Best Amino Acids for Anxiety (15+ List)

In this extensive list, we are going to discuss the best amino acids for anxiety. We will start by explaining what amino acids are and how they help us. Then, we will explore the mental health benefits of amino acid supplements and talk about the ones that help anxiety. This list also includes top 3 product recommendations for each amino acid.

What are the Best Amino Acids for Anxiety?

The best amino acids for anxiety and related symptoms are:

  • L-Lysine
  • L-Arginine
  • L-Tryptophan
  • Phenylalanine
  • Tyrosine
  • 5-HTP
  • Theanine
  • Taurine
  • Glutamine
  • Acetyl-L-Carnitine
  • Histidine
  • Glycine
  • Val66Met
  • Threonine
  • Leucine
  • L-Cysteine
  • Proline
  • BCAAs
  • GABA

What are Amino Acids?

Amino acids are organic compounds made of three parts, an amino group, a carboxyl group, and a side chain. They have biochemical significance as they are the building units of proteins. 

Amino acids combine to form peptides, peptides combine to form proteins. Some amino acids are produced inside the body. Others need to be consumed through external sources and are called essential amino acids. 

High-protein foods like quinoa, soy, and animal meats have all nine essential amino acids. We need to supply the body with these organic compounds for it to grow healthily.

How do Amino Acids Help?

There are a large number of bodily processes that require amino acids. These functions include building muscles, immunity, transportation of nutrients, and important chemical reactions. 

Disturbed levels of amino acids can disrupt these processes causing the body some kind of dysfunction. These could be problems like infections, indigestion, reduced cognitive ability, depression, slowed growth, and fertility issues. Amino acids not produced in the body need to be taken through food.

Can Amino Acids Improve Mental Health?

Many of the neurotransmitters inside us are made of various amino acids. Our protein intake affects the production and activity of neurotransmitters, which act like a messenger system in our body. 

These neurochemical reactions have a direct impact on our brain functioning and mental health. The right balance of these neurotransmitters is fundamental for good mental health. 

Sometimes, genetic or environmental causes disturb this balance making one more susceptible to mental illnesses. Incorporating the right amino acids in our diet can restore this balance and reduce the intensity of the illness.

Which Amino Acids Help with Anxiety?

Getting the right amino acids for you through meals can be tedious. Instead of planning each meal to make sure you’re getting the right amino acids, it’s easier to take supplements. 

In this section, we are going to expand on our list of amino acids that improve anxiety symptoms. These compounds are in two groups: those with sufficient evidence for their anxiolytic properties and those that need further research.

Effective Amino Acids for Anxiety

We looked for some research-backed options for the best amino acids for anxiety. If you struggle regularly with moderate to high levels of anxiety, it might help to try these amino acid supplements.

L-Lysine

In 2010, Nutrition Journal published an article that was a systematic review of herbal supplements for anxiety-related disorders. It was found that L-Lysine displays anxiolytic effects in people. 

This amino acid acts as a partial serotonin receptor antagonist and can decrease cortisol levels. Lysine supplements can lower the production of this stress hormone and improve anxiety symptoms.

Our top 3 L-Lysine Recommendations

BrandProduct Details
NowNut FreeGMO FreeDairy FreeKosher CertifiedEgg FreeVeganView here
SolgarNut FreeGMO FreeDairy FreeEgg FreeVeganNo Artificial FlavourView here
NutricostGluten FreeNon-GMOView here

L-Tryptophan

Using tryptophan as a dietary additive has been shown to decrease anxiety in healthy young adults. The body uses tryptophan to make important molecules like serotonin and melatonin. 

The former is instrumental in mood changes and feelings of wellbeing. The latter plays a big role in sleep-wake cycles. Tryptophan supplements may help with sleep disturbances and stress caused by anxiety.

Our top 3 L-Tryptophan Recommendations

BrandProduct Details
Source Naturals120 Capsules1.5 gView Here
NutricostGluten FreeNon-GMOView Here
Jarrow Formulas60 Capsules500 mgVegetarianView here

Phenylalanine

Phenylalanine is one of the main ingredients in the synthesis of dopamine, a neurotransmitter. Dopamine stimulation is associated with the reward centres of the brain. When we get a dopamine rush, we feel content. 

A 2017 study found that phenylalanine also has a relationship with anxiety. The research showed that avoiding phenylalanine fluctuations in childhood reduces anxiety in adolescence. 

Our top 3 Phenylalanine Recommendations

BrandProduct Details
Doctor’s BestSoy FreeGluten FreeVegetarianView here
BluebonnetGluten FreeNon-GMONo SoyKosherVeganView here
SolarayContains GelatinNon-veganView Here

5-HTP

5-HTP stands for 5-hydroxytryptophan, also known as oxitriptan. This is a naturally occurring amino acid and is a precursor to serotonin, one of the neurotransmitters responsible for mood. 

Kahn and Westenberg (1984) established that 5-HTP plays a role in the mediation of anxiety. They used three different anxiety scales to measure this and the results found were significant. Help boost serotonin activity in your systems with a 5HTP supplement.

Our top 3 5-HTP Recommendations

BrandProduct Details
NatrolUnflavouredGMO FreeAdded CalciumView here
NutricostGluten FreeNon-GMOView here
Jarrow Formulas60 Capsules500 mgVegetarianView Here

Theanine

Theanine is an amino acid primarily found in plant or fungal species. It is commonly consumed as a component of green tea and has been used historically as a relaxing agent. Lu et al (2004) compared the effect of theanine and Alprazolam on anxiety states in 16 healthy adults. 

Alprazolam is a psychiatric drug prescribed for anxiety and panic disorders. The experiment revealed that there was no difference in the influence of the drug or theanine. Theanine supplements are a viable option for anxiety relief if pharmacotherapy is not your cup of tea.

Our top 3 Theanine Recommendations

BrandProduct Details
Nature’s TroveVegetarianKosherUS-MadeView Here
Natural FactorsChewableTropical Fruit FlavourContains SugarView Here
NutricostGluten FreeNon-GMOView Here

Taurine

The amino acid taurine is widely found in many animal tissues. In the human body, it plays quite a few roles in antioxidation, circulation, and the development and function of organs. It can be taken through fish, meats, some energy drinks, or as supplements. 

This research study discovered that acute intake of taurine can lower anxiety. The anxiolytic effects of taurine only exist if it is taken occasionally. If you experience state-dependent anxiety in very specific situations, you can try taurine.

Our top 3 Taurine Recommendations

BrandProduct Details
Source Naturals240 Capsules1 gView Here
The Vitamin ShoppeContains RiceContains GelatinNon-VeganView Here
NutricostGluten FreeNon-GMOView Here

Acetyl-L-Carnitine

Acetyl-L-carnitine (ALCAR) is an acetyl derivative of carnitine, a molecule both synthesised inside us and supplemented by diet. It is found in many meat and dairy products. Researchers looked into the anxiety-reducing effects of ALCAR to see if it can be used to treat geriatric thought disorders. 

They established that chronic administration of ALCAR resulted in significant reduction of anxiety-like behaviours. The publication mentions that acute doses produced anxiogenic effects instead. Acetyl-L-carnitine can be a helpful amino acid supplement to manage long-term anxiety.

Our top 3 Acetyl-L-Carnitine Recommendations

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NowNut FreeGMO FreeDairy FreeKosher CertifiedEgg FreeVeganView Here
NutricostGluten FreeNon-GMOView Here
Nature’s BountyContains GelatinVegetable CelluloseVegetable Magnesium StearateView Here

Histidine

L-Histidine is one of the essential amino acids in humans and it plays a critical role in protein formation. Histidine is a precursor for histamine, which handles muscle contraction, dilation of blood vessels, blood pressure and other processes. 

A 2014 investigation demonstrated that insufficient intake of histidine can lower brain histamine levels and cause anxiety symptoms. Histidine supplements ensure that this deficiency does not take place.

Our top 3 Histidine Recommendations

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BulkSupplements500 gPowderView Here
MontiffPure600 mg50 CapsulesView Here
LambertsGelatin ShellNon-VeganView Here

Glycine

Glycine release has been shown to have an impact on anxiety. Anxious states tend to have low levels of glycine. This amino acid is the simplest of its kind. It is a precursor to various important metabolites. 

Glycine acts as a neurotransmitter in our central nervous system and has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunity-related functions to play. Anxiety may be reduced or prevented with sufficient glycine release.

Our top 3 Glycine Recommendations

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NowNut FreeGMO FreeDairy FreeKosher CertifiedEgg FreeVeganView Here
Country LifeGluten Free100 Tablets500 mgView Here
Earthborn ElementsPureNon-GMOGluten FreeUS-MadeView Here

Leucine

In 2019, a fascinating experiment tested the effect of oral administration of leucine-histidine dipeptides on behaviour in mice. The experimenters measured anxiety-like and depression-like behaviour using the Tail Suspension Test (TST). 

It was found that the leucine-histidine intervention suppressed the activation of biological processes that lead to emotional disturbances. The authors of this publication recommend the use of oral leucine-histidine dipeptides as a preventive measure for psychiatric diseases.

Our top 3 Leucine Recommendations

BrandProduct Details
NutricostGluten FreeNon-GMOVeganView Here
Earthborn ElementsPureNon-GMOGluten FreeUS-Made500 mgView Here
Source NaturalsNo YeastNo DairyNo GlutenNo StarchUnflavouredView Here

L-Cysteine

Cysteine is known to help with the normal growth of hair, reducing effects of aging, and healing after surgery. It also plays a role in burning fat and increasing muscle mass. 

Besides these cosmetic benefits, cysteine has been found to prevent or alleviate anxiety, nausea, headaches, and stress from hangovers. If you struggle with hangover-related anxiety or other troubles, cysteine can help you feel better.

Our top 3 Cysteine Recommendations

BrandProduct Details
NowNut FreeGMO FreeDairy FreeKosher CertifiedEgg FreeVeganView Here
NutricostGluten FreeNon-GMOView Here
Life-ExtensionUnflavouredGMO FreeVegetarianView Here

GABA

As mentioned earlier, GABA is an important inhibitory neurotransmitter that causes feelings of relaxation. γ‐Aminobutyric acid (GABA), when administered orally, displayed immunity-enhancing abilities. Abdou et al (2008) conducted a study of oral GABA intake in humans. 

This study revealed that GABA managed to bring out three effects. The subjects were much more relaxed, with diminished anxiety, and better immunity during stress. In the fight with anxiety disorders and stress, GABA can be an instrumental tool to recovery. 

Our top 3 GABA Recommendations

BrandProduct Details
NowNut FreeGMO FreeDairy FreeKosher CertifiedEgg FreeVeganView Here
Source NaturalsUnflavouredDairy FreeEgg FreeGluten FreeSoy FreeView Here
Superior SourceContains MilkNatural Flavours100 mg CapsulesView Here

Side Note: I have tried and tested various products and services to help with my anxiety and depression. See my top recommendations here, as well as a full list of all products and services our team has tested for various mental health conditions and general wellness.

Additional Amino Acids for Anxiety

So far, we have discussed the best amino acids for anxiety that have sufficient research to back them. Now, let us explore some more options that are of scientific interest and are being studied worldwide. These too can be effective in alleviating anxiety but need further confirmation.

L-Arginine

Smriga and Torii (2013) investigated the benefits of L-Arginine on anxiety symptoms of rats in stressful situations. The data suggested that the amino acid significantly decreased plasma corticosterone levels. 

This indicates that L-Arginine intake can lower stress in mammals. Similar findings have increased people’s interest in using L-Arginine as an anxiety treatment. 

Our top 3 L-Arginine Recommendations

BrandProduct Details
NowNut FreeGMO FreeDairy FreeKosher CertifiedEgg FreeVeganView Here
Source NaturalsUnflavouredCitrullineView Here
NutricostPowderUnflavouredGluten-freeNon-GMOView Here

Tyrosine

A 2010 article in the journal, Molecular Brain, examined the influence of tyrosine on anxiety-like behaviour in rats. The findings imply there is a link between phosphorylation of tyrosine to anxiety attenuation. Lack of this form of tyrosine enhanced anxiety in the rats. Taking tyrosine orally may be a solution to this condition.

Our top Tyrosine Recommendation

ProductDetailsLink
NowNut FreeGMO FreeDairy FreeKosher CertifiedEgg FreeVeganView Here

Glutamine

Glutamine is a prerequisite to synthesise the neurotransmitter GABA. Scientists have demonstrated that glutamine administration significantly increased GABA levels in rats. 

Even when administered orally, glutamine increased GABA levels in striatal tissue and extracellular fluid. 

When GABA attaches to a GABA receptor, it produces a calming effect on the body and mind. Try some glutamine to enhance GABA production the next time you’re getting anxious.

Our top 3 Glutamine Recommendations

BrandProduct Details
Optimum NutritionContains GelatinNon-VeganView Here
NutricostGluten FreeNon-GMOView Here
Jarrow Formulas35.3 OzPowder FormView Here

Threonine

Threonine is an amino acid taken as a dietary supplement for many health benefits. It has positive effects on immunity, digestion, liver function, bones and tissues, nerve disorders, and absorption.

Threonine is also said to have a beneficial impact on sleep and anxiety. Since anxiety, stress, and immunity problems tend to co occur, threonine may prove to be an effective strategy to target them all.

Our top 3 Threonine Recommendations

BrandProduct Details
Douglas Labs60 Capsules500 mgContains GelatinView Here
Magnesium L ThreonineNon GMO, vegan & Gluten free50 mgView here
Healthvit60 Capsules500 mgView Here

Proline

Proline is a secondary amine but has a role in immune responses, antioxidative reactions, and wound healing. Hamasu and others in 2008 looked at proline’s use as a sedative regulator of acute stress. 

They saw that low levels of proline had an association with acute stress. Though this means that proline can be good for anxiety relief, more studies need to be done.

Our top 3 Proline Recommendations

BrandProduct Details
NowNut FreeGMO FreeDairy FreeKosher CertifiedEgg FreeVeganView Here
NutricostGluten FreeNon-GMOView Here
Source Naturals120 Tablets550 mgUnflavouredView Here

BCAAs

The final amino acid on our list is actually a category of amino acids. BCAAs or branched-chain amino acids have a specific structure characterised by an aliphatic side chain with a branch. BCAA supplements are very popular in the nutrition industry for their  muscle building properties. 

However, this 2020 study established that oral intake of BCAAs led to better memory, improved concentration, and lower scores on the DASS-Anxiety. The study was small and needs to be investigated further but this finding is highly promising.

Our top 3 BCAA Recommendations

BrandProduct Details
Scivation StorePowder FormWatermelon FlavourAvailable in Other FlavoursView Here
Optimum Nutrition StoreUnflavoured Capsules60/200/400 per BottleView Here
Muscle PharmPowder FormFruit Punch FlavourSugar FreeView Here

Conclusion

In this extensive list, we discussed the best amino acids for anxiety. We started by explaining what amino acids are and how they help us. Then, we explored the mental health benefits of amino acid supplements and talked about the ones that help anxiety. This list also included top 3 product recommendations for each amino acid.

The amino acids with enough scientific evidence for anxiolytic effects are L-Lysine, L-Tryptophan, Phenylalanine, 5-HTP, Theanine, Taurine, Acetyl-Carnitine, Histidine, Glycine, Leucine, L-Cysteine, and GABA. Additional amino acids with anxiety-reducing properties are L-Arginine, Tyrosine, Glutamine, Threonine, Proline, and BCAAs.

FAQs (Best Amino Acids for Anxiety)

Which supplement is best for anxiety?

Many nutritional supplements help with anxiety. Some of the best ones include:

  • Vitamin D
  • Kava
  • Hawthorn Berries and California Poppy
  • Passionflower
  • L-Lysine
  • L-Arginine
  • Ketone Supplementation
  • Lemon Balm
  • GABA
  • Ashwagandha
  • St John’s Wort
  • Magnesium
  • Chamomile

Can amino acids give you anxiety?

Some amino acids like proline and taurine do have anxiogenic effects. But it’s important to note that the dosage of the amino acid influences how it impacts anxiety. 

Proline administered with acute intake can cause anxiety but when taken as chronic supplementation, reduces anxiety. The vice versa is true for taurine; acute intake is good for anxiety and chronic intake bad.

How much L Lysine should I take for anxiety?

It’s imperative to always consult a doctor or nutritionist to know what doses of amino acids will be safe. Studies have found that 2.64 grams of L-Lysine was able to lower stress hormone levels. Having said that, it is not a good idea to consult the internet for dosage suggestions.

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