Three of the best supplements for stress, including MegaFood Balanced B Complex, Innate Vitality Magnesium Glycinate, and Life Extension Melatonin IR/XRShare on Pinterest

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Everyone has stressors in life, with factors related to job pressure, money, health, and relationships tending to be the most common.

Stress can be acute or chronic and can lead to fatigue, headaches, upset stomach, nervousness, and irritability or anger.

Exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and eating a nutritious diet are some of the best ways to better equip your body to handle stress, but several vitamins and supplements can also help.

Here are the 7 best vitamins and supplements that may help you manage stress.

There’s a lot of noise when it comes to supplements for stress. To help you identify products that are worth purchasing, we first considered the types of ingredients included.

All the ingredients featured were selected using the following criteria:

  • Research quality: We chose supplements that have been the focus of high quality scientific studies called randomized controlled trials. These are less biased than other types of studies and result in higher quality, more reliable data.
  • Effectiveness: In addition, we chose only vitamins and supplements that these high quality studies have deemed effective. Other types of studies can be helpful, but the data they produce is not as reliable as data from randomized controlled trials.

In addition to ingredients, we considered the following factors when selecting products:

  • Dose: We chose products that included the effective doses mentioned in research studies.
  • Trustworthiness: We selected products from brands that are known for producing high quality supplements. We also prioritized products that are third-party tested.

Why you should trust us

Every brand and product on our list has been vetted to ensure that it aligns with Healthline’s brand integrity standards and approach to well-being. Each product in this article:

  • adheres to allowable health claims and labeling requirements, per Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations
  • is manufactured in facilities that adhere to current good manufacturing practices (CGMPs) established by the FDA
  • is produced by a medically credible company that follows ethical, legal, and industry best standards
  • is made by a company that provides objective measures of trust, such as having its supplements validated by third-party labs

A note on price

General price ranges with dollar signs ($–$$$) are indicated below. One dollar sign means the product is rather affordable, whereas three dollar signs indicate a higher cost.

Generally, prices range from $0.14–$0.91 per count, or $9–$55 per container, though this may vary depending on where you shop.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $0.25 per serving
  • $$ = $0.25–$0.75 per serving
  • $$$ = over $0.75 per serving

Best with Rhodiola rosea

HUM Nutrition Big Chill

  • Price range: $$
  • Dose: 1 capsule daily
  • Best used for: stress, concentration

Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea) is an herb that grows in regions of Russia and Asia.

It has long been known as an adaptogen — a natural, nontoxic herb that stimulates your body’s stress response system to increase stress resistance (1).

The adaptogenic properties of rhodiola are linked to two of the herb’s potent active components: rosavin and salidroside (2).

A small 8-week study involving 100 people with chronic fatigue symptoms, such as poor sleep quality and impairments in short-term memory and concentration, found that supplementing with 400 mg of rhodiola extract per day improved symptoms after just 1 week (3).

Participants’ symptoms continued to decrease throughout the study.

Likewise, in one small high quality study in 80 people with mild anxiety, researchers found that those who took 400 mg of rhodiola per day experienced significant improvements in stress and anxiety after 2 weeks compared with those who received no treatment (4).

If you’re interested in trying rhodiola, HUM Nutrition Big Chill is one of the best options.

The supplement contains a clinically researched effective dose of 500 mg of R. rosea extract per serving. It’s also third-party tested and free of artificial sweeteners and colors.

Pros

  • third-party tested
  • non-GMO
  • gluten-free
  • vegan-friendly
  • one-a-day formulation

Cons

  • requires a subscription

Best with melatonin

Life Extension Melatonin IR/XR

  • Price range: $
  • Dose: 1 capsule daily
  • Best used for: sleep

Melatonin is a natural hormone that regulates your body’s circadian rhythm, or sleep-wake cycle.

Levels of the hormone increase in the evening when it’s dark to promote sleep and decrease in the morning when it’s light to promote wakefulness (5).

Some research suggests that because stress is linked to insomnia, supplementing with melatonin may help (6, 7).

One review of 7 high quality studies involving 205 people investigated the effectiveness of melatonin for managing secondary sleep disorders, which are those that result from another condition, such as stress or depression.

The researchers concluded that melatonin decreased the time it took people to fall asleep and increased total sleep time but did not significantly affect sleep quality as compared to a placebo (8).

Randomized controlled trials have found doses as small as 0.5 mg per night to be effective (9).

Though melatonin is a natural hormone, supplementing with it does not affect your body’s production of it. Melatonin is also non-habit-forming, but it’s best to start with the lowest dose possible and work up to a higher dose if necessary (10, 11).

If you find that you’re having trouble sleeping as a result of stress and you’re interested in trying a melatonin supplement, Life Extension IR/XR Magnesium is a great option.

The supplement contains a total of 1.5 mg of immediate-release and extended-release melatonin, which may help you fall asleep and stay asleep through the night.

Life Extension is a trusted company that manufactures its supplements according to standards that exceed those established by the FDA. The company’s raw materials are also third-party tested.

However, while some Life Extension supplements are third-party tested, its Melatonin IR/XR is not.

Pros

  • manufactured in a facility with high quality standards
  • gluten-free
  • non-GMO
  • one-a-day formulation

Cons

  • not vegan- or vegetarian-friendly
  • not third-party tested

Best with magnesium

Innate Vitality Magnesium Glycinate

  • Price range: $
  • Dose: 1 capsule daily
  • Best used for: stress

Magnesium is an essential mineral that your body uses in more than 300 different biochemical reactions.

It’s involved in numerous aspects of healthy bodily function, including DNA synthesis, nerve and muscle function, and blood sugar and blood pressure regulation (12).

Magnesium is found mostly in nuts and seeds, green leafy vegetables, and fish.

Research shows that magnesium may be involved in stress management, particularly for people who don’t get enough magnesium in their diet.

One older study in 100 people found that people who supplemented with 400 mg of magnesium per day for 90 days had increased heart rate variability (HRV) compared to a control group (13).

Some studies have linked low HRV to depression, sleep disturbances, and stress (14, 15).

Another high quality trial assessed the effects of daily supplementation of 300 mg of magnesium and 30 mg of vitamin B6 for 8 weeks in 264 people with low magnesium levels (16).

Researchers in this study noted that participants who received magnesium alone had similar decreases in stress scores to those who received magnesium and vitamin B6.

However, people with stress that was categorized as “severe” or “extremely severe” saw more improvement when taking both magnesium and vitamin B6 (16).

Innate Vitality Magnesium Glycinate is a great magnesium supplement because it contains 500 mg of magnesium glycinate, a form of magnesium that may be easier for the body to absorb than other commonly used supplemental magnesium forms, such as magnesium citrate (17).

The supplement is also third-party tested and free of artificial additives.

Pros

  • third-party tested
  • vegetarian-friendly
  • non-GMO
  • gluten-, dairy-, and soy-free
  • one-a-day formulation

Cons

  • not vegan-friendly

Best with ashwagandha

Klaire Labs Ashwagandha Extract

  • Price range: $$
  • Dose: 1 capsule daily
  • Best used for: stress, mood

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) is an adaptogenic herb native to India, where it has been used in Indian Ayurveda, one of the world’s oldest medicinal systems (18).

Similarly to rhodiola, ashwagandha is thought to enhance your body’s resilience to physical and mental stress.

In one study on the stress-relieving effects of ashwagandha, researchers randomized 60 individuals with mild stress to receive 240 mg of a standardized ashwagandha extract or a placebo daily for 60 days (19).

Compared with the placebo, supplementing with ashwagandha was strongly associated with greater reductions in stress, anxiety, and depression. Ashwagandha was also linked to a 23% reduction in morning levels of cortisol, a stress hormone (19).

What’s more, an older review of five studies examining the effects of ashwagandha on anxiety and stress observed that people who supplemented with ashwagandha extract scored better on tests measuring levels of stress, anxiety, and fatigue (20).

Klaire Labs Ashwagandha Extract provides 300 mg of ashwagandha extract per 1-capsule serving, and it’s free from artificial additives and major allergens.

Klaire Labs prides itself on producing high quality, research-backed supplements. Its products are manufactured in CGMP-compliant facilities, though the products are not third-party tested.

Pros

  • made in CGMP-compliant facilities
  • major allergen-free
  • vegetarian-friendly
  • gluten-free
  • one-a-day formulation

Cons

  • not third-party tested
  • not vegan-friendly

Best with L-theanine

Pure Encapsulations L-Theanine

  • Price range: $$$
  • Dose: 2 capsules daily
  • Best used for: stress, concentration

L-theanine is an amino acid most commonly found in tea leaves.

Researchers have studied it for its ability to promote relaxation and reduce stress without having sedative effects (21, 22).

One high quality study in 30 people found that taking 200 mg of L-theanine per day significantly improved depression symptoms, sleep quality, cognitive function, and stress compared to a placebo (23).

In another study in 34 people, drinking a beverage containing 200 mg of L-theanine and other nutrients lowered levels of cortisol in response to a stressful task that involved multitasking (24).

L-theanine is well tolerated and safe when used as a supplement for relaxation at its effective dose, which is 200–600 mg per day in capsule form (25, 26).

Pure Encapsulations L-Theanine contains 400 mg of L-theanine per 2-capsule serving. It’s vegan-friendly and certified gluten-free.

Pure Encapsulations works with several third-party labs to ensure quality control, including Silliker, Intertek, Eurofins, and Advanced Laboratories.

If you dislike taking supplements, it’s worth noting that green tea is also a great source of L-theanine.

One small randomized controlled trial noted that drinking at least 300 mL (about 1.5 cups) of low caffeine green tea reduced stress markers significantly more than regular green tea (27).

Because caffeine may inhibit L-theanine’s effectiveness, low caffeine green tea appears to be more effective (27).

Pros

  • third-party tested
  • vegan-friendly
  • certified gluten-free
  • non-GMO

Cons

  • expensive

Best with B-complex vitamins

MegaFood Balanced B Complex

  • Price range: $$
  • Dose: 1 tablet daily
  • Best used for: work stress, fatigue

B-complex vitamin supplements usually contain all eight B vitamins.

These vitamins play an important role in metabolism by transforming the food you eat into usable energy. B vitamins are also essential for heart and brain health (28).

Food sources of B vitamins include grains, meats, legumes, eggs, dairy products, and leafy greens.

Interestingly, some research suggests that high doses of B vitamins may improve symptoms of stress, such as mood and energy levels, by lowering blood levels of the amino acid homocysteine (28, 29).

High homocysteine levels are associated with stress and an increased risk of several health conditions, including heart disease, dementia, and colorectal cancer (30, 31, 32).

What’s more, a review of 12 high quality trials noted that daily B vitamin supplementation for at least 4 weeks may help significantly decrease stress and improve mood (33).

Another older study observed similar results, suggesting that supplementing with B vitamins as part of a multivitamin and mineral supplement may improve mood and stress by lowering homocysteine levels (34).

However, it’s unclear whether people who already have low homocysteine levels will experience these effects.

While there are several great B-complex supplements, MegaFood Balanced B Complex is a great option.

Each serving contains at least 100% of the Daily Value for all eight B vitamins in forms that are easy for the body to absorb, such as folate in the form of 5-methyl tetrahydrofolate instead of folic acid (35).

Plus, the supplement is easy to digest and can be taken on an empty stomach.

Pros

  • features highly absorbable forms of all eight B vitamins
  • vegan-friendly
  • gluten-free
  • gentle on the stomach

Cons

  • not third-party tested

Best with vitamin D

Nordic Naturals Vitamin D3 1000

  • Price range: $
  • Dose: 1 mini softgel daily
  • Best used for: stress

Vitamin D is sometimes called the “sunshine vitamin” because your body can make it after sun exposure. It’s not naturally found in large amounts in many foods, and many people don’t get enough in their diet (36).

One of vitamin D’s main functions is to help your body absorb more calcium, but researchers have found that it’s also involved in several other processes, such as reducing inflammation and promoting immune function (36).

It may also help with stress reduction, especially in people who have a vitamin D deficiency.

In one small high quality study in 86 people who did not have vitamin D deficiency, researchers found that those who consumed 1,600 IU of vitamin D daily for about 4 months throughout winter didn’t experience the dip in vitamin D levels that typically occurs as a result of getting less sun exposure during these months (37).

They also found that those in the control group, who received a placebo, had a longer period of stress following a stressful situation than those in the vitamin D group (37).

Other high quality studies in women noted that taking 50,000 IU of vitamin D every 2 weeks, when paired with either probiotics or omega-3 supplements, helped improve depression, anxiety, and stress (probiotics) and anxiety and sleep (omega-3s) (38, 39).

Just keep in mind that it’s best to get your vitamin D levels checked by a healthcare professional before taking vitamin D supplements. As interest in vitamin D supplementation has grown, vitamin D toxicity has become much more common (40).

Nordic Naturals Vitamin D3 1000 is one of the best vitamin D supplements because it contains 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 — the active form of vitamin D, also known as calcitriol.

Nordic Naturals supplements are third-party tested, and you can easily view the testing results by searching for the certificate of analysis (COA) for each product on the company’s website.

Pros

  • third-party tested
  • COAs available online
  • easy-to-swallow mini softgels
  • non-GMO
  • free of artificial additives
  • one-a-day formulation

Cons

  • not vegan-friendly

Here’s a quick look at how our top picks compare:

Price rangeBest useThird-party testedDaily dose
HUM Nutrition Big Chill$$• general stress
• concentration
yes1 capsule
Life Extension Melatonin IR/XR$sleepno1 capsule
Innate Vitality Magnesium Glycinate$general stressyes1 capsule
Klaire Labs Ashwagandha Extract$$• general stress
• mood
no1 capsule
Pure Encapsulations L-Theanine$$$• general stress
• concentration
yes2 capsules
MegaFood Balanced B Complex$$• work stress
• fatigue
no1 tablet
Nordic Naturals Vitamin D3 1000$general stressyes1 mini softgel

Here are some factors to keep in mind when shopping for supplements to help with stress:

  • Intended effect: Is stress affecting your sleep or your ability to focus? Look for a product formulated to address your specific issues. For example, melatonin may help improve sleep, whereas rhodiola and L-theanine are better options for focus and productivity.
  • Price: Price is an important consideration. Especially if you’ll be taking supplements for an extended period, it’s important to know how much you’ll be spending each month.
  • Quality: Because the FDA doesn’t regulate supplements in the same way as medications, it’s important to select products from trusted brands. Ideally, look for products that are third-party tested to ensure purity and potency.
  • Professional help: It’s a good idea to consult a healthcare professional before taking supplements. They can help you choose products and can order blood work or analyze your diet to see if you’re deficient in any essential nutrients that may affect stress levels.
  • Drug interactions: Because some supplement ingredients can interact with medications, it’s important to check with a healthcare professional before taking any new supplements if you’re already taking prescription or over-the-counter medications.

Which vitamin is best for stress?

B vitamins and vitamin D may help with stress. However, these may be helpful only for people who have low levels of these vitamins and cannot meet their needs through diet alone (33, 41, 42).

What vitamins might you be lacking if you’re stressed or have anxiety?

You may have inadequate levels of B vitamins, vitamin D, or magnesium if you are feeling stressed. However, this is not the case for everyone.

The best way to know for sure is to ask a healthcare professional for a blood test or purchase a home micronutrient testing kit to check your blood levels of these nutrients.

Does kava help with stress?

Kava is a supplement made from the roots of the Piper methysticum plant. It has a long history of use for relieving stress and anxiety in traditional herbal medicine, and research suggests that it does offer some stress-relieving benefits (43).

However, researchers have also noted rare cases of liver damage arising from kava use.

Not enough information is available about these episodes to allow researchers to confidently create dosing or safety guidelines. For this reason, we recommend avoiding kava and choosing alternatives that have a better safety profile (43).

Several vitamins and other supplements, including Rhodiola rosea, melatonin, vitamin D, and ashwagandha, have been linked to reduced stress symptoms.

L-theanine, B-complex vitamins, and magnesium may also help increase your body’s resistance to life’s stressors.

Always consult a healthcare professional before trying a new supplement, especially if you’re taking other medications or if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant.

If stress continues to be a problem in your life, consider speaking with a medical professional or therapist about possible solutions.