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Want To Stress Less? These 15 Science-Backed Supplements Can Help*

Emma Loewe
Author: Expert reviewer:
Updated on July 8, 2022
Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director
By Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director
Emma Loewe is the Senior Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of "Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us."
Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN
Expert review by
Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN
mbg Vice President of Scientific Affairs
Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN is Vice President of Scientific Affairs at mindbodygreen. She received her bachelor's degree in Biological Basis of Behavior from the University of Pennsylvania and Ph.D. in Foods and Nutrition from the University of Georgia.
Last updated on July 8, 2022
Our editors have independently chosen the products listed on this page. If you purchase something mentioned in this article, we may earn a small commission.

Stress, like so many things in life, is best in moderation.

In small doses, it's a positive force that prepares our bodies to spring into action, but repeated exposure can leave us feeling drained.

"It's not a good output for your body or your brain if you have high levels of stress all the time," Wendy Suzuki, Ph.D., a brain plasticity researcher and professor of neural science at New York University, tells mbg.

Along with stress-relieving practices like exercise and meditation, supplements can help bring your body back to baseline and relieve stress before it builds up into a problem.*

Quick list

In a society that has, as Suzuki puts it, "co-opted our stress response" with constant external stimulation, these are the 15 best science-backed supplements to keep around for calm:*

1. Best overall for calm: mindbodygreen calm+

Format: Gelcap/Softgel

Use for: Science-backed stress relief*

mindbodygreen's freshly renovated stress supplement, calm+, contains three relaxing botanicals—full-spectrum USDA- and E.U-certified organic European hemp oillavender oil, and ashwagandha root and leaf extract—in doses supported by the latest cutting-edge science. When combined, the trio promotes next-generation mood support. Each gelcap contains 20 mg of nonpsychoactive hemp-derived CBD—a sweet spot that eases stress without leaving you feeling drowsy, making this a good pick to take any time of day or night for a quick hit of calm.*

Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN, mbg's director of scientific affairs puts it this way: "This is evidence-based, plant-based calm to carry on." You can learn more about the thought process that went into this unique product here.*

mindbodygreen calm+ ($70)

calm+ amber bottle from mindbodygreen

2. Best hemp gummies: Cornbread Full Spectrum CBD Gummies

Format: Gummies

Use for: Tasty in-the-moment calm*

If you're looking for a palatable but powerful treat, these tasty chews from Kentucky-based company Cornbread contain 10 mg of USDA organic hemp-derived CBD per serving (two gummies). Unlike many gummies on the market, they're free of high-fructose corn syrup, gelatin, and artificial colors. They're also vegan (made from apple pectin) and sweetened with organic tapioca syrup and organic cane sugar.

"The natural berry flavors are made from USDA organic blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries, while the color comes from organic beetroot," mbg's Ferira says of what makes them a cut above the rest. "That's one clean gummy."

Cornbread Full Spectrum CBD Gummies ($39.99)

Cornbread CBD gummies jar

3. Best CBD tincture: Fab CBD Oil

Format: Tincture

Use for: A healthy endocannabinoid system*

Hemp-derived CBD helps ease stress due to the way it interacts with the body's endocannabinoid system (ECS). Though there's still a lot we have yet to discover about this mysterious system, it seems to help regulate many body processes—including the stress response. The compounds in hemp plants interact with the ECS and its receptors in a healthy way, helping it do its job as a master regulatory system.*

Full-spectrum blends that contain many different types of hemp plant compounds, like Fab's, seem to do this the best. We also appreciate that their tinctures come in a portfolio of different flavors and strengths, making it easy to customize your calming experience.*

Fab CBD Oil ($31.20)

Fab CBD citrus CBD drops

4. Best ashwagandha: Nature Made Calm & Relax™ Veggie Capsules

Format: Capsule

Use for: Calm and muscle relaxation*

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an herb with stress resilience, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. As an adaptogen, it interacts with the adrenal system to support the body's natural ability to rebound from stressors.*

Research shows that ashwagandha root and leaf extracts can be an effective stress remedy in doses 125 mg or higher. Nature Made's capsules contain that 125 mg threshold, as well as 300 mg of magnesium to support muscle relaxation.*

Nature Made Calm & Relax™ Veggie Capsules ($15.49)

Nature Made Calm & Relax supplement
Nature Made

5. Best high-potency rhodiola: Hum Big Chill

Format: Capsule

Use for: A brighter mood and outlook*

Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea) is another adaptogen that can be used for stress management (in quantities of 100 mg or higher). Native to Europe and Asia, the root of this flowering plant is where the calming properties lie, and they've been shown to ease self-reported levels of stress, anger, and sadness when taken consistently. Hum packs 500 mg of rhodiola root extract into every vegan capsule.*

Hum Big Chill ($20)

Hum Big Chill bottle

6. Best lavender: Nature's Way CalmAid Lavender

Format: Gelcap/Softgel

Use for: Gentle relief from daily stress*

Known for its delightfully fresh scent, English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) can also be incorporated into relaxing supplements. The herbal compound has sedative properties and has been shown in research to help calm states of restlessness. Clinical trials show that the oil is most effective at doses higher than 80 mg.*

This supplement from Nature's Way contains 80 mg of lavender oil and not much else, making it a simple, straightforward pick for daily stress defense.*

Nature's Way CalmAid Lavender ($13.76)

Nature's Way Calm Aid supplement box
Nature's Way

7. Best lemon balm: Life Extension Enhanced Stress Relief

Format: Capsule

Use for: Bedtime relaxation*

Another calming botanical, lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) also has sedative properties, and you'll often find it steeped into sleepytime teas. At 600-mg doses, it's been shown to increase self-reported calmness and support memory. However, it tends to decrease alertness, so it's best taken before bed.*

This blend from Life Extension combines lemon balm with L-theanine, a stress-relieving amino acid found in green tea, to double down on its benefits.*

Life Extension Enhanced Stress Relief ($20.25)

Life Extension Stress Relief supplement
Life Extension

8. Best high-dose L-theanine: Zuma Nutrition L-theanine

Format: Capsule

Use for: Healthy, balanced brain function*

This next supplement doubles down on L-theanine, an amino acid that has been shown to promote alpha brain waves, the same relaxing waves that occur during meditation. Due to the way it seems to inhibit excitatory stimuli in the brain, research shows that L-theanine can help ease stress and promote healthy cognition when taken as a daily supplement.*

It seems to work best when taken regularly, and Zuma recommends consuming one of their L-theanine capsules every four hours throughout the day to compensate for the extract's short half-life.*

Zuma Nutrition L-theanine ($44.95)

Zuma L-Theanine bottle

9. Best GABA & L-theanine: Pure Encapsulations Emotional Wellness

Form: Capsules

Use for: Fast relief from stress and agitation*

Pure's Emotional Wellness blend stacks L-theanine with GABA—another amino acid that promotes mental calm and clarity by enhancing alpha waves. Our brains naturally produce GABA to calm down overexcited neurons, but you can find synthesized GABA in stress-easing and sleep-promoting supplements too. Research shows that the relaxant gets to work relieving stress within an hour.*

Pure Encapsulations Emotional Wellness ($131.50)

Pure Emotional Wellness bottle

10. Best magnesium powder: MegaFood Relax + Calm Magnesium Powder

Format: Powder

Use for: Drinkable calm*

If you prefer to drink your way to calm, this powder contains three forms of magnesium (citrate, malate, and glycinate) to promote muscle relaxation and a sense of mental ease. While there's no clinical scientific consensus, 100 mg of magnesium or more is thought to have a calming benefit.*

This powder contains 300 mg per scoop, and it'll give your glass of water a hit of slight sweetness thanks to its monk fruit extract.

MegaFood Relax + Calm Magnesium Powder ($21.57)

MegaFood calm magnesium powder

11. Best hemp CBD gift bundle: Lord Jones Best Sellers Gift Box

Format: Gumdrops, body lotion, and oil

Use for: Relief from mental and physical tension*

For a choose-your-own-adventure hemp experience, this gift set from fan-favorite Lord Jones contains hemp-derived CBD gumdrops, body lotion, and oil. While the topical lotion will be best for targeted muscle comfort needs, the gumdrops and oil can promote mental calm.*

Lord Jones Best Sellers Gift Box ($135)

Lord Jones hemp products
Lord Jones

12. Best pet bundle: Charlotte's Web Calming Pet Chews + Calming Human Gummies

Format: Gummies

Use for: Chill time with your pet*

Why keep all that calm to yourself? This Charlotte's Web bundle contains full-spectrum hemp chewables for humans and dogs, so you and your four-legged friend can find your Zen together.*

Ferira explains, "In this creative combo, the dog chew delivers 2.5 mg of plant-based phytocannabinoids per chicken-flavored chew, while the hemp gummy for the pet owner delivers 10 mg of cannabinoids per two lemon-lime-flavored gummies."

Charlotte's Web Calming Pet Chews + Calming Human Gummies ($79.98)

Charlotte's Web calming dog chews
Charlotte's Web

13. Best adaptogenic combination: MegaFood Stress Protect

Format: Tablets

Use for: Morning calm and clarity*

This botanical blend from MegaFood pairs ashwagandha with other adaptogenic herbs that have long been used for stress relief and mood support: rhodiola root, schisandra berries, astragalus root, and holy basil leaf.*

Some of these also promote stamina and ease fatigue, making this a good formula for getting your day started on the right foot. (MegaFood notes that it can be taken any time, even on an empty stomach.)*

MegaFood Stress Protect ($25.19)

MegaFood stress protect bottle

14. Best herbal blend for stress: Metagenics Serenagen®

Format: Tablets

Use for: A steadier mood and heart health*

Another herbal formula, this one gets its inspiration from traditional Chinese medicine. It combines quite the laundry list of plants and herbals that have calming properties (jujube and Asian ginseng, to name a couple) to help promote a steadier, more serene mood in the face of outside stressors. In traditional medicine, similar blends have also been used to support a healthy heart.*

Metagenics Serenagen® ($29.90)

Metagenics serenagen bottle

15. Best for adrenal support: Designs for Health Adrenal Complex™

Format: Capsules

Use for: Adrenal support*

Finally, these vegetarian capsules contain an array of water-soluble micronutrients like vitamin C and B vitamins, along with targeted bioactives like PABA and N-acetyl-L-tyrosine that can support a healthy adrenal system and help keep stress hormones like cortisol in check.*

Designs for Health Adrenal Complex™($79.45)

Designs For Health Adrenal Complex bottle
Designs For Health

What our reviewers say

"Whenever I take mindbodygreen's calm+, I feel confident knowing that it's supporting my endocannabinoid system (our body's "master thermostat" for homeostatic balance) with unique plant compounds, phytocannabinoids, and terpenes, designed specifically for it.*
Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN


How often do I need to take a supplement to feel any difference?

While it depends on the supplement, most of the products on this list can be consumed daily or on an as-needed basis.

Whether you take them before a particularly stressful call or during your nightly calming routine, you should be able to feel their calming effects.*

What dose should I take?

Again, it depends on the supplement, its ingredients, and your individual makeup. With stress-less supplements, more isn't always better, as high doses can lead to fatigue in some people.

Play around within the recommended range until you find a dose that's right for your stress needs, and then stick to it.* Ferira adds, "If relevant to your situation, partner with your health care provider to personalize your goals and pivot strategies as needed."

What should I look for in a supplement?

The best supplements always start with ingredients that have been scientifically vetted and studied in humans.

These vitamins, minerals, herbal botanicals, amino acids, and other bioactives should be present at doses high enough to be efficacious according to clinical science. Ferira always recommends watching out for "sprinkling"—or inadequate doses—in supplement products.

Traceability is also key. You'll want to ensure that the brand clearly identifies what its ingredients are and where they come from.

With botanical products, a good rule of thumb is to make sure the botanical name (genus and species) and parts of a plant (i.e., root, leaf, aerial parts, etc.) are specified on the label.

These active ingredients should make up most of the supplement. Avoid fillers like artificial colors and flavors, high-fructose corn syrup, etc., to ensure you're getting a high-quality product.

Are there any side effects I should know about?

The most common side effect of stress supplements is usually fatigue, and digestive upset is always possible (but uncommon) when you're taking something new.

As always, talk to your doctor beforehand to ensure the supplement won't interfere with any of your other medications.

And if stress starts to hinder your quality of life at any point, it's best to seek professional support. While these supplements can help ease occasional stress, they are not a treatment for clinical mood disorders or any medical condition.*

How we select supplements.

At mindbodygreen, our expert-vetted dietary supplement product selections and recommendations in the supplement space elevate quality, efficacy, innovation, and safety.

Our team ensures that each supplement product is thoughtfully formulated--from the active ingredients to those "Other ingredient" excipients too. We are highly preferential towards clean formulas that are plant-centric (and oftentimes vegan or vegetarian) as well as free of GMOs, gluten, soy, dairy, major food allergens, high-fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, synthetic dyes, and more.

Overall, we recommend products with clean ingredients at efficacious doses in bioactive forms. Whenever possible, we celebrate and elevate plant-origin (i.e., plant-sourced) ingredients from a variety of botanicals.

Ingredient source and innovation are top of mind for our critical reviews and selection of supplement products. We prioritize forward-thinking formulations and delivery formats that are genuinely helpful in transforming your health.

We include supplement brands and products that prioritize quality. This includes robust manufaturing practices and comprehensive purity and potency testing.

You can learn more about mindbodygreen supplements+ manufacturing and quality testing practices here.

The takeaway.

There are a handful of ingredients that have been shown to relieve occasional stress and promote calm in clinical trials.*

When integrated into a healthy stress management routine, they should help you approach life's daily challenges with a bit more ease.*

Emma Loewe
Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director

Emma Loewe is the Sustainability Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.

Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 articles on mbg, her work has appeared on Bloomberg News, Marie Claire, Bustle, and Forbes. She has covered everything from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping to a group of doctors prescribing binaural beats for anxiety. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.