Medications & Supplements For Public Speaking Anxiety

There is a lot of people with a fear of public speaking (clinically called glossophobia), or general public speaking anxiety. According to one survey, a fear of public speaking affected over 40% of Americans. Many of those suffering with public speaking anxiety may be considering popular anxiety medications and dietary supplements designed to help with performance anxiety & stage fright. We look into the top supplement choices for public speaking anxiety, and compare those to some more traditional anxiety medications.

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Many of us have felt anxious on occasion. But for the millions of people globally living with an anxiety disorder, anxiety is more than just an occasional annoyance.

For those getting in front of audience as part of a public speaking gig or event, anxiety can quickly become a major hindrance to career progression and mastery.

This is why there are so many resources and activities dedicated to reducing anxiety: from therapy to medication and yoga to meditation.

For people suffering from public speaking anxiety (quite a few people, apparently, with one survey finding that a fear of public speaking affected over 40% of Americans, the second most common fear behind snakes [1]), sufferers may also be considering the popular option of either medications or dietary supplements designed specifically for anxiety.

Read on as we uncover our top choices for medications and supplements, alongside all the background information that you might need to know about to overcome anxiety leading up to, or an outright fear of public speaking (clinically called glossophobia: “A Fear of Public Speaking”).

Do Medications & Supplements for Anxiety Work?

In the majority of cases, supplements for anxiety that have been tested by the general market do often work, but the specific results can depend on various factors, including:

  • How much you take
  • Other treatments you may be using
  • Other conditions you have or medications you use

Even though they are not medications, supplements can sometimes be quite powerful. Science still has more to learn about what dosages are effective (and what may be dangerous), so it is often best to begin with the smallest dosage possible.

If you’re already participating in therapy, taking anti-anxiety medications, or receiving other types of treatment, supplements shouldn’t be used as a 100% replacement remedy [2]. In cases like this, adding supplements as part of your treatment plan may help reduce symptoms further, but speak with your medical health practitioner first to make sure that there will not be any negative interactions.

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What Medications Exist for Public Speaking?

The most common prescription medication that’s used off-script for public speaking anxiety is beta-blockers. Beta-blockers are also known as beta-adrenergic blocking agents. The main function of beta-blockers is to block the release of adrenaline and other stress hormones into the brain/body [3].

Beta-blockers are typically prescribed for cardiac-related health conditions like high blood pressure, angina (chest pains), irregular heart rhythm (arrhythmia), and sometimes migraines [4]. Professional speakers use beta-blockers because it is also too much adrenaline that is responsible for their anxiety symptoms.

When you’re about to go on stage and/or speak in front of an audience, it is to be expected that you’ll feel some level of stress, and typically an adrenaline rush as a part of that stress response.

Some people are actually able to use this stress response to their advantage, perhaps using it to up the intensity of their performance. But if you experience stage fright or performance anxiety, then the stress response is going too far. You are experiencing a much greater effect of the adrenaline hormone, which causes your heart rate to skyrocket, along with other symptoms of stage fright.

Since beta-blockers block the effects of adrenaline, they also prevent you from experiencing the physical symptoms of stage fright. Remaining physically calm has an overall calming effect, which then allows you to get through your speech [4].

And this is why a lot of performers and celebrities use beta-blockers. There are also various beta-blockers available today, but here are some of the most common ones available (and their ingredients).

All of these beta-blockers are prescription drugs. Inderal/Propranolol is the most common on the list, taking the title of the most commonly prescribed beta-blocker medication in the US sold under the brand names Hemangeol, Inderal, and InnoPran [5].

Other prescription medications that people commonly use off-script for public speaking anxiety include Clonodine, Depakote and Dramamine.

There is also typical anxiety medications like benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, etc) but we hesitate recommending these medications due to significant dependence & addiction risks. We cover several non-addictive Xanax alternatives in this article here.

What Supplements Work for Public Speaking Anxiety?

To find out what supplements work, and can help you with, public speaking anxiety we first have to understand what traditional performance anxiety medications like beta blockers do for speakers experiencing anxiety, understand the mechanism and then look at supplement alternatives that can serve the same (or better) purpose.

So, when a performer or speaker takes a beta-blocker, it slows their heart rate, reduces any trembling and sweating, and regulates their breathing and blood pressure. Beta blockers help the performer feel relaxed, essentially negating the stress response to help them get through a performance or high-pressure scenario.

As mentioned earlier, Beta-blockers have this effect because they block the effects of adrenaline hormone, by blocking adrenaline from binding with the beta receptors, and this prevents the triggering of our fight-or-flight response when under stress. Stress on the heart is then reduced, combined with further relaxation of blood vessels due to beta blockers also preventing the kidneys from releasing a hormone called angiotensin II, and practically the whole body can reach a calm, relaxed state; from the blood vessels in the heart, to the brain and around the body [6].

The supplements that we recommend using as an alternative to anxiety medications are the following, which we will cover in-depth below:

Do Social Anxiety Supplements Also Exist?

People experience social anxiety due to a wide array of causes. Both environmental and physiological factors can play a role. Those who suffer from social anxiety disorder (SAD) are typically more prone to feeling anxious before and during social situations.

Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is one of the most common anxiety disorders in the United States. People with SAD suffer from a fear of rejection & humiliation in specific social situations [7]. They are often aware that their fear of social situations is irrational or exaggerated, but they still experience the symptoms.

So, when looking for ways to fight social anxiety, you should consider diet and lifestyle choices that promote calmness, relaxation, and ones that support brain health. If your brain is functioning optimally, you’re more likely to succeed at being calm and confident during a date [8].

The same supplements that we list below to help with public speaking anxiety, will also be effective in social anxiety scenarios.

Our Picks of The Best Anxiety Supplements & Medications That Can Help With Public Speaking

We considered several key areas when choosing the anxiety supplements & products listed below, including:

  • Brand reputation and standards. Recommended brands are well established and highly regarded.
  • Quality ingredients. Recommended brands adhere to strict quality standards, often through third-party certification.
  • Customer reviews. Recommended products are overall well-reviewed by customers.
  • Research. The anxiety-relieving properties of the active ingredients recommended below are backed up by scientific research.

Here are the supplements and medications that we recommend for helping with public speaking anxiety:

GABA Supplement For Public Speaking Anxiety

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a neurotransmitter that plays a vital role in promoting calmness and preventing anxiety [9].

Neurotransmitters are like your body’s own chemical messengers. They carry messages between different parts of your nervous system. If there’s an imbalance in your neurotransmitter levels, then various functions, both mental and physical, can be affected.

Perhaps you’ve heard about serotonin and dopamine, both of which are neurotransmitters, and how they affect your mood. GABA is also on that list, playing a vital role when it comes to anxiety, calmness, and mental focus.

According to an article published in the Journal of Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment [9], when GABA levels are out of balance in your body, you might be more susceptible to more severe symptoms of depression, PTSD, and also social anxiety disorders (SAD).

On the other hand, optimal GABA levels promote calmness in stressful situations, like during a performance or a speech in front of an audience.

Best GABA Supplement For Public Speaking Anxiety

We recommend NOW Supplements GABA which contains 500mg of GABA per serving, has some great reviews & is very well priced from a trusted brand.

There is evidence of people experiencing a calmer state after taking GABA supplements. Some small studies suggest that GABA supplements can promote relaxation.


L-theanine Supplement For Anxiety

L-theanine is an amino acid found primarily in green, black, and oolong teas. Regular consumption of L-theanine can support you in your fight against social anxiety [10], by reducing the levels of brain chemicals that contribute to stress and anxiety [11].

Just like GABA, L-theanine triggers the release of alpha waves to enhance relaxation, focus, and creativity [12].

L-theanine also boosts GABA levels in your brain, which further contributes to its effects against performance anxiety.

Best L-theanine Supplement For Anxiety

L-theanine boosts GABA levels, which can promote relaxation without any drowsiness. Sports Research Double-Strength L-Theanine supplement contains 200mg of Suntheanine per serving.

Suntheanine is a highly-regarded, patented, pure form of L-theanine that has gained a lot of prominence recently for its potential in treating anxiety symptoms, partly from famous individuals like Taylor Swift verifying its effectiveness at helping with anxiety and stage fright.


Silexan/Lavender Supplement To Help With Public Speaking Anxiety

Silexan is a branded extract of lavender oil created by Wilmar Schwabe GmbH, a German pharmaceutical company. Schwabe pharmaceuticals claim that silexan is “introducing a new therapeutic alternative in the field of anxiety disorder treatment” [13].

At its core, Silexan is a standardized essential oil of L. angustifolia (lavender) flowers prepared by steam distillation [14].

Research involving Silexan is showing that “uniquely prepared, pharmaceutical quality lavender oil” (potent silexan) can improve symptoms of mild anxiety. Two recent studies found lavender oil capsules to be just as effective as commonly prescribed benzodiazepine Lorazepam and the antidepressant Paroxetine [15].

The anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties of lavender/silexan seemingly come from the antagonization of NMDA and GABA-related receptors in the central nervous system that influence muscle contraction, as well as inhibition of the serotonin transporter.

In this way, the mechanism of action for Silexan seems to be similar to anxiolytic and antidepressant drugs like SSRIs and Benzodiazepines [16].

The major upside to lavender/silexan over similar prescription anti-anxiety medications (like benzos) is the almost complete lack of abuse potential in healthy recreational users of the lavender extract [17].

Downsides can include the affectionately-titled “lavender burps” which are potential mild gastrointestinal issues, and recent studies showing that chemicals in lavender oil are potential endocrine disruptors with varying effects on receptors for two hormones — estrogen and androgen [18].

Best Silexan Supplement For Anxiety

Nature’s Way CalmAid is made with Silexan; “a clinically studied lavender oil, to reduce feelings of occasional tension and stress.”

It’s gluten-free and contains no salt, yeast-derived ingredients, wheat, or dairy while also being manufactured by a well-respected company who have been producing well-loved supplements for more than a decade. Each serving contains 80mg of Silexan.


Propranolol For Public Speaking

A 1987 survey by the International Conference of Symphony Orchestra Musicians, representing some of the largest orchestras in the U.S., found that 27 percent of their musicians were using beta-blockers like Propranolol for performance anxiety [19]. Experts estimate that number is much higher today.

Propranolol is one of the most commonly prescribed beta-blocker medications in the US.

Beta-blockers are also known as beta-adrenergic blocking agents, because they work by blocking the effects of adrenergic hormones, such as adrenaline, as we mentioned above.

Propranolol is sold under the following brand names:

  • Inderal
  • Inderal LA
  • Hemangeol
  • Inderal XL

Propranolol requires a prescription from your doctor, whether you need it for a heart condition, or you’re considering beta-blockers for performance anxiety.

View our article here about Propranolol usage for Anxiety in order to better understand the beta-blocker.

Metoprolol For Public Speaking

Metoprolol is another very popular beta-blocker that works similarly to Propranolol. It blocks the effects of adrenaline, and it is also usually prescribed to treat cardiovascular issues like high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, etc.

The brand name version of Metoprolol is Lopressor. Back in 1978, the FDA approved the use of Metoprolol under the name Lopressor [20].

Just like Propranolol, Metoprolol also requires a prescription from your doctor. It is prescribed around 27 million times each year in the United States.

View our article all about Metoprolol usage for Anxiety here.

PerformZen Supplement For Public Speaking Anxiety

While many performers use beta-blockers like Propranolol and Metoprolol mentioned above, in order to help with their public speaking anxiety & glossophobia, perhaps you’re not too excited about becoming dependent on a prescription beta-blocker every time you want to talk in front of an audience. Instead of having to get a prescription whenever you run out, you may want to consider a natural alternative to beta-blockers.

A natural alternative to beta-blockers would achieve the same end-result as a beta-blocker (providing relief from symptoms of performance anxiety) but it would do so by supporting your brain in a way that promotes overall relaxation, calmness, and improved cognitive function. The best natural alternative to beta blockers available today is PerformZen Calm Performance Formula.

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PerformZen is a natural supplement designed to help public speakers overcome glossophobia symptoms, and maintain their composure and mental focus when they have to deliver a speech under pressure!

PerformZen works by boosting GABA which, as you can see above, is a neurotransmitter that promotes calmness [21]. It also contains magnesium and vitamin B6, which combine together to improve cognitive performance [22].

Additionally, PerformZen contains L-theanine, theacrine, and Ginkgo Biloba, which are the ingredients mentioned above that promote calmness and provide a boost in clean energy.

Final Thoughts on Medications & Supplements for Public Speaking Anxiety

Performance anxiety is no joke. If it’s more than a minor case of the jitters, it can have a significant impact on your life and ruin big moments for you (like giving successful public speeches).

But the good news is that you don’t have to let public speaking anxiety, or anxiety in general, control your life.

If you’ve been considering medications to help with your public speaking fears, you should know that although they can provide temporary relief, they are not a long term solution. Not to mention, there may be side effects, and for most of them you will need a prescription.

Natural supplements like PerformZen promote calmness and better mental function with ingredients that support your brain so it becomes more resilient to handle stressful situations like giving speeches/talks.

Check out PerformZen Calm Performance Formula today


Reference List:

  1. ^ https://news.gallup.com/poll/1891/snakes-top-list-americans-fears.aspx
  2. ^ https://psychcentral.com/reviews/best-anxiety-supplements
  3. ^ https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/beta-blockers/art-20044522
  4. ^ https://performanceanxiety.com/stage-fright-pill/
  5. ^ https://performanceanxiety.com/propranolol-vs-xanax/
  6. ^ https://uvitals.com/natural-beta-blockers/
  7. ^ https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/mind-guest-blog/5-ways-to-overcome-dating-anxiety/
  8. ^ https://uvitals.com/dating-anxiety-cures/
  9. ^ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4303399/
  10. ^ https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/integrative-mental-health-care/201703/l-theanine-reduces-symptoms-anxiety
  11. ^ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16930802
  12. ^ https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/sleep-newzzz/201708/what-you-need-know-about-l-theanine
  13. ^ https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20131017005763/en/Schwabe-Pharmaceuticals-underlines-its-commitment-to-research-and-development-with-a-Symposium-on-the-latest-study-results-in-the-CNS-field-at-the-ECNP-European-College-of-Neuropsychopharmacology-in-Barcelona
  14. ^ https://psychiatryeducationforum.com/silexan/
  15. ^ https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-6761759/Leading-expert-claims-doctors-dish-LAVENDER-OIL-line-treatment-anxiety.html
  16. ^ https://examine.com/members/deep-dives/article/can-lavender-take-the-edge-off-of-anxiety/
  17. ^ https://academic.oup.com/ijnp/article/24/3/171/6029371?login=false
  18. ^ https://factor.niehs.nih.gov/2019/9/feature/3-feature-lavender/index.htm
  19. ^ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5618811/
  20. ^ https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/metoprolol/
  21. ^ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4594160/
  22. ^ http://www.researchautism.net/interventions/97/vitamin-b6,-magnesium-and-autism

Eric is a performance expert and a member of the PerformZen team since it was founded. Eric has battled anxiety his entire life and he is passionate about helping people gain control over the things that they fear most, with anxiety being at the top of that list for many!

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