Want To Stress Less? These 15 Science-Backed Supplements Can Help*
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.*
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:*
- Best overall for calm: mindbodygreen calm+
- Best hemp gummies: Cornbread Full Spectrum CBD Gummies
- Best hemp CBD tincture: Fab CBD Oil
- Best ashwagandha: Nature Made Calm & Relax™ Veggie Capsules
- Best high-potency rhodiola: Hum Big Chill
- Best lavender: Nature's Way CalmAid Lavender
- Best lemon balm: Life Extension Enhanced Stress Relief
- Best high-dose L-theanine: Zuma Nutrition L-theanine
- Best GABA & L-theanine: Pure Encapsulations Emotional Wellness
- Best magnesium powder: MegaFood, Relax + Calm Magnesium Powder
- Best hemp CBD gift bundle: Lord Jones Best Sellers Gift Box
- Best pet bundle: Charlotte's Web Calming Pet Chews + Calming Human Gummies
- Best adaptogenic combination: MegaFood Stress Protect
- Best herbal blend for stress: Metagenics Serenagen®
- Best for adrenal support: Designs for Health Adrenal Complex™
1. Best overall for calm: mindbodygreen calm+
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 oil, lavender 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+ ($59/month)
2. Best hemp gummies: Cornbread Full Spectrum CBD 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)
3. Best CBD tincture: Fab CBD Oil
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 ($129)
4. Best ashwagandha: Nature Made Calm & Relax™ Veggie Capsules
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)
5. Best high-potency rhodiola: Hum Big Chill
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)
6. Best lavender: Nature's Way CalmAid Lavender
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 ($19.99)
7. Best lemon balm: Life Extension Enhanced Stress Relief
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 ($21)
8. Best high-dose L-theanine: Zuma Nutrition L-theanine
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)
9. Best GABA & L-theanine: Pure Encapsulations Emotional Wellness
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 ($127.20)
10. Best magnesium powder: MegaFood Relax + Calm Magnesium 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 ($34.50)
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 ($144)
12. Best pet bundle: Charlotte's Web Calming Pet Chews + Calming Human 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)
13. Best adaptogenic combination: MegaFood Stress Protect
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 ($26.24)
14. Best herbal blend for stress: Metagenics Serenagen®
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® ($70.46)
15. Best for adrenal support: Designs for Health Adrenal Complex™
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™($75.56)
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.*
The bottom line.
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.*