful method of coping with stage fright and anxiety – dietary supplementation.
Supplementation when paired with other coping strategies can be a powerful performance anxiety treatment for musicians.
Often musicians start to seek out beta-blockers to help cope with anxiety, unfortunately these are prescription only medicines and a pharmaceutical product.
And they don’t always work best for everyone – causing even worse anxiety in some people.
Supplementing with nootropic compounds offers a more natural remedy for performance anxiety treatments, with no need for a prescription.
I’ve pulled together a list of some of the 10 best supplements for performance anxiety management and I’ll talk a little about the science behind how each supplement works to combat anxiety.
Ashwagandha – The ancient herb for anxiety treatment
Ashwagandha is an ancient herb also known as Indian ginseng, poison gooseberry or winter cherry.
It is widely known as a powerful adaptogen.
Adaptogen’s help the body manage stress by regulating the hypothalamic, pituitary and adrenal glands which are all involved in the body’s response to stress.
They work by hacking the stress response by keeping cortisol levels down and increasing other more uplifting hormones like dopamine and serotonin.
Ashwagandha may help a list of potential benefits such as boosting brain function, lowering blood sugar & cortisol levels, and alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression.
In a 60-day study with 64 participants those that supplemented with Ashwagandha saw a 69% reduction in anxiety compared with 11% in the placebo group.
L-Theanine – Why we use tea to relax and feel less anxious
L-theanine is found in nearly all reputable anti-anxiety supplements and is most commonly sourced from green tea leaves or Bolete mushrooms.
Research has confirmed that L-theanine promotes relaxation without drowsiness which is exactly what you need if you’re about to walk up on stage to start performing.
A cup of tea has long been used to help reduce stress – especially by those of us across the pond in the UK. Us dudes ‘put the kettle on’ at any opportunity.
But there may be a valid reason…
For example, a 2016 study found that participants who took L-theanine before performing a multitasking stress test reported lower levels of stress vs the control group and found lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol in their saliva 3 hours after the test.
GABA – Downregulating symptoms of anxiety by blocking activity between neurons
GABA or Gamma aminobutyric acid is a naturally occurring amino acid that doubles as a neurotransmitter for your brain.
It is most commonly known for its calming effects.
It is thought to achieve this effect when the GABA protein attaches to the GABA receptor in your brain.
When the protein attaches to the receptor it blocks other brain signals which decreases the activity in your nervous system and therefore may have the ability to reduce symptoms of anxiety.
A 2015 scientific paper outlined that the GABA neurotransmitter ‘plays a key role in the modulation of anxiety responses both in the normal and pathological state’.
This suggests that supplementing with GABA may reduce anxiety by way of downregulating symptoms by reducing the activity between neurons in the brain.
Mucuna Pruriens – A velvet bean linked to anti-anxiety
Mucuna pruriens (found in Nitrovit) is often referred to as the velvet bean due to its color and texture.
Native to Africa this plant is really high in levels of L-dopa which is a naturally occurring amino acid.
L-dopa is an immediate precursor to dopamine which is a common neurotransmitter found in the brain that is strongly linked with mood.
A number of studies have shown that Mucuna Pruriens has a correlation with anti-anxiety effects.
This is a very powerful nootropic ingredient that may help lower levels of anxiety as well as naturally increasing testosterone, improving focus & motivation and some even claim that it improves learning by shifting the brain waves to the Alpha state.
Bacopa monnieri – High levels of L-dopa help to reduce anxiety
Bacopa monnieri is another powerful adaptogen that has been used for many years in Ayurvedic medicine.
This potent anti-anxiety supplement interacts with the dopamine and serotonin systems in the brain and its main benefits is the promotion of neuron communication.
It does this by increasing the growth of the dendrites which are located at the end or your nerves.
This boost in brain function results in lower levels of anxiety thanks to elevation in mood levels and clearer thinking due to improved neuron communication.
A study in rodents found that Bacopa monnieri was more effective than Lorazepam as a treatment for anxiety.
Lorazepam is a prescription anti-anxiety drug.
A human study found that a 300mg daily dose across 12 weeks of Bacopa monnieri was able to significantly reduced symptoms of anxiety compared with a placebo group.
Oat straw – Reduces inflammation and stress
This particular anti-anxiety supplement is sourced from an unripe Avena sativa plant which is native to northern Europe and north America.
Oat straw has been used to relive stress, depression and even lower levels of anxiety.
Scientists believe it achieves this through inhibiting PDE4.
PDE4 is part of the phosphodiesterase family that is most commonly found in immune cells and flare up when our body is under stress or inflammation.
By inhibiting these cells, oat straw is thought to be able to lower levels of stress and anxiety in our bodies.
Rhodiola Rosia Extract – Early research shows positive signs for performance anxiety treatment
Rhodiola is another form of adaptogen that provides natural stress relief support to our bodies.
It is most commonly found in the arctic circle and is a flowering plant, it’s sometime called arctic root or golden root.
It has been shown to increase levels of endorphins which are associated with lowering stress levels and feelings of euphoria.
More clinical research needs to be carried out on this particular nootropic ingredient, however early signs are promising.
It seems to work by controlling the production of stress hormones like cortisol that can lead to feelings of anxiousness.
It’s hard to read too much into the data however from what trials have been carried out so far, Rhodiola has the most promising effect in mild to moderate cases of anxiety.
One study found that participants who were given 400mg per day for four weeks saw significant improvements in symptoms such as stress and anxiety after just 3 days.
Griffonia seeds – Include 5 HTP which acts as an aphrodisiac, mood-enhancer and anti-anxiety treatment
Griffonia is a West African shrub. Its seeds contains a compound called 5HTP which is a precursor to serotonin.
With more 5HTP than any other natural ingredient, it is strongly believed that Giffonia has benefits to the reduction of anxiety and stress symptoms.
Its seeds contain up to 20% 5HTP.
As well as for treatment of anxiety, 5HTP is also thought to be an aphrodisiac, a mood enhancer and a viable tool for fat loss.
Human studies are limited however, a 2011 study on rats published results suggesting that participants dosed with Griffonia extract saw reduced levels of anxiety and recommended further study for its potential usefulness for the treatment of anxiety in humans.
Chamomile – The soothing anxiolytic
You might recognize Chamomile as an ingredient found in lots of bedtime teas and in fact it has been used to treat stress and anxiety for hundreds of years.
While this herb may not be as potent as some ‘knock out’ pharmaceutical drugs, a 2016 study found that long term use of chamomile significantly reduced moderate to severe symptoms of general anxiety disorder.
It also leaves users waking feeling rested and clear – unlike most sleep drugs which can have you waking foggy and irritable.
Scientist have yet to discover exactly how chamomile effects the neurochemistry of the brain to reduce anxiety.
However, hundreds of years of use paired with correlational studies suggests that there must be something to this famous herb for its calming effects.
Vitamin B complex – A staple so many of us lack
B vitamins are made up of 8 individual vitamins that work together in managing a number of human bodily functions.
A large number of the US population are deficient in B vitamins with 40% of people deficient in vitamin B12.
Because of the lack of B vitamins in the standard Western diet it might be a good idea to find a supplement that gives your body everything it needs to stay healthy.
A 2018 study found that people who ate foods such as vegemite and marmite which are high in b-vitamins had significantly better stress and anxiety scores than those who didn’t eat b-vitamin rich food.
Final thoughts on the top ten supplements for treating anxiety
For some of these ingredients, the powers that be would like more scientific research to be completed before we can say for 100% that they will reduce symptoms of anxiety…
However, that comes as we know, more from the threat natural ‘earth-grown’ nootropics and nutrients can do to a drug manufacturers bottom line.
The reality is, with modern medicine only just over 100 or so years old, for the thousands of years before the millions of those before us used these common herbs to treat all manner of ailments.
And as stressed as we may feel, I’m sure it was a lot worse a couple thousand years ago.
The key is to experiment and find what works for you, though all of these ingredients featured in this top ten list show positive signs of having anti-anxiety effects and are a great place to start.
I’ve personally used Nitrovit before going on stage to play guitar, or before pitching an investor.
I’ve even used Nitrovit before family gatherings or social events when I’ve not felt up to par.
And if you’re already using Nitrovit then you can add some of these nootropics to your daily vitamin stack to really customise your dietary supplement regime for your personal needs.
If you want to find out more or if you are ready to buy right now, head over to our shop and checkout Nitrovit by clicking here.
Thanks for reading as always, and if you’d like to add to the conversation then please leave a comment and I will get back to you with an answer as soon as I can.
All the best,