Nutritional Supplements for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive compulsive disorder is a form of anxiety characterised by obsessive behaviour. A number of supplements have been investigated as possible treatments for this disorder, and many have been found to be beneficial. Here is a list of some of the supplements that may be helpful to sufferers. Many of these substances are either antioxidants, balance neurotransmitter levels, or are neuroprotective. 

Vitamin D

Vitamin D may be neuroprotective and may be able to influence the synthesis of neurotransmitters in the brain. Evidence suggests that vitamin D deficiencies are associated with a wide range of physical and mental problems. Vitamin D is effective against obsessive compulsive disorder. 

Vitamin B12 and folic acid

Vitamin B12 and folic acid are both involved in methylation reactions and one-carbon cycling. These reactions are involved in the synthesis of neurotransmitters and also are required to maintain low levels of homocysteine. Homocystine may cause neurodegeneration and could be a cause of mental illness. 


A number of minerals play a significant role in preventing obsessive compulsive disorder, including selenium and zinc. This may relate to the ability of these minerals to increase tissue levels of antioxidant enzyme systems.  

N-acetyl cysteine

N-acetyl cysteine may be effective at preventing obsessive compulsive disorder because it is able to be converted to cysteine in the liver and then used to make glutathione, which is needed for cellular antioxidant defences. 


The amino acid glycine is thought to aid in the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder because it antagonises the NMDA receptor in glutaminergic neurones. 


Myoinositol is an isomer of glucose that has a long history of use in psychological disorders. Dietary sources include grains, nuts and fruit but it can also be synthesised endogenously. It is essential for secondary messenger systems and membrane phospholipids and may be vital in neuronal communication. 

St John’s Wort

St John’s wort is a known treatment for anxiety and may aid with the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder because it is able to balance levels of neurotransmitters in the brain through various mechanisms including reuptake inhibition, neuroendocrine modulation, increased sensitisation and binding to receptors (e.g., 5-HT). 

Milk thistle

Milk thistle (Silybum marianum) is a herb that contains the flavonoid complex called silymarin. Evidence shows that milk thistle is a significant upregulation of cellular enzyme systems.

Valerian root

Valerian is a herbal treatment for obsessive compulsive disorder that may work through upregulation of the GABA neurotransmitter system. 


Curcimin is a constituent of turmeric that has significant antioxidant effects in animals. Curcumin significantly reduces the symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder, probably through its antioxidant effects. 


Borage is a plant with a long history of therapeutic benefits. Borage has anxiolytic and sedative effects and this may relate to the phytochemicals it contains. Borage taken for 4 to 6 weeks was significantly beneficial at reducing the symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder. 

Eat Well, Stay Healthy, Protect Yourself


Karcı, C. K. and Celik, G. G. 2020. Nutritional and herbal supplements in the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder. General Psychiatry. 33(2)

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
This entry was posted in Anxiety, Borage (Echium amoenum), Curcumin, Depression, Folate, L-glycine, Milk Thistle, Mood, Myoinositol, N-Acetylcysteine (NAC), Selenium, St John's Wort, Valerian, Vitamin B, Vitamin D, Zinc. Bookmark the permalink.