The Best Nootropics For Social Anxiety

Best Nootropics For Social Anxiety

If you’ve ever experienced social anxiety, you know how crippling it can be. Even when nothing is actually wrong, your heart starts beating faster, you start sweating, and all you can think about is running in the other direction as fast as you can.

social anxiety adults
Roughly 15 million American adults suffer from social anxiety disorder (SAD).

Social anxiety is nervousness that happens in social situations.1 And, if you’ve ever experienced social anxiety, you’re not alone. Every year, up to 8% of the population are diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder.2 And, as much as 12% of the population has met the criteria for Social Anxiety Disorder at some point in their life.3

Even if you’ve never been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, you can still experience social anxiety. Fortunately, there are several nootropics that can help to reduce social anxiety and increase confidence in social situations. In this post, we’re gonna take a look at the best nootropics for social anxiety. But first, let’s explore exactly what social anxiety is.

What is social anxiety?

Anxiety is an emotion that is characterized by worried thoughts, feelings of tension, and physical changes like increased heart rate and blood pressure.4 When anxiety is brought about by social situations, it’s known as social anxiety.

Social anxiety can take a number of forms: performance anxiety, stage fright, fear of public speaking, etc. When it hits, it can come on quickly and may include extreme nervousness, sweating, shaking, nausea, and heart palpitations.5

social anxiety stressIt’s normal to experience a little social anxiety from time to time. But when it interferes with your ability to live a happy and productive life, you can be diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD). This is considered a serious medical condition and should be discussed with your doctor. There are several medications that are approved to treat SAD.

If you experience mild-to-moderate social anxiety and are looking for something to help you stay calm in social situations, there are several nootropics that can help. Users from around the world have been using these substances to reduce anxiety, improve mood, and increase overall sense of well-being. Now, let’s take a look at the best nootropics for social anxiety.

The best nootropics for social anxiety


This is a remarkable plant that has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to treat a variety of conditions and as a general healing tonic.6 Over the past few years, ashwagandha has become popular in the nootropics community for its ability to decrease stress and anxiety, improve mood, and reduce fatigue.

There’s quite a bit of science to support ashwagandha’s use as a stress-relieving nootropic. Several studies have shown that it can reduce stress, anxiety, and cortisol levels (sometimes called “the stress hormone”).78

Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, which are substances that are able to reduce or prevent the effects of stress.9 There are countless reports of it being used to successfully reduce social anxiety, stress, and other types of anxiety.

buy ashwagandhaNootropic benefits of ashwagandha:

  • Decreased Anxiety

  • Decreased Stress

  • Improved Mood

  • Increased Motivation

  • Increased/Improved Social Functioning

  • Reduced Social Anxiety

  • Reduced Fatigue

To learn more about ashwagandha, read this: The Many Benefits of Ashwagandha.


This is a popular nootropic that’s part of the racetam family. But unlike the other racetams, aniracetam has an anxiolytic (anxiety reducing) effect for many of its users. And it is widely claimed to reduce anxiety without causing sedation.

Unfortunately, these effects haven’t been studied in humans yet. However, there have been several studies on animals that support the claims that aniracetam can significantly improve mood10, reduce anxiety, and boost other areas of cognitive performance.11 There are countless reports around the internet to support these claims.

buy aniracetamBenefits of aniracetam:

  • Reduced Anxiety

  • Increased Focus

  • Improved Memory

  • Improved Learning Ability

  • Improved Mood

  • Improved Cognitive Processing

Aniracetam can be taken by itself, but is often stacked with a choline source like alpha-GPC. This is thought to improve the way aniracetam (and other racetams) works. To learn more about aniracetam, check this out: Aniracetam for Anxiety and Focus.


This is a variation of the B vitamin, thiamine (vitamin B1). Sulbutiamine was first created in Japan, as a more bioavailable form of thiamine.12 It is able to cross the blood-brain barrier much more readily than thiamine, which may explain some of its anxiety-reducing effects.13

Thiamine is necessary for the production of the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA. This neurotransmitter is known to play an important role in stress and anxiety. By increasing thiamine levels in the brain from taking sulbutiamine, you may be able to increase GABA levels, which can result in decreased anxiety.

Although it hasn’t been scientifically studied yet, there are numerous reports of sulbutiamine users experiencing just that: reduced anxiety and improved mood. Some users have even claimed that it has helped improve their mood better than prescription antidepressants.

buy sulbutiamineBenefits of sulbutiamine:

  • Improved Mood

  • Reduced Anxiety

  • Improved Memory

  • Reduced Social Anxiety

  • Improved Stamina and Endurance

To learn more about sulbutiamine, you can read this: Sulbutiamine for Mood and Anxiety.

Mucuna Pruriens

Like ashwagandha, this is another adaptogenic plant. Mucuna pruriens is a tropical legume that grows naturally throughout Asia and Africa. It’s been used for centuries as traditional medicine by several cultures. In recent years, mucuna pruriens has become popular as a nootropic because it can improve mood, reduce anxiety, and boost other areas of cognitive performance.

Mucuna contains the amino acid l-dopa, which is a direct precursor to the neurotransmitter dopamine.14 By taking mucuna, you can help your body to increase production of this important neurotransmitter. Dopamine is known to play a role in mood, anxiety (including social anxiety), focus, pleasure, and several other things.

Many mucuna pruriens users have reported that it helps with their social anxiety. We weren’t able to find any scientific studies that examined this, but that doesn’t mean it’s not true. Since mucuna contains l-dopa, it’s certainly possible that it could reduce social anxiety.

buy mucunaBenefits of mucuna pruriens:

  • Improved Mood

  • Decreased Anxiety

  • Increased Sense Of Well Being

  • Reduced Social Anxiety

  • Increased Motivation

You can learn more about mucuna pruriens here: Mucuna Pruriens for Anxiety, Motivation, and Mood.


The last item on our list of the best nootropics for social anxiety is l-theanine. This is an amino acid analogue that is found in green tea. L-theanine is a very popular nootropic because it can reduce stress without causing sedation.15

While l-theanine can be taken by itself, it is frequently combined with caffeine. Taking l-theanine with caffeine has been shown to improve mood and focus, but without the usual jitters and anxiety that often accompany caffeine use.16 This has helped countless people experience the benefits of caffeine that can’t usually tolerate it. L-theanine and caffeine taken together has also been shown to improve reaction time, working memory, and verbal accuracy.17

Taking l-theanine by itself can have a positive impact on social anxiety for many people. It’s been scientifically shown to reduce psychological and physiological stress.18 Many users report that, with daily use, l-theanine has significantly reduced their social anxiety.

Benefits of l-theanine by itself:

  • Reduced Mental Stress

  • Reduced physical Stress

  • Reduced Anxiety

  • Improved Mood

  • Reduced Social Anxiety

buy l-theanineBenefits of l-theanine and caffeine together:

  • Increased Focus

  • Promotes A Relaxed Alert Feeling

  • Increased Wakefulness With No Jitters

  • Reduced Anxiety

  • Improved Mood

  • Improved Learning

To learn more about this combination, read this: L-Theanine and Caffeine – The Perfect Combo.


Left unchecked, social anxiety can prevent you from living the life you want to live. By learning about the different nootropics that can improve social anxiety, you’ve armed yourself with a new way to fight it. Now it’s up to you to try some of these wonderful substances to see which ones work best for you.

There are other nootropics that might also be beneficial, but these are the best nootropics for social anxiety. Each one has been scientifically studied (although not necessarily for social anxiety specifically), shown to be safe and effective, and have thousands of users around the world to attest to their effectiveness.

Feel free to check out the other posts in our Best Nootropics For… series:

The Best Nootropics For Anxiety

The Best Nootropics For Mood

The Best Nootropics For Focus

The Best Nootropics For Memory

The Best Nootropics For Creativity

The Best Nootropics For Studying

The Best Nootropics For Motivation


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2Kessler, R.C., Chiu, W.T., Demler, O., & Walters, E.E. (2005). Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of 12-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey replication. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 62(6):617-627.

3Kessler, R.C., Berglund, P., Demler, O., Jim, R., Merikangas, K.R., & Walters, E.E. (2005). Lifetime prevalence and age-of-onset distributions of DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey replication. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 62(6):593-602

4Anxiety. (n.d.). American Psychological Association. Retrieved January 28, 2017 from

5Social anxiety disorder: recognition, assessment, and treatment. (2013). Leicester: British Psychological Society.

6Mirjalili, M.H., Moyano, E., Bonfill, M., Cusido, R.M., & Palazon, J. (2009). Steroidal lactones from Withania somnifera, an ancient plant for novel medicine. Molecules. 14(7):2373-2393.

7Chandrasekhar, K., Kapoor, J., & Anishetty, S. (2012). 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 J Psychol Med. 34(3):255-62.

8Andrade, C., Aswath, A., Chaturvedi, S.K., Srinivasa, M., & Raquram, R. (2000). A double-blind, placebo-controlled evaluation of the anxiolytic efficacy of an ethanolic extract of withania somnifera. Indian J Psychiatry. 42(3):295-301.

9Adaptogen. (n.d.). Retrieved January 28, 2017 from

10Nakamura, K. & Tanaka, Y. (2001). Antidepressant-like effects of aniracetam in aged rats and its mode of action. Psychopharmacology (Berl). 158(2):205-12.

11Nakamura, K., & Kurasawa, M. (2001). Anxiolytic effects of aniracetam in three different mouse models of anxiety and the underlying mechanism. European Journal of Pharmacology. 420(1):33-43.

12Volvert, M-L., Seyen, S., Piette, M., Evrard, B., Gangolf, M., Plumier, J-C., & Bettendorff, L. (2008). Benfotiamine, a synthetic S-acyl thiamine derivative, has different mechanisms of action and a different pharmacological profile than lipid-soluble thiamine disulfide derivatives. BMC Pharmacol. 8:10.

13Bettendorff, L., Weekers, L., Wins, P., & Schoffeniels, E. (1990). Injection of sulbutiamine induces an increase in thiamine triphosphate in rat tissues. Biochemical Pharmacology. 40(11):2557-2560.

14Kumar, P. & Saha, S. (2013). An updated review on taxonomy, phytochemistry, pharmacology, and toxicology of Macuna pruriens. Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry. 2(1):306-314.

15Theanine. (n.d.). Retrieved January 30, 2017 from

16Haskell, C.F., Kennedy, D.O., Milne, A.L., Wesnes, K.A., & Scholey, A.B. (2008). The effects of L-theanine, caffeine and their combination on cognition and mood. Biological Psychology. 77(2):113-122.

17Owen, G.N., Parnell, H., De Bruin, E.A., & Rycroft, J.A. (2008). The combined effects of l-theanine and caffeine on cognitive performance and mood. Nutritional Neuroscience. 11(4):193-198

18Kimura, K., Ozeki, M., Juneja, L.R., & Ohira, H. (2007). L-theanine reduces psychological and physiological stress responses. Biological Psychology. 74(1):39-45.

Best Nootropics For Social Anxiety
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